When the plane finally took off, my 5am flight was the only one out of JFK. Another snowstorm was about to hit New York City and St. Thomas lay before me graciously allowing me to leave the darkest winter of my life behind. On a layover in Puerto Rico, I peeled off my coat and decided it was time for a costume change. I was ready to shed my skin and be born anew, at least for the week.
The island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands is simply breathtaking. From its 360 degrees mountain top views to the Old World style of its town’s architecture, the island is a floating pantheon of rest. Colorful candy-coated homes dot the mountainsides. Flavorful food aromas thrilled my senses and caused my brain to flash one word–’Paradise.’ To put it simply, St. Thomas is the most romantic, peaceful place I have ever visited. I imagined a wedding at every turn. A few of my favorite locations were The Ritz Carlton, The Point at Sapphire Beach, and The Villa Santana, a historic estate once occupied by the Mexican President General Santa Anna. With six villas and private pool area, this home away from home boasted spectacular views of the bay and breathtaking sunsets. The Mafolie Hotel sits cozily in the mountains with its view of docked boats drifting sleepily in the bay’s clear waters below.
I kept my trip simple because I wanted the feel and taste of everyday life here on the island. What better way to do so than through a culture’s food? I answered that question for myself at Fishtails in Red Hook where the delicious fish tacos were the freshest. Their tasty breakfasts filled me up and gave me lots of energy for my full-time beach excursions which lasted for hours at Magen’s Bay, Coki Beach, Lindquist Beach and Cinnamon Bay in St. John. I met with friends and had an amazing lunch at Cuzzins where their island famous callaloo exploded in my mouth with distinctive flavors of the island. For a cool refresher I sipped on ‘lime in the coconut’ drinks at the famous Woodies in St. John.
As a fashion stylist, I was very in tune with the island’s flair for fashion so I took a short ferry ride over to St. John where I happened upon island fashionistas who were attending their daily events of the day. I was impressed.
People dress with carefree ease in St. Thomas. Women with different body types dressed with regal confidence and I couldn’t help but notice how refreshing it was. Colors rule and there was no scarcity of it. Red, blue, orange, turquoise, yellow, and purple flowed lusciously from bodies of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Shopping in St. John was a happy adventure for me. I went to a cute little boutique called Now Zen where they sell the most enchanting original pieces of silver jewelry created by local artists. The shop also sells original art and clothing. For your best choices of the prettiest sundresses and bathing suits go to Big Planet at Mongoose Junction. There are some gorgeous finds there and this clothing store really captures the beautiful vibrant colors of the Island.
My week long trip felt like it had ended before it even began. I plan to come back someday soon. If all goes well I hope to plan my wedding at one of those beautiful locales I envisioned when I first arrived. Perhaps my mother will be there in spirit to hold my hand in this breathtaking paradise. If the goal is to keep it simple and make it memorable then St. Thomas should be your destination. I found the Virgin Islands magical and because of my visit there I fell in love with color and fashion all over again.
So as I arrived back in New York my mind was clear and I was re-focused. Just a week in St. Thomas re-booted my taste buds, captured my imagination, and made me step across that very colorful threshold ready for a new adventure. It was just what the doctor ordered and I’ll be back very soon.
Lora Jackson is a New York based fashionista with a taste for fashion and travel.