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Three Perfect Days: U.S. Virgin Islands

White sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters have long drawn travelers (and pirates, and Christopher Columbus) to these islands, but it's the friendly locals and unexpected adventures that have kept so many coming back

Author Grant Stoddard Photography Peter Frank Edwards

A four-legged patron at the Mt. Pellier Domino Club

Picture 12 of 13

IT’S EASY TO IMAGINE that when the members of the Virginia Company stopped in 1607 on what is now St. Thomas, on their way to establish the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, their sublime surroundings would have sparked an impassioned debate about the merits of just staying put. It wouldn’t have been the first: Native American tribes and Christopher Columbus, among others, also figure in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ rich history. Seven different flags have flown here, with the last changeover happening in 1917, when Denmark sold the trio of Caribbean islands to the United States for what was then a princely sum of almost $300 an acre. The acquisition turned out to be a masterful use of Treasury money: St. Thomas offers bustling streets and brisk commerce, and has done so ever since it was a favorite haunt of infamous pirates like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd; St. John has rugged natural beauty (two-thirds of it is a U.S. national park) as well as culinary sophistication; and St. Croix, which is larger, flatter and, unlike its siblings, nonvolcanic, has laid-back ambience to spare. But what truly distinguishes these islands is the easy hospitality of the unique group of Americans who live there and who just might, in three short days, have you, too, debating the merits of sticking around.

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2 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: U.S. Virgin Islands”

  1. George Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    We used the travel app Explore St. John for our trip. It was VERY useful!

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/explore-st.-john/id428169483?mt=8

  2. Steve Burry Says:
    March 17th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    While in St. Thomas, take a ferry boat ride over to St. John and take the Bad Kitty Catamaran for an all day excursion through the British Virgin Islands…..absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun!! The boat stops at 4 different islands where you can snorkel, eat lunch, and try the island favorite tropical drink: The Pain Killer. It costs around $200 per person, but it’s well worth it!! One of the best excursions we’ve been on.

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