On the Market: Ideal Vacation or Family Home in Fish Bay

Jolly Diversion View

The view from Jolly Diversion

Hello everyone and happy Friday! Let’s do a little house browsing today, shall we??!!

Jolly Diversion is a two bedroom, two bath home located in a private neighborhood in Fish Bay. The home features an internal staircase, making it perfect for families. Located in a quiet corner of Fish Bay, this home has all the amenities including an inside/outside shower. It features a spacious and comfortable great room. The bedrooms both have air conditioning, as well as Jack & Jill closets. Just off of the great room is the main deck area that includes chaise lounges, a gas grill and a large table for outside dining. The home faces east, making it cool in the afternoon. The current floor plan could easily be expanded.

Jolly Diversion has water views of Fish Bay and beyond. Jolly Diversion is being sold as is, where is. Please check out a few pics:

Jolly Diversion Private Driveway

Jolly Diversion Living Space Jolly Diversion Master

Jolly Diversion Twin Bedroom Jolly Diversion Bath

Jolly Diversion Privacy

Jolly Diversion is being offered for $749,000 by Tammy Donnelly of 340 Real Estate Co. For more information, please contact Tammy at at 340RealEstateCo@gmail.com

 

More Details on the Proposed Lovango Resort

The location of the proposed resort on Lovango

The location of the proposed resort on Lovango

Last month, we told you how a new resort is planned for Lovango. The article sparked some questions and concerns. We took those thoughts and brought them to the developers to get some clarification. We wanted to share that information plus some other details with you all today. So let’s get to it!

Ok, so to recap, the proposed resort remains in the planning stages. The prospective owners – Mark Snider, his wife Gwenn and their son Matt – will close on the property next month. Then the permitting process begins. Their plan calls to build a resort and beach club that will be completely off grid. They hope to build 14 home sites and 25 cottages. The Sniders currently own two very eco-conscious resorts in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

One of the most celebrated parts of this announcement was the return of ZoZo’s. The restaurant plans to open on Lovango at the site of the proposed resort in February 2020. The resort’s beach club is planned to open in late 2020 while the actual resort itself is expected to open in 2021.

Ok, so one of the first questions that popped up was with regard to staffing. The resort will employ a minimum of 10 full time, year-round employees. In addition, they will hire 70 to 80 employees who will have year-round employment. These employees will be offered the opportunity to work at Lovango during the winter months and on either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months. Most will be offered year-round health care and benefits. Some employees will be USVI hires while others will be from the Massachusetts resorts. Mark Snider mentioned that he currently has three USVI residents working full time at his New England resorts. He said they are also working with the University of the Virgin Islands to create an internship program.

Speaking of staffing, where will they live? People familiar with St. John know that we’re in the midst of a pretty major housing crisis. Well the Sniders said they plan to offer staff housing just as they do at their Massachusetts resorts. Employees will be offered staff housing on either St. John or St. Thomas. The USVI residents who opt to work at the New England resorts during the summer will be offered employee housing there as well.

Now let’s chat about the beach club. The club will offer a pool, water sports, dining and services for boaters. They will offer daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal rates with discounts for local residents. They have yet to determine the actual costs for this.

Another cool thing that the Sniders plan to offer – which they currently offer at both of their New England resorts – is an Islander Stay Free program. During certain times of the year, local residents will have the opportunity to stay at the Lovango resort for free. Well not completely free. We will have to pay a cleaning fee, and I am totally ok with that! Here’s what Mark had to say about that:

The Islander Stay Free option is offered at times that work for both islanders and our booking patterns. We are mindful to offer this benefit at a convenient time that works for islanders. It has worked great for both the Vineyard and Nantucket communities.

Ok, now I read numerous comments about the environmental impact this resort could have on Lovango. Here is his response:

We are mindful of the importance of proper planning and environmental concern.  We are based now on two islands in New England that place a premium on environmental attention.  We are now working with engineers to insure we are proceeding properly.

I also asked Mark to reiterate the steps his New England resorts take to remain environmentally friendly. Here is what he had to say on that:

  • We just installed solar panels at our Nantucket Hotel last year.
  • We have replaced plastic water bottles at each of our hotels with one higher quality bottle for guests to keep  re-using, utilizing our natural aquifer water out of the tap.  This has significantly reduced our use of plastics.  
  • We use biodegradable dining ware for our takeout options.  
  • We encourage our guests not to bring cars to our islands and provide multi layers of “fun” public transportation.  This includes our antique vehicles (1946 fire truck, 1932 Model A buses!) and our own water taxis and van services.
  • We encourage bike riding as a fun and environmental way of seeing our islands. 
  • We use refillable soaps and shampoos to reduce waste.
  • We compost our food remains from our Vineyard restaurant.
  • Although not specifically environmental, all our guests are asked to voluntarily add $25 to their reservation as a contribution to the Nantucket Hospital or towards the restoration of two historic theaters on Martha’s Vineyard.  We raise about $20,000 from each property, each year, to help these non-profit organizations.  

