Flotilla Happening This Weekend

Coral Bay Overlook July 6 2019

The Coral Bay Yacht Club is holding its first post-Irma flotilla this weekend, and you are all invited to attend!

The 22nd Almost Annual Flotilla will take place this Saturday, July 13th, in Johnson’s Bay from noon to 4 p.m. The entry fee is $20 and includes the opportunity to win a free half-day boat trip over to Lime Out. Students can enter for free. Proceeds will benefit the Coral Bay Fire Station, the KATS program (Kids and the Sea), as well as Coral Bay education.

The event will feature a cash bar, lunch and live music. There will also be free, supervised dinghy sails provided by KATS.

For more information, please check out the event’s Facebook page.

Cooling Down: The Scoop on A/C Spots

The hillsides look green and gorgeous, but it's hot, hot, hot!

The hillsides look green and gorgeous, but it’s hot, hot, hot!

Recently a tour guest asked me what my least favorite part of living on St. John was. And without hesitation and a quick chuckle, I said the summer heat. Folks, let me tell you… it’s hot, hot, hot right now! And yes, I understand it may sound silly that a girl who decided to move to a Caribbean island is saying the heat is no fun in the summer. And truth be told, I do love the sun and the heat. But when the temps consistently hit the mid 90s, it would definitely be nice to have a cool reprieve. And I’m sure many of you who are visiting the island feel the same way. :) So today, we’re going to tell you about a few bars & restaurants on St. John where you can cool off when visiting the island.

For those of you visiting Cruz Bay, The Tap Room over at Mongoose Junction is fully air conditioned. It opens daily at 11 a.m. and serves lunch and dinner (the same menu for both). They have numerous beers on tap, and quite good pub food. The Tap Room is located on the second floor of Mongoose Junction.

Looking for some local fare? Also located in Cruz Bay is De’ Coal Pot. This restaurant is located across from the Cruz Bay Hotel and beside The Lime Inn. It serves traditional Caribbean cuisine like roti, oxtail stew, mutton and more. De’ Coal Pot has an intimate bar and full dining room.

Perhaps you want to indulge in a nice glass of wine and some charcuterie. Well the Island Cork over at Wharfside Village is the place to be. This wine shop offers retail throughout the day, and its bar opens to guests at 4 p.m. You can order a glass of wine from one of several daily selections, or choose a bottle from the wall and have Paul, the owner of Island Cork, uncork it for you.

How about a nice Italian meal? Cafe Roma, located in the center of Cruz Bay above The Longboard, is fully air conditioned. The restaurant has a large bar and full dining room.

Craving Mexican instead? Margarita Phil’s has an air conditioned dining room and bar area. It’s located near Morgan’s Mango and across the street from the small parking lot at the National Park dock.

Looking for a good pizza? Ronnie’s is fully air conditioned!

Dog House Pub, located across the street from The Longboard and Cafe Roma, has air conditioning on the first floor. And right around the corner is Extra Virgin Bistro, which is air conditioned, yet somewhat open air. Another fine dining spot is The Terrace, located across from Cruz Bay beach. It has an air conditioned interior dining room, but it is also somewhat open air much like EVB.

Moving back over to Mongoose Junction, Greengo’s also has A/C.

Now let’s cruise across the island to Coral Bay. I cannot think of any restaurants that currently offer air conditioning. The Danforth is a restaurant opening soon, and it will have an air conditioned interior dining room and bar. We will keep you posted on that.

If I happened to miss any spots, please let me know and I will add it to today’s post! Thanks all and stay cool!

US Virgin Islands: Ranked Best Beaches in the Caribbean!

Hawksnest bay, July 2019

Hawksnest Bay, July 2019

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I was lucky enough to spend time at Maho Bay on Saturday with a family from Baltimore during a News of St. John island tour, and we all commented how great the island looks, particularly the beaches and the landscape. The waters off St. John are dazzling shades of blues, the sand on many of our beaches is bright white and the hillsides are beautiful shades of green. The island simply looks great!

I often tell you all that St. John is the best island in the Caribbean. The way St. John has bounced back over the past 22 months is awe-inspiring, both in nature and its people. But despite this, I still receive emails and Facebook messages asking if St. John is ready for visitors. Well the answer is overwhelmingly yes!

