There is something to be said about life on an island. When you are raised in unapologetic beauty and history, it is easy to take both for granted after a time. In living here for most of my life, I find that there are still places waiting to be discovered and experienced. One of those places is the Carl and Marie Lawaetz Museum in Frederiksted.
I had the chance to go there and visit some other historic places in Frederiksted the other day with the St. Croix Landmarks Society. The only words that came to mind when I first walked onto the property were: Breathtaking, Stunning, Quiet, Love, and Family. That was the energy that is communicated to the person who first walks around that space. The grounds are beautifully tended, with articulated care and love. It is a welcoming space that invites you to be quiet, to disconnect, to be present.
The museum is located on the Western part of the island off of “Mahogany Road”. A road that is lined and naturally decorated with over-sized mahogany trees that shade and shelter would-be travelers, both past and present.
The museum was the home of one of the oldest families on the island The Lawaetz family. Originally from Denmark, the family relocated to St. Croix in 1899. It was at first the site of a sugar plantation, and was later turned into a now defunct cattle ranch for Senepole Beef.
The Senepole cattle is another uniquely Crucian creation. It was bred here on the island by this family by cross-breeding the N’Dama cattle with the Red Poll cattle. These animals are like most everything on this little rock– stunning, mahogany-colored, and beautiful.
My favorite part of the home of course was in the kitchen! As with most homes of that time, the kitchen was kept separate from the rest of the house in order to protect the home from fire.
The people who lived on these islands were industrious and innovative. They did much with very little. The docent shared with us that the reason for the bright blue color was to act as a natural insect repellent for flies! Cooking in a bright blue kitchen had to influence the cheeriness of the food that was created within those walls!
Check out this ancient shopping bag. No paper or plastic, just hand-made local baskets to trek to the market to collect the family’s provisions. Very “Green”!
This picture is of a pan (in the middle) that creates one of my recently discovered favorite treats Aebelskivers– Danish Pancakes!! In Danish Aebelskivers means “Apple Slices”. Aebelskivers are the lightest, roundest, fruit-filled bites of heaven! This pan is worthy of sharing, and possibly venerating. It should be canonized for the joy it brings! If the whole world had a bite of Aebelskivers at the same time, I am convinced that world peace would immediately ensue. It is that good. Recipe to come!
An open window at the museum, invites you to take a trip to the island and peek into its beauty, rich history, food, culture, and diverse people. St. Croix is truly unique and downright amazing to experience!
Are you packing your bags yet?!