This Could Be You – St. Croix’s Newest Resident Nancy Zimmerman

Not surprisingly, many visitors come to St. Croix and fall in love with our warm island culture, endless trade winds and average 80-degree temperature and decide that Island Living is for them! Island Life Real Estate helps many of them find their perfect Caribbean home and assists them in getting settled in to their new island digs. Some folks are bolder still and purchase a home here site unseen. Now that takes GUTS! Here’s a story of one such bold person. If she can do it, YOU can!

Name: Nancy ZimmermanNancy Z. New Resident
Relocated From: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Technology Management (soon to be Realtor!)
Official Move Date to St. Croix: January 2017

Island Life Real Estate: What made you decide to move to St. Croix?

Nancy: My love of the Virgin Islands began 25 years ago when I moved to St. Thomas and then St. John. I adored the water, the people, and the relaxed pace of living. I eventually returned to the states to continue a career in music, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d be back for good. I would still visit the islands throughout the Caribbean every chance I got and after working in technology in various cities across the country, I’d finally had enough – enough of the frenzied pace, long commutes, and well… PowerPoint. If I had to put together one more PowerPoint presentation, I was certain I would lose my mind! It was then I knew it was time to head back to the islands for good, but had no idea which island I would end up calling home. Deciding that was a minor detail that would eventually work itself out, I started preparing for my move. Fortunately for me, a chance meeting with a friend at a local art festival led me to purchasing one of her horseshoe creations. When I got home, I saw that the back of the horseshoe read “St. Croix Forge” and, whether divinely orchestrated or not, it did get me wondering why I’d never considered St. Croix. A few short weeks later, I was under contract to buy a house I’d never seen on an island I’d never visited. I know this may sound crazy to some, but it just felt right. Naturally, I came to St. Croix for a pre-move visit to seal the deal, but I couldn’t be any happier with the way it all unfolded!

Island Life: What do you do for work on island?

Nancy: I’ve been in technology for the last 25 years and there seems to be plenty of opportunity on St. Croix for folks with tech skills. While I had some job prospects in my field soon after arriving, I quickly realized that the changes in store for me were more than a simple relocation. My decision to break free from the status quo to pursue my dreams ended up serving as a catalyst for friends and colleagues who were also ready for change. Though I was simply following my own path, the fact that it inspired others to do the same was really rewarding. So much so, that I’m making a big career change. I’m in the process of getting my real estate license here in St. Croix so that I might assist others in finding their place in paradise and making the transition to island life.

Island Life: On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was your move here from San Francisco?

Nancy: Some days I’d give it a 1 and others it was closer to an 11. There were a number of arrangements to be made, but honestly the most difficult part was dealing with my own resistance. In taking the leap, I had to let go of so many things that provided a sense of security – my house in SF that I had worked so hard to fix up; my skillfully curated collection of “stuff” gathered over the years; my position at work that I’d spent so much time and effort working towards; etc. Thankfully, the letting go came in waves, making it more of a process than an event. Occasionally, the fear would creep up and I’d think, “What am I doing? I have a great job, a great house, great friends. I must be crazy!” Then the fear would pass and I’d feel more certain than ever that I was making the right move. My goal was to radically change my life and that’s exactly what I got.

Island Life: What was your biggest challenge with your move? Did anything about it sway you or made you think, “maybe this wasn’t a good idea?”

Nancy: By far, the biggest challenge was getting my cats here. I have 4 wonderful kitties and I couldn’t figure out how to get them from San Francisco to St. Croix. I just couldn’t bring myself to put them under the plane, so after wrestling with the logistics ad nauseam I ended up enlisting the services of some really good friends where we all traveled together, each with a kitty in tow. It wasn’t cheap and it was nerve wracking because the airlines have vague rules that make it difficult to navigate, but we pulled it off without a hitch and had a great time in the process! Well, there was one minor hitch if you would call it that. I had planned to bring litter and a collapsible cardboard box with me. This way, the kitties could relieve themselves during our layover in Miami, but I forgot it. I asked two friends who were joining the Miami to St. Croix leg of the trip to bring the litter and box. Boy, did they have a hard time getting through airport security! They explained why they were bringing the litter, but I’m not sure TSA truly bought it. In the end, it all worked out and we got an amusing story to share out of it.

