moving to St. Croix
My husband, son and I want to move to St. Croix, We have lived island living before. We lived on the small island of Saba (next to St. Martin) very remote and very small. We came back to Seattle and are now wishing to return. We are looking for all the wonderful things the islands offer. We are researching St. Croix this time because we want something bigger, then a five foot square mile island. Also being part of the United States is a plus. I totally understand that I am not moving to the United States.
I would like some help on areas that would be good for a family of three. My son is 16. We think St. Croix becasue it doesn't seem as Americanized as St. Thomas but maybe we are wrong. We would like any kind of help or information. We plan to make a visit during spring. I am a school teacher and my husband currently runs a marine part store/salvage.
I have never been to Saba. My only experience is online and conversations with friends.
It appears that St Croix will be very different from Saba. However Seattle is another story altogether.
St Croix would IMO be your best choice in the US Virgin Islands.
The British Virgin's have some that are closer to the slow life style you might have experienced in Saba.
The most important thing is to see for yourself. When you make a trip to St Croix you will see a wonderful place. It does have some of the things that make the states too "busy", but it also has a unique slower paced way of living.
Good luck learning more about St Croix. Go to the top of this page and do a "search" on any item that interests you. You will be amazed at the amount of information you will get.
If you liked both Saba and Seattle, you'll love St. Croix. But come first and check it out.
We're planning a dive trip to Saba right now. Is it really as "quaint" as it looks on the web? Where would you recommend we stay -- married couple in their 50's, pretty low maintenance, but want something nice for 4 or 5 days.
I moved to STX from Seattle a little over two years ago... and LOVE it here. Both locations are beautiful. The weather is much better here. (gross understatement) As a realtor, I spend a lot of time driving and I definitely don't miss getting stuck in traffic for hours daily on I-5 an I-405. I do like living more of life outdoors. In Washington, there are so many hikers and campers, but here you don't have to be quite as pre-organized in your outdoor pursuits. Lots of activity opportunities are always available and can be set up spontaneously when you have a day free.
Life is paced a lot slower and different things seem to matter more. There is less materialism (dress like a beach bum and drive an island car and you aren't scorned for that). There are lots of social activities, from holiday parties and carnivals and street fairs and parades to cocktail parties and large group dinner gatherings and outings to the beach. It's easy to meet other transplanted residents. Just stop in at any of a large number of beach bars or open air restaurants and start chatting.
Costwise, consumer goods here are slightly more expensive than in Seattle, but other things are less expensive (and most entertainment is free), so it tends to balance out pretty well. No sales tax, low property taxes, and duty free alcohol and cigarettes for those who want them. Shopping is limited... yet probably more abundant than you had on Saba. We pop over to San Juan now and then if we need to go on a shopping spree for the house or to replenish the wardrobe.
The range of sales prices for housing is similar to Seattle/Bellevue/Issaquah. Depending on what you want/need, you can spend under $200K or over $1M or somewhere in between. Most waterfront homes are $900K and up. Apartments and rentals aren't in abundance and the rents are a bit higher. Windstorm (hurricane) insurance is what keeps housing costs high.
St. Croix isn't a "tourist island", whereas St. Thomas is inundated by cruise ship passengers nearly every day of the week. This gives them separate and distinct personalities. Personally I prefer to live on St. Croix and travel to other places if I am up for crowds and traffic and blatant consumerism for a few days. Then its back home to enjoy the peace and laid back nature of St. Croix.
As you have a 16 year old son, you will likely find that you'll want to enroll him at either Country Day (located inland at the center of the island) or Good Hope (located on the beach on the southwest shore), which are the two larger, non-denominational private schools on St. Croix. They both have a very high rate of graduates going onto college (nearly 100%). If you are hired as a teacher at either school, your son would get free tuition, which at about $9500 per year makes a nice bonus for teachers with children.
There are many possible areas of the island where you might enjoy living. Spending a couple days driving around and experiencing the various options will quickly help you zero in on the areas that have the atmosphere you prefer. The northwest sector of the island is rain forest and very beautiful. The east end of the island is dryer with lots of grassland and some cactus. The southern portion of the island is flat lowlands. A large percentage of transplants to the island choose to live in the eastern half of the island. If it's not of paramount importance to you to be surrounded by others who have made the move, you might enjoy the beauty of the western half of the island. There are areas that include quite a few government housing projects and lower income single-family homes. There are areas of million dollar plus houses. There are areas with a mixture of economic elements. Much of the island is rural and uncrowded. Ultimately, your price range for purchasing a home or for renting a house or condo will largely influence which areas could work best for you. If you want to explore St. Croix's real estate market, you can browse listings in the MLS on my website: http://www.ourhomesite.com/stcroixhomes That will give you an overview of what your money will buy... and if you intend to lease rather than buy, you can still get an idea of what your options might include.
Most of the people on the island are wonderful and friendly. No matter where you choose to live, you are likely to have pleasant neighbors. Teenagers that attend the private schools have a pretty active social network and are always out and about doing things together. My sons tended to hibernate inside the house in Seattle for weather related reasons. Here it's easier to get out and enjoy life.
Try it... you'll like it. Happy New Year 2006. Perhaps this year will include a relocation to St. Croix.
This is mitch, we both think the cottage club is the best. Talk to Sandy. it's right in windwardside which has the best weather and the most to do and since everywhere you go will be walking and Saba is all vertical I mean VERTICAL. Gretch taught her little girl in Kindergarten. As to dive shops there are only 2 i would even consider since this is really really open water diving. that would be the Germans at Saba divers and first and foremost little mike and big mike at Saba Deep. Big Mike is the original Carribean divemaster, really, and as salty as they come but he knows the water, the sites and the currents like no one else. Best restaraunt is Y2K. If you go we have people we'd like you to say hi to.
I had a few questions. I was wondering is there a ferry that runs from St.Croix to St. Thomas? It was always so hard to get on and off the island on Saba. The ferry always ran the wrong direction. Are there comuter flights?
We would like to live on the west (wet) side of the island preferably on a hill. We were wondering about Cisterns. I am assuming this is the main water source for the houses.
The last word I heard on the ferry service between St. Croix and St. Thomas is that it is scheduled to begin in February. There used to be a seasonal ferry and it is being replaced by a year 'round ferry.
There are commuter flights; seaplane is easiest because you can avoid airports but there are also regular flights.
Cisterns are indeed the primary source of water on island. If yours runs dry you can purchase desalinated water which is pumped into your cistern.