St. John Update: Lots of Info to Share Today

Hello everyone! We have some good news to share with you all today, and some not-so-good news. Let’s start with the good news…

St. John will “reopen” for tourism on June 1. The island was never really closed, as the Governor has reiterated several times, but accommodations have not been permitted to accept new guests since March 24th. Beginning June 1, hotels, villas, Airbnbs, etc. will once again be able to check in new guests. This applies to the entire US Virgin Islands – St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix. So in a nutshell, you are allowed to visit again starting on June 1 per the Governor.

Restaurants will be permitted to reopen for in-house dining beginning this Tuesday, May 26th. (In-house dining ceased in late March. The restaurants who’ve remained open throughout the pandemic were permitted to offer take out and delivery only.) Beginning Tuesday, restaurants can operate at 50 percent capacity or 50 persons, whichever is less, per order of the Governor. Bars are also permitted to reopen.

Should you choose to visit after June 1, you will not be required to self quarantine per the Governor. There has never been a mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving to the US Virgin Islands per the Governor. It is unclear at this time whether masks will be required. When I asked the Governor directly about this, he stated that it is likely, but that a final decision has yet to be made.

Now on to the not-so good news…

St. John Festival, also referred to as Carnival, has been cancelled per order of the Governor.

Two major airlines – Spirit and United Airlines – are planning to suspend service to and from St. Thomas. The Department of Transportation recently approved a request from both carriers to suspend service to the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. (This is the airport that serves St. John.) Silver Airlines and Seaborne have also requested to drop service to and from St. Thomas. It is unclear when this will begin or how long the suspension will be. (Click here to view the entire list of suspensions.)

American Airlines flies to St. Thomas via Miami daily. Delta has been flying sporadically via Atlanta. JetBlue and Cape Air (a small commuter airline) also offer service to St. Thomas.

But let’s end on a positive note, because we’re all about positivity here at News of St. John! Today is the very last day to enter our raffle. Tickets are just $20, and all proceeds will support the Animal Care Center. You can enter to win a five-night stay at Aquamare at Grande Bay plus $1,000 courtesy of 340 Real Estate Company. Learn more and buy your tickets at www.newsofstjohn.com/raffle

 

 

Explore STJ: Peace Hill

By far, one of my favorite spots on island is Peace Hill. There is something about this spot – a beautiful grassy knoll located between Hawksnest and Denis bays – that just makes me feel at ease, or at peace like the name implies. It’s a place I like to visit early in the morning, when I can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee. It’s also a place I love to bring my island tour guests.

Peace Hill is located on St. John’s North Shore and is roughly a 10 minute ride from Cruz Bay. There is a small parking lot on your left hand side (if coming from Cruz Bay), which is located past the Oppenheimer gate. If you’ve reached Jumbie, you’ve gone too far.

The hike to Peace Hill isn’t actually much of a hike. The trail is just one-tenth of a mile, but it does have a moderate grade. It’s definitely doable in flip flops, but I suggest wearing sneakers due to the loose rock along the trail (particulalry if you feel uneasy on your feet). From the parking lot to the top, it is just a short, five-minute walk.

Continue straight to Peace Hill. The trail to the right goes down to Denis Bay.

When you reach the top of Peace Hill, you will see one of the island’s remaining sugar mill ruins. The sugar mill was actually a windmill which was used during sugar production for the nearby Denis Bay Plantation. Denis Bay beach is to the east of Peace Hill (right if you are looking toward the ocean). There is a small trail that leads down to the beach off of the trail taken up to Peace Hill.

Tip: You can take a beautiful photo of Trunk Bay through the window of the sugar mill.

You will notice a tree toward the center of Peace Hill. If you give it a closer look, you can see the remnants of the Christ of the Caribbean statue that once stood there.

