Nov. 10, 2008 -- Explore the Virgin Islands with the newest book from Manatee Press, Explore the Virgin Islands. While would-be visitors are the usual audience for most guidebooks, Explore the Virgin Islands is also useful to residents who want to see their sister islands or spend the day looking at their home island through tourist eyes.
Explore the Virgin Islands, now in its seventh edition, covers both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Its cover features a photo of Trunk Bay, St. John.
It's compiled by San Francisco resident Harry S. Pariser, who owns Manatee Press.
"There is no other book like it," he said.
While the book has the requisite listings of hotels and restaurants, its strength for local residents comes in the front of the book. In case you're not up to snuff on those subjects, it includes lots of information on flora, fauna and history. There are some interesting historical photos, including one of then Vice President Richard Nixon visiting St. Thomas in the early 1950s. He's accompanied by Gov. Archie Alexander as they drive in a convertible from the St. Thomas airport.
There's also one of President Harry S. Truman on a 1948 visit. And there's one of Winston Churchill on a 1960 visit aboard Aristotle Onassis's yacht, Christina.
"I got the pictures from the Baa Library," he said, referring to the Enid Baa Library on St. Thomas.
Look for little tidbits throughout the book, including one on how to be an environmentally friendly visitor by turning off the lights and air conditioning when you're not in your room.
And if you're looking for a place to stay on a sister island, Explore the Virgin Islands lists some places that might be under your radar, like Mount Victory Camps on St. Croix.
As for activities, have you thought of bowling at V.I. Christian Ministries on St. Thomas or hiking at Gorda Peak National Park on Virgin Gorda?
Explore the Virgin Islands explains the seasons for deep-sea fishing, provides a glossary of Caribbean cooking and provides a list of public holidays.
Pariser got into the guidebook business after a trip to Singapore, where, by chance, he met up with a book publisher. He first hooked up with Moon Guidebooks and then Hunter Guidebooks, but soon decided to strike out on his own.
"I thought I could write a couple of books and support myself," he said, laughing at how naïve he was.
Manatee Press also publishes guides to Barbados, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.
Visit exploreavirgin.comto order.
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