My husband and I have been looking to buy our little piece of heaven. We made an offer on a lot in Bugby Hole, but it didn't work out. We have researched the East End a bit more than the West End and we were curious about the West End. We have "heard" things about the WE and wanted to know the scoop. Would you all fill us in on Frederikshaab, and the WE scuttlebutt?
What things have you heard? Hard to answer a question when you could be hinting at any number of things. I assume you are speaking of Fredericksted.
A "little piece of heaven" certainly includes access to your basic everyday "needs" right? Grocery store nearby, hardware store, and whatever else you might "need". Each of our "needs" are different of course, but make sure that the basic things that are essential to YOUR life and the way you live or hope to live are readily available to you on the island.
Having lived on STX (St. Croix) for only a short period of time (and then two years + on St. Thomas), I noted several potential dilemnas that would appear with respect to my life if I had chosen to stay on STX.
I'm not being negative - just trying to help you realize the reality and to get the "little piece of heaven" that you seek.
What "potential dilemmas" did you see on STX?
Some people seem to treat F'sted as the wrong side of the tracks, while some people love it. It is a little more run down than C'sted, however that will probably change when the new Foxwood casino / hotel/ home development gets underway probably next year. That should really rejuvinate the area.
People have been trying to develop F'sted for years. Hope it happens but it always seems to get drag down in red tape. Still signs up in the airport for the last one that group that tried to put one up north of F'sted. If it happens plan on it taking more like 5 years then one.
I have only heard things about the area like, "the West End is great", or "the West End is horrible". I just wanted to know opinions about the West End...
My "little piece of heaven" is a spot on STX and with my husband...Sand and Surf... We hope to retire (we have about 20 years to go). We are in the planning stages...and, as I mentioned in my original post - we have searched the East End/Bugby Hole area a bit more than West End areas. Frederikshaab is a quarter/company by La Grange...I have "heard" that La Grange/the Whim areas are not good (e.g., more burglaries, run down area, etc.). So, just wanted to know others' opinions that actually have experience in and around the area...
As I originally posted - each of us has our own special "needs" with respect to the community in which we choose to live and more importantly, the community in which we choose to retire, especially when we consider it our little piece of Paradise.
My personal dilemnas in living there will only spur discord and disagreement so let me try to skirt around the specific personal things by giving the following advice: what's often called a PMV or Pre-Move-Visit, on this board is critical! You MUST DO ONE. AND you must do it for a couple of weeks, trying to live as if you are living there, and NOT on Vacation.
This is somewhat difficult to pull off since you'll probably be staying in a hotel and won't have to worry about the basic stuff that is the very thing I'm asking you to consider trying to find.
For instance have you taken a good look at the grocery store? Can you find most/all or some of the foods you currently choose to eat everyday? Fresh milk? Good quality meat? What about that breakfast cereal you always buy? And please compare the prices to what you pay "at home" and then take a look at what your food budget might be "on island" vs what you currently spend at "home". Maybe the food budget is flexible but how far might it have to bend? Is it then an acceptable amount?
Perhaps your needs in the grocery department are open and flexible with respect to discovering new things. Good.
Do you have any medical issues with yourselves and/or potentially family inherited issues for which you do or might need to get medical attention? Take a look at the services offered on island. And if your needs might not be met locally, how far or where would you have to travel to take care of things?
If you own a home on STX you'll more than once or twice need to visit a hardware store. They have a great one that I visited several times while there, but, is it convenient to where your home is located. Now I know, what's not convenient when the island is the size that it is? Well, a lady who I know that has lived there for almost 25 years complained every day while I was there about the traffic jams! What? Traffic jams? I didn't really see it, except around the beginnings and ends of a business day and it seemed to me that as a retired person you could travel to and fro when others were at work. Well, yes, BUT! The roads for the most part are two lanes and while distances between points may not be all that great - winding around over here and there takes a wee bit longer than one might expect or currently have where they live now.
