New Ferry Service between St. John and St. Thomas

cruz bay overlook dec 31 2018

Well folks, we have more great news to share with you all today! There’s a new way to get to St. Thomas, specifically to the airport.

You may recall in our pre-storm world that a new ferry was set to begin shuttling people between Cruz Bay and Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long, but today we’re happy to tell you that this is now operating on a daily basis. Such great news!

The Crown Bay Marina is located just five minutes from the airport. That means that people can forgo the long taxi ride to the regular Red Hook ferry if they prefer to go that route.

The new ferry, operated by Inter Island Boat Services, leaves Crown Bay daily at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. It leaves Cruz Bay daily at 11 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. This ferry does not leave where the regular ferries leave. The Inter Island ferry leaves from the Creek, which is beside the old customs’ building and the Virgin Islands Visitor Center. It’s the ferry that has the yellow sun-like image on it.

The cost of this new ferry is $20 per person. Bags cost $5. The trip takes roughly 35 minutes. And once you arrive at Crown Bay, you can expect to pay about $5 for the five-minute taxi ride to the airport.

Please call 340-776-6597 or 340-201-6311 for more information or to reserve our spot.

Inter Island Boat Services is hoping to restore ferry service between Cruz Bay and the British Virgin Islands soon, they said. We will have more details on that when we hear more.

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

Another Reason Why St. John is So Special

Maho, January 3, 2019

Maho, January 3, 2019

Hello everyone and happy Sunday! So as you know, we’re in the middle of a government shutdown. I’ve received a ton of emails asking how the shutdown is impacting the Virgin Islands National Park. The biggest visible impact is the fact that most of the restrooms at the beaches are closed. There are a few pretty amazing things happening though as a result of this shutdown.

For starters, the National Park Visitor Center remains open thanks to volunteers from Friends of the VI National Park. The restrooms are open there too. Great news.

The restrooms and showers are open over at Trunk Bay, I believe until 4 p.m. daily. Again, thanks to volunteers.

Our rangers are still patrolling the streets. I am not sure if they are doing this without pay, but I am thankful to see them working.

The biggest thing that I would like to point out, however, is the trash. I have been seeing images on the news and on the internet that shows many of the country’s national parks simply trashed. Garbage is overflowing everywhere it seems. Well guess what… none of that is happening here. That is thanks to our volunteers and the great humans who are visiting the island. So thank you all for that.

Hawksnest

Hawksnest, Thursday morning

Annaberg, Thursday morning

Annaberg, Thursday morning

I am not sure how long this shutdown will last, but I ask that you try to bring home your trash with you. There are dumpsters located all over the island where you can toss it. Let’s make our volunteers job that much easier.

Thanks folks. Just yet another reason to love this place…

The Westin Reopens Today!!

WESTIN BEACH VIEW OPENING DAY 2019 The Westin, January 4, 2018

Well folks, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Now I know that may sound silly to many of you, but today’s reopening of the Westin is a BIG deal to me! It means things are really getting back to normal! And I am so excited about that!!

We’ve been waiting for this day for nearly 16 months now, the day that guests can finally return to the Westin. I’ve been watching crews work around the clock to get the resort ready, and today I was able to walk inside and take pics for all of you. So rather than me chat about how great the place looks, I am simply going to show you. Enjoy!

View from the dock View from the dock
The new Cruz Bay Watersports location The new Cruz Bay Watersports location
Beautiful landscaping Beautiful landscaping
View from a room View from a room
Sneak peek inside a room Sneak peek inside a room
The main walkway to the dock The main walkway to the dock
The walkway to the old reception building which was recently torn down The walkway to the old reception building which was recently torn down
A pergola is being installed in the old reception area spot A pergola is being installed in the old reception area spot
The playground The playground
The beach The beach
The pool!! The pool!!
Looking toward towel hut Looking toward towel hut
Alternate pool view Alternate pool view
The Westin's first guest arrived early Friday morning :) The Westin’s first guest arrived early Friday morning :)

To all of you who have reservations to stay at the Westin, welcome back!!! I am so excited to have you back! I cannot wait to pour a glass of wine on my patio this evening and watch you all mill about the resort. It’s a great day on St. John everyone. :)

And if you are staying at the resort and would like to see more of the island, I would love to take you on an island tour. In fact, I pick up my first guests Monday and could not be more excited!! Email me at jenn@newsofstjohn.com for more information.

