Some places are alive. Every sound, footstep, breeze or scent has a rhythm that pulls like an ocean current. I wasn’t expecting the lyrical rhythm of St. Croix to mimic every breath I took, to increase or decrease with thought and movement, but there it was. Magic. I’d waited years to feel this pulse and can only surmise it comes from the heartbeat of every captured heart, captured like mine: Every footstep that wove hard worn trails
into the landscape, from plantation owners whose rule was suspect and tenuous at best, the merchant ship crews, the Catholics and the Protestants, the rum runners and privateers, the enslaved, the politically hopeful, the absconders, all captured by this island’s unique rhythm. Current beat? Pivotal chefs, cocktail crafters and cutting edge hipsters cater to aging boomers, curious young families, and enchanted honeymooners. This captured rhythm pulses from island shore to ocean current; mesmerizing, captivating. It’s hard to separate the two, and why would you?
Hearts captured here are truly bound. Historically speaking, some captured heartbeats thrummed with fear as slavery brought them to an unfamiliar land, ripped away from family and homeland. Some captured heartbeats were forged by austere Nordic culture, arriving to grapple with harsh island living. Establishing ‘civility’ wove the fabric of life
into a glorious, brutal blend of adaptation that subjugated many and enriched the few. So many versions of culture permeated this land, it should really be called St. Flexible, St. Adaptable, St. Gymnast. Being the purveyor of a cruel labor model and also outnumbered by said labor force will shade your history and cost lives. The history of this island is a trail of trials that are hard to wrap a modern mind around. But this is all part of the mesmerizing thrum and the reason many who come never want to leave. Seven flags have flown over this tiny island – Spanish, the Dutch and English together ruled, Denmark, the French and then the Knights of Malta. Finally in 1917, the US bought the island for $25 million dollars.
The topography of the island stuns as we make our way to pink buildings of bliss. Rolling hills slope into rock covered shores met by wide stretches of white sand. The water is the aqua you see in pictures but cannot believe is real. Roadways are surprisingly free of litter, things appear simple and clean. As the destination approaches, I’m charmed. The Buccanneer. The pink and white Great House is the main building, perched high on a hill to remain vigilant against roving foes since the 1600s. Buildings with three foot walls hold centuries of history, the remnants of sugar cooking ovens nearby. The open air dining room and bar area are just off the main reception. Moving outward, take in the lovely
rooms, the spa, a little boutique, ridge rooms, ocean front rooms, family rooms, and tennis villas. There are also Dubloon buildings which are basically oceanfront villas; views and furnishings that make me swoon for the love of an ocean view. It’s all here. Every type of accommodation needed is here because this is a family resort. People return here again and again, forging relationships sustained by the rhythm of this place with history deeper than that of the US. The current owners are fourth generation and their 12 year old daughter is catching on quickly.
I graciously land in an oceanfront suite on Grotto Beach. Luxurious and clean, the stone terrace overlooks the ocean. The Grotto Pool and Restaurant are steps away, the fitness center and a complimentary laundry center directly behind. A short walk away is Mermaid Beach with a restaurant, dock and the kid’s club. A third beach is over the hill on the far
side of the golf course, Whistle Beach. So three beaches, three pools. Basically no need to leave the resort if you don’t want to. With 340 acres to wander and wonder over, no need at all. And with a coffee maker in the room and the beach steps away, lounging on that oceanfront terrace seems like a solid way to island time it. Oh, and there is the world class golf course. Lovely rolling hills offer vantage points that change color with the time of day, the thrum of natural progressions that urge me to stay, linger, look.The walking path lures me at dawn and if there’s something better than a sunrise over Whistle Beach, I have yet to see it.
Taking a good look around, it’s hard to miss the massive stone sugar mill. It looks familiar? If you watch The Bachelor then , yes, Sean Lowe took his final six here in 2013 and they had a blast. A romantic dinner in the sugar mill was a highlight of their stay. A
weekly Moko Jumby celebration is hosted by Manager Elizabeth Armstrong every Tuesday night, so while it’s not a Bachelor episode, it’s a rub up against something spectacular watched by so many on TV. It is a THING, The Buccanneer. Considering the ethical commitment of the Armstrong family to this property, this story could be going on in another 500 years. It’s fun to be captured by that rhythm!
Moving away from pop culture allure, this property is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and its existence has spanned the length of European occupancy of the island. A Knight of Malta names Charles Martel built the first building in 1653. After the Danes bought the island, it was home to Governor von Prock who turned it into a sugar factory. Later, cotton and cattle were raised on the rolling hills, with the Armstrong family purchasing it in 1922. So deep the history goes, so solid is the rhythm of this one piece of
land, it is fascinating to match the island’s history to what happened right there in this one place where you can now stay. For nine generations, the Armstrong family was instrumental in all things St. Croix, building Christiansted, preserving historical buildings on the island and providing mainstays that were stabilizing forces on the island such as banks, insurances companies. They continue to bring the rhythm that has captured the hearts of guests here at the Buccaneer. Sixty percent of guests are repeat guests, that in itself is a strong indicator of the magic this place holds. People return to the Buccaneer. Captured by the unique rhythm? Yes. Come see, and prepare to be captured!