Looking for a great vacation location? I lived on the beautiful island of St. Croix, and highly recommend the the U.S. Virgin Islands. No passport is needed since it is a U.S. territory. I’ve identified some library materials to get you in the mood for a trip, or just to immerse yourself in island dreaming.
Travel guidebooks include Frommer’s Virgin Islands, Fodor’s the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Moon Handbooks’ Virgin Islands. While these are great resources to start your research, the best way to learn about the islands and get the inside scoop is to hear from people who live there or have visited there, which you can do before or during your trip.
In the fiction book Don’t Stop the Carnival, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk draws on his own experience managing a hotel on an island near St. Thomas in the 1960s. The comedy about living out your fantasies on an exotic Caribbean island gives a pretty realistic account of the ups and downs of island life.
Wouk’s novel was turned into a short-lived musical by Jimmy Buffet in 1997 and an interactive multimedia CD, Don’t Stop the Carnival, words and music by Jimmy Buffett, can be found at the Library.
Other music and film recordings offer a glimpse of island life:
Zoop Zoop Zoop: Traditional Music and Folklore of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John features folk music field recordings from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Various artists perform the pieces, including “Sly mongoose,” “Me mother had tell me,” and “Cigar win the race.”
Caribbean Dreaming: U.S. Virgin Islands. This DVD brings the island atmosphere to life, with sumptuous visual images and music. From sunrise to sunset, go “behind the scenes” of the islands, visiting the most serene beaches, and observe breathtaking landscapes and ocean views.
Hollywood has shot several films in the USVI. The final scene in The Shawshank Redemption was filmed at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on St. Croix. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Caribbean and is only open to the public seasonally during specific times in order to protect sea turtle nests and hatchlings.