Like anywhere, there a million interesting things about St. Thomas:
-the oldest continuous use synagogue in America is here (Who would’ve thought?)
-the best restaurant we’ve found is Virgilio’s, a hole in the wall Italian joint on a side street surrounded by abandoned buildings owned by a Colombian man named Virgilio. It’s probably the best Italian we’ve ever eaten anywhere… and the chef is a Mexican.*
-the island has the oldest lottery in the US (Again: really?!)
But the very best thing about St. Thomas is how much the people here love kids. I’ve never really been anywhere where people are more interested in kids. We’ve been stopped at least a dozen times in the street by people who ask “How old is the baby?” or “Can I look at her?” Someone actually got out of their car this morning to run up to us and tell us how beautiful Mariel is.
A mom could get accustomed to that kind of treatment, let me tell you.
Tonight, on an insider’s tip, we made our way downtown to “Miracle on Main,” the annual Christmas celebration featuring a parade of boats decorated with lights and Christmas trees; children’s steel drum bands; and other live music performances. I loved that a band that was clearly for adults had three little girls up on the stage dancing. Where was the spotlight and the crowd’s attention? On the kids.
I’ve seen lots of babies and, encouragingly, lots of men with their families. In fact, I saw a number of men wearing their babies in Snuglis. (A mom could get used to *that,* too.)
Mariel even had her first proposal. We happened to meet a couple who attend the synagogue right up the street from our apartment in NYC. “How old’s the baby?” the woman asked. “Three months,” I said. “Our grandson, Ben, is three months old, too. He was born on September 23.” “So was Mariel!” I said. “Would you like to meet Ben?” the lady asked Mariel, pinching her cheeks. Then she looked at me and asked, “Are you Jewish?” “No,” I said, Mariel’s first suitor suddenly less interested in her.
So bottom line? If you’re wondering about family friendly places to travel, add St. Thomas to the list.
*This meal, by the way, wasn’t paid for as part of the #blogparadise trip, so no shill there.