Have a great day everyone and smile! Because today is a good day…

Popular Restaurants Closes & Then Reopens in New Location

Rhumb Lines is now open in Coral Bay.

Rhumb Lines is now open in Coral Bay.

Hello everyone and happy 2019! We had a nice little break for the holiday, but now we’re ready to get back to business! There is so much happening on island, so stay tuned for lots of great stories! And as a side note, the island is so busy! It’s such a great sight!! Ok, but now on to the “news”…

So you all may have heard rumblings that Rhumb Lines closed up shop. Well those rumblings were true, but fortunately it didn’t last too long! From what we hear, there was an issue with the lease at its Cruz Bay location beside Bayside Mini Mart. They were closed for a bit, but then they reopened over in Coral Bay .. how exciting!

Rhumb Lines is now operating where Indigo Grill is. They are sister restaurants, so it just made sense. The change was announced last week. The restaurant will serve dishes from both restaurants from what we hear. How exciting!

For those of you unfamiliar with the spot, it is located on the lefthand side of the road just past the Coral Bay triangle. Prior to Indigo, it was the home of the Donkey Diner.

That’s all we have for you today! Stay tuned for some BIG news tomorrow! Have a great one everyone!!

2018: The Year in Review

View from Murphy House Dec 30 2018

St. John, December 30, 2018

Well folks, it’s been a long year, but it’s been a great year! When I think about the progress that was made over the past 12 months, I can’t help but smile. Many of our residents started the year off without power, and many of our shops and our restaurants remained closed. There were very few tourists on island, and our trees still looked pretty funky. But now, 12 months later, I can say the entire island has power thanks to WAPA and BBC, who flipped on the last switch in late January. We now have dozens of shops and restaurants open! (You can see the entire list here.) Our beaches and trees and the island as a whole look great! And something that is extremely important to me… so many of you came back!!! Ahh, that truly warms my heart. So without further ado, let’s get on to the year in review!

As I mentioned, January was still a very tough month here on island, but I personally got a glimmer of hope 127 days after Hurricane Irma when the kind folks over at Love City Community Network installed donation-based internet service at my home. That meant that I could consistently share the news with all of you, which was simply fantastic and so very important to me. It also meant that I could stream television, which was very exciting too. I was able to watch Good Morning America each morning – one of my favorite shows – although I had to watch it a day late due to the streaming, but I didn’t care! (It was also funny to try to talk about the world news with my parents when I was always a day behind – lol. Me: Hey dad, it looks like your going to get a lot of snow today. Papa News: Ummm, that happened yesterday … Oops!) It’s the little things in life, folks. Clearly. :)

Love City Community Network continued to connect people through out the year, and we are all so very fortunate for that! They’re a non-profit that’s doing great work, so if you’re looking for an end-of-the-year tax donation, please consider them.

Things continued to look bright later in the month as the very last boat was removed from the beach in Cruz Bay. It was little things like that that really made us feel a bit normal again. And that was super important over the course of the year.

In early February, we received a very famous guest here on island … former President Bill Clinton! It was very exciting to many of us who live here. No matter what your political stance is, it’s always cool to have a president visit your neighborhood. And in my opinion, not much is cooler than sitting at the bar at High Tide and watching a former president stroll by in his sneakers.

But that was’t the only famous guest to visit us back in February. Kenny Chesney also paid a visit to the island, which isn’t newsworthy as this is his second home, but what is newsworthy is the fact that he played a very impromptu, surprise performance over at Sun Dog. So very cool! We also had three popular businesses reopen in February – High Tide, Morgan’s Mango and Colombo’s Smoothie Stand – more signs of a return to normalcy. Yahoo!

Two more popular restaurants reopened in March. Both Miss Lucy’s and Aqua Bistro began serving customers once again, signaling a huge steps toward normalcy for our friends over in Coral Bay.

The water was turned back on at Trunk Bay in early April, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but it certainly was to many of us. It meant that the showers and toilets were operable once again, allowing visitors to enjoy the beach with some modern conveniences.

