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: http://youtu.be/Tc5k6mc7D_Y

Other helpful L’Esperance Links:










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

Nov 302012

The last time I hiked Margaret Hill I entered from the trail head across from Caneel Bay resort. (see Hike to Water Catchment and Margaret Hill – Worth the view!) This time we entered from Centerline Road  and headed to the Watercatchment and then up to the Margaret Hill lookout.

Margaret Hill Entrance Centerline Road

Centerline Road Entrance

A shorter route than from the Caneel Bay entrance  to the Margaret Hill  overlook can be accessed from Centerline Road.  To get to the trail head from the Hummingbird Hill villa you exit the gate, turn left onto Gifft Hill Road and then turn left onto Centerline Road.   The trail entrance is on the right, a short distance on Centerline Road.  There is parking for one or two cars at the entrance and make sure you pull far enough off tOld cement gutter that led to the watercatchment basinhe road.

 The trail to the Caneel Bay watercatchment includes this old concrete gutter that led water to the basin.  Remains of the concrete can be seen as you hike down to the catchment from Centerline Road.  

Watercatchment(We visited the Watercatchment basin before heading up to the lookout.)

This lookout point rock can be seen from Hummingbird Hill’s pool deck if you look carefully. 



The extremely clear day afforded us some great views from the lookout point.

Margaret Hill lookout

Jun 132012

I ran across some great photos  in two wonderful posts about St. John by Annie at TRAVELSHUS.  Have a read to learn more about the beauty of St. John USVI.

Click on the titles below to see the full posts with great photography at TRAVELSHUS.  –  Enjoy

Notable Photos: Island Life on St John

The Natural Side of the US Virgin Islands

Maho Bay beachCoconut preparation in Cruz BayCurious Donkey Face in the car