Cinnamon Bay to Reopen; Profits will Support Philanthropic & Resiliency Projects on STJ

Cinnamon Bay sign april 29 2019

Well folks, you know I must have pretty amazing news to share if I’m working from my vacation. :) We’ve heard rumblings for quite some time that Tom Secunda – the co-founder of Bloomberg and a part-time St. John resident  – was planning to take over operations at Cinnamon Bay, and today it became official. This truly is extraordinary news. Here is the official press release in its entirety:

St. John’s Cinnamon Bay Campground and Trunk Bay Concession to be Rebuilt by New Owners to Boost Local Economy

“Our goal is to create the best camping experience in the national parks system,” says Thomas F. Secunda, Philanthropist, Bloomberg co-founder, national parks advocate and CinnOpCo backer

Profits Will Support Philanthropic and Resiliency Projects Across the Island and Rebuilding Work Starts Immediately

St. John’s Cinnamon Bay campground will be rebuilt in an effort to boost the local economy and restore jobs, according to the new owners of Cinnamon Bay Resorts.

Backed by philanthropist and Bloomberg LP co-founder Thomas F. Secunda, CinnOpCo announced today its purchase of Cinnamon Bay Resorts, operator of Cinnamon Bay and the concessions at Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park. Longtime St. John hospitality manager Adrian Davis will direct the company. Secunda, an advocate for the national parks, served as chairman of the board of trustees of the National Parks Conservation Association.

“Over the years I’ve been visiting St. John, I’ve developed a real passion for the island and for its people,” Secunda said. “Our goal at Cinnamon Bay is to create the best camping experience in the national parks system in a way that benefits the local economy and gives back to the territory, its visitors and its residents.”

“Cinnamon Bay has always been a unique part of our tourism infrastructure and its reopening signals another step in rebuilding our private sector economy.” said U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan.

“The reopening of the iconic Cinnamon Bay is a major step towards restoring the important range of St. John’s tourism offerings,” said Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett. “I’m excited about the reopening and new innovative management of such an historic area with its beautiful beaches.”

“We look forward to honoring the history of Cinnamon Bay while providing family friendly accommodations on the property again. We are excited to renovate both properties and provide services to visitors and residents once again,” said Davis.

Cinnamon Bay facilities and grounds have sat largely untouched since hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island in 2017 and the reopening will help bring back jobs and more visitors to St John.

The restored campground will feature upgraded facilities and camping options ranging from renovated bare sites for tents to redesigned bungalows. The rebuilding will prioritize sustainability and resilience at both locations.

Underscoring a commitment to St. John and the broader territory, Secunda said profits will be driven back into philanthropic efforts across St. John. Local companies, including B&C Transport, will be used for the work on site. Staff will be employed year-round instead of laid off in slower months.

The clean-up and rebuilding starts immediately with the aim of reopening Cinnamon Bay campgrounds for the 2020-21 season. Trunk Bay will continue to operate as is while food and beverage buildings are repaired, upgraded and rebuilt.

The reopening will help bring needed jobs back to St John. It will also contribute to the local economy by creating opportunities for other vendors and individuals who are needed by Cinnamon Bay guests including taxis, rental cars, local restaurants, offsite activities and destinations.

Recovering and Rebuilding for Resilience
Under Secunda’s leadership, the Bloomberg Response Team has been on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the days immediately after Hurricane Irma struck, spending tens of millions of dollars to assist the territory since 2017.

The Bloomberg team sent technical experts to serve side by side with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and organizations like Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City, and new non-profits like Love City Strong to accelerate response and recovery. Many Bloomberg staff drew on their experience working on the recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012.

The work of Love for Love City and Love City Strong, in partnership with Bloomberg, has grown into an island-wide effort to rebuild homes in a resilient way for St John’s most vulnerable residents. Love City Strong has also led the way in ensuring clean cistern drinking water as well as mold remediation on storm-damaged homes.

Their work has grown into a sustained effort to support sustainable and resilient rebuilding and preparation in St. John and throughout the territory through the Hurricane Recovery Task Force, Sustainable Energy Work, the USVI Public Safety Support Foundation, and Love City Strong.

New and Innovative Approaches to Recovery and Preparedness
As climate change makes hurricane increasingly powerful and destructive, Secunda’s aim is to help build a more resilient region that is better prepared to respond to future storms and natural disasters. Working with the local government and partners, the Bloomberg team and its partners have been trying new and innovative approaches to disaster recovery and preparedness that are showing success across the territory.

The Bloomberg Response Team and Love City Strong will present results and best practices at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery meeting in St. Thomas in early June. The meeting will advance recovery and resiliency efforts, support long term sustainability and drive action to prepare for the 2019 hurricane season.

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As the press release mentions, Mr. Secunda and his team have done so much good for St. John since the hurricanes. We’re lucky to have him as a part-time resident, as well as all of the individuals who are tirelessly working on our recovery. Progress continues to happen each day. And for that, I am so thankful.

