Caribbean Real Estate Blog

The History of Reef Bay

The History of Reef Bay

St. John is abound with hiking trails through its gorgeous and expansive National Park. The Reef Bay trail is one of our favorites as it taks you through an expansive valley or “gut.”  While we reference this amazing trail often, we rarely get the opportunity to talk aobut the history of the Reef Bay Valley. This month we are talking about history of the Virgin Islands and Reef Bay is a great spot to start!

One of our favorite resources for St. John history is from Gerald Singer and his incredible book, St. John Off the Beaten Track.  It is a fun read with a plethora of knowledge about the history of St. John, the best beaches, trails and more.  In his book, Gerald also tells us about the history of Reef Bay Valley:

 

“The first human inhabitants of Reef Bay were hunter-gatherers who arrived in St. John almost 3,000 years ago.  These primitive peoples were conquered or replaced by a farming-oriented society who were the biological ancestors of the Tainos, the people who Columbus encountered on his voyage across the Atlantic.  The farmers, like the hunter-gatherers, migrated from the South American mainland and up the island chain of the Lesser Antilles arriving in St. John about 2,000 years ago.

When Columbus sailed past St. John in 1493, he reported the island to be uninhabited. The Tainos that lived on St. John may have already fled the island in the wake of Carib raids or they may have gone into hiding at the approach of Columbus’ fleet, later to fall victim to the depredations visited upon them by the Spanish colonizers.

In the early sixteenth century, St. John was reported to be re-inhabited by Amerindians feeling Spanish persecution in St. Croix and Puerto Rico. By 1550, the island appeared to have been totally uninhabited, and it remained that way for about 100 years.

Between 1671 and 1717, St. John was intermittently occupied by small groups of woodcutters, sailors, fisherman and farmers.

St. John was officially colonized and settled by the Danes in 1718. By 1726, all of the land in the Reef Bay Valley had been parceled out to form 12 plantations. At first, these estates were devoted to a variety of agricultural provisions such as cotton, cocoa, coffee, ground provisions (yams, yucca, sweet potato, taro, corn, etc.) and the raising of stock animals as well as to to the productions of sugarcane.

By the later part of the eighteenth century, the 12 plantations were consolidated into five, and sugar became the dominant crop in the valley. Only Little Reef Bay never switched to sugar, growing some cotton but primarily concentrating on ground provisions and animals that were sold to the neighboring plantations.

….

By the end of the eighteenth century, when sugar productions was at its peak, and the population of the valley was at its greatest (300), about half of Reef Bay Valley was classified as woodland.

In the nineteenth century, agriculture in the Reef Bay Valley began to decline. By 1915, only Par Force and Little Reef Bay in the lower valley were still active, but with only ten acres planted in sugar. Otherwise the plantations were devoted to cattle and other livestock, coconuts, fruit trees and ground provisions.” (excerpt from St. John Off the Beaten Track by Gerald Singer, Copyright 2006).

The History of Reef Bay

Gerald Singer’s “St. John Off the Beaten Track”

When hiking the Reef Bay Trail, one can take the quick trail to the Petroglyphs to stop and see carvings that were likely created by the Tainos prior to Columbus’ arrival. (look closely, you may see the familiar Caneel Bay logo carved in stone).

You will also see the remains of the Par Force plantation, the ruins of Josie Gut Sugar Estate, the Reef Bay Sugar Mill (which is still in great condition) and more. It’s a stunning hike through some of St. John’s rich history as well as an opportunity to learn more about the trees and plants of St. John.

The History of Reef Bay

Reef Bay Sugar Mill

We highly suggest picking up a copy of this book prior to a trip to St. John, or even as a resident, as there is so much rich history and so many incredible stories about St. John that even locals may not know! You can also learn a bit here as well!

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Posted in St. John Real Estate, Vacation Rentals, Virgin Islands National Park, Why The Virgin Islands?


The History of the Virgin Islands

Welcome to our theme of the month– The History of the Virgin Islands! With transfer day occurring just last month we felt it appropriate to delve into the details of the history of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and Water Island. We hope to provide you with some new information and fun facts about our tropical paradise! Stay tuned for a new post each week from our agents and staff at Sea Glass.

