East St. Croix

Start: The Buccaneer.

Finish: Fort Christiansvaern.

Time: 1 1/2 hours.

Best Times: Early morning or late afternoon.

Worst Times: Any evening after 5pm.

Head east from Christiansted on Route 75 (sometimes referred to as East End Rd.). Within a few miles, it will become Route 82, an area that residents consider the most peaceful and dramatic on the island. It's especially memorable at sunset, when the vistas are highlighted and the sun is against your back. If you get confused at any time during this tour, remember that the ocean should always be on your left.

Landmarks you'll pass on your way out of town will include Gallows Point and:

1. The Buccaneer

You might want to return to this hotel for one of the nightly musical performances, which are among the island's best.

As you leave town, the landscape will open onto verdant countryside. Cows graze peacefully on a rolling landscape. Accompanying the cows are tickbirds, which feed on ticks buried in the cows' skin. An occasional small traffic jam might form as herds of goats cross the road.

Continue driving, and you'll pass:

2. Green Cay Marina

You might want to visit this marina to admire the yachts bobbing at anchor, or perhaps to have a swim at Chenay Bay. Nearby monuments include the Southgate Baptist Church and a handful of stone towers that once housed the gear mechanisms of windmills that crushed the juice from sugar cane.

As you drive on, you'll pass by scatterings of bougainvillea-covered private villas. About 7 miles along the route from Christiansted, you'll see the:

3. Mountaintop Eyrie

Mountaintop Eyrie is owned by the island's most prominent socialite, Contessa Nadia Farbo Navarro, a Romanian-born heiress to a great fortune. This opulent castle is the most outrageously unusual, most prominent, and most talked-about villa on St. Croix -- an abode Count Dracula might enjoy. Understandably, its privacy is rigidly maintained.

A couple of miles farther along East End Road, you'll reach one of the most popular windsurfing beaches in St. Croix, Teague Bay. This is a good spot to take a break at:

4. Duggan's Reef

Duggan's Reef, East End Road, Teague Bay (tel. 340/773-9800), offers good lunches, more formal dinners, fruit daiquiris, and a bar only 10 feet from the waves. Many guests claim this is the best way to experience windsurfing without getting on a sailboard.

After your stop, continue driving east along Route 82. At Knight Bay, near the eastern tip of the island, turn right onto Route 60 (South Shore Rd.) and head west. One of the several lakes you'll pass is:

5. Hartmann's Great Pond

Also known simply as Great Pond, this is a favorite of nesting seabirds, and a great photo opportunity of the sea and the rolling grasslands.

Route 60 merges with Route 624 a short distance north of Great Pond. Fork left onto Route 624, and, a short distance later, right onto Route 62 (Lowry Hill Rd.). You are now traveling the mountainous spine of the island through districts named after former farms, such as Sally's Fancy, Marienhøj, and Boetzberg.

Within 2 miles, Lowry Hill Road merges with Route 82 again. Fork left, and follow it as it turns into Hospital Gade and leads to the center of Christiansted. To your right will appear:

6. Fort Christiansvaern

You'll see it as you pull into the parking lot in front of Christiansted's tourist office (Old Scalehouse).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.