And before I leave you all, here are a few pictures I took at Cinnamon last Monday.

Cinnamon Bay April 29 2019 Reception

Cinnamon Bay April 29 2019 CabinCinnamon Bay April 29 2019 Cabins

Cinnamon Bay April 29 2019 Bath House

Cinnamon Bay April 29 2019 Lab

Cinnamon Bay April 29 2019 SUP

Taking a Break…

Rendezvous

It’s been six years since I purchased News of St. John. It’s pretty amazing how quickly the years go by. During this time, I have rarely taken time off from the site, as I know so many of you look forward to reading about the daily happenings here on island each morning. Over the years, I have taken you all with me when I traveled to various places. I have written stories from Puerto Rico, Nevis, Spain and France. I even wrote a story from my hospital bed when Dalton was mere hours old.

Two years ago, I purchased tickets to Italy. I gifted the tickets to my boyfriend for his birthday, but, selfishly, they were really for me too. We were so excited for the trip. We tried to learn small Italian phrases and practiced drinking great Italian wines at Waterfront Bistro. That trip was scheduled for Sept. 14, 2017. Needless to say, it never happened. Our world was destroyed September 6th, and the last thing we wanted to do at the time was vacation. So we immediately cancelled our trip.

Last fall, I stumbled on an incredible fare to Rome, just $625 roundtrip. Without hesitation and without giving much thought to the logistics of traveling overseas with an infant, I clicked the Buy button. I think I waited a good week before I told my boyfriend that he and I would be taking a 10-month-old to Italy. Clearly this wasn’t even a factor for our initial trip. :)

Dalton turned 10 months old today, and tomorrow we leave for Rome. I have to say, he’s a pretty lucky kid. We’re also lucky to have a great friend staying at our home while we’re away, caring for our amazing island dogs.

Dalton

I originally planned to keep the site up and running during our vacation. I sourced numerous stories over the past few days. I have taken countless photos and GoPro videos that I intended to share with all of you. But as I walked to the ferry dock in St. Thomas yesterday, it dawned on me. I need to take a break.

Since Dalton was born, I’ve worked nearly seven days a week. I never really took a maternity leave, because I am so committed to this site and to all of you. I’ve decided that I am going to take the next few weeks off to enjoy Italy and to enjoy time with my family. I hope you all understand.

During my break, you can get your St. John fix through our webcam page. (I understand that mine is still down. We switched routers, and I have had difficulty reconnecting it since. I hope to have it fixed for you before I leave.) You can see all of our island’s webcams here. We will continue to sell St. Johnopoly, and will ship orders out once a week. Click here to purchase your copy.

I thank you all for your loyalty and for your love of St. John. Thank you for allowing me to do what I love, and thank you for allowing me to take this much-needed break. Much love to you all. -Jenn (and Dalton) xoxo

Dalton beach


Purchase St. Johnopoly Today!

St. Johnopoly is now available and shipping! If you would like to purchase a copy, please click the Buy Now button below. That will bring you to a secure PayPal site. Games cost $50 plus shipping. Shipping is automatically calculated based on location. (Shipping is a tad pricier than we’d like, but the post office determines the rates, not us. :) ) Games ship every Saturday.

St. Johnopoly, 2019 Edition – $50 – Get Yours Today


 

Only a limited number of games are available, and all sales are final.

2019 Festival Schedule Announced

The 2018 festival flags hung high above Cruz Bay.

The 2018 festival flags hung high above Cruz Bay.

Exciting news to share with you all today! The 2019 Festival schedule has been announced! This year’s event marks the festival’s 65th year. Here is the schedule in its entirety:

Sunday, May 12: St. John Royalty Introduction – 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 1: Pan-O-Rama – 4 p.m. at Franklin Powell Park

Saturday ,June 15: Bike Race – 8 a.m. at the National Park Visitor Center parking lot

Sunday, June 16: Princess and Junior Miss Pageant – 6 p.m. at the National Park ball field

Saturday, June 22: Queen Pageant – 8 p.m. at the National Park ball field

Sunday, June 23: Food Fair and Coronation – 1 p.m. at Franklin Powell Park

Sunday, June 23: Boat Race – 3 p.m. in Cruz Bay harbor

Friday, June 28: Festival Village opens at 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 29: Children’s Village opens at 6 p.m. The Children’s Village will be located in the National Park parking lot.

Wednesday, July 3: Emancipation Program – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3: Festival Torch Parade – 6 p.m.

Thursday, July 4: J’ouvert – Begins at Sunrise

Thursday, July 4: Festival Parade begins at 11 a.m.

Thursday, July 4: Fireworks over Cruz Bay harbor – 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 6: Festival Music Mixup – 9 p.m. at the National Park ball field

Sunday, July 7: Festival Poker Run – Starts at noon in Cruz Bay harbor

These Children Are Smiling Because of You!

