CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. – In days of old, pirates did indeed roam the Caribbean islands now known as the “Virgins,” the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they sailed in the West Indies as well.
Most of these so-called pirates were actually privateers…they were commissioned, sometimes by governments, sometimes by individuals…to intercept supply ships and steal their loot.
Although the famed sailing passage in this area is called Drake’s Passage, the most infamous of all of the pirates was an Englishman called Blackbeard. It is generally believed that his real name was Edward Teach or Edward Thatch. Of course, it is hard to separate myth from fiction but here is one story that is generally believed true:
In November of 1717, Blackbeard captured La Concorde, a large French slaving vessel. He renamed the Queen Anne’s Revenge and kept it for himself, modifying it for piracy. He put 40 cannons on it, making it one of the most formidable pirate ships ever. With it, he terrorized the Atlantic and Caribbean for almost a year before the Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground.
So what is my point in this cruise story?
Last night, before boarding our SeaDream cruise today, we stayed at the Inn at Blackbeard’s Castle. This little inn, only 13 rooms, is actually over 35 years old and is attached to Blackbeard’s Castle…which offers tours of the property which includes a rebuilt tower, swimming pool and a collection of homes dating back several hundred years and a walk downhill into the shopping area. Mostly cruise passengers take these tours, which operate from Monday through Thursday.
Did Blackbeard actually have a castle here? Christopher, who manages the inn, tells us that the tower was actually built by the Danish so they could see their enemies approaching by sea. However, he believes Blackbeard also used it for the same purpose.
This place has two aspects to recommend it: It offers sensational views from the bar/restaurant and it is very quiet. Last night, as the sun was setting we were able to watch three large cruise ships depart from the Havensight dock to our left as the lights of Charlotte Amalie began twinkling to our right.
It is also quite private. The bar/grill is just for those staying at the inn. The room pricing is quite reasonable. We paid the off-season rate of $175.45 (from Dec. 15-May 15 it is $211.75).
I consider this hotel to be a real find…the rooms are old, but kept up nicely. The mattresses are firm and the AC works. However, the rooms are on several levels so be aware of the steps if you are toting bags. We recommend room W-1 just off the main courtyard. It has a king bed and offers great views.
Also, this morning we are able to hang out here…on the lovely terrace with a cool breeze until it is time to head to our ship. (A good way to keep me out of the shopping area.)
December 6, 2015
Photos by Chet Janssens