Rugged natural beauty, diverse culture, and distinctive cuisine draw sun-loving sophisticates to St. Croix.

As the largest of the three islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands—84 square miles in all—St. Croix is characterized by its cultural diversity, its plentiful options for people who love to stay active, and growing opportunities for foodies with a passion for local ingredients. There’s a farm-to-table culture brewing in St. Croix that will only increase in coming years due to the presence of Creque Dam Farm, the only certified organic farm in the region.

The two main cities in St. Croix are Christiansted, which is celebrating its 275th anniversary this year, and Frederiksted, a historic port town that serves as port of call for cruise ship traffic. St. Croix is increasingly making strides with active locals and visitors. There was the groundbreaking this fall of Cruzan Bikeways, a 14-mile multiuse trail on the island’s east end, while last spring marked the 10th annual Half Ironman Triathalon.

If you prefer to be a little less active, donÂ’t worry; with more than 30 different beaches to choose from, youÂ’ll have plenty of opportunities to relax here, too.

The Essentials: St. Croix

Where to Stay
The Buccaneer, a highly rated family-owned resort, is the oldest on the island. Its spa is newly renovated. 340-712-2100, Carambola Beach Resort and Spa, a Laurance Rockefeller-designed resort, comprises 26 distinctive red-roofed buildings. 340-778-3800,

Where to Eat
Italian café Sale e Miele (Salt & Honey) opened last spring in Christiansted. The limited but fresh menu is scrawled on a blackboard daily. 340-719-0510; 57c Company Street. Eat@CaneBay is a casual beachfront venue with great burgers, a reggae brunch, and “food shots.” 340-718-0360; 110c Cane Bay,

What To Do
In April 2011, check out the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.
The Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute offers tours of Creque Dam Farm, where you’ll taste native fruits and veggies. Only one percent of the Buck Island National Monument is on land; the rest is a protected coral reef. Hire a charter for the trip. 340-773-1460,—Lisa Rogak

Trend Watch
Space-challenged fashionistas all over the world have found a solution to their clothing storage woes, thanks to New York-based company Garde Robe. Imagine passing through the airport with nothing in your hands except a cappuccino and the daily newspaper. Or consider not having to organize your enormous closet each season because your summer clothes are already meticulously arranged, while your winter clothes are stored in a secured 24/7 climate-controlled, air-purified loft. Garde Robe stores, inventories, cleans, delivers, and picks up single items or entire wardrobes, acting as a sort of satellite closet for frequent travelers or for those whose closets resemble small houses. Each wardrobe item is professionally photographed and entered into a secure customized Cyber Closet, an online wardrobe —Anna Perocchi