Maho Bay Food Truck & Tiki Bar Announces Opening Date!

Maho Bay, Feb. 20, 2019

Maho Bay, Feb. 20, 2019

Well folks, love it or hate it, the new food truck and tiki bar at Maho Bay is happening. And we’re all going to get our first taste this weekend.

Maho Crossroads announced yesterday that it will have a soft opening this Saturday, February 23rd. It will open around 10:30 a.m. just after the 8 Tuff Miles race concludes. It is expected to be open until about 4-ish.

Maho Crossroads is a bit controversial simply due to its location. It is located on a private parcel on the east end of Maho Bay which is zoned commercial. Many people do not want to see development of any kind at Maho, but the fact of the matter is several acres in that are are listed for sale and zoned commercial. So unless someone with deep pockets steps in, purchases the land and donates it to the National Park, we can pretty much guarantee that even more development will happen in the area in the future.

What I really like about Maho Crossroads is the way they’ve transformed the space. They removed the dead trees from the area and kept everything that survived the storms. In my opinion, they have worked with the environment in mind and I appreciate that. Now let’s hope that the food is delicious and the drinks are cold!

We wrote about Maho Crossroads last month and posted numerous pics and a video. Click here to check that out.

We plan to stop by Saturday. We will definitely share pics with you all. In the meantime, have a fantastic Thursday everyone!

The tiki bar at Maho Bay Crossroads

The tiki bar at Maho Bay Crossroads

 

The Current State of the Island

Francis Feb 20 2019

Francis Bay, Feb. 20, 2019

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! Today’s post will likely be a rambling one of sorts, so please bear with me! As I sat down this morning to think of what “news” I would share with you all today, I couldn’t help but think about how busy the island currently is. It’s amazing!! So rather than a traditional non-real news, “news” story, I am going to throw my thoughts your way. Enjoy!

Ok, so as I mentioned, the island is super busy! It’s President’s Week, which is school vacation week in many states. Well those folks have flown down here in droves, and it’s so great for the island. It’s so nice to see so many children playing in the water at Maho, Salt Pond, Francis and more!

The restaurants… my goodness, they are so busy! I went to Lime Inn for my anniversary Monday night and it was packed! With a wait! And it’s not just Lime Inn that’s packed… all the restaurants are packed! And not in an annoying way, but in a “yay, you all came back!” kinda way. :)

Now I get so many questions about Wharfside. I am happy to tell you that it’s really coming along. The Beach Bar has been open pretty regularly on the beach where they built a temporary beach bar right on the sand. A stage is permanently set up while construction continues in the main bar, and they have live music several times a week.

And things are happening right next store at Joe’s Rum Hut! Lots of tile has gone in on the waterside of Wharfside, and it appears that the roof that was damaged when Dreamweaver slammed into the building will be completed any day now. That is huge because then they can really start work on the Rum Hut bar below. A new main bar has already been built, so progress is happening. Three dollar you-call-it happy hour soon come…

The North Shore beaches look great as always. The island is a bit dry along North Shore near Cruz Bay, but with the downpour we received overnight last night, I expect that to green up pretty soon. Trunk to Maho is green, green, green!

Speaking of Maho, the new food truck and tiki bar isn’t open yet but it should be very soon.

I stopped at the Coral Bay overlook yesterday, and the view was just stunning. And Coral Bay itself looks very good. The former Island Blues building and the pinkish one beside it still need to be cleaned up, but other than that, the area looks great. On that side of the island, Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis, Wok on the Beach, Aqua Bistro, Pizzabar, Miss Lucy’s, Rhumb Lines (Indigo Grill) and Skinny’s are all open, and they are all hopping.

Coral Bay Feb 20 2019

Coral Bay, Feb. 20, 2019

I drove out to Lameshur last week, and that too looks great. The road was rather bumpy, but it’s always been rather bumpy. If you don’t mind a bit of off roading and your rental company allows it, it’s a nice place to visit.

And as always, the drive out to the East End is one of my favorites. The views out there are simply stunning.

I get lots of emails asking me if the island is ready for visitors and how it’s recovering. The answer quite simply is yes and beautifully. Now put your work aside and start shopping for airfare! We’re waiting for you!

