Feb 022014

The L’Esperance Trail is located off Centerline Road.  From the Hummingbird Hill Villa you make a left out of the gate and right onto Centerline Road.  Travel on Centerline road for about 1.2 miles and the entrance to the trail is on your right.  There are a few parking spaces at the top of the trail.    On this day we would only hike about a mile in, but enough for some great sights, as there are ruins L' Esperance Trail head sign of an old house at the beginning of the trail.

L'Esperance trail head.Excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track © 2006 Gerald Singer

The L’Esperance Road runs between Centerline Road and Reef Bay. The foundation of an old house can be seen at the beginning of the road.  This is not an official Park trail.

History of the EstateLEsperance Map
The sugar industry in St. John was at its peak at the very end of the nineteenth century. In 1797, seventy one people lived on the estate, 92% of the land was improved, 156 acres were planted in sugar cane, 25 acres in provisions and 25 acres were used as pasture land where 38 cows grazed. Only 19 acres of the L’Esperance plantation were undeveloped and classified as woodland.

In 1830, the plantation stopped its sugar production operation and became a cattle and provision growing farm. This was a hardship for the slaves living on L’Esperance as they were removed from the plantation and from their families living on nearby estates.

By 1836, only ten acres of L’Esperance were developed and the population had fallen to 13.

L’Esperance was purchased by the municipal council for the residence of the local doctor for the island of St. John. The law at that time required the plantation owners to pay two cents per person for the services of the doctor, who was called doctor two-penny.

Records from 1875 report L’Esperance to have been abandoned.

Several Structures are located just past the stone bridge.

L'Esperance Ruins L'Esperance Ruins 2 Grave of Louise Sommer 1861L'Esperance Ruins 4 Grave of Louise Sommer 1861 bridge

A short Video of the L’ Esperance Ruins:

Other helpful L’Esperance Links:








Dec 022013

Salt Pond Beach, St. John USVISalt Pond is a personal favorite beach. The calm water, great snorkeling, wonderful hiking and white sand make for the perfect day.

Salt Pond is on the southeast end of St. John.  Like most of theHummingBird hill to Salt Pond Island, the scenic ride from Hummingbird Hill offers great views along the way.

There is a small parking lot at the trail head to the 0.3 mile walk to the  beach.  Once at the beach you can break from sun-bathing and swimming in the clear calm waters of Salt Pond beach.  If you like, you can  take a short walk past the actual Salt Pond over to Drunk Bay.  The entrance to the salt pond is at the far end of the beach.  It is an easy walk past Salt Pond to Drunk Bay.

At Drunk Bay  you will encounter great plant life, marvelous views and unique coral sculptures (feel free to add you own).    The ocean hits the shore  a bit harder here and its easy to see why drunken sailors  wrecked off its shores.

Drunk Bay St. John USVI CoastDrunk BayBeautiful Plant life




Rocky coast at Drunk BaySlat Pond View from Drunk BayCoral on Drunk Bay

If you would like to add a more adventurous hike to your day you can walk the 1.2 miles to RAM’s Head where you can experience panoramic views of the Caribbean.  (See more trail info here hosted at see St.John)

Rams Head panoramic

At the end of the day – stop for conch fritters and a Bushwhacker at Shipwreck landing – on the way back to Hummingbird Hill.

IMG_6940 IMG_6941

Aerial view of Salt Pond Beach, Salt Pond, Drunk Bay and Ram’s Head.

View Larger Map

Jul 212013


It was over twenty years ago we enjoyed our first meal from La Tapa’s owner and executive chef,  Alexandra Ewald, when we where fortunate to have her cater our wedding.  The food and service was fabulous despite it being her very first atteLaTapa executive chef Alex- St. John USVImpt at catering.  Years later Alex opened La Tapa in down town Cruz Bay, St. John.

   LaTapa Restaurant  - contemporary mediterranean with its own personal interpretation  on St. John USVILa Tapa describes their food as contemporary mediterranean with its own personal interpretation.  Over the years we visited La tapa often and always came away extremely satisfied.   On our recent trip the menu included a special Ceviche dish that was absolutely fabulous. Others in our group enjoyed  additional specials including the lamb chops and wiener schnitzel.  The schnitzel was tender and crispy and served with a delightful side of manchego mash potatoes and the chops where done to perfection.   If you are looking for a fine dining experience while on St. John, La Tapa is worth a stop.

Jun 082013

First Annual Rib cook to benefit St. John Rescue at Mongoose Junction, Cruz Bay St. John.  Check out Rib Off details.

