The Gravel Lot Will Remain Closed for a Bit; Here are Your Parking Options

Gravel Lot Oct 2019

The gravel lot is temporarily closed and is not expected to reopen until December.

Well folks, here is some “news” you can use today…

The gravel lot is currently closed. But don’t worry, it’s just a temporary thing. The lot was closed this past summer because it is being converted to a paid parking lot. Bummer, I know. (We first told you about the government’s plan to convert this lot to paid parking back in 2016. Click here to read that story.)

This closure takes away roughly 180 free parking spots, although several of those spots were taken by abandoned vehicles, as well as police vehicles. Parking is limited as it is in Cruz Bay, so this isn’t a change that we’re super happy with. But it is what it is. So rather than dwell on it, here are your other parking options in Cruz Bay.

There is a small lot next to the Little Olive food truck, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the tennis courts. That’s a free lot.

The lot beside Little Olive

The lot beside Little Olive

Right around the corner is L&L Jeep Rentals. They offer paid parking at their lot.

L&L's lot

L&L’s lot

Down the street a tad and across the street is a newer parking lot behind the old First Bank. This lot is next to Tap & Still and across the street from Woody’s. It is currently closed, although we expect it to reopen later this year when the island gets busier.

Currently closed, but will reopen later this year

Currently closed, but will reopen later this year

Right around the corner from that, across from Wharfside Village, is Slim’s parking lot. Wharfside also offers paid parking. (And sorry, but we do not know anything about the progress at Joe’s Rum Hut.)

Slim's

Slim’s

Wharfside

Wharfside

There are a few free spaces by the custom’s building, which is currently being rebuilt. There are also a few spaces along the waterfront near the taxi area beside the ferry dock.

There are two free lots near the National Park Visitor’s Center. One is right in front of it, and the second is across the street.

Free parking in front of the Visitor's Center

Free parking in front of the Visitor’s Center

Free parking across the street from the Visitor's Center

Free parking across the street from the Visitor’s Center

Lastly, there is a very large paid parking lot in the space where the Lumberyard used to be. (Sorry we forgot to grab a photo of this lot when we were out and about Wednesday.)

Lumberyard pakring - file photo

Lumberyard parking – file photo

Several businesses in town offer parking. The Lime Inn complex is one and Mongoose Junction is another popular spot. You can park behind the National Park Visitor’s Center, but only if you are hiking the Lind Point Trail and receive a pass from the Visitor’s Center. There is also a small stretch along the road that leads behind the Visitor’s Center. That’s free parking too.

There you have it… “News” you can use!

 

There’s a New Beach for Us to Visit; Plus a New Way to Visit Lime Out!

Umbrella Lime Out

Ashville Waterports is now offering kayak and paddle board rentals, so guests can easily visit Lime Out on St. John’s East End.

Well folks, we have great news to share with you all today. A landowner on the East End has opened up his property to the public, so we now have a new beach that we can all enjoy! And even better, he’s renting out kayaks and paddle boards, giving everyone a new way to visit the popular Lime Out floating taco bar!

We were taking guests out to the East End on a News of St. John Island Tour the other day, and were excited to see numerous lounge chairs and umbrellas set up on a skinny stretch of sand just past the Hansen Bay beach property. We chatted with the owner Ash, and he said he is now offering free parking to all guests who would like to enjoy his beach and rent water sports equipment.

The company is called Ashville Watersports and it’s located at Saltwell Bottom beach, which Ash told us is the name of the estate it sits on. Ash offers glass bottom kayaks for $25 an hour and paddle board for just $20 an hour. The paddle to Lime Out is a relatively short one from Ash’s beach. Check out a few pics…

Saltwell Bottom Beach

Fence Saltwell Bottom Beach

Umbrella at Saltwell Bottom Beach

Looks great, doesn’t it??!

As we mentioned above, Ashville Watersports is located on the skinny stretch of roadway on the East End past the Hansen Bay beach property. The ladies over at Hansen Bay beach also rent kayaks and paddle boards. They charge $3 per person to park and $30 for 80 minute rentals for both kayaks and paddle boards.

I’m not sure about all of you, but I love and appreciate how landowners are opening up their properties for all of us to enjoy. Have a great day everyone… Now go and plan your next St. John vacation!

 

Customs Temporarily Closes on St. John

Cruz Bay Cruz Bay

Well folks, we didn’t have the ability to clear into customs on St. John, then we did, and now we don’t again. What a bummer.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced that the St. John port of entry will be closed until further notice. The change went into effect this past Sunday. This means that all boats coming to St. John from the British Virgin Islands will now have to clear back into the United States over on St. Thomas. This does not affect passengers traveling to St. John from St. Thomas on the passenger ferries or the car barges.

Customs closing notice 2019 The St. John port of entry closed this past Sunday.

We reached out to Inter Island Boat Services, the company that operates ferries from Cruz Bay to Jost Van Dyke and Tortola, and they said this change will not affect their operations. Trips will continue as scheduled.

We also reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to get an estimated reopening date. We are still waiting to hear back. This is only a temporary closure. We know that for sure.

The original customs building is currently under construction. Customs had been operating out of a temporary building until the closure this past Sunday.

We will keep you posted on all of this.

The Island is Open & It Looks Amazing & We Want to Show You!

Trunk Bay Sunday morning

Trunk Bay Sunday morning

Hello everyone and happy Monday! As you know, we are at the tail end of low season. Low season, or exclusive season as one of my New of St. John Island Tour guests refers to it, typically runs from late summer to early fall. It coincides with the more traditionally-active part of hurricane season, and it’s a time when many businesses on island close. It’s also a time when many of us who live here travel the world, visiting family and friends, and enjoy vacations of our own.

I recently returned after a nice break in Connecticut, and the island looks great! Many of the businesses that closed for low season as starting to reopen, and the island is so green! My Island Tour schedule is jam packed for the rest of the month, which is so exciting because I love showing you around the island! I had a family from Buffalo, New York yesterday for a land and sea tour and boy, did they get lucky! It was such a beautifully clear day, and the water was so calm! We visited a lot of great spots, and I took some pictures for all of you along the way. They visited the Lime Out – the floating taco bar – and then cruised along the North Shore back to Cruz Bay. How fun does that sound??! Check out a few pics I took…

The Cruz Bay overlook

The Cruz Bay overlook

A beautiful spot overlooking Tortola

A beautiful spot overlooking Tortola

A quick peek into Coral Bay

A quick peek into Coral Bay

Coral Bay

Coral Bay and Normal Island in the distance

Beautiful, right??!

If you’re planning a visit to the island, please consider taking a tour with us. It’s one thing to drive around and see the island yourself, it’s another to have someone tell you exactly what you are seeing at all times, as well as tidbits about island life, and the ins and outs of St. John. Each tour is tailored to our guest’s preferences, so every day is different which makes it even more fun for me! Whether you’re a first time visitor or a seasoned traveler, I promise you that you will see, do and learn something new. Want to know what other tour guests have said? Then please click here to review some of our reviews. 

We can take up to four people per tour – tours are conducted in a new Jeep Wrangler – and we never combine groups. We bring along everything you need for a day at the beach should you choose to beach it during part of your tour, and we bring along plenty of water because its important to stay hydrated down here.

Our full day tours are five hours long and cost $425 per tour. (During these tours, we build in time to stop for lunch, usually in the Coral Bay area.) We offer half day tours too. Our three-hour tour costs $300 per tour. And what’s becoming very popular is our land and sea tour. During this six hour tour, you will spend three hours exploring the island on land with me and then you will spend three hours enjoying life on the water with Flyaway Charters. You can even stop at Lime Out for lunch! The cost of the land and sea tour is $600. Fuel for the boat is additional and typically runs about $50.