Click the infographic below to expand and read about the History of St. Thomas!

History of the Virgin Islands

History of the Virgin Islands

 

Information in this infographic is credited to www.vinow.com

I hope you enjoy learning all things history of the Virgin Islands this month! Stay tuned for a new post each week!

-Alison

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Posted in Island News, Relocating to the US Virgin Islands, Why The Virgin Islands?


Pond Bay, a Virgin Islands Real Estate Development will be auctioned off on May 26th

Auction Canceled

Virgin Islands Real Estate

– Investment Opportunity –

Location:    Pond Bay – St. John, United States Virgin Islands
Bidder Registration Deadline:    May 15, 2015
Date of Auction:    May 26, 2015

Click Here to Request the Pond Bay Investment Package

Click Here

Sea Glass Properties has just announced that they are the exclusive listing agent for the Pond Bay Club, located on St. John in the United States Virgin Islands, that will be going to auction on May 26, 2015.

What is Pond Bay? Pond Bay is a 15+ acre beachfront development on St. John, United States Virgin Islands. The site is made up of 26 partially complete units (62,280 sq. ft.), of which eight are oceanfront and face Chocolate Hole. Two of the eight buildings are presidential-style oceanfront villas, which have four bedrooms and total 4,290 sq. ft. per unit. The other six oceanfront villas are three bedrooms each, and total 2,275 sq. ft. each. All other partially completed units are within very close proximity to the ocean (pictured below) and all have three bedrooms and total 40,050 sq.ft.. The project is being sold with major entitlements in place including a Coastal Zone Management permit as well as the original site plans. However, the main point of attraction for investors and hotel developers alike is the rarity of this sort of development. Pond Bay is the only partially complete development of its size on St. John.  St. John is nearly 60% national park with very little additional developable land, particularly with beach frontage. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a St. John, Virgin Islands real estate project of this size. 

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only English speaking U.S. territory in the Caribbean, making it uniquely attractive to the US tourist market and beyond. Pond Bay presents a great way for an investor to compete with other successful resorts in the premium Caribbean market. Hotels/resorts with a similar target market in St. John are Caneel Bay Resort, Gallow Bay Resort, Grande Bay Resort, and Sirenusa Residences. Nightly rates at these resorts have a starting point of $295 for an efficiency in the “slow season” to $2,000 for a large townhouse-style unit in peak “busy season” (slow season: mid-May to mid-November, busy season: mid-November to mid-May).

If you are interested in the Pond Bay development please call Nick Van Assche at 340.776.666 or email nick@seaglassproperties.com

Download Investment Package


Click Here to Learn about St. John, US Virgin Islands

Click Here to Learn about Virgin Islands Hotel Tax Incentives

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Posted in St. John Real Estate, US Virgin Islands Real Estate


Spring Break in St. John

Spring Break in St. JohnSpring Break is a great time to visit St. John.  When the cold winter months are really beginning to wear on you, planning a warm, tropical getaway is a great way to hit the refresh button! St. John has gorgeous beaches – you could visit a different beach every day during a week long vacation and still not go to every one! With over 75% of our island being National Park, the beaches are pristine, protected and clean with crystal clear water!  In addition to beaches, St. John has a great beachside bar and dining scene in Wharfside Village that will make for the perfect Spring Break vacation!  Some of our favorites include:

Joe’s Rum Hut: a great happy hour right on the beach, offering you the quintessential ocean front bar. Happy hour is from 4-6pm with $3 “you call it” (meaning anything on the menu or that you order is $3). Our favorite:  don’t miss the Lime in Da Coconut frozen drink or a Dark ‘n’ Stormy!

Joe's Rum Hut

Joe’s Rum Hut

The Beach Bar: another low key spot right on the beach in Cruz Bay. Stop here for the sunset and pull up a chair on the beach, play some cornhole and enjoy what island life is about! Our favorite: the “Tuna Down Now” is a great snack or app and we love to order a Light Cruzan Rum and Ting (local grapefruit soda)! You can also view the live webcam here to help you get through those cold days until you are in paradise!

