Westin Celebrating 20 Years; Inviting St. John Residents to “Locals’ Day” Party

Westin Pool

The Westin resort is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and it wants to commemorate this milestone with all of us!

The Westin will hold a “Lovin’ the Locals” day on August 26th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The party will feature food, music, games and activities. I wonder if this means we can all crash the pool that day… 😉

The property is in the process of converting all of its rooms to all-villa accommodations. Once its complete, it will operate 260 one, two and three bedroom villas.

And here’s a random fact: The Westin is the island’s largest employer with more than 300 staff members, half of which have been working at the resort for more than 10 years. Clearly they’re doing something right over there.

Click here to learn more about the Westin St. John.

New Ferry Service to Resume Next Month

Back in May, we told you about a new ferry route that was set to operate between Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas and Cruz Bay. Unfortunately that service was short lived due to some island politics. Well today we are pleased to tell you that this service will resume next month.

Interisland Boat Service will begin ferry service between Crown Bay Marina and Cruz Bay sometime in September, according to a recent Facebook posting. Crown Bay is the closest marina to the airport – roughly a five minute or so drive – so this is great for people traveling to and from the airport. Here is the new schedule that was released back in May:

new ferry route

When St. John Will See the Eclipse

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 6.59.14 PM

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m pretty excited about this eclipse happening Monday. Here are all the details for those of you who are lucky enough to be on St. John…

Here on island, we will only see a partial solar eclipse. There will be approximately 81.74 percent coverage of the sun, according to people who are much smarter than I am.

The partial eclipse will being at 2:14 p.m. The maximum eclipse time – when there will be that 81.74 percent coverage – will happen at 3:36 p.m. The entire event will end at 4:47 p.m. on St. John.

Click here to see an animation that shows exactly what we will see here on St. John.

The Virgin Islands National Park is holding a little viewing party over at the Visitor Center Monday afternoon. They will have 120 pairs of eclipse glasses to give away starting at 2 p.m.

This is the first time we’ve seen a solar eclipse since 1979. Jimmy Carter was president, gas was 86 cents a gallon, and yours truly was born! (Unfortunately I missed that eclipse by a few months, so this will be the first one in my lifetime!)

I assume that Steve Simonsen, our resident photographer extraordinaire, will be photographing this rare event. We’ll share the images should that occur.

In the meantime, please remember to be very careful during the eclipse as it can be harmful to your eyes. And also, please keep your pets inside during this event. We don’t want them to get hurt either.

Have a great one everyone!

Animal Care Center Holding Free Summer Cookout Tonight

dog days summer ACC

The Animal Care Center – one of our favorite organizations here on island – is holding its annual summer cookout tonight. Today also happens to be International Homeless Animals Day. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday than by hanging out with some dogs and cats that are looking for their forever homes.

The cookout goes from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the shelter, which is located in Cruz Bay next to the library. The ACC will be grilling, and drinks will be provided. This is a free event, although donations will be accepted. There will also be a small raffle. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Charlotte Amalie Ferry Service Gets New Location

Charlot

Passengers utilizing ferry service between Cruz Bay and Charlotte Amalie will now arrive and depart from a new location on St. Thomas.

People opting to ferry out of Charlotte Amalie, rather than from Red Hook, will now start or end their trip over at the Edward Wilmoth Blyden Marine Terminal. The marine terminal is located adjacent to the seaplane terminal on the waterfront. The Charlotte Amalie ferry used to operate from the bulkhead on the waterfront.

Prior to the change, the terminal only provided ferry service to the British Virgin Islands.

This is good news for travelers as they will now be sheltered from the weather when boarding or disembarking. There is also a restaurant on site.

The ferry leaves Charlotte Amalie daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. It leaves Cruz Bay at 8:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. daily. The cost is $13 one way ($12 for residents) and travel time is about 40 minutes.

Maho Parking Lot to Close For Repairs

maho bay

For those of you who love Maho as much as I do, you’re going to want to head to your favorite beach much earlier in the upcoming months because parking is about to be at a premium.

The Virgin Island National Park just announced that it will close the large parking lot at the eastern end of the beach from September 5th through November 15th. The plan is to resurface the lot and create travel lanes in and out of the lot, while creating 33 actual parking spaces.

(The lot was originally supposed to close on September 1st. We received a message late Wednesday saying it had been moved to the 5th to accommodate the triathlon.)

If you’ve been over to Maho lately, you know that the lot has large potholes and is frequently quite muddy due to the rains we’ve been receiving. Drivers have also been creating their own versions of parking spots, which can make for some tight maneuvering in the area. So while this may be a bit of a pain in the next few months, the end result should be a great improvement.

Lot of improvements have been happening over at Maho over the last few year, so kudos to the Park on that. Click here to read a story about some improvements that were made back in August 2015.