Island Life: What’s your biggest concern about living on St. Croix? What do you love the most and the least about island life?

Nancy: My biggest concern? Well, it keeps changing! It’s really just fear of the unknown. Before I got here it was about getting medical insurance and finding quality healthcare for me and the kitties. After navigating that, it was centipedes. Now I’d say that now my biggest concern is finding asparagus to cook for Easter dinner! But that will pass too, so I’m just rolling with things as they come. What do I love the most? Gadzooks! There are so many things to love about island life, but if I had to pick just one I’d say it’s the people – hands down. A small, but sweet example – car horns are used to say hi or thank you here instead of in anger or frustration as is typically the case stateside. The people here really make all the difference! The biggest drawback for me is the lack of recycling. After 12 years in San Francisco where practically everything is reused or recycled, I’m finding it hard to accept that there is little in the way of recycling here. Perhaps someday soon that will change? In the meantime, it’s a good exercise in being mindful of what I’m consuming.

Island Life: Any advice for someone on the fence about moving to St. Croix?

Nancy: I would say to be sure and talk with those who have made the move before. Talk to those who love it as well as the folks who decided it wasn’t for them. Visit the island and get to know the people who are living here. If you are fortunate enough to take a leave from work and stay a month or longer, that’s even better! Having friends here before you make the move works wonders and made all the difference for me. When you decide to make the move, seek advice on logistics through different sources online like the VI Moving Center; talk with friends; etc. Benefit from their success and learn from others’ mistakes. And of course remember that in the end it’s not the things that we do that we regret as much as those we didn’t do. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you!

Island Life 2nd Qtr Featured Rentals

 

For $140 a night, you can stay in this cute one bedroom apartment! Featuring a nice sea view and private deck, this neighborhood offers two beaches plus a bar/restaurant in walking distance! Five-night minimum, 2 people max. For more info or to book, contact Denise or Ed today at yamon3878@aol.com.

For $100 per night, you can stay in our house! Located on the island’s East End, enjoy pristine views and a pool in a nice location with gated, paved access. This 1 bedroom, 1 bath is available at this price. Please note that this is not a shared space. You would have the whole house to yourself – although there are a few cats and a friendly dog on premises that might visit you when you are on the porch to say hello! It is available from mid June to late August, 1-week minimum. For more information or to book, contact Kim at Kim@email.vi or call (340) 626-3758.

 

USVI Transfer Centennial: The 100 Year Celebration

Transfer Centennial BookletMarch 31st 2017 marked the 100th year anniversary of Transfer Day – the day the United States purchased what was known as the Danish West Indies from Denmark and officially became the Virgin Islands of the United States. To celebrate this momentous occasion, a number of special centennial events were held throughout the territory led by the U.S. Virgin Islands Centennial Commission, a special group formed to organize the Centennial Commemoration of Transfer Day.

History of Transfer Day

Initial negotiations for the purchase of the Danish West Indies (D.W.I.) began on January 7, 1865 – over 50 years before the official transfer took place! A number of incidents stalled the completing of the transfer including: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, contract stipulations with France regarding the sale of St. Croix, and a touch of Danish resentment for previously failed treaties.

It was World War I that led to the successful completion of the transfer of the D.W.I. to the United States. Dismal economic conditions on the island were a result of the war, causing a massive financial drain on the Danish Government. Additionally, the United States were concerned with Germany’s naval threat to the Panama Canal by potentially building a base in the D.W.I.

On March 4, 1916, Secretary of State Robert Lansing met with Danish Minister Constantin Brun and signed a treaty agreeing to the sale of the D.W.I. The treaty, ratified by both countries governments, cemented the formal exchange in Washington, D.C. on January 17, 1917. On March 31, 1917, the American Central Bank issued a check for $25 million in gold dollars for the purchase of the D.W.I. Once it was presented to the Danish ambassador in Washington, a wire to St. Thomas was sent informing them that the transfer could take place. Check out the rare footage below of the day’s events back on March 31, 1917.

Transfer Day Centennial Celebrations on St. Croix

To kick off the celebrations on St. Croix, the Centennial Military Parade commenced at 8am on March 31, 2017. It made its way through the streets of downtown Christiansted, concluding at Fort Christiansvern on the waterfront. Led by the Virgin Islands National Guard, marching bands, police and military personnel, majorettes and a Danish brass ensemble marched with beaming pride as they greeted and performed for dignitaries, locals and visitors alike that lined both sides of the parade route.