Well now you don’t just have to take my word for it… US News & World Report just released its rankings of the best beaches in the Caribbean and do you know who is number one?? That’s right, the US Virgin Islands! Woo hoo! Here’s what they had to say about the rankings:

You visit Canada for undisturbed nature and friendly locals, and Europe for its history and rich cuisine. But you travel to the Caribbean for the beaches. The region is synonymous with incredible scenery, including idyllic islands, reefs and cays. But with so much variety, it can be difficult to pick which sandy strip to visit first. To help you choose, U.S. News – with the help of reader votes and expert opinions – ranked the best Caribbean beaches. These destinations feature the sugary sands and turquoise waves that have earned the region its outstanding reputation. Cast your vote below and help us rank next year’s best destinations.

And here’s what they had to say about the US Virgin Islands:

The U.S. Virgin Islands are “America’s Caribbean Paradise” — the place to see moko jumbies dance at a Carnival parade, hear the lilting patois of a Creole dialect or smell the spices in a saltfish pate (all without losing cell phone reception). You can visit either St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix, or better yet, spend a little time on all three islands. That way you’ll get plenty of pampering, undisturbed nature and colonial history jammed into one vacation. And bonus: you can pay for everything with U.S. dollars. 

Each island offers something different. Called “Rock City” for its hilly, craggy horizon, St. Thomas is known for luxury — from the mega-yachts moored in the harbor to the high-end storefronts along Main Street. Located a short ferry-ride east, St. John appeals to honeymooners and nature lovers, with more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland plus surrounding pristine beaches. Way down south in the Caribbean Sea, less-visited St. Croix has sugar cane plantations and rum distilleries that offer a glimpse into both the past and the present of the Virgin Islands.

Trunk Bay, July 2019

Trunk Bay, July 2019

I know it’s summer, and many of you are enjoying warm temps and beautiful scenery where you live. Well, it’s never too early to look ahead to the fall and winter months and start planning that vacation! St. John looks amazing and we’re ready for ya! Now go ahead, look for airfare. Check out our sponsors and perhaps book a villa, boat trip or even an island tour with me! (You can learn more at www.newsofstjohn.com/islandtour.) It’s never too soon to plan your next vacation, and I hope that vacation brings you here!

That’s all we have for you today, folks. Have a great Monday!

Coral Bay Restaurant Set to Close

Pickles July 6 2019

Pickles in Paradise, July 6, 2019

Well folks, we have sad news to share with you all today. Pickles in Paradise, one of our favorite restaurants in Coral Bay, has announced its plans to close. Pickles last day will be this Saturday, July 13th. This is the third restaurant on St. John to close over the past month.

Pickles is a great little sandwich shop located just beyond the famous Coral Bay sign. Beverly Melius opened the small restaurant – known for its Open Mic Night each Thursday – several years back. She listed it for sale back in 2017, but was unable to find a buyer before the storms. A local couple ran the restaurant for several months in 2018 before Beverly resumed operations back in November.

Beverly sent us the following note yesterday, announcing its impending closure.

Pickles Letter

(Click to enlarge)

As we mentioned above, Pickles is the third restaurant to close in the past month. Both Da Livio and Lucky Chops closed in Cruz Bay last month.

We are truly going to miss Beverly and her delicious food. And I thank her for participating in our St. Johnopoly game earlier this year.

The Meaning Behind St. John’s 4th of July Festivities

Freedom statue in Cruz Bay park - Image credit: Steve Simonsen

Freedom statue in Cruz Bay park – Image credit: Steve Simonsen

Fourth of July is a major holiday in the United States, and it caps off more than a month of festivities here on St. John. But the reason the day is celebrated here on St. John is much different than why it is celebrated up in the States.

David Whitney Knight Sr. is one of the island’s historians. He often shares tidbits and images about the island’s history over on his Facebook page. In July 2018, he shared why the island’s Fourth of July festival is so important to the island and its history. We decided to share it again this year.

From Mr. Knight:

This is why Cruz Bay’s July 4th Festival is so significant to the history and people of St. John.