To me when you see a new development going up, here in the States, you'll usually see some type of business establishments that "follow" (if you will) the development. I did not find that to be true on STX. Probably because more than one or two hardware stores probably won't be able to stay in business. Little grocery stores out and about the island probably struggle to stay afloat - and do those little stores have some of the important items you might need so you don't have to go all the way into "town" to the big grocery store(s)?
Clothing and furnishings? Imagine that you needed to find some of those. Are things that you like available on island or would you plan on doing alot of shopping online?
And finally, perhaps one of the most serious questions of all - is the economy of the island, and the politics of it, sufficient enough to sustain the happiness of the general population so that issues of crime are either low in numbers or dealt with fairly and appropriately by the police department? And, once again, I am not pointing fingers or saying bad things - I'm merely hoping that this area of possible concern to you is looked at from your own perspective.
Finding a good inexpensive property is not all that makes for a little piece of paradise - infrastructure is critical to the sustanance of your paradise time. You can find an inexpensive piece of property in a lot of locations - but is it truly a location where you would like to live - where you CAN live?
I took so many things for granted after living most of my adult live in or very near major cities, that when I came to the island, I had no idea how important some of them were/are to my life..........not everyday of course, but just knowing they're there. On the opposite side of the coin - no I could not see the ocean every day where I live, nor could I swim in it every day if I choose, and if there are special things that you can only find on STX then you may perhaps be seeing your future paradise.
Good luck. I hope STX is truly what you seek and that you'll spend long years enjoying the island if it is.
I personally think that is impossible to give you "the scoop" on the West End. There are people who would never live any where else on island (disclaimer: I am one of those) and those who would under no circumstances live out West. However, my decision to live West came with spending years on island on both sides. No amount of research can prepare you for living anywhere on St Croix or deciding which area you like best. You really have to come down for a while and scope everything out for yourself. Especially when deciding which side of the island to buy property on. What if you bought frederiksted property and then after 6 months couldn't stand the local west end community--people, distance from c'sted and diverse shopping, smaller community in general? There is nothing more miserable than a "natural" east-ender living out West 😉 and vice versa 😉 Personally I love the WE, but that came from experience, not research. Are you planning on moving before you buy? The best situation would be to move and live for a while and let that experience guide you to your "piece of heaven" whichever side that may end up being.
Frederikshaab is way up in the hills above f'sted. If you want to be by sand and surf, its going to be a longish, very bumpy ride (4x4 in some areas recommended) down in order to get to the water. Also, it is quite hilly and the roads narrow, some paved, some unpaved, which might add complications to building. With that isolation you also may have more frequent problems with power reliability, emergency services access, phone reception etc etc...
Never heard of Scuttlebutt--it may be out near Butler Bay?? Not quite sure.
rent before you buy - living West is very different to center or East. We rented West and found that we couldn't stand it - we rented East - didn't like that - found out that Center Isle was the best fit for us.
Caveat: West End property might be harder to sell if you don't like it there.
Thanks to all of you who replied. I appreciate your 'candidness'! I have been reading on this message board for over two years...I love reading all of the posts, and was hopeful you would give me some ideas about these areas...Thanks again!
Yes...at some point, we will do a PMV...My husband and I are really simple people living in a not so simple town (Las Vegas)...We hope to retire in about 20 years, and reconnect once our children have moved out and are grown...
Island Paul - thanks for taking the time to write that all out - you provided a lot of things to think about and take into consideration - your post was greatly appreciated 🙂
check out the north side, cane bay, you'll love it.