On the Island don’t miss it!  Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 4:30pm at Mongoose Junction.  10 Restaurants will compete.  If you can’t make it try some ribs at home  – A good place to start is a 100% Virgin Island themed award winning recipe with ingredients from St. John Spice.

Jun 052013

The Painkiller had its start at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke and now is a staple  Virgin Island drThe World Famous Pusser's Painkiller®ink.   When vacationing on St. John I enjoy the island cocktail on the deck of Hummingbird Hill while watching the boats and ferry   shuttle  back and forth to St. Thomas.  The Drink is simple to make and enjoyable:

  • 4 ozs pineapple juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz cream of coconut

and your Rum options are: (I prefer 151 when available) :

  • 2 parts rum (pessimista)
  • 3 parts rum (mediocrità)
  • 4 parts rum(ottimista)

Shake or blend with ice, top with shaved fresh nutmeg and enjoy.


Click here for the Pusser’s Painkiller® Story

May 282013

A quick and tasty side dish. – St. John Super Spice When we went to grandma’s for pasta, she always made garlic bread.  The grandchildren loved it and it became know as Grandma Toast.  The recipe is easy:

  • Melt butter- add garlic salt and parsley, pour over Italian bread,  and broil for about two minutes until golden brown. (However, watch closely because it goes from perfectly toasted to burnt quickly (from experience:))  Cut  into pieces and serve.Grandma Toast (Garlic Bread)

It is great alone, for sopping up the Sunday “red” gravy (sauce for everyone else) or with most any meal.

To add more spice to the recipe, try St. John Spice’s, Super Spice.  Simply sprinkle with super spice before you broil – a great addition to grandma’s recipe.

Super Spice is a versatile spice we discover years ago on St. John at St. John Spice.    St. John Spice is located in downtown St. John right by the ferry. We visit on every trip to the island.





May 042013

One of our favorite stops after a day at Salt Pond is Shipwreck Landing for the obligatory Bushwhacker.

Although there are several recipes for this fine island drink so Bushwhacker of Shipwreck Landing, St. John USVIyou can make it at home – it is always better on St. John.

Here is a video someone made of Sharon at Shipwreck Landing making there famous Bushwhacker: 

You can decide the volume but it looks like Shipwreck Landing puts in:

  • Amaretto
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Creme de Cacao
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Vodka
  • Light Rum
  • Dark Rum
  • Coco Lopez(cream of coconut)
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Crushed Ice
  • Cocktail Cherries

Blend and Enjoy

Other recipes:



Feb 022013

Much of the Artwork in the Hummingbird Hill Villa was created by homeowner and artist, Roy Imhoff.  St. John being his favorite vacation spot is often the subject of his work.  He has been sketching and painting the island for over 4 decades.  His work can be found on St. John at Bajo el Sol – Under the Sun – Gallery Art Studio in Mongoose Junction.  Visit the Gallery on line at

Love City, St. John USVIJewell's Kitchen, St. John USVI

Additional work can be found at


Dec 012012

Peace Hill

Just outside of  Cruz Bay heading North on 20 (North Shore Road) sits Peace Hill. Peace Hill is home to windmill ruins from the colonial and days and the former Christ of the Caribbean.  There is easy access to the Peace Hill trail head and plenty of parking.   Although the Christ of the Caribbean is no longer there the view and the ruins are worth the trip.

The Christ of  the CaChrist of Caribbeanribbean – In 1953, Col. Wadsworth commissioned St. Johnians Terrence Powell and Thomas Thomas to construct the Christ of the Caribbean.  The statue overlooked and blessed the land and sea.     Remarkably, as it seemed to  have the properties of a sail, the creation withstood numerous hurricanes.  However, it finally succumbed to the strength of Hurricane Marylyn in 1995.  The islanders decided not reconstruct  the statue. Much like the petroglyphs, the Christ of the Caribbean was a symbol of St. John and you could find, for example , gold and silver pendants in the shape of the statue in local shops.   After almost twenty years they are harder to find.

Peace Hill is still home to ruins of the Denis Bay area of the Susannaberg Plantation.   The very short hike (.1 mile) up to Peace Hill provides some incredible views of the north coast of St. John and is still a peaceful retreat.  You can venture further to explore the area, but be certain to take the time to visit Peace Hill on your way to the beach.

Peace Hill RuinsPeace Hill ViewPeace Hill ViewPeace Hill View 3