The Beach Bar St. John

The Beach Bar

Waterfront Bistro: Waterfront Bistro offers a beautiful beachside location, combining fine-dining with a laid back atmosphere.  The wine list is extensive, menu is light and fresh with local fish and a number of gluten-free items! Our favorite:  we love the local green papaya salad and the octopus tartine. The Swann is a great specialty cocktail!

Waterfront Bistro

Waterfront Bistro

Kick back and enjoy some time on the beach in Cruz Bay at some of these great bars and restaurants during your Spring Break!

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Posted in Planning Your Vacation, Uncategorized, Vacation Rentals


Top 5 Things to do on St Thomas

If you are looking for some things to do on your spring break (or in general while on a vacation) you have come to the right place! Below is a list of  top 5 things to do on St Thomas! As always feel free to post comments or questions!

1.) Start your trip off right with a visit to the world famous Magens Bay Beach located on the North side of the island. Click here to hear what others have to say about this beach!

2.) Do some duty-free shopping in downtown Charlotte Amalie! Our favorite thing to shop for is the beautiful jewelry!

3.) Hit the links at Mahogany Run Golf Course

4.) Play with Sea Lions and view colorful sea life at Coral World located at Coki Point

5.) Take the tramway up to Paradise Point and take in some truly spectacular views

 

Happy travels!

 

 

 

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Posted in Planning Your Vacation, Uncategorized, Vacation Rentals


8 Tuff Miles Road Race

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The Sea Glass Team sponsored and actively participated inThe 19th Annual St. John 8 Tuff Miles Road Race Festival this past Saturday.  We had a blast! The community of St. John could be found every mile of the race cheering runners on with encouragement!

 The race begins on the west end of the island of St. John, Virgin Islands and travels in an east direction. The  course measures 8.38 miles. The starting line is located at the National Park Visitor Center in Cruz Bay at an elevation of about 5 feet. As you can see here in this description the highest point on the course is 999 feet and the finish line is back to near sea level in Coral Bay. Over the years many stateside residents have programmed their treadmills and turned up the heat in their home gyms to mimic the course for their personal training proposes.

The Sea Glass Team after completing The 19th Annual 8 Tuff Miles Road Race

The highest point of the 8 Tuff Miles can be compared to climbing to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building using the stairs. There is about a 51 foot difference between the two, but I can promise you the view of St. John at the highest point hands down beats the view from the Empire State Building. Everyone is welcome to sign up! From your most competitive runners to your casual walkers of all ages you are guaranteed to have a great time!

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Posted in Community Involvement


Experience VI National Parks

 

Experience VI National Parks - Sea Glass Properties, virgin islands parks, vacation,

We’ve talked a lot this month about the Virgin Islands National Parks – after all, it’s part of what makes our islands so special! The VI National Park not only protects and preserves our beautiful islands, beaches and coastal waters, but it also serves as a platform for learning! There are some fun ways to experience the VI National Parks!

The Friends of the VI National Park (which we talk more about, here), offers a slew of seminars, hikes, coastal cleanups and events where you can get involved and learn more about the history, ecology, archaeology and more of our islands. Whether it’s a snorkel tour, a guided hike or a tropical ecology lecture and tour, there is something interesting and exciting for everyone. Through the Friends of the VI National Park seminar series, you can even learn how to make hot pepper sauce or shoot underwater photography! A few of our favorite upcoming activities can be found below, or check here for the full schedule of events.

The Beach to Beach Power Swim is also coming up in May, so sign up and find more information on the Friends website here. Get involved, learn something new and experience more of the VI!

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Posted in Community Involvement, Island News, Planning Your Vacation, Virgin Islands National Park, Why The Virgin Islands?, Wildlife of the Virgin Islands


Friends of Virgin Islands National Park

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park

 

The Virgin Islands National Park is a United States National Park covering approximately 60% of the island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources of Virgin Islands National Park and promotes the responsible enjoyment of this unique national treasure. The organizations main goals are to Preserve, Protect and Educate.  

