"Cottages by the Sea", St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

A family-owned Caribbean Hotel, on the beautiful island of St. Croix, the largest of the 3 Virgin Islands, United States Territories.

My Grandfather, Harold J. Benedict came to the island of St. Croix from Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1920's. He was hired to work for the St Croix educational system at the request of his future father-in-law, Robert L. Merwin, a local businessman. Mr. Merwin, had himself traveled from the United States to the island of St Croix in the 1870’s.

Not long after his arrival on St Croix, Harold, or “Benny” as most people referred to him, met and married Genevieve Merwin, the daughter of Robert L. Merwin and his wife, Harriet Armstrong Merwin. She was the daughter of the prominent Armstrong family, who still own "The Buccaneer" Hotel on the east side of the island.

Soon after their marriage on July 3, 1923, Harold and Genevieve (Ben and Gen), moved to Christiansted, where Harold was employed as Principal of the Christiansted High School for 19 years. As their family grew, Harold and Genevieve purchased " Hannah's Rest Great House and Estate" a Plantation on Centerline Road near Frederiksted. This is where they raised their family of four children, Harold Jr., Robert L., Patricia and Thomas (Hal, Bob, Pat and Tommy) until 1944.

In 1943, Harold Benedict purchased five acres of undeveloped beach land from a Danish man, who then owned much of the Smithfield Estate, just south of downtown Frederiksted. Having lived on the island for most of their lives, Genevieve and Harold knew that the beach they had just purchased was the best on the island. Harold only had one leg as a result of World War I, and could only swim on this beach since there were few rocks and calm waters. He and my father (Tommy) slowly began building Cottages. Today, there are 22 of them, each with a "Caribbean" type name.

My mother, Carol, was on the island in 1958, running an orphanage called, "The Queen Louise Home". One day, she took her 28 kids down to my Grandparent's beach to swim. My Grandmother saw her, and decided to invite her to my father's upcoming birthday party:0) They met, fell in love, and married at the local Lutheran Church.

Still living on the property today, my Dad enjoys the warm climate and visiting guests, as my brother, Paul, manages the hotel.

More of the "Cottages" history and information can be found on the website: www.caribbeancottages.com.