about visiting St. Croix

about Longford Hideaway

about travel arrangements

How far of a walk is it to the closest beach?

Our private beach is a very pleasant ten-fifteen minute walk from Longford Hideaway along a private trail that meanders through a pasture. The beach is accessible only to a few local residents, mostly snorkelers and fishermen.

You can definitely swim and snorkel there! Snorkelling at our beach we have seen many beautiful fish, sea turtles, lobsters, octopus, starfish, seahorses… There are beautiful sunrises and sunsets to photograph along our south-facing beach, and lovely seagrape and mangrove trees.

Ha’Penny Beach, just 3 minutes up South Shore Road by car, is also quite lovely for relaxing and swimming, with a more “postcard-like” mile-long stretch of white sand and palm trees.

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Can I go fishing? What about boat rentals?

Bring your tackle! You can line fish right off our beach. Our beach is very popular for bonefish and permit fishing (permit is a type of fish!) amongst people and pelicans alike. We’ve also caught jacks, red snappers, grunts, barracuda, moray eels, wahoo and a variety of other Caribbean reef fish.

Let us know in advance if you would like a guide for fishing – we have a fishing guide living on the premises. Luca is an experienced permit guide, and the price is $120 for three hours of permit fishing, or night fishing on the flats at the edge of the reef.

We have two kayaks for rent, a one-seater and a two-seater. We will drop off and pick up guests and kayak equipment at nearby Great Pond Bay (which has excellent snorkelling!) for a half day, $75 for the two seater and $50 for the single kayak.

Charter boats can take you further out beyond the reefs to catch big game fish. There are also charter sailing tours to snorkelling and scuba diving spots, and daytrips to Buck Island.

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What activities are there on St. Croix?

Our small Island offers:

  • many beautiful beaches with lots of great snorkeling
  • historical points of interest
  • guided nature hikes and bike tours
  • duty-free port shopping
  • Buck Island National Park Monument
  • watersports- scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, fishing charters, etc.
  • golf and tennis
  • horseback riding- lessons and trail and beach rides
  • fine and casual dining in various price ranges
  • fun nightlife- jazz picnics, live reggae bands, dance clubs, taverns

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Where is Longford located on St. Croix?

(How far from the beach and the rest of civilization, restaurants, fishing charters, diving, etc. are you located? What geographical features are you near? Mountains, waterfalls, rain forest, etc…? Are you near town and/or restaurants or more isolated?)

Longford Hideaway is located at Estate Longford on the south shore of St. Croix, about 1/4 of the island’s length from the easternmost tip.

It takes about ten minutes to drive to Longford Hideaway from the airport. The beach is a short walk from the Greathouse and Cottage. Town is a ten-minute drive north from Longford. The movie theater is ten minutes away. Everything on the island is less than an hour’s drive from everything else! We are in a more natural, rural section of St. Croix but you will find that every civilized convenience is easily accessible by car.

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Can I use U. S. dollars on St. Croix?

Yes you can. We are a U. S. territory. Our official language is English and our official currency is the U. S. dollar.

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How many rental units does Longford have?

(Am I correct in assuming that this is a rental house and not a hotel? Is this the only such rental property you operate?)

We only operate two rental units, right here where we live. There will be at most one other guest family and yourself at Longford.

Longford is our home, where we have lived and farmed for several generations. Longford Hideaway consists of two rentals: the Cottage (2-4 adults) and the Greathouse (2-6 adults).

The Greathouse is a vacation villa (approx 2000 sq. ft.) that was the main residence on an old estate. The Greathouse served as our family home for thirty years, and was recently cleared out and renovated to be an historic rental unit with modern conveniences. It is furnished and still contains a few family pieces. We love food, so the Greathouse has a fantastic brand new full size kitchen with pretty tile and mahogany counters. We love the views around our house of the gardens and orchards, the sea and the South shore’s rounded hills, so we built a wraparound covered gallery on three sides of the house to catch the breezes and enjoy watching the hummingbirds.

The Cottage is a small(525 sq. ft.), cozy cottage that sits apart from the main greathouse on an old estate. The Cottage is like an extension of our own home in that we keep it very clean, and we built and furnished it to be a comfortable and cheerful place for family and guests alike. We love to cook, so the Cottage has a wonderful full size kitchen with pretty tile counters. We love the grassy pastures, the sea and the South shore’s rounded hills around our home, so we built shaded decks around and above the Cottage beside the pool to enjoy tropical breezes, views, and outdoor cooking.

Although we have flower beds and fruit trees at Longford, you will not find the overwatered, emerald green lawns and perfectly paved sidewalks of a big name brand resort here. We do strive to keep things tidy, but we are a working farm, not a commercial tourist attraction. Vacationing at Longford is not like staying at a hotel chain. Of course you’ll have privacy, clean linens and all the basic necessities during your stay, but it’s a more personal and unique experience, like staying at the house of a friend.

