The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 12, 1999 · Page 687
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September 12, 1999

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 687

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West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 12, 1999
Page:
Page 687
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ISLANDS The U.S. Virgin Island s St. Thomas Take the 99 Steps up to Blackbeard's Castle or down to the bustling harbor. Charlotte Amalie ' O M A S hww 11? 1 r I 'At " r ' ? jJ! ft inn, a swimming pool and an award-winning restaurant. I took off my shoes and jumped in the pool (wearing a tank top and shorts). And I was ready for the rest of a historic tour of Charlotte Amalie. You have to look beyond the KECs, Burger Kings and hundreds of duty-free jewelry, perfume and T-shirt shops next to the harbor to appreciate the lovely colonial capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The city, named in 1691 for the Queen of Denmark, is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. But to see it, it's best to get up early, before the flotilla of cruise ships files into the harbor and before the duty-free shops open. Allow me to be your guide: Walk back down the 99 Steps and turn left at Kongens Gade. You'll go past lovely 19th-century houses, including the Government House, the mm P., -.; If V ft ----IJWPMitt;' . Rooms with views The legendary Hotel 1829 (800-524-2002; rates $85-$180) is at the bottom of the historic 99 Steps. Have breakfast on the terrace. Or dine on $75-an-ounce caviar and watch the ships sail at sunset. The 15-room inn was built in you guessed it 1829. Graham Greene slept here. Presidential visit: President Clinton and family spent New Year's in St. Thomas in 1997 and '98 in a private villa. First dog Buddy took his first swim at Magens Bay Beach. Other resorts: Money to spare? Book the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas (800-241-3333) or the Doubletree Sapphire Beach Resort (800-524-2090), which caters to families. On a shoestring? Try Blackbeard's Castle Hotel (800-344-5771). Information: For information about the U.S. Virgin Islands, call (800) 372-USVI. Photo by Cheryl HISTORIC HOUSE OF WORSHIP: The Synagogue of St. Thomas was built in By Cheryl Blackerby CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas This walk into history was tough. I was hiking up the 99 Steps, built by the Danes in the 1700s to connect Government Hill in the shopping district to Lille Tarne Gade (Danish for Little Tower Street) up the hill. Even at 8 a.m., it was hot. And, according to my calculations, there were 107 steep steps, not 99. Those Danes were a hardy bunch. Hul at the top of the hill, I was rewarded with a tremendous view of the red-roofed houses built on the steep hillsides overlooking the harbor. A short walk, and I was at Blackboard's Castle, built in 1679. The infamous Blackboard is said to have used ,V,o stone tower as his hideaway, where Vc svnl idle time drinking rum spiked Blackerby q offidal jfe in mas since the 1860s. 1833. SlwW through the gardens to the red-brick Fort Christian, the oldest structure on St. Thomas, built in 1666. It is now a museum. On Main Street, you'll find Frederick Lutheran Church, a Gothic Revival-style building dedicated in 1793. If you're really energetic, you can turn right onto Garden Street, walk up a steep hill and turn left on Crystal Gade. You'll see the St. Thomas Reformed Church on the left. Two more blocks, and you'll come to the Synagogue of St. Thomas, built by Sephardic Jews in 1833, and the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. The stores probably will be open by this time, so you may as well walk down to the harbor and join the crowds of cruise-ship passengers. Shopping is actually part of the city's history. During the colonial period, St. Thomas was a shopper's paradise for pirates and privateers. would surely like h V.N jvwiior. 1 10 V ft'.W'SV.sios today a comfortable

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