You can climb to the top of Trygborg, or Blackbeard’s Castle, and tour four old West Indian town houses on a walking tour offered by Blackbeard’s Castle (340/776-1234, www.blackbeardscastle.com, $12), although you will find this attraction shuttered on days when there is no cruise ship in town. You can join an organized tour, leaving between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., or take your own self-guided tour anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Call the day before to confirm the departure time if you want to join the guided tour.
Stops include Villa Notman, built in 1860 by Scottish engineer James Notman; Britannia House, the onetime home of the British consul to the Danish West Indies; Haagensen House, an 1827 home built for the Danish banker Hans Haagensen; and Hotel 1829 on Government Hill. You also get a cold drink about halfway through the tour. Each of the historic homes has been furnished with period furniture and decor. If you take the self-guided tour, curators are on hand at Haagensen House and Britannia House to answer your questions.
While you can enter Hotel 1829 without paying for the $12 tour, a tour ticket is required to view the other homes and buildings. If you’re interested in history, or just want a chance to savor Charlotte Amalie’s style and charm, this is a good thing to do. Take the self-guided tour to avoid being part of a crowd and to move at your own pace; the guides know their script but little else—the curators are more knowledgeable.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition