island adventures

Food wasn’t the only thing I enjoyed last week!

True, I spent most of my time at the various Taste of St. Croix events (other than the actual event itself, there was also a sunset barbecue and a wine tasting event) but in my downtime I soaked as much Caribbean sun into my chilly NorCal bones as possible!

I especially loved the sea kayaks that were readily available to guests of The Divi Carina Bay at no additional charge (the hotel is all inclusive). I borrowed one last weekend and paddled around in the crystal clear turquoise water until I couldn’t feel my arms anymore.

Who needs the gym when you have a kayak?! I totally need to do this more often.

I think my very favorite thing I did, though, was go snorkeling out to Buck Island!

I went out with a big bunch of travel and food writers on this tour, and couldn’t believe how clear the water was and that I could see down even 30 feet below!  There’s a huge barrier reef around Buck Island, which is eight miles from St. Croix, and the coral was absolutely amazing.

And, for the record, I never thought I would say coral was amazing. Usually, I describe chocolate cake as amazing. Or the Nordstrom’s shoe sale. But coral? Not so much.

Until I saw this coral! Seriously folks, it was like living Finding Nemo or something—I couldn’t believe how colorful everything was! I highly recommend going out on a Big Beard’s Adventure Tour if you’re ever in St. Croix….you won’t be sorry!

To burn off all those mini desserts, I also went on a historic walking tour of Christiansted, one of the main cities on the island. Christiansted actually reminded me a lot of Savannah or Charleston, and I’m a sucker for old forts and dungeons (don’t tell anyone though, mm’k?)

Celeste was our fearless (and passionate!) leader and she showed us all around town. I think the most interesting little factoid that I picked up was that Alexander Hamilton’s mother was in prison here for bigamy! Go tell your history professor that one, huh?

I’m such a nerd.

I think my very, very favorite thing to do in life (other than bake cakes, of course) is to explore new cities that I’ve never been to. I inherited the traveling bug from my parents, both of who were flight attendants for 15 years, and I absolutely love to explore and go on adventures!

A huge thank you to everyone that made this trip possible, especially Divi Carina Bay. Everyone at the resort was so incredibly accommodating and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the hotel to anyone looking for a spectacular all inclusive Caribbean vacation!

Back to reality (and the dirty dishes)!

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  • Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition
    April 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I. Am. So. Jealous!!!! I am freezing in Chicago (ahem, still wearing my WINTER coat) and I am dying for some sunshine, to feel the sand between the toes, or even see my toes! They are still hibernating in my wool socks and winter boots! Glad to see you had a blast! 🙂

  • Elena
    April 19, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Gorgeous photos! I agree with you on the exploration of new cities. I crave it, and I think it makes such a difference when you’re on foot exploring rather than just driving in a car everywhere. 🙂

  • Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
    April 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Very cool. Did you see anything awesome or scary while snorkeling?

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing
    April 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    What an experience! Perhaps you can think of the sea as you splash your hands around in the water whilst dishwashing 😉

  • val
    April 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    wow, so beautiful! and fun! so much better than a gym!

    i feel like the dirty dishes never end. hired that dishwasher yet? 🙂

  • Natalie
    April 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    What a great trip Jenna!! Nothing beats good food and crystal clear water 🙂

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa
    April 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Oh my goodness! That vacation looks amazing!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Gorgeous pictures Jenna 😉 I feel as though I was there too!

  • kate
    April 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Looks like it was the perfect balance of a trip!

  • gia
    April 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    great idea to take a walking tour of the city! i want to do that in the next place i go!

  • Lisa
    April 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    oooh it all looks like so much fun!

  • mitzi @ my nikon eats food
    April 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    that sounds super fun. i’m ready for a tropical vacation right about now!

  • denise
    April 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Ugh, the pictures are gorgeous. I need a vacation…

  • French Heart
    April 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    FAB-U-LOUS~~ Want to go…like five minutes ago when started ogling the great photos. Am also a history buff/town exploring nerd and just love the yellow/dark floors/old tile, the pink sunset, clear water….and that Alexander Hamilton’s mom was in the slammer for bigamy….so life wasn’t all revolts and law writin’…guess he had to bail out haute moma, too.

    The kayak looks great. In Sausalito they have full moon kayak trips….really fun…did it many moons ago. 😉

  • jenn
    April 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Wowowowowwoowwoow! That water is calling my name! We need a Target post, I’m tellin ya 🙂

  • Lizz @ Leading the Good Life
    April 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I was blown away with snorkling, too! My roommate in college was from Hawaii so I visited over Spring Break. The whole time we were snorkling I kept shouting “I feel like the Little Mermaid!!”…completely embarrassing my friend. 🙂

  • Lucy @ The Sweet Touch
    April 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    The first time my hubs and I went snorkeling I was in awe, totally different than what you could ever imagine!

