By Jeff McCord It’s no wonder that President Lincoln wanted the Virgin Islands. By 1863, the second year of the Civil War (which began in April, 1861), Union patience was being stretched thin by “rebel pirates” and “English rebel agents” frequenting then Danish and neutral St. Thomas, to quote Rear-Admiral Charles Wilkes, Commander of the […]

“Rogues, Vagabonds, the Idle and Dissolute”and the Luck of the Irish

“Rogues, Vagabonds, the Idle and Dissolute” and the Luck of the Irish By Jeff McCord As we anticipate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, it’s fun to think about the role of the Irish in the Virgin Islands and Virginia. Sons and daughters of Eire have been pioneers, planters, pirates, entertainers and much more throughout […]

Romance and Sweat Mark the Season

by Jeff McCord February is the high season on the Virgin Island of St. John. Our beaches are full and the usually quiet island bustles with thousands of visitors and more special events and activities than islanders can take advantage of. Two February occasions embody St. John’s happy, healthful and busy high season: The romance […]

How the South’s “Pirate” Helped Establish the U.S. Virgin Islands

By Jeff McCord   How the South’s “Pirate” Helped Establish the U.S. Virgin Islands   With the United States mainland more politically divided than at any time in recent memory, it’s interesting to look back at the impact of a real Civil War on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most importantly, the adventures of Confederate naval […]

Diamond Jubilee for a Tropic National Park

Diamond Jubilee for a Tropic National Park by Jeff McCord For the people of the United States and their often overlooked Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), December marks the 60th anniversary of a gift of incalculable value. On December 1, 1956 in the small port of Cruz Bay, St. John, a small group […]

Eco-Camping Amid Palms and Artifacts

Eco-Camping Amid Palms and Artifacts by Jeff McCord For more than one thousand years, the palm-fringed beach and abundant forest have attracted human visitors. First they came in the hundreds by dugout canoe for religious ceremonies and seafood feasts. Now they come in the thousands by airplane to St. Thomas and ferry to St. John […]

Cruz Bay, St. John: A Quiet Town of Refuge for 250 Years

Cruz Bay, St. John: A Quiet Town of Refuge for 250 Years by Jeff McCord Seeking refuge from winter, tens of thousands of visitors arrive each year on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Most come on car and passenger ferries from St. Thomas, disembarking at the small, charming port town of Cruz Bay. […]

Caribbean Rum Helped Win the First Wild West

Caribbean Rum Helped Win the First Wild West by Jeff McCord With autumn upon us and winter around the corner, some Virginians may have thoughts of hot rum toddies sipped before roaring fires as cold winds sweep past storm glass windows. Beyond such soothing imagery, though, rum played a very real role in Colonial America’s […]

“Re-thinking” Paradise

“Re-thinking” Paradise by Jeff McCord When one spends most of their time in “paradise” (or, rather, the U.S. Virgin Islands), you tend to vacation on the North American continent. And, going to the mainland after nearly a year “on island,” one is impressed by things many continentals now take for granted. The growing efficiencies and […]

Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical)

Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical) by Jeff McCord If not for a hurricane that devastated St. Croix in 1772, Alexander Hamilton may never have moved to North America, never fought with Washington in the Revolutionary War and not served as America’s first Secretary of the Treasury. And, there would be no Tony-award winning […]