Students Christian Academy

Adelis Obando, Lily Wallace and Seth Darity stand beside a recent donation to the St. John Christian Academy. The donation made made possible thanks to our recent raffle.

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend… I know I did! I just wanted to give you a quick update on the raffle proceeds, so you know exactly where your money is going. :)

To recap, together we raised more than $123,000 through the 2019 News of St. John raffle. So amazing! St. John Christian Academy received some of the proceeds last week, and they could not be happier.

The school asked for some pretty simple items… pencils, erasers, staplers, red pens, whiteboards and “fun stuff” to make the classrooms “pretty.” The school doesn’t have a large budget, so often teachers find themselves purchasing school supplies using their own money.

So thanks to all of you, we were able to purchase more than $1,100 in school supplies at Office Max in St. Thomas last week. We actually cleared the shelves of many of the items. We delivered it all last Tuesday.

Some of the school supplies purchased with the proceeds from the recent News of St. John raffle.

Some of the school supplies purchased with the proceeds from the recent News of St. John raffle.

We received the following text from Robin Wallace, the school’s administrative assistant, after we dropped off the items.

A thank you message to all of you from Mrs. Wallace at St. John Christian Academy

A thank you message to all of you from Mrs. Wallace at St. John Christian Academy

So again, thank you all so very much for donating to our raffle. The love you’ve showed this island over the years is amazing.

The school also asked for an electronic sign for announcements and to enhance visibility along the roadway, as well as musical equipment and athletic equipment. Those items are on order.

And as previously mentioned, we have already made monetary donations to the St. John Historical Society, Love City Community Network, Love City Pan Dragons, Island Health and Wellness and C.O.R.E. We made contact with the food supplier for the Carolina Corral and will be purchasing food for the animals there. We are still awaiting a detailed list of needs from JESS in Cruz Bay. As soon as we receive that list, we will purchase supplies for the school.

With all the hate in the world and on the internet these days, I am so proud to be able to say that this website continues to spread love. Thank you to all of you who continue to join me in that. Have a wonderful day everyone.

Chili Cook-off Happening This Sunday

Coral Bay Feb 20 2019

Hi everyone and happy Friday! Just wanted to post a quick reminder about this weekend’s chili cook-off. The event supports the St. John Land Conservancy, which works to protects land here on St. John. So if you love St. John and you want to see the island preserved, be sure to check out this wonderful (and delicious!) event.

The event happens this Sunday from noon until 9 p.m. at Rhumb Lines in Indigo Grill in Coral Bay (the former Donkey Diner spot). They’re even going to have a dunk tank … how fun! There are still spots left for chili cook-off competitors, judges and event volunteers are still needed. They’re also looking for vendors to sell items in the Vendor Village, as well as business and individuals who would like to donate items to the silent auction.

And just because you are not a resident does not mean you cannot enter. Visitors are also welcomed to attend and/or participate. There will be live music, a raffle and more!

The St. John Land Conservancy works to protect the island’s natural and historic land and resources, allowing free public and recreational access by the people of St. John and its visitors. It accomplishes this goal by using donated funds to purchase private land and by entering into conservation agreements with landowners providing for permanent land preservation. Their two accomplishments so far are the Haulover parcel, which protecting both land and public access to Haulover North and South, popular shorelines for snorkeling, relaxing and scuba diving, and a parcel on Lovango Cay.

And even more exciting? The St. John Land Conservancy just released a brand new logo, and have begun selling tanks and shirts. So if you’re not on island this weekend, but you’d still like to support this great organization, you can! How great does this look??!

St. John Land Conservancy

If you would like to participate or if you would like more information on the event, please email fundraising@stjohnlandconservancy.org. To learn more, please visit www.stjohnlandconservancy.org.

New Webcam Alert!

CocoPlum Webcam

This new webcam is located at Coconuts & Plumeria, two villas on Gifft Hill.

Who wants a little more St. John in their life? I know you all do! Well I have great news for you today… There is a new webcam on island, and the view is spectacular!

The island’s newest webcam is located up at Coconuts and Plumeria villa on Gifft Hill. The view shows the hillside down to Great Cruz Bay, out to St. Thomas, the outlying cays, Caribbean Sea and more. Click here to check it out.

The owners of Coconuts and Plumeria, Kevin and Danielle McCarthy, are always trying to enhance their guests’ experience when visiting the island. They provide weather forecasts including Saharan Dust forecasts, marine forecasts, planetary forecasts and more. Click here to check those out.

Kevin even created a skee-ball machine for his guests pre-storm, but sadly, it did not make it through the aftermath. How cool does this look??!

We just added the Coconuts and Plumeria webcam to our webcam page. Please click here to view all of our webcams. 

Have a great day everyone!