Julius and Cleome Wadsworth purchased Denis Bay in 1939 and used it as a vacation getaway. They subsequently donated a large parcel to the National Park Service with the deed of gift stating, “The grantors have for some year’s maintained the Wadsworth’s Peace Hill as a place where the public is invited to enjoy great beauty and quiet. It is their wish that Wadsworth’s Peace Hill be perpetually dedicated as a place where people might meditate and find inner peace, in the hope that someday this might contribute to world peace.”

Colonel Wadsworth raised the Christ of the Caribbean statue in 1953. The statue stood tall and helped aid passing ships until 1995 when it fell during Hurricane Marilyn. It was never rebuilt.

Image credit: Dean Hulse via See St. John

Now check out the view!

The view over Hawksnest Bay
The view over Denis Bay toward Trunk Bay

So as you can see, it’s a beautiful spot. Be sure to check it out on your next trip to the island. Or better yet, let us take you there! Learn more about our island tours at www.ExploreSTJ.com

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend everyone! And please don’t forget to enter our raffle! It ends tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m. EST. Learn more and enter at www.newsofstjohn.com/raffle

On the Market: Updated Home with Panoramic Water & Sunset Views

The view from Six Palms

I love looking at real estate, and I know many of you do too. Many of us may not be in the position to buy a home on St. John, but it’s still super fun to look! And to those of you who are able to buy, kudos to you! Today, I’d like to tell you about a home that listed for sale earlier this year – Six Palms.

Six Palms is an extensively updated and fully air conditioned, masonry villa. It has five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms, which is split between a three-bedroom main house and a two-bedroom guest house. Six Palms’ private and secluded location off of Pocket Money Lane, high above Cruz Bay, offers panoramic water and sunset views from Vieques (on a clear day) to Lovango (every day).

The main house and guest house each have separate parking areas and separate entryways. This allows them to be rented together or separately. Six Palms also features a dipping pool and sundeck. It features windstorm-resistant windows and sliding glass doors. The home also features tropical hardwood floors and vaulted teak ceilings.

This property is located within walking distance to Cruz Bay, although there is a decent sized hill leading down to town. This is a great opportunity to rent one home and live in the other. Or you could live in both or rent both! Check out a few more pics…

Six Palms is being offered for $1.195 million. For more information, please contact John McCann of 340 Real Estate Co. at john@helloimjohn.com. Owner financing may be available to a qualified buyer with a minimum of 50 percent down.

Want to see all of 340 Real Estate Co.’s offerings? Please click this link to see all of their land, condo and home listings.

Explore STJ: Cinnamon Bay Factory Ruins

The Cinnamon Bay Factory ruins are located on St. John’s North Shore.

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! I know that many of you enjoy exploring the island, and unfortunately you are not able to physically be on St. John right now. So we’re going to continue bringing some of our favorite spots to you virtually. Today’s virtual trip will take you over to a site on St. John’s North Shore that’s rich in history – the Cinnamon Bay Sugar Factory.

The Cinnamon Bay Plantation was one of the most prosperous sugar cane operations on the island, according to the National Park Service. Established by the Danes in 1717, it was one of the earliest sugar plantation settlements on St. John. Its owner, Daniel Jensen, played a pivotal role in the slave rebellion which swept the island in 1733. The uprising shook the Caribbean, and the final stages saw the participation of French and English forces to suppress it. (Source: NPS.gov) Its ruins, located along North Shore Road are expansive and are easily accessible.

The Cinnamon Bay Trail Loop is a half-mile long and take less than 30 minutes to walk. Some of the areas are uneven, and can be slippery when wet, so please watch your footing. Parking is available onsite beside the factory ruins (space for 1-2 vehicles) or across the street at the Cinnamon Bay parking lot (ample parking).

The beginning of the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail

The Cinnamon Bay Factory ruins feature a horse mill where the cane juice was squeezed out using iron rollers. That juice then flowed into a nearby boiling room. The spent cane would be stacked in the “bagasse shed” where it would dry and then be used to fuel fires under a series of boiling kettles. There are some remains of the cauldrons inside the boiling room for you to view. (Source: NPS.gov)

Steps leading to the horse mill at Cinnamon Bay

The entrance to the boiling room at Cinnamon Bay

The Cinnamon Bay Estate Home serves as the home of the plantation’s owners and managers. There were few great houses around the island, as incomes were marginal at best which precluded lavish dwellings. You may recall a recent hike we posted about to the Murphy Great House. That Great House is located above the Annaberg plantation.  (Click here to read all about it.)