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The Transfer Day Commemoration Ceremony took place immediately after the parade, replicating the events of Transfer Day 100 years ago. The lowering of the Danish flag was accompanied by a musical selection from the Copenhagen Brass Ensemble followed by the raising of the United States flag as the Star Spangled Banner was effortlessly sung. In addition to distinguished remarks from territory leaders, Washington representatives and the prime minister of Denmark, twenty permanent residents from various Caribbean islands including Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Dominican Republic participated in their naturalization ceremony. As they took the Oath of Allegiance, they officially became United States citizens on a date we’re sure they’ll remember always!

Transfer Centennial Ceremony

The day wrapped up with a festive Centennial block party complete with music, dancing and food & drinks plus an illuminating firework show that lasted for 15 minutes! Everyone in attendance had a great time plus over 8,000 Danes traveled to the territory to take part in the Centennial events.

Transfer Day is momentous occasion celebrated each year on St. Croix. We look forward to having you join us at next year’s Transfer Day celebration!

Island Hangouts….

I don’t know about you, but I think you can learn a lot about a place and its culture by going to the places where the locals “hang out.”  You get a sense of the values, traditions, and acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors among those who live in the place you’re visiting.

If you come to St Croix, there are several “hang outs” you should check out.  Not your ordinary spots, mind you, which in itself is so very telling about our little island.

If you’re out east, especially on a Friday night, stop by the gas station (Ziggy’s), which becomes the “libation station” in full bloom on Friday night.  Now, i’m a little biased, because my daughter, Kirby, tends bar there on Friday night, but you’ll be fascinated by who and what you see (and hear) at the gas station on Friday night!


First of all, there’s a chef there cooking 3 – 4 interesting, creative dishes that will tingle your tastebuds.  Drinks are inexpensive and served up quickly and with a smile.  You’ll see a lot of shoulder slapping, hugging, just generally affectionate behavior among the patrons there.  Also a lot of ribbing and kidding each other. You’ll see old, young, black, white, rich, poor, and everything in between.  It’s just good people.  It’s an accepting place, a happy place, and a very comfortable place.  Newbies are welcomed, and embraced like old friends.  There’s an air of acceptance, of family, of “we’re all here because we’re not all there.”

Head west and you must check out the Domino Club, home of the beer drinking pigs.  This is a place where locals and tourists alike gather, especially late afternoon, for a shot of “mama wanna,” great conversation with “the girls” and Norma, and meeting new folks and catching up on island happenings.  It’s one of those places you’d probably not stop at, unless you knew about it – which makes it all the sweeter!

Late night, the place to ‘hang out” is the Lost Dog pub in Frederiksted.  Friendly, warm, fun, rowdy….you’ll never meet a stranger there, and you’ll likely leave with a few new best friends.  And don’t be surprised if the sun is coming up as you and your new besties leave the bar….

Oh yeah, there are LOTS and LOTS of other places to hang out here on our little rock, but these are rather “iconic” and I think really capture the spirit of the island.  Places come and go here, like everywhere, but these places have been around and probably will be (at least I hope so) long into the future.  Don’t miss them!

10 Reasons to Retire in The VI

10 Reasons to Retire in The VI

By Kim Lucas, Broker, St Croix Island Life Real Estate

Get into the “DON’T HURRY” groove…

You want to slow down, but you don’t want to STOP. In St Croix, a small town, you’ll have lots of friends who enjoy the same things you do, and lots of things to do. You’ll be physically active, but never pressured. You’re never more than about half an hour from anything here…so what’s the rush? If you’re 30 minutes late here, you’re 30 minutes early!

Press the “EASY” button….

Going places and doing things here is EASY. No traffic. No problem parking. No “fees” or charges for most fun things. You don’t have to dress up for anything, don’t have to wear make up, can trim your wardrobe down to a couple pair of (good) flip-flops, a few T-shirts, and some shorts…and your’e ready for anything! (oh, and a few bathing suits!!).

Get in SHAPE and be active…

Exercising here is just part of life. You’ll be swimming, walking, paddleboarding, hiking, and moving your BODY 365 days a YEAR because the weather is PERFECT! If you want more “structured” exercise activities, there are PLENTY!