Emancipation was first proclaimed on St. John at Cruz Bay on July 4, 1848

Early on Tuesday morning July 4, the government schooner Vigilant sailed into St. Thomas harbor carrying news of the pronouncement of Emancipation on St. Croix. Later that afternoon the owner of the Lamesure plantation on St. John, Captain Ingjald Mourier, arrived at Cruz Bay bringing word of the decree. After hastily informing the Police Master, Judge Carl Hanshell, of the news, Mourier and Hanshell set out on horseback to inform the people in the countryside. Just after sunset, enslaved individuals on the Cruz Bay Quarter estates of Adrian and Rustenburg were the first to learn of their newly achieved freedom.

According to the last pre-Emancipation census carried out in the Danish West Indies, the town of Cruz Bay had fifteen occupied households with a total population of 117 inhabitants: ninety-four free persons, and twenty-three unfree.

The enslaved Inhabitants of Cruz Bay at the time of Emancipation were:

Jacob, born St. John, 19 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a sailor.

Hanna, born Africa, 30 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

Juliana, born St. John, 11 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Anna Dorothea, born St. John, 24 years old, Moravian, living with John Henley.

Nicolas, born St. Thomas, 20 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Maria Clarissa, born Africa, 50 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Catharina, born St. John, 30 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Mary Ann, born St. Barths, 36 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

Philippus, born St. Thomas, 60 years old, Moravian, married, a carpenter.

Mary, born Africa, 40 years old, Moravian, widow, a servant.

Patience, born Africa, 50 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

Caritas Gotlief, born St. John, 35 years old, Moravian, widow, a washer.

John Providence, born St. John, 15 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

William Steven, born St. John, 8 years old, Moravian, a servant.

Margaret, born Spanish Town, 55 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

Isabella, born St. John, 14 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Rosina, born St. John, 19 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

John Frederik, born St. John, 20 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a sailor.

Charles, born Africa, 48 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

James, born Africa, 50 years old, Moravian, unmarried, a servant.

Henry, born St. John, 20 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Abraham, born St. John, 15 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, a servant.

Edmund Waldemar, born St. John, 1 year old, Moravian.

For those of you who are on island today, an Emancipation Program will take place at 1 p.m. in the parking lot at the Village (customs parking lot).

J’ouvert kicks off the festivities tomorrow morning and will begin at sunrise. The annual parade starts at 11 a.m. and the fireworks will light up Cruz Bay at 9 p.m.

Shambles Opens on Centerline Road

Welcome to Shambles

A brand new restaurant opened on Centerline Road last week, and it’s one we think you’re going to like and appreciate.

Shambles is owned by David Baysden, who previously owned Driftwood David’s. Driftwood David’s didn’t make it through Irma, so David was forced to find a new location. He was lucky in that he found a nice little spot on Centerline Road right around mile two. Shambles is located next for to St. John Car Repair and pretty close to Paradise Lumber.

It’s pretty hard to miss Shambles when driving by as its exterior walls are bright shades of yellow, orange, green and red. It’s mainly an open air restaurant with great breezes, although there is a small interior space for those of you who prefer walls when dining. :) It has a large bar complete with several swings because who doesn’t want to swing around when imbibing in an ice cold Corona out of a can… St. John now recycles cans, so this is a great move! (Hopefully soon we will be able to recycle all of the glass bottles served around the island.)

Shambles Exterior

Swings at Shambles

Shambles is trying to be as eco-friendly as it can. Here is the message David put on the front of its menu:

“This is another Driftwood David’s Venue… We are very serious about food in a casual atmosphere. After Driftwood David’s was destroyed by two hurricanes, we were left in shambles wondering what to do – no restaurant, no business! Hence Shambles and Living Roots on St. John. We’re reducing our carbon footprint, growing our own lettuces and herbs for fresh ingredients ad reducing our plastic and throw away glass by 80%. Glasses with paper straws, veggie-based to go containers and only plastics we can recycle.”

Now I’m sure many of you are interested in that “serious food” mentioned above. Here’s the menu plus the drink menu.

Shambles Breakfast and Lunch menu

Shambles Drink Menu

As you can see above, Shambles has pretty good happy hour prices. Two dollars and fifty cents for a cold beer is good any day of the week!

So the next time you’re cruising along Centerline Road, be sure to stop and check out Shambles. Show a little love to yet another business owner who’s bouncing back after the hurricanes. Your love and support for us all means so much. And with that, have a terrific Tuesday everyone.