Wine and Music: Travel
By C. S. Higdon
If you're an "off the beaten path" traveler, but would like a somewhat more civilized romantic and peaceful trip next winter, may I suggest you point your trusty walking shoes in the direction of the beautiful island of St. Croix? St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, yet the least visited by tourists. This gives the island a more relaxed atmosphere than its famous neighbors, St. Thomas and St. John. It is a bit more industrial than your typical Caribbean paradise and is the seat of the multi-island government, providing a slightly more cosmopolitan aura. However, like most islands, the use of time takes on a different meaning than it does in the States. Of course, you're there to slow down and take it easy & so go ahead and enjoy!
Because St Croix is not as well known as the other Islands, it still has a very native feel. There aren't a zillion hotels, restaurants, or tourists crawling around, all of which adds to the uniquely intimate and natural setting. However, there are a few nice hotels from which to choose, but only one really stands out. This property, overlooking the Caribbean Sea on this "overlooked" island, is a magical place named for swashbuckling days long past in this storied chain of vacation hideaways: The Buccaneer Hotel. This property, called "the Caribbean's most historic resort," sits atop a hill surrounded by over 300 acres of golf course, tennis courts, isolated beaches, hiking trails, and world class restaurants. It's been around since 1947 and celebrates its 60th birthday next year, owned by the same family for its entire existence.
As you might imagine, the Armstrong family, owners of the Buccaneer since its first grass hut was erected, has learned how to entertain its guests in style. The Terrace Restaurant, the central eatery for the Buccaneer, boasts an extensive wine list and an equally impressive array of music. Located on the western side of the main building, it's in the perfect location to view stunning sunsets over Christiansted Harbor, sailboats toting tourists around the island, and the night lights of St. Croix's sister islands.
During the day, I recommend a sailing trip to Buck Island, a pristine marine park on the north side that offers residents some of St. Croix's best views. They have boats leaving Christiansted daily and tour guides who will lead you to their favorite snorkeling sites. After a long day of touring the island, scuba diving, a round of golf, perhaps a few sets of tennis, beachcombing (aren't you just a little tired, yet), tasting local conch soup, shopping in Christiansted, and a whole host of other island activities, the Terrace at the Buccaneer is the perfect place to sip a classic wine and enjoy superb live music. The wine list goes on for pages and boasts a bottle or two in excess of $3,000. There are also some more modest vintages! The local musicians are also very, very good. Each night offers a different group in a different style. There is a truly excellent jazz trio, a spirited acoustic guitarist with a Brazilian flair, a contemporary pianist, and on the weekends, the steel drums of Bill Bass (a local icon). Given the warmth of the Caribbean, you will enjoy spending time tasting light, crisp white wines while enjoying the varied music, light breezes, and soothing lights in nearby Christiansted from evening to evening.
Should you be so inclined to tie the knot in a tropical setting, the Buccaneer Hotel is THE place to have a wedding. The views from the original Sugar Mill make the setting almost incomparable. If your taste is more oceanic, you can have your nuptials on the beach, in the sand, by the water, in your bare feet if you so choose. The staff at the Buccaneer has a LOT to teach the big chain hotels about customer service, particularly in the area of special events. You will be absolutely thrilled with how responsive, courteous, and knowledgeable everyone on the property is.
For those of you seeking additional wine and music samplings, we can heartily recommend a trip into Christiansted to visit Tutto Bene Restaurant. This upscale, quiet culinary find is located on Boardwalk Street and features live piano in the evenings, a great selection of Italian and domestic wines, and some of the best Italian food this side of the Atlantic Ocean. You can find more information about Tutto Bene Restaurant at their website: www.TuttoBeneRestaurant.com.
If your desire for a Caribbean vacation takes you to St. Croix, the best time to visit is in the winter and early spring, when temperatures are at their most enjoyable and the hurricanes are not in evidence. For more information about the Buccaneer or to make reservations, go to the website at www.TheBuccaneer.com, and have yerself a fine little vacation, me bucco!
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