As if Cinnamon Bay isn’t already the perfect beach destination on St. John (convenience store, restaurant, bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables), it’s also a great place to learn a few things about history. The Cinnamon Bay Archeological Museum, located on the shoreline, is now open! At this incredible historical site, pottery and other cultural items have been found that date back to 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Recent discoveries have actually changed the history books, as many believed the Carib Indians resided on St. John before Columbus arrived, when in fact, it was the Classic Taino. Taino were excellent farmers and fisherman, as well as artists, leaving behind pottery and other relics now on display at the museum. Taino are credited with introducing Europeans to tobacco, the hammock, pineapples, and other native fruits and vegetables. Even the words tobacco, hammock, and hurricane are Taino.
The history of St. John is diverse and chaotic. Learn more about the lives of early settlers and how the area eventually became part of the National Park in 1957 at the Archeological Museum at Cinnamon Bay.
While you’re filling your brain, why not expand your mind and take a snorkel around the small island about 75 yards off shore. If sunning is more your thing, take a left when you hit the water line and keep going for about 100 yards through what will not feel like an obvious path, but will feel like an obvious destination when you get there: Little Cinnamon Bay. Few will travel here, so privacy is almost assured. Fill up your hungry bellies after an exciting day of exploring at the Tree Lizard Restaurant, where you can dine al fresco and enjoy a cool, tropical beverage. If energy remains, walk across North Shore road to the Cinnamon Bay walking trail, through more historical ruins. Enjoy a full day at Cinnamon Bay!
Tucked high in the hill of the Contant area of Cruz Bay is a relatively unknown spot to most visitors to St. John Island, but one with great historical significance. Born in 1902, the Ivan Jadan Museum tells the fascinating life story of the greatest Russian tenor of the 20th century.
In 1941 Jadan was 36 and fled Russia to escape Stalin. His singing career and resulting travels put Jadan in influential circles, eventually leading him on a serendipitous path to a relatively unknown Caribbean island in 1955. Jadan thrived on St. John island with his devoted wife Doris by his side, using trade skills he learned during his younger days to survive. For the next forty years Jadan sang only for friends and local churches, where the fortunate few could hear his passionate interpretations of the Russian classics. For more information, phone the Ivan Jadan museum at (340) 776-6423, or visit the Ivan Jadan Museum website at http://www.ijadan.vi/