One of only two towns on St. Croix, Frederiksted has been the site of several historical events that have shaped the history and culture of the island. While the streets are lined with colorful buildings sporting beautiful Danish architecture, many have been sitting empty in recent years. Now, Frederiksted is experiencing a revival thanks to new business owners and residents that are investing their own time and money into restoring and promoting this beautiful town.
The biggest investors currently building in Frederiksted are the owners/developers of The Fred, Christoper Swanson and Jeff Printz. Located on Strand Street, The Fred property includes the old Totten building and surrounding structures, which were originally constructed in the late 1800s. Once completed, The Fred property will include a 23-room oceanfront resort and spa, restaurant, bar, resort shop, and pool. Christopher and Jeff have a vision that The Fred will be the happening spot in Frederiksted, not just for their resort guests, but also for visitors coming by cruise ship and local residents. The Fred is now open and accepting reservations, as is their spa, and the retail shop. The remainder of The Fred’s resort amenities are still under construction, but are moving along quickly and will be opening soon.
Another breath of fresh air out West is Caribbean Breeze Apartments and Vacation Homes. Located on Prince Street just two blocks from the beautiful Frederiksted waterfront, Kathy and Randy Tiddark have poured their heart, soul, and sweat into turning another of Frederiksted’s old buildings into the quaint Caribbean Breeze apartments. Originally built in 1786, the newly renovated apartments offer accommodations that blend old world charm and modern amenities, allowing their guests to experience a true Caribbean vacation with a homey atmosphere. In addition to offering beautifully appointed apartments for vacation rentals or short term lease, Caribbean Breeze offers a large, private courtyard with a pool and patio seating, and pets are welcome. Kathy and Randy are also well known in the West End community, and their friendly and fun-loving personalities make their guests feel warm and welcome.
The Frederiksted Hotel is also undergoing some updates and renovations, and is changing it’s name to The Inn on Strand Street. Paul Benedict, co-owner of Cottages by the Sea, is currently operating The Inn on Strand Street for the owners, the Vetter family of Denmark. Located right across from the waterfront, this boutique, 32-room hotel offers warm, authentic, Caribbean hospitality in the heart of historic downtown Frederiksted. This charming little hotel has been around since the 1970s, but is now offering newly-renovated rooms, a courtyard restaurant, upgraded Wi-Fi, and bicycles for guest use. Paul’s ancestors, the Benedict family, the Merwin family, and the Armstrong family, were residents of St. Croix dating back to the 1600’s, so Paul is truly a Crucian. His love for St. Croix shows in both The Inn on Strand Street and Cottages by the Sea, and as a local he too wants to see Frederiksted thrive again and grow to it’s full potential.
Also making a splash out West are three of the newest Frederiksted restaurants: Louie & Nacho’s Beach Bar, Tap Deck Bar & Billiards, and Java Joe’s Cafe. Louie & Nacho’s is run by Monty and Megan Montgomery in the old Turtle’s After Dark location, which has been renovated to be a light and airy space with amazing beach views. Here you can enjoy casual eats and great signature cocktails, as well as all your traditional bar favorites. Tap Deck & Billiards is run by Emily Weston, who also owns and operates Lyric Sails. Tap Deck offers draft beer, wine, craft cocktails, delicious food, billiards tables, and live music on the Frederiksted waterfront above Polly’s. Java Joe’s Cafe, operated by local Crucian Joel Carmona, is a tropical, open-air coffee shop, bar and restaurant experience all in one place. Located right next door to the Estate Whim Museum, Java Joe’s offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Enjoy great food and happy hour specials at any of these three places, you won’t be disappointed!
It’s not just the accommodations that are contributing to the revitalization of Frederiksted. Other businesses and community organizations are also doing what they can to bring locals and visitors to Frederiksted. Founded in 2014 by Virgina Clairmont, Clean Sweep Frederiksted is a community organization described as “a coalition of community stakeholders dedicated to the economic development and revitalization of Frederiksted”. Clean Sweep Frederiksted spearheads various opportunities throughout the year to encourage and engage the community to participate in the ongoing beautification initiatives such as beach clean-ups, painting murals throughout Frederiksted, and picking up trash after festivals and events. They also organize family-friendly events throughout the year like the Children’s Book & Film Festival and the Frederiksted Spooktacular.
It is inspiring to see the business owners and residents of Frederiksted working together to revitalize and beautify the town. For instance, Sand Castle on the Beach Resort, The Fred, and Cottages by the Sea are collaborating to entice cruise ship passengers to spend the day on the beautiful stretch of beach in front of their accommodations while enjoying some of the resort amenities. Frederiksted has a lot to offer in the way of history and culture, beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, friendly people, fun activities, and a strong sense of community. All of these attributes, coupled with the new and recently renovated accommodations, will surely make Frederiksted the true Caribbean vacation destination it deserves to be.
– Jennie Ogden, Editor