As of 1780, the Annaberg Sugar Plantation was one of 25 active sugar producing factories on St. John. One of the biggest plantations on St John, Annaberg also produced molasses and rum for export. Slave labor was used to clear densely forested hillsides and to terrace the slopes around Annaberg to make farming possible. Slave labor was also used to plant, harvest and process the sugarcane. When slavery was abolished, the 518 acres that were once Annaberg Plantation were divided into smaller farms.Today the plantation ruins are protected by the Virgin Islands National Park. The extensive ruins include a windmill tower, factory, slave quarters and other structures associated with sugar production. Trees have reclaimed the hillsides which were once used for growing cane around Annaberg. A trail leads through factory ruins, slave quarters, windmill and other remains. Placards and signs along the trails describe how sugar was produced and discuss plantation life and the history behind sugar plantations on St. John.
Because the trail is in the Virgin Islands National Park, park rangers lead hikes, providing interesting information about the flora and fauna and history. Visit Friends of Virgin Islands National Park for information about taking a guided hike.
As part of the Reef Bay Trail hike, you will encounter a group of Taino petroglyph carvings. Some of the carvings are located above a reflection pool of water and were thought to be the symbols for "water". There is no exact way to confirm they are authentic Taíno carvings but the most popular theory is that they are from pre-Columbian inhabitants. The petroglyph symbol has come to be widely used in jewelry and other articles as the “symbol” of St. John.
- Great restaurants (Sun Dog Café, Deli Grotto, St John Brewery, Greengo’s, Scoops)
- Live music and performances several nights a week at the Sun Dog Café
- The Bajo el Sol Performance Bar for treats, special art, and cultural presentations.
- Numerous shops for those wanting something very special (island jewelry), something fun (t-shirts galore), souvenirs, clothes, elegant housewares
- And more!