Dream of owning a home?Are you in a moderate income household?Do you need help in financing a mortgage?
Back in October, we mentioned a collaboration with Governor Albert Bryan Jr, the Office of Disaster Recovery, and the EDA in partnership with local banks and mortgage companies to help residents a new home loan program for moderate income Virgin Islanders. Starting January, the V. I. Economic Development Authority (EDA) has opened the V.I. Slice Moderate-Income Homeownership Program. The VI Slice program aims to help residents who wants to be a homeowner and need some help to make their first home purchase. It is a homeownership assistance program created to provide eligible, moderate-income families with up to $200,000 in gap financing on a down payment, closing costs for buying or rehabilitating a home, or the cost of constructing a home on land the resident owns.
To be eligible for Slice, applicants on St. Croix must have at least an annual income of $43,501; on St. Thomas, $45,000, and on St. John, $47,000. For residents who are interested in the program, we encourage you to visit the new VI Slice website: www.vislice.com, where one can find information on how the program works, its eligibility requirements, and how an applicant can use the program’s funds.
The website also includes a directory of participating local banking institutions and mortgage companies (below are the organizations listed on January 24, please see the www.vislice.com/lenders website as information may change over time).
National Heritage Areas (NHA) are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes. There has been only 21 areas in the US with this designation, and we are so excited to hear that St. Croix has been added in 2023! For nearly 20 years, many individuals, community groups, and stakeholders have worked tirelessly to achieve this designation according to Congresswomen Plaskett who first introduced legislation for the St. Croix National Heritage Area Act two years ago.
Congresswomen Plaskett announced in a press release on January 6, 2023:
“I am tremendously pleased to announce that President Biden signed S.1942, the National Heritage Area Act, which includes the designation of St. Croix as a National Heritage Area, into law on January 5, 2023. The effort to achieve this designation started with former Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen in 2003 with a bill to authorize a feasibility study for the NHA designation on St. Croix.
“The Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office is the local coordinating entity and will oversee and develop programs and projects that recognize, protect, and enhance important resource values in the Heritage Area. The National Heritage Area designation provides funding to develop recreational and educational opportunities to inform and engage our youth on the heritage of St. Croix.
“Before signing this legislation there were only 21 areas in the United States designated as National Heritage Areas. This is a tremendous boon for our beautiful, culturally rich home and an honor to our ancestors.”
Get a delicious fill of flavor at a St. Croix restaurant that’s been in business for almost 30 years! Zeny’s Restaurant originally opened its doors in 1996 on Company Street in downtown Christiansted. Named for its owner Zenaida Nunez, Zeny’s Restaurant is described as a Latin-infused restaurant serving the best in Latin and local foods. Open seven days a week, customers can find hearty dishes like stew chicken, conch in butter sauce, chicharron, stew beef, roast pork, mofongo and much more.
After several visits to the island, Zeny moved to St. Croix in 1989 after she fell in love with the scenery and the people. She always had a love for cooking which led to her opening her own restaurant after living and working in St. Croix for some time. Local people recall eating at Zeny’s for more than twenty years, heralding her food as consistently delicious. In 2015, the Company Street building that her restaurant occupied was sold and she relocated within days to her current location on King Street. “My customers kept asking me if they could come to my house to get food and I knew I had to find another place quickly!” Thankfully, her current location was vacant; she moved swiftly to get her restaurant operations in place to continue feeding the masses on St. Croix.
Guests can always expect great food and kind service at Zeny’s Restaurant. Oftentimes, Zeny herself is busy behind the counter taking phone and in-person orders, readying the plates for pickup or serving dine-in customers. Her calm and pleasant demeanor adds a level of comfort to the food, making the experience at the restaurant even more satisfying. According to Zeny, her famous Zeny Plate consists of chicharron – breaded chicken pieces – with fried tostones. “It’s what the people like – all of my chicken they love,” she expressed with a jovial smile. “The stew chicken is definitely the best seller, for sure.”
Visit Zeny’s Restaurant at 15 King Street in downtown Christiansted, open seven days a week from 11am-8pm. Call ahead to place your order or dine in; 340.773.4393.
Article written by Anquanette Gaspard (email@example.com) for Coldwell Banker, St. Croix Realty
Picturesque beach, smooth white sand and turquoise waters as far as the eye can see are a handful of rewards one receives when deciding to hike to Jack & Isaac Bays. Located on the southside of the extreme eastern edge of St. Croix, the once hard-to-get-to bays have been made accessible thanks to a variety of local and federal environmental groups that came together to officially establish The Jack and Isaac Bay Preserve. Covering 301 acres, the Preserve protects the entire eastern tip of the island and its surrounding reefs and marine ecosystems.
