Six European nations all once laid claim to St. Croix, which now is a part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. And its two towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted, bear the island's elaborate history in their tiny tapestries of eclectic forts, churches, and historical homes.
The colonial ruins of Christiansted are preserved as a National Historic Site, which was once the epicenter of the Danish West Indies. Alexander Hamilton's mother was famously imprisoned here for adultery. Today, artist studios line the old quarter, and perfected Caribbean fusion fare is dished out in spoonfuls throughout -- don't miss a meal at Savant (4C Hospital St.), sheltered in a vine-draped courtyard.
Quieter Frederiksted is flanked by Victorian architecture, and provides a low-key window into Crucian culture: Parisian-style cafes; roti-toting food trucks; and quelbe, or fungi, music -- the island's signature beats that blend African and European influences.