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    Government HouseGovernment House St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
    The Government House in St. Croix, the US Virgin Islands, is a magnificent example of Danish colonial architecture, that illustrates the grandeur of Danish structures from that period when "sugar was king" in the West Indies region. It is a majestic structure on the lower King Street area, so it is unlikely you can miss it, since it has a long welcoming winding staircase that leads up to the entrance to the structure, with an arch that contains the date of 1830. It is one of the biggest governor's residences in the Lesser Antilles, housing reproductions of the original furniture that had been a gift from the Danish government that took the originals when they left in 1917. The capital of the Danish West Indies in 1871, would be moved to Charlotte Amalie, while the government house would continue as a government building and become the focal point of numerous government cultural and social events. This structure had originally been the home of a Danish merchant, and when it was purchased, it would be merged with another house to create this monstrosity.

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    Lawaetz Family MuseumLawaetz Family Museum St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
    Sitting serenely on the edge of the rainforest, and located in a majestic setting, this old Danish West Indian plantation house and its fabulous gardens have been home to a prominent Danish family for over a century. Just recently, the house and grounds have been opened to the public with excellent tours. The estate is encompassed by lush green gardens and natural agricultural fields, and the majority of it is now part of a museum, with the interior filled with the traditional decor of the early 20th century, and in the same condition as it was when first occupied the descendants ancestors, with the family still running the plantation and keeping it in the pristine condition you'll find it. The Lawaetz family is one of the island's most interesting and intriguing, coming from Danish-Crucian descent, the family is more than happy to tell of their family's history along with this gorgeous island's. As you enter the estate, you'll cross a bridge over the family's former swimming hole, where Kai Lawaetz once swam with his brothers and sisters and their friends. It had been the source of fresh sparkling spring water that led into a creek that runs through the estate, and then onto the standing ruins of a wind powered sugar mill. Another mill is located nearby for animals, with landscaping of beautiful flowers, plants and trees. It all sits on 19 acres of land, with flora ranging from violets to hibiscus hybrids that Kai has created. Kai's father, Carl, bought the estate in 1896, when it was known as the Estate Little La Grange, and began raising crops and cattle on four hundred acres. When Carl bought the estate, it was entirely empty except for a mahogany bureau that had an Indian holding a bow and arrow carved in the wood that dated back to the early 1800s. Just three years later, the estate and many parts of the island would be devastated by a hurricane, with some results still seen on the landscape. In those ruins, visitors can still see photographs, heirlooms and relics.

May 17, 2011