Virgin Islands National Park

Friends of the National Park Preserve Protect and Educate

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is only as strong as its members and donors make it. Your support is essential to ensure the protection and preservation of the Park for future generations  CLICK HERE to donate!  Or you can visit our online store and support our efforts by purchasing your own Friends of Virgin Islands National Park apparel and gifts.

The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park website explains “Virgin Islands National Park, renowned throughout the world for its breathtaking beauty, covers approximately 3/5 of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for over 800 species of plants. To these amazing natural resources, add relics from the Pre-Colombian Amerindian Civilization, remains of the Danish Colonial Sugar Plantations, and reminders of African Slavery and the Subsistence Culture that followed during the 100 years after Emancipation – all part of the rich cultural history of the Park and its island home.”

Help us keep our island beautiful by protecting our National Park CLICK HERE to stay updated and read The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park news letter.

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Posted in Virgin Islands National Park


The Dolphin House

While heading to the newest beach bar (by boat) on St. Thomas last week, my friend Mike did a close drive by of the Dolphin House, St. Thomas located in Estate Nazareth. Back in 2006, I lived in the caretakers cottage next to the old ruins. Seeing the property from the water for the first in at least a year, made me feel some nostalgia for the property. It reminded me of the old story behind the house.  If you are unfamiliar with the history or the story about the old Dolphin House, you can read about it here, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/08/the-dolphin-who-loved-me . It is peculiar story to say the least but it gives this corner of St. Thomas a little color & history.
The property is now owned by Stateside developers. What will become of the property in the future is anybody’s guess. Whatever befalls the old dolphin house, it will always have a place in my heart for the story behind it & the history it holds.

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Posted in Uncategorized


Why Visit or Move to the Virgin Islands?

Welcome to the last post of the month following our “Why VI?” theme! We at Sea Glass love island life and everything that it entails. We hope some of our blog captures that, but if we haven’t got you yet–read below for some of our top reasons to move to the Virgin Islands. (scroll down, and make sure to read the plug below the pictures!). 

Stunning Views:

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Relaxation:

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Great Friends & New Experiences:

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World Class Villa Rentals and Properties on the Market:

Marea IMG_2104

Villa Marea, St. John Vacations: vacationvi.com

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Sirenusa Residences Vacations: vacationvi.com For Sale: seaglassvi.com

VillaPanoramaPoolDeck3

Villa Panorama Vacation: vacationvi.com For Sale: seaglassvi.com

Sea Glass VI is proud to be your all-in-one Virgin Islands Resource.

Concierge: If you are looking for the best activities on Island, we are able to give our expert recommendations, and even set up your excursions for you! Click for more information on concierge.

Management: Many people who live off island love to take advantage of our management services. We have the ability to pay vendors on your behalf and take care of all of the bookkeeping as well as do weekly walk-throughs to make sure everything at your home away from home is being taken care of! We also manage many villas and condos on St. Thomas and St. John as villa rentals. For our villa rentals, we treat the home as our very own, taking pristine care and consideration into every detail whether it is: scheduling cleaners, using our innovative marketing techniques to attract more bookings, respond and book inquires, provide guests with superior service including 9-5 concierge! If you would like information on our tailor-made villa marketing, vacation and management services please email Alison at alison@seaglassproperties.com

Vacations: With a selection of 32 villas, we are able to accommodate you for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience! Whether you are looking to take a helicopter ride into you ultra-luxe and private villa or you are looking for a quaint ocean-front cottage we can fit anyones needs.

For a visual sampling of some of our divine properties, please click the links below and watch our videos!

Properties & Rentals: Our real estate agents have over 100 years of on-island experience. You can trust that they will be ready to meet all of your needs and questions!

Read our Island Living Magazine by clicking this link, you can also send an email to info@seaglassproperties.com to request a free hardcopy.

St. Thomas Properties & Management 340.774.5277  |  St. John Properties 340.776.6666  |  Vacation Villa Management or Bookings  1.800.727.6610  

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Posted in Why The Virgin Islands?