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I’m looking for a honeymoon getaway.

We’ve had well over a dozen honeymoon and anniversary couples stay at Longford over the years. The last pair that honeymooned here spent two very happy weeks. They rented a car but they barely used it since they spent most of their time swimming in the pool or walking around Longford, either to the beach or the hills.

There would only be two of us renting the Cottage/Guesthouse. So does that mean there would be no other people around?

The Longford Hideaway rentals are near a tiny, quiet cluster of houses in the middle of a cattle ranch. The farm workers (mostly family members) pass by during the day but the gardens are set back from the houses, and the ranch itself is in a very undeveloped section of the South Shore. There are no tourists at Longford so it’s easy to enjoy the quiet and the surrounding hills and pastures.

How private is the private beach?

It’s protected by locked fences, and accessible only to a few local residents, mostly fishermen. You’ll almost never encounter people on our beach, except occasionally at dusk when someone is line fishing.

We would have the pool all to ourselves?

The pool is exclusively for guests during your stay at Longford Hideaway.

How secluded is the Cottage?

The Cottage is very private. It is set back from the main Greathouse and has a shaded porch and some trees growing around for more privacy. The bedroom windows face flowering shrubs, fruit trees, gardens and a scenic pasture to the east with beautiful sunrises.

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We are triathletes!

Welcome to St. Croix, home of “the BEAST” and the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. Our rentals are situated in prime training land. It’s prime because we’re located right on Route 62, part of the Ironman route, in one of the most rural sections of St. Croix. The paved road along the farm is not a main traffic thoroughfare. Traffic is sporadic, with short spurts of activity around 8am and 5pm. Three dirt roads/trails immediately adjacent to Longford also have a very low traffic index. Trails leading to the beach, through the pastures and to hill tops are mostly untravelled except by our placid Senepol cattle.

Our rates dip to the low season starting April 16th, so you’ll enjoy that savings if you are visiting for the Ironman in early May!

Serious athletes will also appreciate the full-size kitchens in the units which can help you to stick to special training diets, as opposed to the unpredictability of eating out. So pack your lucky pasta fork!

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What are the views from the rentals?

Longford is an old estate surrounded by what used to be cultivated fields. Following a few hundred years of indigo and cotton crops, the fields were used for decades upon decades to graze cattle. Today there is a mix of vegetable and flower gardens, fruit and native trees, and livestock. The estate is on a flat plane of land that slowly rises up from the shore line for about 3 miles until it reaches a line of rolling hills.

Besides the Estate buildings, all in a 3 acre area, there are no other buildings. This means that view from the Greathouse, Cottage and its Pool deck is quiet, beautiful farmland and nature. All you’ll see is stretches of grass interrupted by neatly laid out vegetable gardens and an occasional tree. To one side you’ll see undeveloped hills and on the other side is the sea. We’re a short walk to the sea and on most nights you can hear the waves on the reef.

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How do I get around on the island? Is it possible to walk to town?

From Longford Hideaway there is no need of a car to access our beach and the hikes around, but you will need a car or a bike to get to town, stores and restaurants. There is public transportation on the island (VITRAN buses and gypsy/taxi vans), but they don’t regularly service the secluded route where we are.

The closest Market/Grocery is about 7 minutes by car. Christiansted is the closest town to Longford and is about ten minutes over the hills by car. The entire island of St. Croix is 84 square miles, making the most distant points less than an hour’s leisurely drive away.

We suggest renting a car for trips into town and for exploring St. Croix. You could also consider bike rentals. Rental cars are available from the airport as well as in town. Reserve a week in advance.

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Can I bring my kids to Longford?

St. Croix is a wonderful vacation spot for a family, and we think Longford Hideaway is particularly fun for kids. They love our pool, they love the farm setting, and as seasonal farm activities permit, supervised kids and their parents can get an up-close look at livestock, pineapples growing, and other tropical fruit and vegetable crops.

St. Croix in general has lots for kids to do. There are horseback riding lessons on the beach in Frederiksted, and scuba and sailing lessons available on the island, too, both for kids and their parents. There are environmental hikes and kayak tours. One of our favorite family activities is a chartered picnic sailing day to Buck Island National Monument, a tiny deserted island off the North Shore of St. Croix which features a scenic hiking trail and an underwater snorkeling trail with lots of beautiful coral and fish.

We ask that children ALWAYS be supervised by a responsible parent or guardian while on the Longford Hideaway/ARTfarm property during your stay. For your own safety, please ask for guidance from your hosts Valeria and Chicco, or from ARTfarm managers Luca or Christina Gasperi on safe areas to visit on the farm. We want children to explore and learn new things, but please allow us to give you a brief tour upon your arrival and identify potential hazards, off-limit or fragile zones, and suggest appropriate areas to visit, hike, climb, run, dig, explore and enjoy with your kids.

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Can I bring my pets to St. Croix?