Maho saw some great progress too in April. The parking lot renovation was finally completed, as were the repairs to the areas of roadway that were washed out during Hurricane Irma. Good news all around!

Wharfside slowly started to reopen in May. As you know, the waterfront complex sustained tremendous damage during the hurricanes and is still being rebuilt today. Fingers crossed that The Beach Bar reopens in January! And hopefully Joe’s Rum Hut reopens sometime soon after that!

We ended the month by celebrating our fifth anniversary here at News of St. John. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!

We started out June with a bang by holding our annual News of St. John raffle! This year was our best yet, as we raised more than $100,000 for Island Health and Wellness … simply amazing!!

In more Kenny Chesney news, he released a song about the island in June. He also announced his plans to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from his Songs for the Saints album to our recovery efforts. Whether you’re a country music fan or not, you have to admit that this guy is a class act.

Customs finally reopened in June, as did the new Tap Room, three-and-a-half years after a fire destroyed its original location. If you haven’t been there, you are truly missing out. It’s easily one of my favorite watering holes on island.

We had two big things happen in July… First, we celebrated Carnival and for the first time in a long time, I saw pure joy on so many faces here on St. John. It was such a beautiful sight! And a big thing in my world happened in July… Baby News of St. John made his debut!! Baby update: He now has two teeth, has tried some solid foods but has yet to sleep through the night. So if you see me bleary eyed in town, you now know why. :)

Grande Bay graciously planted some new palms along the waterfront in August, and sadly we watched Ocean Grill close its doors for good.

The first anniversary of hurricanes Irma and Maria came and went in September. Two local photographers made a beautiful video featuring many of us to mark the occasions.

In October, we learned that Gibney Cottages were going to be featured on the November cover of Coastal Living which was a huge deal here on island! The good news was quickly followed with some sad news as the Lumberyard was finally torn down.

The month of October ended on a positive note, however, as our first cruise ship of the winter season arrived in Cruz Bay and The Beach Bar finally started to rebuild!!

Our barge troubles started to end in November as the new Grand Vic arrived, and what a great sight it was! I have yet to ride on it personally, but I hear it’s fast. And an added bonus: It has a bar onboard! Cheers to that!

Earlier this month, we learned that a privately owned parcel across from Maho Bay sold and that a food truck and tiki bar were soon going to be operating on site. The folks over at Cinnamon Bay began operating a food truck, bar and retail truck over at Trunk Bay increasing the number of beaches with food and drink options to two. With the impending opening of the Maho spot, we will soon have three beaches where food and drinks are available.

Kekoa returned to the water this month after being repaired over at Hansen Bay for more than a year. What a great sight that was!

And lastly, St. John has been minimally affected by the government shutdown. Fortunately local businesses, nonprofits and private residents have stepped up to remove the trash and open up restrooms to beach goers. Always so much love here in Love City.

Well folks, that’s it! What a year it’s been! Here’s to a great 2019! Cheers everyone!

St. John’s Recovery Choir Hosts Karaoke Night Fundraiser Tonight

Cruz Bay overlook

Hello everyone and happy Sunday! So we’re taking a quick break from our vacation because we’d like to pass along some information on a great event that’s happening tonight. Here are the details straight from its organizers…

The St. John Recovery Choir will hold a Karaoke and Dance Party at the St. John School of the Arts on Sunday, December 30 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Admission is $5. DJ Adonis will be on hand to keep the tunes rolling.

The event is a fundraiser for the St. John community choir that caroled throughout Cruz Bay and hosted a free holiday concert for children and adults in the park last week.

Karaoke nights have been scarce since Hurricane Irma ripped through the islands, so step into the shower and start warming up your voice. A dollar gets you a tune at the mic. Bring your family and friends and share the joy of song. Drinks and snacks will be on sale.

The Recovery Choir, which was formed in response to the storms of 2017, will be starting a new season in January. Everyone is invited to join whether they can read music or not. Director Kristen Carmichael-Bowers believes, “Singing should be joyful. Even as we work for a high quality product, the process has to be joyful, and the whole mind, body and spirit has to be engaged. Singing is work, but my job is to make that work fun.”

The first rehearsal will be held on Tuesday, January 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gifft Hill School Upper Campus. For further information, contact the director at kristen.carmichael.bowers@gmail.com or call (802) 380-0761.

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