The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), home to stilt-walking Mocko Jumbies and iconic dishes like kallaloo, is gearing up for a busy fall with new tourism experiences, signature events, and accommodation savings. With no passport required and direct flight options from major city airports, the Territory is perfect for a fall escape from the chilly arriving weather.
In an effort to provide more gateways to St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and Delta Airlines have announced a new, nonstop flight to the island from Atlanta, GA. The weekly Saturday service from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Henry E. Rohlsen Airport will commence on December 20, 2014, and run through at least August 15, 2015. Flights can already be booked through Delta’s website.
Delta Vacations is now offering a $500 instant credit per booking for flight and hotel accommodations booked by November 15, 2014. Stay seven or more consecutive nights at one of the participating five properties between January 3 to May 10, 2015 to receive the first night free, $500 instant credit and certificates valid at local restaurants, boutiques and attractions to the value of $200. Use the STXNICE15 promotional code to book, http://www.deltavacations.com/usvi.
St. Croix – Crucian Christmas Carnival
St. Croix’s Crucian Christmas Carnival occurs throughout December and into January. Highlights include the food fair, with plenty of mouthwatering local tastes such as red grout and conch, and the vibrant adults’ and children’s parades. With Mocko Jumbies, Carnival dancers, and constant Calypso music, the Carnival is an exotic way to ring in the holiday season. For more information, visit: www.stxcarnival.com
St. John – Annual Paddle the Park SUP Race
The second annual Paddle the Park standup paddleboard race will be held on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Maho Bay on St. John. The event is organized by Friends of Virgin Islands National Park to celebrate the beaches and waters of the park and raise funds for projects that preserve, protect and educate therein. The race consists of three courses: a one-mile, a three-mile to Whistling Cay, and an elite 5.5-mile around Whistling Cay and Cinnamon Bay. For more information, visit: www.friendsvinp.org/paddle
St. Thomas – UVI Set for 2014 Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament
The University of the Virgin Islands is gearing up for the 15th annual Paradise Jam tournament November 21-24 (men’s) and November 27-29 (women’s). A total of 16 men’s and women’s teams will compete at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center in hopes of taking home the Paradise Jam title. This year, men’s teams from institutions such as Clemson University, Louisiana State University, and Seton Hall University will travel to St. Thomas. The women’s field features teams from University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, and University of Oklahoma. The tournament is always a slam dunk, with fans from all over the country and national media flocking to watch basketball in paradise. For more information, visit: www.paradisejam.com.
St. Croix – Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts Unveils Colonial Comfort Exhibition
The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts – located in Frederiksted – unveils a major photography exhibition titled “Colonial Comfort” this fall. The show, open September 19 through November 20, features works by nine Puerto Rican artists and nine from the USVI. The exhibition is open to the public Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. as well as all cruise ship days and by appointment. For more information, visit: www.cmcarts.org.
St. John – Westin St. John Continues $50 Million Renovation
A $50 million refurbishment of The Westin St. John Resort and Villas is underway for completion January 2015. This investment includes 54 new luxury villas as well as enhancements to meeting space and watersports area, Beach Café Restaurant, dockside check-in, WestinWORKOUT fitness studio and spa. The resort remains open during the renovations. For more information, visit: www.westinresortstjohn.com.
St. Thomas – New Bluebeard’s Castle Museum Opens
The family-friendly Bluebeard resort recently opened its Castle Museum. The guided tour allows guests to view historical artifacts located in the 350 year old Castle Turret including coins and pistols once used by pirates and soldiers. The tour ends with a visit to Castle Turret, once used as a watch tower by the Danish in 1665, providing views of the Charlotte Amalie Harbor and downtown area. Admission is $10. To learn more, call 340-774-1600 ext. 4500.
St. Thomas – Choose Your View at Frenchman’s Reef
Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort launched “Choose Your View,” a website allowing guests to see and explore views from various guest rooms before they book. This easy to navigate site features 15-second videos with “Island,” “Water,” “Garden” and “Beach” views, along with an interactive map for the location of the room on property. For more information, visit: www.frenchmansreefmarriottviews.com.
St. Thomas – Coral World Ocean Park’s Observation Tower Gets a Makeover
Coral World Ocean Park’s Observation Tower lower level, one of the most popular attractions on St. Thomas, recently completed renovations for a new look. From this level, visitors can view the ever-changing life of a natural coral reef. There are signs throughout describing what can be seen in the outer underwater wonderland. For more information, visit www.coralworldvi.com or call (340) 775-1555.