I like the posts that offer good *AND* bad about the island. I love living here, and I love the west end... but there are things about this island that bother me, some things that bother me a lot and something that bother me a little. For me, the good outweighs the bad, but it might not be the same for everyone. I highly recommend renting when you first get here, and trying out different places on the island. I didn't like living in little princess one bit, but my good friends love it. I don't feel comfortable on the far east end, but I just feel at home in Fred proper. This took some time to figure out and I am so glad we didn't buy when we got here. Heck, i even thought I would want to buy something on the water when I first got here and now know I wouldn't even consider owning my own property right on the water. (Although I do love my little rental right here on the beach)
Island Paul had a great post about things to look at, think about, etc. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what he said about the traffic. That was my feeling when I first moved here... how inconvenient can something be on an island that small?? In Phoenix, I would drive 45 miles to go to someone's house for dinner. Well, having been here almost two years, I live in F'sted and my mail is still in C'sted and I might pick up my mail once a month because i HATE driving all the way out there. And going to Gallows Bay hardware? Please!! It better be a combined trip with several other things to do on that side of the island. I don't even like to leave this side of town to go as far as Sunny Isle and do my best to avoid that area altogether.
So, please PMV, but bear in mind that what you learn on your PMV will probably not be the same things you believe after living here for a while.
I was just talking to my husband about the PMV last night...Yes, we are planning on it! I sort of think of it this way...There are many areas in Las Vegas that have different "flavors", if you will. Some folks like the upper area (west side) others like the lower areas (east side)...Everything is different for everyone...
Though I know there will be hassles on the island, my main focus is reconnecting with my husband in a place we can enjoy together. We both love the VIs (both British and US) and look forward to retiring one day. Again, I appreciate ALL the posts (good and bad) and hope that I can continue to learn from each of you!
My wife and I bought a piece of property in Frederikshabb last year. Like you Stcroixboud we bought it to build our retirement/vacation home on in 15 or so years. We are from California and found the land prices on STX a good value. Our piece of property in Frederikshabb is on a well maintained asphalt road and next to very nice houses. Being up in the hills gives us a beautiful view of the south shore and sandy point. There is a lot of talk about rebuilding the West End, it won't happen over night but if you have 20 years to weight... I don't see property getting any cheaper if you are in it for the long hall. The West gets more rain, it's more tropical and lush, it has great beaches, great beach bars and great sunsets.
Thanks for this information! Because of the increasing property values, I do believe we will buy a piece of property soon. THanks for your input!
If you have any more questions you can PM me. I will give you my 2 cents, for what it is worth..
bethburnett70: why did you say you are glad you didn't buy a place right on the water?
I'm sure Beth will answer you soon but the maintenance and insurance costs of owning waterfront property are far greater than those costs for properties that are not waterfront.
Not too mention constantly having to clean your windows from salt spray and rats like to live on the beach and other critters.
Hi and greetings;
We have lived on and off island for most of the years since 1989.....HUGO!
We lived on our boat in Christiansted Harbor and Green Cay Marina for 4 years and also on land in a house near Christiansted, until purchasing property in Frederiksted at the end of the 90's.
Like the others, I would rather live here than anyother place on the island, which I have lived in 4 other areas!
Frederiksted, high in the hills has many plusses....and one big minus.
If you consider that you cannot see Buck Island a minus!!!
We view the beaches, the valleys, town and the pier...and every great sunset that happens...daily.
We have searched the whole of the states looking for our retirement home, and we believe that we found it in Frederiksted.
Unfortunate things do happen, and most recently the term of the decade is outsourcing...which both my wife and I have come to live with closely...since we both have been "outsourced".
I still travel to the house in the island, and really enjoy it there, but again...we really like the west end!
If I had to do it over, I would still pick Frederiksted.
There are short trips to the grocery at Plaza Extra, K Marts for Marth Steward's collection and sometime we wander as far as Gallows Bay for hardware!
The best thing to remember is that it is an island...28 miles long. Enjoy the day, pack a lunch, Christiansted is only a 6 pack away!!!!
My 2 cents!
If you don't mind me asking, what was the problem with Bugby Hole. My husband and I were considering that Estate as well. Like you and your husband, we have only considered the east end and that is where we have done all of our research. Thank you.
Sorry, I didn't see this post right away, but the answers were correct.. too much in repairs, appliances getting eaten, salt corroding everything. Tools rusting, drum kits rusting.. as as renter, I like my beach access, as an owner, I wouldn't want the worry.
That was one of the best posts I have ever read! Thanks Captain!