Hiking the series of low impact trails to arrive at Jack and Isaac Bays is a must for those wanting to explore the captivating outdoors of St. Croix. These easy-to-find trails are located right before you arrive at the Point Udall Millennium Monument that identifies the easternmost point of the United States. A small parking area is located at the start of the trails. Get there early to beat the heat of the afternoon sun and score a parking spot. To the right of the parking area is where the adventure of the trails begins.
The pathway is easy to navigate with nice, cool breezes to keep sweating to a minimum. With the hills to your left and the crashing surf to your right, you will happen upon East End Bay first. This bay’s rocky shoreline and rough surf is why you’ll best appreciate it from afar and continue along the path to Isaac Bay. Look for informational signs along the way pointing you in the right direction. Continue west along the trail until you find a stairway to heaven of sorts. A quick descent will lead you to the soft, sandy shoreline of Isaac Bay. Spend some time here splashing in the clear waters or if you’ve brought snorkeling gear, explore the sea life under the surface. Head to west end of Isaac Bay and take the connecting trail heading west again. After a few minutes, turn left on a side trail to the beach where another directional sign will lead you to Jack Bay. Here you can enjoy more fun in the sun as there is little to no shade on the beach or along the trail. Before the height of the island heat rolls in, head back to the parking area to the car and settle in for the ride back home. Plan to spend about 2-3 hours enjoying your time at Jack and Isaac Bay Preserve.
For your safety, we offer the following tips for this and any other hike you venture off to:
Do not hike alone 4 Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, insect repellant, first aid kit and a camera
Proceed only if physically fit enough to complete a hike safely
Leave car doors unlocked and windows slightly turned down to deter theft 4 Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day
Do not leave any valuables in your car 4 Wear appropriate footwear 4 Take any trash with you
Bring sufficient water and a light lunch
Have fun and be safe
Article written by Anquanette Gaspard (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Coldwell Banker, St. Croix Realty
We always encourage friends and tourists to check the airlines’ websites for the most up to date information on flights to St. Croix. St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures shared their scoop on airline service changes that are coming up for season. Read SCUBA’s original post from October 10 on their Facebook page, but here are some of their highlights:
AMERICAN TO MIAMI
The last day for the morning service is November 3rd.
That flight doesn’t return until March 26, 2023
We’ll have 1 afternoon flight to Miami year round
A second afternoon Miami flight is added from November 30th thru December 14th but oddly enough goes away from then until February 3rd (leaving out the Christmas and New Years Holidays)
The second Miami afternoon flight goes away on March 26th when the morning flight returns
AMERICAN TO CHARLOTTE
This was supposed to come back as a Saturday only flight starting this weekend but it’s now been put off until November 5th.
It operates Daily from December 15th thru the 23rd
Then a few days a week thru January 9th
Saturday only January 14th thru February 11th
Daily from February 16th thru April 1st
Back to Saturday only after that
SPIRIT TO FORT LAUDERDALE
The most consistent one.
Daily flight from now through as far as their schedule goes into the future (May 2nd)
DELTA TO ATLANTA
Their Saturday only flight is with us through 12/10/22
It operates Daily 12/17/22 thru 1/8/23
Then Daily Except Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday thru February 16th
Daily again February 17 thru April 9th
Saturday only April 15th thru October 2023
***** ********* *******
In addition, our friends at GoToStCroix.com has a list of airlines flying to St. Croix, see it here.
Season’s Greetings! This is Christie! Since December 1st, I have been posting Christie’s Crucian Gift Guide on our social media accounts with many of my favorite local places to shop where I’ve bought gifts for others, and some for myself! It’s been really fun traveling around, taking photos, and talking with the owners to create the gift guide. I hope it has been interesting and helpful to you. Chris and I hope you have a wonderful holiday, enjoy the colorful lights, eat yummy food, and connect with your friends and family in the heartfelt warmth of the season. Of course, if you are on St. Croix, you are already warm and surrounded by the smiling faces of those of us who are blessed to live here! Happy holidays!
Here is a list of all the shops, artists, and organizations mentioned in the gift guide. They are great local resources for gift ideas during the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations!