Celebrity traveler: Tech expert Mario Armstrong recharges in St. Thomas
For vacations, Baltimore native enjoys being able to disconnect
Mario Armstrong with wife Nicole and son Christopher in St. Thomas. (Courtesy of Mario Armstrong, Baltimore Sun / June 29, 2012)
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Just 12 miles long and 3 miles wide, St. Thomas is one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its capital, Charlotte Amalie, has one of the most scenic harbors in the Caribbean. Often called the hub of the Caribbean, the island still possesses much of its raw tropical beauty. For more information, go to visitusvi.com.
From BWI-Marshall Airport, USAir offers connecting flights to Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas starting at about $600 round-trip. Or fly nonstop from Dulles International on United, from about $540 round-trip.
Mario Armstrong's beloved Frenchman's Reef Resort is perched on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean, just 3 miles east of Charlotte Amalie. Outdoor glass elevators transport guests to its secluded beach. Brand new renovations include posh guest rooms, infinity pools and a spa. Rates from $199 per night. Call 340-776-8500 or go to frenchmansreefresort.com.
Floating above the island in a gondola ($21) up to Paradise Point is half of the adventure. Musical entertainment, amid stunning island views, shops and a great bar, await you at the top. Call 340-774-9809 or go to stthomasskyride.com.
St. John's Island is 4 miles east of St. Thomas. Its beaches are considered some of the most picturesque in the Virgin Islands and most of its 19 square miles are protected parkland, but there are plenty of spots to wander in town. Take the ferry from St. Thomas' Red Hook pier to Cruz Bay. The ferry leaves hourly, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and costs about $6 each way. Call 340-776-6282
On a clear day, the observation deck at Mario Armstrong's favorite scenic dining spot, Mountain Top, has telescopes enabling views of neighboring islands. Call 340-774-2400 or go to mountaintopvi.com.
For authentic local fare — salt fish and dumplings, red bean soup — try Gladys' Cafe, Royal Dane Mall. Call 340-774-6604 or go to gladyscafe.com.