We ask that you leave your pets at home. We don’t allow pets in either unit at Longford Hideaway or on the adjoining farm areas. See our rates & policies page for more information. However, upon request you can meet some of our farm animals. We’ve got a few friendly ones!

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When is the best time of year to visit St. Croix?

During the high season, December 15th through Easter, the weather is at its most pleasantly coolest. The air is very clear so colors appear brighter, and, because of the holidays and the highest peak of tourism, more activities, including music festivals, cultural fairs and art shows, are planned throughout St. Croix. For example, New Year’s is a terrific time to visit St. Croix as we have Carnival, Jump-Ups and parades during the holiday season. Our vegetable farm is in its peak tomato season during the holiday months and has a wide variety of fresh produce options.

During the low season months of summer, temperatures are 10 degrees warmer on average, and colors are slightly subdued by the atmospheric phenomenon of Sahara dust brought in by the winds- however, sea activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling are at their peak with calm, warm waters. Special events and activities are also planned throughout the summer, but on a lesser scale. The farm is also quieter during the summer, with less lettuce and more tropical fruits such as mango, guava and soursop.

The quietest times on St. Croix are during the low season, from mid-April through December 14th, but since our rental offerings are small and our beach has very limited access to the public, you won’t notice much difference. Longford is always a very peaceful place and is virtually unaffected by the yearly ebb and flow of tourists!

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What is the weather like on St. Croix?

In the winter months(December through March), you’ll experience balmy temperatures in the high 70’s and mid 80’s. It’s nice and breezy, which keeps the mosquitos to a minimum.

In the summer months(June through September), the weather is slightly hotter and the seas are calmer.

Generally speaking, we have gorgeous blue skies and gentle breezes with excellent cloud watching. If it rains, it’s usually a quick squall that passes within half an hour.

Late summer/early fall is hurricane season. Longford Hideaway has weathered many of them through the years. It is quite an experience, which we found enlightening and humbling but never threatening to our physical safety. We did prepare for each occurrence with sense and respect, without taking unnecessary risks.

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Do you work with travel agents?

We don’t work with any specific travel agents.

The major carrier that flies to St. Croix is American Airlines (800-433-7300). There are often some very good sales on tickets, so call the airline for the best deal or check their website at www.AA.com.

A discount carrier that offers cheap flights (less than $200 in some cases) from major U.S. cities to San Juan is JetBlue (their website at www.jetblue.com). From San Juan, you can fly via American Eagle (a shuttle subsidiary of American Airlines) or for the more adventurous or romantically minded, take a seaplane from San Juan to St. Croix – several reliable local carriers include Cape Air (www.flycapeair.com) and Seaborne Airlines (www.seaborneairlines.com)!

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Can you arrange for a car for us to pick up at the airport?

You can take a taxicab from the airport, but the best thing is to rent a car while you’re at the airport. The ride from the airport is about twenty minutes long and it’s relatively easy. We can send you a map with the highlighted route to facilitate your drive.

We recommend renting a car during your stay.

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How do you accept payment?

We can’t take credit cards. Cash, money orders and personal checks are fine, of course your check must clear before your deposit holds your reservation.

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What do we need to bring besides our clothes and swimming suits?

Just about anything you’ve forgotten you can find on St. Croix. We suggest:

  • A valid driver’s license for car rentals
  • snorkelling gear (rentals are available at dive shops if you don’t have your own)
  • some good sturdy hiking shoes for walking in the pastures and hills (cactus protection)
  • fishing gear
  • old sneakers (for wading out and line fishing on the reef)
  • bug repellent
  • beach towels
  • plenty of sunblock

Do I need a passport or visa to visit St. Croix?

Since St. Croix is a U.S. territory, the requirements for entry are the same as for entry into the U.S. If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need a passport or visa. However, U.S. airlines designate flights to the Caribbean as international and will require you to carry a government issued photo I.D. such as a valid driver’s license. Children who are U.S. citizens travelling without a passport will need to provide a birth certificate. And, if you choose to travel between islands other than St. Thomas and St. John while visiting (for example, a sidetrip to the British Virgin Islands) you’ll need a passport.

U.S. CITIZENS PLEASE NOTE: Since September 11, 2001, with the tightening of airport security and immigration checkpoints, U.S. citizens passing through customs on their way INTO the mainland U.S. FROM territories like the U.S. Virgin Islands have found it measurably easier to enter the U.S. with a VALID PASSPORT for identification. We recommend bringing your passport if you have one, or check with customs about preferred alternate proof of U.S. citizenship to bring for your entry into the U.S. from a U.S. territory.

Where can we find a map of the island and a list of places to see and things to do?

St. Croix This Week is a monthly publication that contains all that you want to know before visiting our island: Places to See, Things to Do, Entertainment and Events, Historical Highlights, and more. It is a free guide (9″x12″) available locally in most stores, and you can preview it online!

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