Mark also mentioned that there will not be any guest vehicles on the island, mainly just golf carts.

And lastly, the proposed resort was said to be catering only to the ultra wealthy. The low season rates would begin around $350 a night and would jump up to $850 a night during holiday weeks. I asked Mark to comment on this. Here is his response:

The US Virgin Islands are probably the most expensive place to build in the Caribbean- one of the reasons there hasn’t been a new resort in over 30 years. To provide a quality operation, one that local Virgin Islanders will be able to enjoy at a discount, requires us to charge higher rates during the peak season. We primarily cater to families. Yes we expect an affluent crowd at certain peak times, such as Christmas vacation week, but we want to be accessible to a broader group at other times.

(And as a complete side note, I’ve been researching family friendly resorts to take Dalton to for my upcoming birthday, and the Sniders’ Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard resorts have come up on several lists I have come across.)

Many people have questioned why I, personally, am supporting this resort. Honestly, I believe the Sniders in what they plan to create. As I mentioned last month, I visited the Nantucket resort and witnessed their operation firsthand. I believe in their product, and I think this will be a great addition to the islands, especially given the fact that it seems Caneel Bay is not going to reopen anytime soon, if ever. This proposed resort adds jobs with housing for residents. It adds another place for boaters to take guests within the US Virgin Islands. And it offers all of you a new place to vacation at or perhaps dine at. If done right, I think this could be very beneficial to the islands.

Lastly, the Sniders wanted to speak to you all personally. They asked me to print a letter written to all of you. Click here to read it.

Like I said earlier, the resort is still in the planning stages and needs to go through the permitting process. We will continue to keep you updated on its progress.

Visit St. John for Just $269 Roundtrip… It’s True!

Airplane June 2019

Well folks, it’s starting to cool down a bit in the States. Leaves are starting to turn colors a bit here and there, and nights and mornings have a bit of a chill in many places. Autumn is around the corner, so you know what that means … Time to plan your next vacation to St. John!

October and November are both great months to visit. The weather is warm, but not too hot, and the island remains relatively quiet before the holiday crowds arrive. And even better, most vacation rentals offer their lowest prices of the year during these months. (Prices tend to jump up sometime in November for many.) I know you all have busy lives, so I did some airfare research for you. As always, I like to use Google’s Matrix Airfare Search tool. I searched for roundtrip airfare for a seven-night stay beginning on October 15th and 30 days after. (Sometimes you can find better fares when searching for two separate one-way flights.) I found some pretty great deals including several roundtrips for under $300 roundtrip. Pretty amazing! Here is a sampling of what I found…

For those of you living around the New York City area, you can fly JetBlue for just $299 roundtrip on October 15, 21, 22, 23, 29 and 30. All JetBlue flights leaving out of New York City have quick layovers in San Juan. And if you don’t mind flying Spirit, you can do so for a bit cheaper. Flights leaving on October 21, 22, 28 and 29 are just $269 roundtrip. Spirit typically stops in Florida en route to St. Thomas.

United is the way to go for those of you flying out of Boston (which is odd considering it’s a hub for JetBlue). United’s lowest roundtrip flight – with a stop in Newark – is just $290. The dates this price is valid are October 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and November 6, 13 and 14. Again, all of these prices are for seven-night stays.

Now how is this for crazy? If you want to start your trip in Newark on United, the price jumps up to $329 roundtrip. Not cool United, not cool.

For those of you living near Chicago’s O’Hare airport, it’s a bit pricier, but not awful. Spirit has roundtrip fares for under $300, but it will take you two days to get to the island. So that’s out of the question in my opinion. The best option for you all would be to fly Delta with a quick stop in Atlanta. If you fly on October 28 or 30, or November 11 or 13, you can do so for just $467 roundtrip. Yes, please!

Charlotte always tends to be a more expensive airport when traveling to St. John, and I’m not sure why that is. But the October and November fares won’t break the bank. You can fly American on October 15, 26, 27 and 29 or November 4 through 15 for just $528 roundtrip.