The Cinnamon Bay Factory ruins also include slave quarters, two cemeteries and a warehouse.

The sounds of nature are so powerful in this area. We recorded a short clip to share with all of you. Press the play button below to listen.

Want to Explore STJ and see the Cinnamon Bay Factory Ruins yourself? We would love to take you there and to other interesting places! Please visit www.ExploreSTJ.com to learn about our full and half-day island tour offerings.

Business Spotlight: Jolly Dog, a Coral Bay Staple Since 1997

The Jolly Dog is located at the Isola Shoppes in Coral Bay.

We’ve received numerous emails recently asking us which St. John-based stores offer online shopping. Truthfully, the majority do. All you have to do is perform a quick Google search, and you will likely find your favorite St. John store online. But we’re going to save you that Google search today and tell you about one of our favorites… Jolly Dog.

Jolly Dog has been a Coral Bay staple since 1997. It offers a variety of items including clothings, jewelry, souvenirs and more. The Jolly Dog was born in the aftermath of volcanic eruptions on the island of Montserrat. Jeff Donnelly, the owner of Jolly Dog, moved to Montserrat in 1989 and ran a family garment manufacturing, screen printing and retail operation there. In 1995, the long dormant Soufriere Hills volcano rumbled to life and changed everything.

With just four hours notice to evacuate, Jeff grabbed his dog Apollo, a 110-pound Rottweiler/Shepard mix, and all the necessities needed for an ocean voyage. (No airplane would accept Apollo as a passenger.) So Jeff and Apollo set sail and eventually landed in Coral Bay, a place familiar to Jeff as he vacationed on St. John since the 1970s. Jeff arrived on St. John in 1995, just after Hurricane Marilyn devastated the island.

Jeff chose to celebrate Apollo’s ocean journey by creating a t-shirt in his honor. It featured a dog, skull and crossbones -the Jolly Dog. Jeff took that t-shirt design and ran with it. In 1997, he launched his first Jolly Dog store in a space beside the former Shipwreck Landing restaurant. And you guessed it… That t-shirt design made for Apollo became its logo which is still used today.

Nearly 23 years and many Jolly Dogs later, Jeff opened his newest store at Isola Shoppes in Coral Bay. Initially the new spot was meant to be an expansion of his space over at Skinny Legs, but hurricanes Irma and Maria had different plans. So now the Isola Shoppes location is his flagship store. Following its opening, he launched Zemi Island Designs in the space just across the hall.

Jeff has taken the last six weeks of forced closure to revamp his websites, boosting his online store for both Jolly Dog and Zemi Island Designs. You can now purchase nearly everything offered in both stores. And as a thank you to all of his loyal customers, Jeff is offering 20 percent off of everything through the end of the month. For those of you who are on island, Jeff is also offering in-store discounts.

Are you ready to check out the online stores and do some shopping? For Jolly Dog, please visit jollydog.shopsettings.com.
Use code STAYJOLLY20 for 20% off of your subtotal on Jolly Dog online orders over $100. For Zemi Island Designs, please visit zemi.shopsettings.com. Use code MAYDAY20 for 20% your subtotal on Zemi online orders over $100.

A sampling of items offered in Jolly Dog’s online store.
A sampling of items offered in Zemi Island Design’s online store.

If you are able to, please support Jeff and all of your favorite St. John retailers during this unprecedented time.

“We are not alone in this,” Jeff recently wrote to us. “Like so many other St John businesses, we were just about to enjoy a ‘good season’, the first since the devastation wrought by Irma and Maria. We are thankful St. John is such a strong destination with such a loyal following, whom we know will return to St. John’s shores again… once it is deemed safe to do so.”