Have lots of like-minded friends…

Your friends here will no doubt be a very DIVERSE group of people…who all happen to share a love of the sea and the “island way” of life! You’ll never meet a stranger here …it’s the friendliest place on earth! I absolutely love that I have friends here of all ages, races, ethnicities, and walks of life. We all have a lot in common, but yet a lot of differences, too, which makes them oh so fun and interesting! I LOVE my big ‘ol diverse, crazy, loving and fun island family! You will too!

Enjoy the CONSISTENCY of the weather and rhythms…

The sun comes up and goes down at approximately the same time every day here (varies by about an hour from summer to winter)…so your “internal clock” will become regular, which makes having a consistent sleeping routine pretty easy (important for your overall health). You can enjoy nature and the outdoors every day here …. important for physical AND psychological wellbeing! Living this close to nature…you “attune”….and the overall benefits are amazing!

Explore NEW and DIFFERENT activities….

Ever considered painting? Join the “palleteers” – a group of folks who meet every Friday morning to enjoy the beauty of St Croix and enjoy the challenge of painting Plein Air. Yoga? Try doing yoga on the beach with a group of friends (plenty of classes!). Try some Salsa dancing lessons! None of these activities cost very much (if anything), and all will be within a 30 minute (max) drive for you. No excuse NOT to try new things here…

Contribute to a needy community…

St Croix is a wonderful place, but there are many needs here. There will be so many opportunities for you to get involved and make a difference here. Like animals? There are several shelters and organizations that would welcome some help. Like children? Volunteer to tutor or just read to children. Want to help the less fortunate? Volunteer at the women’s coalition or one of the missions that serve the homeless. Want to make the island a cleaner place? Join in on organized clean ups! You can really make a difference here by volunteering even just a few hours a week.

Redefine yourself…among people who will embrace YOU.

As we get to the top of the mountain called “middle age” and now see the landscape before us…realizing it is not so far a distance to the end….it is critically important to really “FIND YOURSELF” and become who you are. Most of us loose ourselves in our work, tending to our family, making the almighty dollar. Retirement is time to find YOU and redefine your life, choose the lifestyle that you WANT, and do so in an environment that is accepting and will embrace you. St Croix is THAT KIND of community. No expectations here…just acceptance.

Be an example for your children!

You want them to be happy and to follow their dreams, right? Well then, what are you waiting for? They will visit, they will be emboldened and impressed by your willingness to take a risk, and they will marvel as the REAL YOU starts to blossom and grow in this Caribbean climate!

Why not??

If there’s a mermaid, pirate, or beach bum lurking inside you….time to EXPLORE that side of you!! And here, doesn’t matter WHAT you did before, as long as you are YOU now, and, like the rest of us, are nice, warm, helpful and accepting, you are going to have the time of your life here! And if you don’t? Well, you can always go back to the rat race!   Remember, people on their deathbeds don’t regret things they have DONE. They regret the things they did NOT do. Come on, live a little, and let the Caribbean sun and warm, friendly people of St Croix nurture you in your golden years!

Imagine yourself in a Historic Property this Holiday Season…and experience a Caribbean Christmas!!

4 Mt Washington
Frederiksted, VI  00840
www.estatemtwashington.com


View of Estate Mt Washington

View of Estate Mt Washington


 

Parlor to Living Room

Parlor to Living Room


 

Pool Entry

Pool


 

Labyrinth and Ruins

Labyrinth and Ruins


 

Sunset View From Home

Sunset View from Home


 

West End Beach

Close to West End Beaches


 

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West End Beach

 

 

Attention all Veterans seeking the GOOD LIFE!

At Island Life Real Estate in St Croix, USVI, we are proud of you and appreciate your service to our country.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you find a place here in paradise to come to during the long, cold winters, or to live in full time.

Consider using your VA benefits to buy a place here, and we will help you every step of the way! We have lenders who can assist, and agents who are Vets themselves who are eager to be of service to you! Tax breaks for you here, too!  Email us TODAY and tell us what your monthly budget would be for a purchase here, and we’ll go to work to find places here that would best meet your needs!

St Croix is such a friendly place, and the weather here is perfect in the winter! Fishing, snorkeling, diving, just hanging out on the beach…you’ve earned that, haven’t you? What are you waiting for? Email us today!  kim@email.vi.

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