Good morning, good morning! St. John boasts some of the the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. If you have missed sunset viewing from Peace Hill, let me show you what you can witness while on the rock at sunset! Not only do you have a showcase of the sun dipping into clouds or behind St. Thomas, you’ve got views on each side of spectacular North Shore beaches and beyond. Be prepared to be mezmerized by the waters all around you as the colors follow the hues of the sun.
Peace Hill is one of the easiest sugar mill ruins to reach on St. John. From the parking lot on North Shore Road (just past Oppenheimer/Gibney), there’s a quick little trail that brings you up the hill and takes you back to hundreds of years ago. The trail itself is a little rocky at parts…That being said, I’ve walked it many times in flip flops! But I’m sure the responsible thing would be to wear some nice supportive shoes 🙂
Mostly anyone can hike this trail though; and boy is it worth it! After a few short minutes (less than ten) you will come up to the windmill ruins, a gnarly and magical tree, a grassy plateau, and incredible views all around. One time I even stumbled upon a pretty large Billy goat grazing on some grass. Talk about dinner with a view;)
Peace Hill used to be a plantation called Dennis Bay that was established in 1718. The windmill you can still see standing today was used for wind power for the sugar production.
In the 1900’s, Colonel Wadsworth, an advocate for world peace, purchased this land that was once a plantation. Given the history of sugar plantations and their ties with slavery, it does seem a pretty stark contrast of an idea. To bring the idea of Peace somewhere where peace was hopeless, feels healing in some ways. At least I hope for that.
Colonel Wadsworth also had a statue of Christ built next to the windmill to be a symbol of this peace in 1953. It was large enough to be used as a navigational tool in its time. The statue of “The Christ of the Caribbean” fell in 1995 with Hurricane Marilyn.
In 1975, the Colonel donated the land to the Virgin Islands National Park, who still maintains it today. He asked that the land would be named Peace Hill, in an effort to spread his dream of world peace. I love the extra effort found on this plague to address the hope for “Inner and Outer Peace.” Because much of it does start from within, doesn’t it?
I come here often to reflect on life and fill up my cup with gratitude. I think there’s something powerful to be said about Peace Hill’s energy due to its history and the intension set on it afterwards. I hope it can be felt by anyone who comes here to reflect and respect the gift of the beauty that surrounds.
Peace Hill ha, in recent years, been used for weddings, star gazing, full moon drumming sessions and much more. It’s a space for the community to gather and remember to slow down and put life in perspective when things feel crazy.
As the sun hides beneath our view, another day winds down and reminds us to get some rest. Cycles are found everywhere in nature, reminding us that a fresh start can begin at each next moment. Peace is always possible, inside us especially if it’s hard to see outside of us. If you need this reminder, find yourself at Peace Hill for sunset…Or find yourself anywhere that gives you the reminders that Peace Hill offers so graciously for us.
Sometimes around this time of year, reminders of peace are helpful. Happy Holidays you beautiful humans! Peace to all 🙂