Spend a day exploring St. John’s history, but first fuel up at the Donkey Diner, voted best breakfast spot by the Virgin Islands Daily News earlier this year. Sit under umbrellas in the backyard, and don’t be alarmed by the wild donkeys wandering by. Next, follow road signs north to the ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Mill, a Danish holdover from the island’s colonial past. A self-guided tour of the onetime slave quarters, horse mill, boiling room, and windmill takes about an hour. Don’t leave without admiring the view across the narrows, toward the British Virgin Islands (an illustrated sign identifies the different isles). Then head less than two miles away to the Cinnamon Bay Archaeology Lab and ask if resident archaeologist Ken Wild needs help with a dig. Home to a former Taino temple for nearly 450 years, Cinnamon Bay’s beach contains clay deities, pottery, and other artifacts waiting to be sorted, cleaned, and identified by volunteers. You can’t call ahead to reserve a spot, but chances are when you show up you’ll find Wild working on a ceremonial site that he recently discovered steps away from the shoreline. After the excavation, head fifteen minutes away to Cruz Bay to reward yourself with a citrusy Virgin Islands Island Hoppin' IPA ($6) at the Tap Room, the island’s only brewery. Afterward, catch a rehearsal (Fridays at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m) by the Love City Pan Dragons Youth Steel Orchestra at the St. John Youth Center, adjacent to the Cruz Bay Fire Station. You’ll hear 40-plus kids, ages 8 to 18, pounding out calypsos in preparation for the St. Thomas carnival in late April. End the day with an alfresco Caribbean-style dinner at Miss Lucy’s, where the best seats in the house are on the outside patio, less than ten feet from the water and right under the sea grape trees.
5. Oddball Day
Published on Apr 7, 2011 as a web exclusive.