    I am kind of fascinated by old dungeons and things like that too…not sure why?!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    April 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

    On a side note, I think if you should just make that picture of you in the mask your header. I know I would keep coming back 😉

    • French Heart
      April 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      I loved that snorkel pix too!

  • Molly
    April 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I’ll explore the forts and dungeons with you! I’d rather explore historical sites than visit a city’s Planet Hollywood!

  • Kelli H
    April 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    First off, looks so beautiful! You’re so lucky to get away from this dreary weather.

    Second, let’s go kayaking down the Russian River. My mom has 2 kayak’s we could borrow, of course it’s not the same as in the ocean, but I’m sure it would be fun and a good arm workout! 🙂

    • jenna
      April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      I would love to!! 🙂

      • Kelli H
        April 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

        Awesome! I’ll send you a message with my info.

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    April 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, that sounds like a blissful vacation.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope
    April 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I love exploring new cities too! How great that you had some time to roam and experience St. Croix! The water looks incredible there!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Looks like such a fabulous time!! The coral sounds incredible! I am an Aussie and have never seen our great barrier reef – for shame. I really should get up there, it’s supposed to be glorious. Good luck with the dishes – boo!
    Heidi xo

  • Daisy
    April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    amazing adventures! i love to do the same type of exploring!

  • nevernotdreaming
    April 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Its very impressive and beautiful that you are not afraid to take adventure, see and do new things.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    April 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing your fun adventures. 🙂

  • Cat
    April 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    If you want to kayak at home more, you should check out Bodega Bay! I don’t really kayak, but I went once there and it was so rad! The water is super chill and not very deep so it’s super relaxing. Just calmly paddling around. I loved it. Though, I did the worst sunburn ever, but that’s just because I was silly and forgot that I have fair, freckled Irish skin that is not built for reflecting water on my skin all day sans sunscreen.

    • French Heart
      April 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Cat—I would just seriously recommend, as a longtime Northern Cal seaside resident, that anyone swimming/kayaking in No Cal waters…google for conditions & info 1st. I say this because, for instance, in gorgeous Carmel where I live, at least 6 that I know of have been washed off to their deaths in the last year…and this happened fairly often in Ocean Beach SF when lived there, too.

      Not meaning to be a spoilsport….but people on vacation, or otherwise not that familiar, should google first to find out the quirks of particular bays/areas, etc. A world class surfer just drowned at the Mavericks in Northern Cal, an America Cup sailor met the same fate in the SF Bay…..Northern Cal waters are gorgeous but can be treacherous. So as a sailor (and a Mom), forewarned is forearmed! ! 🙂

  • Kristi
    April 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    It looks like you had a good balance of great food and fun activities.

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out
    April 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Amazing photos!!
    And hip-hip-hooray for History Nerd!!

  • Baking 'n' Books
    April 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm


    Such peace and solace…

  • Laurie @Simply Scratch
    April 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    AHHH it looks so fun and relaxing! Love the pic with the snorkel mask!! HAA! TOO CUTE!

  • Chelsa
    April 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Nordstrom shoe sales are the best and have you seen that they’re making a movie about The Help. I read that book a while ago after you said it was really good and loved it. I just saw on TV today that the movie comes out in August.

  • Alexandria
    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I have been reading your blog for quite a few years now, and I have to say that I love love love these pics! I noticed some other comments the past few posts, and I wanted to chime in also- I love when you do these posts that share about your life and experiences. There are so many food bloggers out there, and I have checked them out in the past, but seriously, non are like yours. The last few months I have begun to lose interest in your blog because I feel like what first brought me here to read your site, has gone. I love all the recipies, and I have tried a bunch, but I really just miss the insight into your life and all of your crazy adventures.
    I hope that you don’t take this the wrong way, but I really do miss your old blogging style, and I have seen in some previous posts that others do to.

  • staceyhealthylife
    April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Wow looks like such a great time. I can’t believe that it’s your job, lucky.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    i’m so jealous, even though i was in hawaii while you were there! we just back today, and i’d be lying if i said i didn’t shed a tear or 12 when we had to go. the ocean is so amazing…and i think my next stop should be st. croix!

  • kaila @ healthy helper!
    April 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I know what ya mean when you say the coral was amazing….I have snorkeled at the number one and the number 6 best snorkeling spots in the world and the under water sights are truly breath taking (no pun intended lol!). St. Croix looks absolutely stunning!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    April 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Jenna…awesome post and recap of your trip.

    I love exploring and traveling to new places, too…especially in the Caribbean! I am SUCH a warm weather (and water) girl. Wetsuits? No way! I love to scuba dive with no wetsuit which you can’t do in CA.

    That’s awesome that you had such a great snorkeling trip to Buck Island.

