5/59 – Virgin Islands National Park | 5.11.14

I’ve said (mostly to myself) for years that if my future husband really knew me, he’d propose in a national park. Luckily for me, I snagged myself a guy who figured it out on his own… mostly. We had been talking about getting married for a while and the subject of rings came up (not the first time, but the first serious time). I had no idea what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want some fancy sparkle-fest. That’s just not my jam. I knew I wanted some sort of physical manifestation of our engagement, but I had no clue what I wanted beyond that. So Brady, sort of tentatively, suggested “what if we take the money I would’ve spent on a ring and go get engaged somewhere really cool instead?” I thought it was probably one of the most brilliant plans I’d ever heard. I’ve always thought it’s a tiny bit unfair that men have to shell out big bucks for something that’s just for her, and that has no real value (more the latter, honestly, yeah, I said it), so the idea of celebrating our engagement on a fun vacation together with wonderful memories was far more appealing to me. So, we went to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and played it off like it was my birthday trip- my birthday is the 9th.

The entire time we were planning the trip we were certain that we were going to go to St John and the national park, but we didn’t really have the resources to spend the night there, so we knew we’d only have about a full day there. I definitely want to go back when we can go and just camp in the park; St Thomas was pretty terrible and I wish we could have spent the entire time in the park instead.

Unfortunately for us, it rained for the entirety of our trip. And when I say rain, I mean TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. I’ve honestly never experienced anything like it. But we picked the day that looked like the best weather and headed across the little channel to St John on the car barge.

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At the Visitor Center I discovered something I can’t believe I’d never heard of before – the National Parks Passport! It’s seriously one of the coolest things and I’m thrilled we got it when we did. I’m just sad it took us so long!

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It’s a little hammered now, but it’s been through a lot.

VI Stamp

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After a little exploring, we headed to the beach to snorkel!

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I want to go back when it’s sunny!!

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The sand on that beach was outrageously soft. It was amazing!

After snorkeling, Brady wanted to go check out the ruins of the old Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

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As per usual, while we were exploring the heavens opened up and started dumping gallons and gallons of water on our heads. I’m not joking. I’ve been less wet in swimming pools.
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Nature is so resilient and cool.

And then this happened!

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I was stressing out about how much it was raining, and kept wanting to run back to the car, and he was struggling to sneakily get the ring out of his pocket. So finally I went to make a run for it and he grabbed my hand and I turned around to see him down on one knee. I kind of freaked out, I won’t lie. It was a pretty surreal moment. But it was still completely pouring (even though we were sheltered under the little alcove you can see directly to the left of my head) so we finally made a dash to the car to do some driving around the island. We had planned to go do a hike, and we would have if we’d been better prepared for the rain, but we were just too wet and I was getting cold. I know. I’m a wuss. But we knew we’d come back, and with better weather!

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We saw this cute li’l gal and her baby while we drove around the island. She was totally unafraid of us.
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And no, I’m not driving on the wrong side of the road just because of the cute creature. They drive on the left in the USVI. It was less weird than I expected. Right turns were the strangest.

Even with all of the crazy weather and other snafus of the trip, it was an incredible experience and a story we will be telling our grandchildren. Plus we know the exact spot where Brady proposed, so we can go back and show our children! Pretty special, if you ask me.

Our Virgin Islands National Park “Must Do”:

Snorkeling for sure, but especially at Trunk Bay! The sand at the beach is outrageously soft, and there’s a lot to see along the whole coastline. There’s even a snorkel trail to follow!

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