If you are interested, want to book or learn more, please email me at jenn@newsofstjohn.com. You can also read more about our tours at www.newsofstjohn.com/islandtour

Have a great day everyone, and happy St. John vacation planning!

 

Day Trippin’ to Oil Nut Bay

Oil Nut Pool Lounge

The marina at Oil Nut Bay

Hello everyone and happy Sunday! I apologize for not writing for a few days, but I was out enjoying the island. On Friday, I was lucky enough to head out on the water with Palm Tree Charters. We visited a new-to-me place in the British Virgin Islands, and I loved it so much that I thought I’d tell you all about it!

It’s called Oil Nut Bay, and it was amazing. Oil Nut Bay is a small resort on the northeast side of Virgin Gorda. It’s a pretty far boat ride from Cruz Bay – I believe it took a good hour or so to get out there – and the water has to be pretty calm to get there because no one wants to get tossed around in a boat for an hour. Thankfully Friday was super flat, so we had an enjoyable ride the entire day!

Oil Nut Map

So apparently there are two parts of Oil Nut Bay – the hotel and the marina. The hotel is reserved for guests only, so we visited the marina. And like I said earlier, it’s didn’t disappoint.

It is beautifully decorated, for starters. There is a large bar area with ample seating. There are tables throughout and also little alcoves with comfy lounge seating. It had a pool that was pretty warm, so it was more like a large hotel tub, and really cool overwater hammocks and daybeds. It even had a nice gift shop with a coffee bar. Check out a few pics…

Oil Nut Bar

Oil Nut Dining

Oil Nut Lounge Area

Oil Nut Dining Area

Oil Nut Pool

Oil Nut Overwater Loungers

Beautiful, right? And even better, the drinks were rather inexpensive. There was a small bar menu too, which was also affordable. Check that out:

NovaMenu_Main_Digital_040119

If you happen to be visiting the Baths on your next trip, perhaps add a stop at Oil Nut Bay to your trip. I promise it won’t disappoint.

That’s all we have for you today, folks. Happy vacation planning! :)

Popular Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel Expands

Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel

The Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel has expanded.

Today we’d like to tell you about another great thing happening on St. John… The Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel recently completed a renovation and expansion, and the place looks great!

For those of you unfamiliar with the hotel, it’s located right in the heart of Cruz Bay, across the street from Lime Inn and De’ Coal Pot. The hotel is about to celebrate its 10th season, and it’s run by two good friends of ours, Dave Guidi and Denise Walker.

Dave and Denise recently completed a ground floor hotel lobby, which was built in the old Sogo’s restaurant space. They also added four guest rooms, which brings the number of rooms available to 14 plus one penthouse suite. One of the hotel’s nice features is its expansive second floor balcony. It’s a common space and a great place to start or end your day on island. Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel also offers guests a continental breakfast that includes coffee, juices, muffins, pastries, fresh fruit and more. They also provide beach chairs, beach towels, coolers and ice for all of its guests. It’s a great, affordable, full service hotel with a top-notch location for those of you who want to be in the center of it all.

The hotel's new lobby

The hotel’s new lobby

“Perhaps the best thing about staying with us is our location,” Dave recently told us, “just a one minute walk from the ferry dock and ‘stumbling distance’ to all that Cruz Bay has to offer, so no need to rent a vehicle thus saving a lot of money.”

“If guests do wish to rent a vehicle,” he continued, “Conrad Sutton and Delbert Hill are right next door and guests can park for free in their lots, making parking very convenient.”

Dave and Jerry’s Steakhouse will soon open on the ground floor of the hotel adjacent to the lobby. This will definitely be a nice addition for guests who can simply walk downstairs for a great meal.

Room rates at the Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel start at $210 a night and vary depending on season. The Penthouse Suite starts at $300 a night. For more information, please visit its website at www.hotelcruzbay.com. You can also call (340) 642-1702.

That’s all we have for you today, folks! Happy vacation planning!