JetBlue is the least expensive option for those of you living near Washington DC. You can fly for just $341 roundtrip on October 30 and November 12.

I know St. John has lots of fans from Texas. If you live in or around the Dallas area, you can fly for just $549 roundtrip on October 30 and November 13. These flights are on Delta. American offers a few flights during this timeframe for $569 roundtrip.

So, it is possible to visit the island! Now start trip planning!

And if you are planning to visit the island, be sure to check out our Island Tours! You can opt to spend a half or full day with me. We even offer a combination land and sea tour along with our friends at Flyaway Charters. Our Island Tours are good for first timers or seasoned visitors. Check out our reviews and see for yourself! For more information on our offerings, please visit www.newsofstjohn.com/islandtour

Former St. John Restaurant Opens Stateside

Thirsty Donkey Birm.

The Thirsty Donkey in Birmingham

Well folks, we have some pretty bittersweet news to share with all of you today. A restaurant that was closed due to damages sustained during Hurricane Irma has reopened in the States. It’s St. John’s loss, but Alabama’s gain!

In early 2017, Greg and Kathy Stein moved to St. John after they purchased The Thirsty Donkey, a fun little restaurant in Coral Bay. Unfortunately the Steins only had the opportunity to run the place for about four months, as Hurricane Irma came through and heavily damaged it. Because the property is in probate, no repairs have happened. Therefore the couple decided it was best to move back to Alabama.

Thirsty Donkey Owners

Kathy and Greg Stein

But that’s not the end of The Thirsty Donkey. The Steins recently reopened the restaurant in Birmingham. I love stories with happy endings. :)

The Thirsty Donkey in Birmingham has many of the same menu items as the St. John location, although additional vegan and veggie options have been added. They even serve Painkillers. Cheers to that! The restaurant is painted with tropical colors, and there are island-themed decorations throughout. There’s even a replica of St. John’s famous Don’t Stop Believing stop sign.

The Steins said they hope to reopen the Coral Bay location as soon as the property is ready. We will definitely keep you posted on that.

So those of you who happen to be in the area, be sure to stop by the new Thirsty Donkey. It’s located at 4100 4th Avenue south. For more information, check out their website at www.thirstydonkeybhm.com

The staff at The Thirsty Donkey

The staff at The Thirsty Donkey

That One Time We Raised An Incredible Amount of Money In One Day

The view at Faith Full View

The view at Faith Full View

Remember that one time when people who love St. John got together to help the people of the Bahamas and, together, they raised more than $80,000 in one day? Yeah, well that happened yesterday.

AMAZING!!!!!

Yes, that’s right… We sold more than $80,000 in raffle tickets yesterday! In one day. I am stunned. I am grateful. I am so very thankful for each and everyone of you.

Around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, we sent $50,000 to All Hands and Hearts. As we mentioned yesterday, All Hands and Hearts was instrumental in St. John’s recovery, so now we hope to pay it forward and help them with their disaster relief work in the Bahamas.

And even better, Norwegian Cruise Lines announced that it will match all donations to All Hands and Hearts during the month of September dollar for dollar. So that means that $50,000 donation we sent will automatically double to $100,000. Incredible.

I expect to send a second $50,000 donation later today. So exciting!

It’s not too late to get in on the action. The raffle runs through Friday, September 20, 2019 at 9 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced on newsofstjohn.com on or about September 22, 2019. Here is what you can win:

News of St. John’s Pay It Forward Raffle: One Grand Prize

(The raffle has an estimated value of more than $6,500.)

Tickets are just $25. There will not be a limit on entries, because we are trying to raise as much money as possible.

To purchase a ticket, please choose the number of tickets below. You can buy up to 10 at a time. Then click the Buy Now button. This will bring you to a secure PayPal page where you can check out. Please make certain the your correct email is used; We plan to notify the winner by email. (All entries will be treated as donations to Bahamas Relief.)

The raffle period has ended. 

All entrants will receive a confirmation email from PayPal after purchasing your ticket/s provided you are a registered PayPal user. Because of the expected high volume of entries, we cannot personally email each entrant. Your email from PayPal will serve as your confirmation of entry into the drawing.

How the drawing works: Once the entry period is over, the raffle committee will personally write/type the names of each entrant on a raffle ticket. If you bought one ticket, we will write/type your name on one ticket. If you bought two tickets, we will write/type your name on two tickets. And so forth. All of the names will be placed into a secure bucket/basket/box. Once all of the names are written on tickets, we will draw the winner live on video. The drawing will be announced on newsofstjohn.com. A video of the drawing will also be posted on newsofstjohn.com The raffle period will end on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 9 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced on newsofstjohn.com on or about September 22, 2019. Now go ahead and enter! Good luck!! And thank you for helping us pay it forward!

