Renée Serino and Garrick Lau were falling for one another, swept up in the dopamine-fueled joy that accompanies new love, when they traveled to the US Virgin Islands together in 2003. The Chicago based couple were vacationing in St Thomas when they took a serendipitous day trip to the neighbouring island of St John.
The majority of St John is designated as Virgin Islands National Park, and it was a match made in heaven for the couple, who prefer spending their time outside among nature. As their love for one another deepened, so, too, did they fall in love with St John.
Nearly nine years after their first brief encounter with the island, the couple had tied the knot and were pregnant with their third child when they finally made their way back to St John. This time, Renée and Garrick were on a mission.
“Garrick kept an eye on the real estate market in St John for investment opportunities and as a distraction from the cold Chicago winter, so when we vacationed there in 2011, we contacted a real estate agent to see some of the properties for sale,” says Renée.
“We didn’t love any of the villas we saw for sale, but there was a parcel of land available and we ended up buying it on that trip.”