This month, we were fortunate to go on vacation to St. John, USVI. It was a family trip; we had our Nola, along with Donna’s mom and sister. This is our second time visiting St. John; Donna and I went there in 2007 and fell in love with it’s beauty and remoteness. We love that most of the island is a national park and that it isn’t overrun with resorts, casinos, and strip malls. We love the beach, the mountains, and hiking, so St. John really is the ideal fit for us! Of course, having a toddler along made it slightly more complicated than last time. Nola has never flown before so a lot of prep went into our airport procedure. Nola even had a “field trip” to the airport a few days before our flight. Thankfully, she did amazing on all our flights there and back. Whew!
This time we rented the car from St. Thomas and took a car barge from St. Thomas/Red Hook to St. John/Cruz Bay which made the trip less stressful since we were able to better control the fate of our own schedule. Another great plus is that we worked with some awesome businesses this time to line up our car rental along with the car seat and Kelty rentals. Amalie Car Rental on St. Thomas is unbelievably wonderful; Magdalena and Constantin met us at the baggage claim holding a sign (a first for me) and got us out of the airport in a hurry. They are sooo amazing. It was cool to land at St. Thomas and have our car ready to go without having to wait in any line. When I made the initial reservation, they only had a booster seat which was probably too big for Nola so they put me in touch with Daphne from Caribbean Nanny Service and they made sure it was delivered with the car. Amazing! We also used Island Baby on St. John to deliver a Kelty toddler carrier for the hikes which was waiting for us at the condo…no luggage fees or toting extra gear through the airport. These people were on it!
We ended up staying at the same condo as last time, Serendip, which worked out perfectly. They are in a great location with easy access to the beaches and restaurants. And the condos have AC when it’s needed. St. John is hot and humid in the summer! This trip, we did less hiking (because it was so hot) and spent every morning until early afternoon on a beach. We visited Hawksnest, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay, and Francis Bay. We hiked to Peace Hill, Honeymoon Beach, and of course the Reef Bay trail down to the petroglyphs. We were surprised to see no traces of the waterfall, not even drip, when last time it had been pretty decent fall. But the ancient carvings in the rock still made the hike worth it.
Now to really understand the reason for this trip, you have to know that Donna’s sister, Halley, loves anything Caribbean and Nola is really into the pirate thing. So we thought why rush into Disney World when a trip to the Caribbean would be just as much fun for everyone? So we packed Nola’s Mr. Smee outfit (he is one of her very favorite characters!) and some treasure we could bury on the trip and told Nola we were off to Never Land! She loves the Disney Jr. show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, so we took along “Jake” to help document the trip too.