Have a great day everyone. :)

Villa Spotlight: Sunset Cruz

The View from Villa Sunset Cruz

The View from Villa Sunset Cruz

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I know it’s pretty chilly up there, which means your vacation browsing is likely in overdrive! Well today, we’d like to tell you about a great villa that’s available here on St. John. It’s newly renovated, has amazing views and it’s close to town but far enough to be nice and quiet. Intrigued? Want to know more? Then please read on…

Villa Sunset Cruz is located in the exclusive gated community of Virgin Grand Estates, an upscale neighborhood on St. John’s southwest shore. Sunset Cruz sits at an elevation of about 700 feet, so it has breathtaking views of Great Cruz Bay, the Caribbean Sea, St Thomas and the outlying cays off in the distance. Villa Sunset Cruz is the only home on its drive, so you will enjoy privacy and seclusion there. And even better, the west-facing views offer dazzling sunsets year round!

Villa Sunset Cruz Sunset 1

Villa Sunset Cruz Sunset 2

This three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home spans three levels and offers opportunities for outdoor living on each floor. On the first level you will find a poolside bar and tiled pool deck featuring a large saltwater pool, a 1/2 bath and an outdoor shower. On the second level, the large, air conditioned great room with adjacent 1/2 bath opens onto a spacious deck and is the perfect place to gather and entertain. The chef’s kitchen comes equipped with everything you will need to cook all your meals in style with natural stone countertops, custom cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. The laundry room is conveniently located on the main level and all appliances in the villa are brand new. The third level features another bedroom with a private balcony overlooking Great Cruz Bay.

Sunset Cruz

Villa Sunset Cruz Great Room

Villa Sunset Cruz Kitchen

Villa Sunset Cruz Dining Area

All bedrooms have access to outdoor balconies with private sitting areas overlooking Great Cruz Bay and breathtaking sunsets. Two of the bedrooms are located on the second level with a third offered on the private third level.

Villa Sunset Cruz Bedroom 1

Villa Sunset Cruz Bedroom 2

When staying at Villa Sunset Cruz, you get to decide which level offers the best sunbathing, optimal viewing of the brilliant turquoise waters of the Caribbean by day and fiery sunsets by evening.

Villa Sunset Cruz Pool View

Villa Sunset Cruz Pool Bar

Villa Sunset Cruz is just a 10 minute drive from Cruz Bay where you can check out a plethora of shops and great restaurants. Prefer to stay in? Well then you can opt to grill out on the patio and relax in the reclining outdoor chairs.

Rates start at $460 per night and vary depending on season. But here’s the best part… Villa Sunset Cruz is offering a 10 percent discount on all stays in 2019. How amazing is that??!!

Want to know more? Ready to book that trip? Check out www.villasunsetcruz.com for more details.

Saharan Dust Makes Its 2019 Debut

saharan dust rolls in 2019

The view from Casa de Jenn, Feb. 17, 2019

For those of you here on island and those of you who check out our webcams from the states, you may notice a bit of a haze in the sky today and tomorrow. Well that’s not haze you’re looking at, it’s actually Saharan Dust.

It usually happens every spring and summer, but it decided to make its debut a bit early this year. 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. It also becomes very hot, something those of you on island may have also noticed over the past few days.

Here’s a better explanation that Eleanore Gibney gave us back in 2015:

“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.”

The first satellite image shows the amount of dust that’s currently near the Territory. The second shows that it will gone by Wednesday. However there is there is a large swath to our west, so that may come through the territory within the next week.

Today's satellite image of the dust (Feb. 17, 2019)

Today’s satellite image of the dust (Feb. 17, 2019)

Wednesday's forecasted image of the dust (Feb. 20, 2019)

Wednesday’s forecasted image of the dust (Feb. 20, 2019)

You can track the dust layer here.

When the dust arrives, I usually get questions asking how long it arrives. That’s hard to answer other than to say that it comes and goes. Your best bet it to check the forecast using this link. One great thing about the dust is that it makes for great sunsets. So be sure to check out those webcams around 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as sunset is currently at 6:21 p.m. AST (which is one hour ahead of EST).

That’s all we have for you today. “News” you can use! Have a great Sunday everyone!