Want to bookmark this raffle? You can find it at www.newsofstjohn.com/raffle

(Click here to read the fine print.)

Time to Pay It Forward…

The view from Faith Full View in Coral Bay

The view from Faith Full View in Coral Bay

So it’s been two years. Two years ago today, Hurricane Irma ripped through the island and changed our world in a matter of hours. For the past few weeks, I wondered what I should write today. I honestly wasn’t sure. But then Hurricane Dorian happened, and everything became clear to me.

Like many of you, I’ve been fixated on the storm coverage coming out of the Bahamas. It’s tragic. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s all too familiar for many of us. The stripped trees. The overturned boats. Crumpled roofs strewn about. It’s painful to watch, yet I can’t stop watching.

If you’ve been following News of St. John for some time now, you know how much I love a good raffle. Earlier this year, we raised $123,000 which was distributed to a variety of organizations on the island. Last year, we raised $100,000 for St. John’s nonprofit health center. We’re launching a new raffle today, but this one’s not for us. The people of the Abacos and Grand Bahama have a long road ahead, and they’re going to need our help.

All Hands and Hearts addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. They spent 18 months working on St. John and were instrumental in our recovery. During their time on island, volunteers – dubbed “the purple shirts” – did everything from muck and gutting to mold sanitation and interior rebuilds. And over that 18-month period, they impacted 30 percent of the island’s population. That’s a pretty big deal. All Hands and Hearts is scheduled to head to the Bahamas next week, and they deserve our support. On this anniversary of Hurricane Irma, I’d like to pay it forward.

In doing so, we’re launching a raffle today. There is only one grand prize, and it’s pretty incredible. For just $25, you can enter to win the following…

News of St. John’s Pay It Forward Raffle: One Grand Prize

(The raffle has an estimated value of more than $6,500.)

It’s essentially a complete vacation. How amazing is that??!! I would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the businesses that donated. All of the businesses listed above agreed to donate within minutes of me asking. That’s huge. I am so appreciative.

Again, tickets are just $25. There will not be a limit on entries, because we are trying to raise as much money as possible.

To purchase a ticket, please choose the number of tickets below. You can buy up to 10 at a time. Then click the Buy Now button. This will bring you to a secure PayPal page where you can check out. Please make certain the your correct email is used; We plan to notify the winner by email. (All entries will be treated as donations to Bahamas Relief.)

The raffle period has ended. 

All entrants will receive a confirmation email from PayPal after purchasing your ticket/s provided you are a registered PayPal user. Because of the expected high volume of entries, we cannot personally email each entrant. Your email from PayPal will serve as your confirmation of entry into the drawing.

How the drawing works: Once the entry period is over, the raffle committee will personally write/type the names of each entrant on a raffle ticket. If you bought one ticket, we will write/type your name on one ticket. If you bought two tickets, we will write/type your name on two tickets. And so forth. All of the names will be placed into a secure bucket/basket/box. Once all of the names are written on tickets, we will draw the winner live on video. The drawing will be announced on newsofstjohn.com. A video of the drawing will also be posted on newsofstjohn.com The raffle period will end on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 9 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced on newsofstjohn.com on or about September 22, 2019. Now go ahead and enter! Good luck!! And thank you for helping us pay it forward!

Want to bookmark this raffle? You can find it at www.newsofstjohn.com/raffle

The Fine Print: 

  • The winner must adhere to the individual property/business rules and restrictions.
  • The one-week stay at Faith Full View is good for any available dates in 2020 with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks. The property has a two person maximum. If Faith Full View requires a deposit, the winner is responsible for paying that fee.
  • The St. John Car Rental Jeep rental is for a four-door Jeep Wrangler and is based on availability. It must be booked online with a valid credit card and driver’s license. A $100 deposit is required to reserve/hold the vehicle. The winner must comply with all terms and conditions. Tax is not included. Proof of insurance is required if declining CDW/LDW. If CDW/LDW is not declined, winner is responsible for that cost. No cash back for any unused portion of the Jeep rental.
  • The three cases of Skurnik Wines can be shipped to the winner in the continental United States or picked up on St. John.
  • In the event that a property/business becomes uninhabitable due to a storm, fire, or Act of God, the winner agrees to forfeit the prize.
  • We strongly encourage the winner to purchase travel insurance.
  • None of the prizes are transferrable without the business owner’s consent.