With temperatures dropping, the holidays looming, and neither of us having had a real vacation in more than a year, my husband and I decided to take a week-long jaunt to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although we didn't intend to be quite so off-the-grid (my apologies for the week without a post!), it was really nice to unplug and slow down. The highlight of of trip was, easily, our stay at Concordia Eco Resort on Saint John.
We opted for the eco-tents, and were pleasantly surprised to find that we'd been upgraded to the newer "premium" tents, which were built higher up on the windier side of hill. Concordia's layout is similar to Aqua Wellness Resort in Nicaragua, in that each unit is built into the natural landscape and all walkways are raised, so as not to disturb the delicate eco-system beneath our feet. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to properly write up and share the amazing eco-ness that is Aqua, but for now, we'll stick to my most recent sustainable sojourn.
Each morning and evening, I stood (or sat, or generally lounged) on our balcony and looked out at this unbelievable, unobstructed view of the southeastern edge of Saint John. There's a rocky beach to the left, and just over to the right is the calm, crystal clear Salt Pond Bay, accessible via a 15 minute walk through a nature trail (or a quick drive, if preferred).
This stunning view is what you're paying for in Concordia's nightly rates, which might at first seem a little high for "eco tents," but I have to say our stay was worth every single penny.
None of the eco-tents are air-conditioned, but as you can see, A/C was not necessary with the powerful winds that crossed from the rockier side of the island, only to be tamed by our little hill before they reached the calm waters of the Bay.
Each "tent" is really a small wooden cabin with a tented roof and zip-down, screened windows that give a near-panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. There's a gas stove, refrigerator, cookware, ample lighting, and a separate (private) bathroom with a solar-heated shower. In fact, each unit is powered by solar panels that sit just under the balcony (ours are shown below).
Beaches are my jam, so our first stop was Salt Pond Bay, which has excellent snorkeling and crystal clear water (as do pretty much all of the beaches and bays on Saint John, to be fair). The nature trail from the Concordia property was easy enough in flip-flops and takes you past some old ruins and ginormous cactus plants, which dot all parts of the island.
From the beach, there are further trails that take you past the local flora and fauna and out to yet another stunning, panoramic view of Saint John.
On the way back down from our hike (along the Ram's Head Trail), we caught a glimpse of Concordia and Salt Pond Bay from afar.
*Please pardon my attire-- I go full-on Katie Perry/Beyoncé on vacation, and prefer not to wear pants unless absolutely, 100% necessary. Pants were not necessary for this hike. In my opinion.
I couldn't have wished for a better retreat from the hustle, bustle, and freezing rain/sleet/snow of DC in December. Nor, for that matter, could I have wished for a better dinner/beach cover-up/all-purpose vacay dress than this 100% organic cotton chambray number from eco-friendly label Amour Vert to wear while I lazed around the eco-resort.Just as an FYI, the dress I'm wearing is now deeply discounted to $52. Just sayin.
But seriously, you guys: THAT VIEW.
Photography throughout by Rachel Mlinarchik and her obliging husband.
WEARING: 100% organic cotton chambray shirt dress by Amour Vert (made in the USA)
Tarte Glamazon Lipstick in Fierce
Pikolinos sandals, which were beaded under fair trade conditions and made in Spain
My favorite Mango Tree fitted bangle, made from sustainably grown mango tree wood.
*UPDATE: Take 20% off of all Amour Vert clothing at Modavanti from now (12/19) through Sunday (12/22/) with code AMOUR
Get the look (fairly):