Great Stuff Happening at Gift Hill School This Week


Image courtesy of Gifft Hill School

Hey folks, there’s some great stuff happening over at Gifft Hill School this week. They asked that we share it with all of you, so here it is… :)

Students at Gifft Hill School’s Upper Campus (grades 6-12) have the opportunity twice each year to participate in “mini-mester” sessions, during which they can focus on an area of interest for the length of the session. The spring mini-mester took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Students chose from the following subjects:

Theater (actors, costume & set design, pit band, tech crew)
Candy making
Lionfish Extraction
Metal Work
Caneel Bay Resort internship
Boston/New England Tour
Two Days on St. Thomas

Check out some pics:



Gift Hill’s theater group has been working all week in preparation for their performances this weekend on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The theater production is made possible by Gifft Hill’s partnership with New England Youth Theatre. A group of professionals from NEYT comes to St. John several times each year to work with our students, and the results are amazing. Here are the details:

Gifft Hill Cabaret 2016

Major Price Reduction: Come Live in Paradise

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Happy Friday everyone! Our friend Tammy over at 340 Real Estate Co. asked us to pass along information about a cute Caribbean cottage here on island that just had a HUGE price reduction. It’s a great opportunity for a handy person or a builder. Come live with us in paradise… Here are the details:

This cute Caribbean cottage sits on .58 acres in Carolina and has great views of Coral Bay harbor. The property has a second separate driveway, allowing the potential to build a second home on site. Should you be interested in building the second home, plans are available for a four bedroom, four bath, 3,000-square foot home. This property is sold as is. Its price was just reduced to $398,999 and some owner financing may be available. The owners are extremely motivated and offers are encouraged. 

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listing map


living room kitchen kitchen 2

Interested? Contact Tammy at 340 Real Estate Co. at

On the Market: Gorgeous Waterview Condo in Cruz Bay

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Want to stare at beautiful blue water during the day before watching stunning sunsets at night … all from the comfort of your own home? How about being within walking distance to all of your favorite shops and restaurants like DrinkThe Beach Bar and  Joes Rum Hut? Well you can…

Today we’d like to tell you about a beautiful three bedroom condo right in the heart of Cruz Bay. This three-bedroom unit sits high atop Grande Bay resort. It features granite countertops, ultramodern appliances and hurricane shutters, which is definitely a nice upgrade. Grande Bay Resort amenities include a swimming pool and spa with sun deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, elevator access and reserved, private parking. Grande Bay also features on-property concierge service. Check out some pics:

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This three-bedroom condo is listed for $875,000. Want to learn more? Contact Dan Boudreau at Tropical Properties at (949) 375-1878 or

St. John Festival 2016 Schedule Announced

Image credit: Steve Simonsen

Image credit: Steve Simonsen

Well folks, it’s almost my favorite time of year here on island … Festival! For those of you unfamiliar with Festival, it’s a month-long event that begins each June with steel pan performances and pageants and builds up to the week of July 3rd – Emancipation Day – and the 4th – Independence Day. That final week is when the major parties happen at the village and my personal favorite – the parade.

A Festival Food Sale Food Fair will kick off this year’s events on Sunday, May 21st at 1 p.m. Here’s the rest of the schedule:

  • June 4th: Pan-O-Rama at 4 p.m.
  • June 18th: Bike Race at 8 a.m. and Musical Mix at 8 p.m.
  • June 19th: Princess Pageant at 6 p.m,
  • June 25th: Queen Pageant at 8 p.m.
  • June 26th: Food Fair and Coronation, and Boat Races at 3 p.m.
  • June 28th: Festival Village Opens at 7 p.m.; the Children’s Village opens at 6 p.m.
  • July 3rd: Emancipation Day Program at 1 p.m.; Poker Run at 12 p.m.; and Horse Races (on St. Thomas) at 1 p.m.
  • July 4th: J’ouvert at sunrise; Parade at 11 a.m.; Fireworks at 9 p.m.

I can’t wait!!! Here’s a video we took of last’s year parade:

The Saharan Dust has Arrived

dust caneel hill

For those of you here on island and those of you who’ve been checking out our webcams from the States, you may have noticed that our skies have been a bit grey and almost hazy looking the past several days. Well that’s not haze you’re looking at, it’s actually Saharan Dust and it looks like we have a bit more to come in our future.

It happens every spring and summer. Last year, we noticed the dust the last week of April so it appears to have showed up right on time. What happens is that dust from the Saharan Desert travels west and clouds up the skies over the Virgin islands. It occurs when an increase of warm air causes sand particles to rise above the desert. Those particles are then transported over the Atlantic Ocean and across to the Caribbean. When the dust arrives in the territory, the islands’ typical bright blue skies are replaced by a haze. Visibility is reduced, and the air quality becomes poor.

Here’s a better explanation that Eleanore Gibney gave us last year:

“What we are seeing is the effects of desertification as the Sahara has been spreading south. The fine particles of soil from formerly fertile lands are easily blown off, unlike heavier sand particles. The process accelerated in the past 40 years, prior to that visible dust was never noted in the VI.”

This satellite image shows the amount of dust that’s currently near the Territory:

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Here are a couple of pics we took yesterday:

dust vista dust roundabout

One of the good things about the dust … it can make for some pretty great sunsets. So it’s not all that bad. Want to know more about the dust? Click here to see the latest satellite images showing the Saharan Dust Layer.

Coral Bay Named Top Small Town to Visit in 2016

Image by Steve Simonsen

Image by Steve Simonsen

Wow, the secret really is getting out…

St. John was yet again named one of the best of this best. This time, however, is was Coral Bay that specifically made the list. Smithsonian Magazine just released its 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016 list and our very own Coral Bay made the cut at number 18. Here’s what they had to say:

The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, our top picks this year are all towns close to America’s natural splendors

Known as Saint John’s “other” town (Cruz Bay, with a population of 2,750, is the island’s largest), Coral Bay, located on the southeastern side of the U.S. Virgin Island, has its own quieter appeal, boasting miles of white sand beaches, with crystal clear waters for swimming and snorkeling, local pride, as well as some important historical sites.

To enjoy the clear blue waters of Coral Bay, rent snorkel equipment and watch blue marlin, sailfish and yellowfin tuna swim by. For a great meal and live music, Miss Lucy’s offers a famous crab-cake benedict and regular jazz performances. Avoid the horrors of highway traffic on Thanksigivng and travel to Coral Bay for the holiday; its annual tradition of “Thankspigging,” features a pot luck meal that includes a pig roast hosted by local burger joint Skinny Legs.

Like much of the Caribbean, Saint John has a tragic colonial legacy, and to understand it better, visit the Emmaus Moravian Church. The Estate Carolina plantation, walking distance from Coral Harbor, was the site of a 1733 Slave Revolt, one of the earliest revolts where enslaved workers rose up against their Danish masters. They successfully won control of the island and held it for six months until reinforcements arrived and squashed the rebellion. It would take until 1848 for slavery to be abolished on the island.

The United States purchased Saint John from the Danish West India and Guinea Company in 1917, and Laurance Rockefeller, who was heavily involved in the creation of the Virgin Islands National Park (which takes up two-thirds of Saint John), donated more than 5,000 acres of the island to the National Park Service.

Rockefeller encouraged eco-friendly tourism, and the island delivers on that front. Just ten minutes from downtown Coral Bay, the beautiful and environmentally conscious Concordia Eco-Tents, provide a hospitable place to stay.

Well that was a nice little write up. The only issue though is that this is the pic that they used along with the story. Oh well Smithsonian, better luck next time… :)

Definitely not Coral Bay...

Definitely not Coral Bay…