The Buccaneer, St. Croix Credit: Jennifer Matthewson [MATTHEWSON.COM]

I was so enamored by my experience, so enthralled by my visit, that I couldn’t wait to tell friends. Here are my pictures, I wanted to say. Let me tell you my stories, I started to stammer. Until I realized that I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want anyone to know about the treasure I had found. I wanted to keep it all to myself.
It is a gem hidden among the more popular Caribbean destinations, a haven away from the tourist traps and tchotchkes that clutter the beaches and streets of so many other islands. It is not a place where you’ll get a Hollywood dining experience or a New York attitude. It’s a diamond in the rough, a phoenix fighting to rise from the ashes after a devastating loss of industry in 2012. It is a community of people strong in spirit, if not in numbers, under the nearly equatorial sun. A community of people with unmistakable pride in their island and a hospitality that extends far beyond the beachfront.

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Published on Daily Blender, May 2013

*Images: Jennifer Matthewson / Daily Blender