St. Croix: What A Place

St. Croix: What A Place

This beautiful island is what you see on postcards.
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The island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a bit like a scene out of M*A*S*H. The low brown underbrush on the hillsides with its sparse patches of green shrubs makes you feel like your right in Korea with the 4077th. The whole island isn't like this, but the part of the Manhattan-sized island I was on was. The island itself is beautiful, rich in history (something very important to me) and is populated with amazing people.

The western side of St. Croix is all hills covered in thick jungle. This is the historical side of the island, with old sugar plantations preserved from the island's time as a Danish colony. Frederiksted, the second largest settlement on the island, is home to a reddish-orange fort called Fort Frederik and was used to keep pirates away. It is also a great place to go snorkeling or scuba diving. You can normally spot any number of both off the boardwalk that lines Frederiksted's edge touching the sea. Many fish swim around the boardwalk's edges and many colorful birds flap through the breeze.

The eastern side has the distinct honor of being the most eastern point in the United States. There is even a little monument to this point on a place called Point Udall. It is more flat and desert-like then its western counterpart. It also happens to be the least inhabited part of the island. It was while walking near the dried up bed of an old salt lake that I came across a cactus. The rather large, many armed and spiny desert-dweller didn't even look out of place here. I took a picture of it, tangled all through what was left of a barbed wire fence, and continued on out to the dried up salt lake. The wildlife I saw in this desert made it far from a no man's land.

On St. Croix is a place called Christiansted. It is the largest settlement on the island and is also home to a fort. Fort Christiansværn is a yellow Danish fort. The fort was meant to keep pirates away but did little good when the British invaded in 1807. But it was from atop the small fort's ramparts that I saw a bunch of reenactors floating a replica Danish boat into the fort's dock. I watched as the little wooden craft careened nimbly over the waves, its reenactor Danish sailors tugging on ropes and jogging up the length of the ship.

When I went to the little island in the Caribbean, I left from my home in North Eastern Pennsylvania in February. When I left, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. In St. Croix, as our plane landed, the stewardess announced it was a chilly day on the island. 71 degrees Fahrenheit, she chimed. I nearly spit up my in-flight apple juice. If that's chilly, I don't want to know how hot it gets. I was soon to learn how hot it gets. It stays a constant 70-90 degrees there year round. Little spurts of jungle rain pass by, and the ground and everything soaked by these passing showers dries up in a few minutes.

During the day, you can swelter to death if you are not accustomed to it. Several members of my group went down on the second day with heat exhaustion. Sunburn and blisters were rampant. But we learned quiet a bit about Crucian culture through their Agriculture Fair. They make ethnic foods, play island music and display the best of what the islands have to offer.

All over, it was a great experience. I loved it there and would love to go back. From the little camp where I stayed, the Howard M. Wall camp, I could look down on the ocean. It was a large, blue bay with a jungle covered mountain on the far end. The mountain's vegetation hung right from the slope and into the sea. Now if there was one image of St. Croix I will never forget, it is that one.


Cover Image Credit: Andrew Trotter

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10 Things You Know To Be True If You Live in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

"Take the B", they said.
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For anyone that is currently living in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and or has lived there, you know it's an *interesting* experience. From the various food joints, to the movie theater, everyone's love/hate relationship with Crazy George, Emmons Avenue, the B/Q trains, the new apartment complex that some people love and others completely despise, and everything in-between, there's no other neighborhood that's just like Sheepshead. You know you're from Sheepshead when:

1. You've either spotted Crazy George somewhere out on the streets or in a random location (usually in Dunkin' Donuts).


Don't get me wrong — it's not funny that he appears to have problems, but it's also not ideal that he goes into various stores harassing the workers. He's a one of a kind human being and I do wish the best for him and/or that he does get some help.

2. When it comes to Brennan and Carr and Roll n Roaster, you either love one of them much more than the other.

As much as I love Brennan and Carr's Gargiulo burger, I'm more of a Roll n Roaster person. Their personal pizza is nice and their fries are to die for -- and yes, I want cheese on that, please.

3. You either love or hate that new apartment complex that's in the works.

You know, this one at 1501 Voorhies Ave.

4. You've become used to the B and Q trains either being delayed, messed up, crowded, and or nonexistent.

"Take the B they said. It's express they said." If I told you how many times the B has gone local, out of service, and or on fire in Brooklyn, then maybe you'd hate it just as much as I do at times. Don't even get me started about how crowded it is - especially during rush hour.

"What about the Q train?" The Q's not much better. It has its times where it goes express in Brooklyn as opposed to local, which doesn't help if you're getting on/off at Neck Road or Avenue U.

5. You either go to UA Sheepshead, another movie theater or don't even bother with movie theaters.

Although going to UA Sheepshead is convenient, their prices are very special for just an average movie theater.

6. You either stick to shopping and dining along Sheepshead Bay Road and or Emmons Avenue or go elsewhere either in the neighborhood, other neighborhoods, or to the city.

While they're both convenient parts of Sheepshead Bay, there are other parts of the neighborhood to go to, such as Nostrand Ave. Sometimes, it's easier to flock to other parts of Brooklyn, but there are times where going to the city is worth the commute.

7. You either shop at Cherry Hill or avoid it completely.

While there are other supermarkets in the neighborhood, Cherry Hill is the only one on Emmons that is open 24/7. Their prices might be high for the neighborhood, but their prices could be much worse.

8. You remember when Sheepshead Bay High School was one school...

...and not an educational complex.

9. You're still low-key bothered about how the neighborhood recovered after Sandy.

I'm not going to say that it was the same after the hurricane. Although it didn't take the longest time to recover, that doesn't mean that damage wasn't done.

10. But regardless of how you may feel, by the end of the day, you're probably still super in love with the neighborhood.

It's an incredibly unique neighborhood. You can take someone out of Sheepshead but you can't take the Sheepshead out of someone.

Cover Image Credit: Curbed NY

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Brighton, England: The Perfect Seaside Getaway

If you're tired of the London hustle, go to Brighton for the day!

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Brighton, which is situated in southern England, is a funky beach town known for its overwhelming support of the LGBTQ+ community, pier and shops. It is the cutest town with endless things to do and see and if you are ever getting tired of fast-paced London, Brighton is the perfect place to go to reset, relax, and enjoy a nice day by the water. If you ever want to hop off a train and head to this wonderful little town, here are some things you should do.

1. Go to the Brighton Palace Pier

Emily Washbourn

Grab some food, play some arcade games or go on a roller coaster! Brighton Palace Pier is the heart of any beach town and has plenty to do for visitors of all ages.

2. Check out the street art

Emily Washbourn

Brighton has some pretty cool street art, so make sure to stop and snap a picture when you walk past it!

3. Go to the North and South Lanes

These "Lanes" are basically streets that are closed off to cars with endless shops, name brand and originals, food, coffee, knickknacks, etc. and during Christmas, have lights strung above!

4. Watch the sunset on the ocean

Emily Washbourn

Unlike the east coast in the US, you can watch the sunset right on the beach in Brighton! It truly is a beautiful view!

5. Grab some gelato at Boho Gelato 

Emily Washbourn

No matter what the temperature is outside, there is never an excuse not to get this gelato! It was so amazing and comes in vegan flavors so everyone can enjoy! I got the chocolate and strawberry, which I highly recommend.

6. Snag a photo with the famous Brighton snails! 

Emily Washbourn

As a way to benefit Martlets, which provides life change hospice care, these snails are all over Brighton. They are all decorated in their own unique way and Prince Harry and Megan Markle even took a photo with one while visiting Brighton! So make sure to snap a photo of your favorite snail to keep for the memories!

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