St. John Arts Festival Begins Today

cruz bay overlook dec 31 2018

A great, weeklong arts festival begins today. Here are the details straight from the event’s organizer (who happens to be my neighbor!)…

Spurring on the recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the St. John Arts Festival is off and running again for its 19th Annual event. The Festival brings to the fore the history, tradition and culture of the indigenous people of St. John in its many forms, including music, dance, arts and crafts. Thanks to the continued support of Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, the USVI Department of Tourism and our many other sponsors.

There has been no better place to show both visitors and residents alike what the culture and tradition of St. Johnians is all about than the “little park” straight off the ferry terminal, forming the first impression that newcomers experience – leaving no doubt that they have “arrived in the Caribbean,” with all of its color and warmth – as advertised.

This year’s Festival program retains the successful format of previous years, starting with a Children’s Day on Saturday, February 16th, when all the energy and exuberance of youth is displayed – including traditional steel pan band music; an “All-Island Children’s Choir”; and children Quadrille dancing. There is also a Children’s Art Show in the storefronts of various empty offices on the second floor of the MarketPlace which continues throughout the following week.

Sunday, February 17th is a lazy day in the shade of the huge mahogany trees, with church choirs and a new “St. John Recovery Choir” echoing the indomitable spirit of the islanders, followed by colorful adult Quadrille dancing with its romantic links to days gone by.

Monday, February 18th – President’s Day – is the highlight of the week-long event, commencing with the music of the island’s number one traditional “scratch band,” originating with hand-made instruments and jaunty songs, as a prelude to a show of colorful dancers and a towering Moko Jumbie, reviving old dances such as the Bamboula from way back in the past and the superstitions of chasing away evil spirits in the trees.

Tuesday, February 19th reaches out to the music and dance from the neighboring Latin-American Caribbean islands. In the evening, in association with the St. John Film Society, there will be a screening of the award-winning documentary film: “Sharkwater Extinction” by film maker Rob Stewart at the St. John School of the Arts, which highlights the currently uncontrolled fishing of sharks to their ultimate extinction.

Wednesday, February 20th – We round-off musical concerts in the park with relatively modern, but definitely Caribbean, reggae music.

Saturday, February 23rd – We have extended the Festival to include a workshop in song writing (ASCAP-sponsored) at the St. John School of the Arts to encourage the composition of new songs for future festivals.

Throughout the Festival, adding to and completing the exclusively Caribbean atmosphere in the park is the ongoing exhibition of hand-made Caribbean arts and crafts, plus food and local-grown fruits and vegetables, with the exhibitors in colorful Caribbean traditional dress.

It’s a little jewel of a show – uniquely St. John! Visitors can’t miss it as they depart the ferry, and they will be left with the memory of the colorful traditions and culture of the people of this island.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it??! I will definitely be stopping by several of the events. I hope to see many of you there!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

And 17 Months Later, She’s Home.

Kekoa, Valentine's Day 2019

Kekoa, Valentine’s Day 2019

Well folks, today’s story is short and sweet. Seventeen months after Kekoa was left battered among the mangroves out in Hurricane Hole, she’s returned to her mooring ball in Cruz Bay.

By now most of you likely know the story. Kekoa was abandoned at sea during a storm while en route to St. Thomas many years back. Her owners, Jamison and Ryan, found her adrift and restored the 50-foot catamaran before bringing her down to St. John. She was one of the island’s most popular and recognizable boats with her signature black sails. Then Irma rolled through.

Kekoa, like many boats, ended up twisted in the Mangroves out at Hurricane Hole. The brothers, with the help of many, removed the vessel from the mangled mess Irma left behind and towed her to Hanson Bay where they spent more than a year tirelessly working to restore her.

And on Thursday, a day that celebrates love, we saw Kekoa out on her morning ball in Cruz Bay. How’s that for a happy ending?

Although she is not perfect yet, Kekoa looks great. The brothers still need to install her signature black sails. The logo and some other odds and ends need to happen too. If all goes as expected, Kekoa will set sail again in mid-March.

With all the divisiveness and discord in this world, I am grateful to be able to share these happy stories with you all on a daily basis, stories that make us smile and give us hope. And with that, I hope you all have a great Friday.

Kekoa on her mooring ball in Cruz Bay, Thursday afternoon

Kekoa on her mooring ball in Cruz Bay, Thursday afternoon