    And walking around many Caribbean downtown areas IS a lot like Charleston or Savannah: hot, humid, and historic 🙂

    What a great trip..thanks for sharing the wonderful photos!

  • Danielle
    April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Looks like a great place to visit! I can’t wait till these April Shower stop!!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing!!! Love the kayaking photos – that is a workout I haven’t done in a while!! I’ve never been snorkeling but it sounds like a great experience. Thanks for sharing Jenna!

  • salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)
    April 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I’ve totally been dreaming about a vacation much like youra!!! Glad you had such a wonderful time!!

  • Kristin
    April 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    St. Croix looks beautiful! Makes me wish I was on vacation again and I just got back last week!!! Hope you had a fabulous time 🙂

  • Kelly
    April 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    My in-laws have sea kayaks and I think they’re so much fun! My doxie does not care for being plopped on the back of them and being transported across the Currituck sound, however. He was no amused. 😉

  • Kay
    April 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Oh, Jenna! What a beautiful place! So glad you took some time off! 🙂

  • The Red Velvet Wife
    April 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous…the water looks incredible! We celebrated our 2 yr anniversary last August in Riviera Maya (not St. Croix, but still!) and the warm water and weather were such a great departure from our chilly San Francisco summer!!

    • French Heart
      April 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      HAHAHAH Chilly San Francisco Summer. OH yeah. Don’t you think that Jenna and Adam should go to the July 4th Fireworks on the Embarcadero??!!! Just remember the PARKAS! The 1st time I went realized what Mark Twain meant when he said ‘The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” (my hometown and oh how I LOVE) but yes…freeze your bottom off summers!!

  • Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    April 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I think I was born to live in the Virgin Islands. Somehow I have taken a wrong turn and gotten stuck in Northern California…This is a good reminder to redirect my life path…

  • Jaime
    April 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    What a beautiful place- and my daughter’s name is Carina so that is super lovely! 😉

  • notyet100
    April 20, 2011 at 12:16 am

    luved the last line,..;)

  • meghan@ struggle muffins
    April 20, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Kayaking looks so fun! I love meandering around new cities, especially any that have a lot of history that can be tapped into.

  • Cara
    April 20, 2011 at 4:19 am

    It looks like you had such a great trip!!!! Beautiful pictures!

  • Christine @ Burning It Off
    April 20, 2011 at 4:32 am

    I really enjoyed reading about your trip. Discovering new cities is always a great experience, especially learning about the history and culture… and the local foods of course 😉

  • sarah
    April 20, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I must go paddle boarding.. stat!

  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    April 20, 2011 at 6:13 am

    St. Croix looks soo beautiful! Love the pictures!

  • Urban Wife
    April 20, 2011 at 6:18 am

    St. Croix looks amazing! From the looks of it, you did a lot of fun stuff. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. 😉

  • d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo
    April 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Looks like you had so much fun! I was down in the Bahamas in Feb – I miss it!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    April 20, 2011 at 8:10 am

    looks so fun! i’ve been to st. thomas but not st. croix…now i wanna go. can school just end NOW please?

  • Sam
    April 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Very cool.

    Your pictures are so beautiful. I can’t get over how blue the water is! Will you be posting more from your trip?

    • jenna
      April 20, 2011 at 8:31 am

      thank you! That’s all I have on my trip–I got back late on Sunday night and am trying to get everything back to normal now!

      • Sam
        April 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

        I definitely understand. Thanks for showing us the ones you do have, they were wonderful.

  • Katie
    April 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

    LOVE this post! St Croix is now going on my potential honeymoon list! 😉 I have been doing more research for that than for my actual wedding…oops!

    Really enjoy your travel posts, Jenna. I am a history freak and loved the tidbit about Hamilton’s mother! Crazy.

  • Arianna @ laughter + linguini
    April 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    It looks absolutely amazing there!! What a great experience that must have been.

  • Kim
    April 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    It looks like such a fun trip! I hope I make it to St. Croix someday for kayaking and snorkeling. Those tours looked great.

  • Charise
    April 21, 2011 at 5:20 am

    That town looks so cute! I love exploring new places. Glad you had such a great trip!

  • Becky
    April 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

    AHH! My family has a place in Christianstead and I pretty much grew up in St. Croix!!! This post is making me miss it soo much!
    Buck Island is amazing!! There’s so many cool little places on the island, I think St. Croix is one of the best kept secrets in the Carribbean! There’s a tiny place in the rain forest that serves the BEST banana daquiris and you can feed a can of beer to a pig! And the Cruzan Rum tour! And the fort! And Cane Bay! Columbus landed there, too. On accident.!

  • Bren
    May 3, 2011 at 9:31 am

    girl, that fort picture of the hallway is amazing. we didn’t get to go there. but, hey we did have a super great time. I just wish I would have had images from the snorkel trip.