Dalton Turns One Today!

We celebrated Dalton's first birthday at Hawksnest Sunday afternoon.

We celebrated Dalton’s first birthday at Hawksnest Sunday afternoon.

So I swore I would never be that mom who posts a lot about her child, you know to the point where it’s annoying… lol. Well I’m breaking that rule today folks, because today is Dalton’s first birthday! Woohoo!

(For those of you who simply want “news” about St. John, we’ll be back to normal tomorrow. Promise! And for those of you who want to know a tad more about this island baby’s first year, please read on!!)

It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed already. It’s also hard to believe that we haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a year. Ugh. Dalton is a pretty awesome kid, but he certainly thinks sleep is the enemy. :)

Dalton is walking and babbling a lot already. He absolutely loves the beach and loves being in the water even more. He loves boat rides and plane trips, and even has three whole stamps on his passport! He attended his first wedding up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire back in September, got his first passport stamp in December when he checked out Virgin Gorda for the first time, and even visited Key West in January. He did some people watching at Soggy Dollar for the first time in March and then made a big trip to Italy in May. He loves his dogs and his babysitters (and I’m sure many of you would recognize several of them from your favorite restaurants around the island!), and most importantly, he just really seems to love life. This kid’s smile can truly light up a room.

Growing up on an island is pretty special, and having the ability to raise your child here is even better. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well in our case, it takes an island.

Here are a few recent pics of him…

Hanging out at Maho...

Hanging out at Maho…

Playing on the big slide at the Kid's Carnival over the weekend.

Playing on the big slide at the Kid’s Carnival over the weekend.

Splashing around with Mama News of St. John who flew in for his birthday weekend!

Splashing around with Mama News of St. John who flew in for his birthday weekend!

Looking very cool on a plane ride over to Puerto Rico...

Looking very cool on a plane ride over to Puerto Rico…

He loves Charlie! But Charlie is simply wondering when he's going to go home... lol

He loves Charlie! But Charlie is simply wondering when he’s going to go home… lol

Who doesn't love Lime out??!

Who doesn’t love Lime out??!

Birthday cake time!

Birthday cake time!

Year one was amazing, and I’m sure it will keep getting better. Have a great Monday everyone! And happy birthday Dalton!

It’s Time!

2019 Festival Flags Cruz bay

Another short and sweet story today, folks! The 2019 St. John Festival has been going on for several weeks now, but it really revs up tonight with the opening of Festival Village.

The parking lot over near the old Custom’s building has been transformed into a celebatory space complete with numerous colorful buildings, each which sell a variety of local foods and drinks. Residents have been busy personalizing their spaces over the past few days, and I am super excited to check them all out tonight! A large stage has been set up too, and some of the islands’ best acts are set to perform over the next week.

The Village opens tonight at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. The kids can get in on the action tomorrow night when the Children’s Village opens at 6 p.m. Check out a few pics plus this year’s music schedule:

Caps Place Flags

The flags are up around town!

2019 Village 1 2019 Shuga Shack Village 3 2019 Drinkers Paradise

June 2019 Festival Music July 2019 Fetsival Music

Happy Festival everyone!

Popular Cruz Bay Spot Expands

Thomas is the owner of Our Market Smoothies. He is one of our favorite people on St. John!

Thomas is the owner of Our Market Smoothies. He is one of our favorite people on St. John!

For those of you who love to indulge in a delicious smoothie when you’re on St. John, you are going to love this! One of our beloved residents, Thomas, the owner of Our Market Smoothies in Cruz Bay, is in the process of expanding, and we are super excited to tell you all about it!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Our Market Smoothies, it’s a delicious smoothie spot right in the heart of Cruz Bay. Its bright yellow walls are hard to miss, as is Thomas’s smiling face! Our Market Smoothies is located across from the Post Office and next door to Cap’s Place.

Our Market Smoothies

Thomas is finishing up a pretty large expansion on the property adjacent to the smoothie spot. The new space will offer ample, covered seating and great people watching opportunities, Thomas said.

Thomas New Seating Area Thomas Indoor Seating

Thomas moved to St. John from St. Lucia roughly 35 years ago, and has been serving up smoothies for the past 25. It’s a labor of love, he said.

“It’s something I enjoy. I’ve done food and beverage my whole life. That’s all I know how to do,” he said.

“I have a PhD in flattery too,” he added with a smile.

Thomas serves up a variety of smoothies and ice cream. He even offers drinks serves straight from a fresh coconut – with or with our rum of course. When asked which drink is his favorite, Thomas said it was hard to choose just one.

“All of the drinks are nice and some of them get jealous, so I don’t try to pick one from the next,” he said. “Although number 8 is my favorite. Passionfruit, mango, strawberry. But all are my favorite.”

Smoothie window smoothie flavors THomas Fresh Coconut

Our Market Smoothies is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. It remains number one on TripAdvisor, Thomas pointed out, and with good reason. :)

The Crown Bay Ferry is Great!

Crown Bay Ferry Wake

Today’s story is going to be rather short and sweet. All I want to say is that the new Crown Bay ferry is great!

I was finally able to take the ferry earlier this month, and it was such a nice experience. For those of you unfamiliar with the ferry service here, we now have three options for traveling between the islands. 1. We have the regular Red Hook to Cruz Bay ferry that leaves every hour on the hour from 6 a.m. to midnight. 2. We have the car barge that transports vehicles back and forth, although I do not recommend this for tourists visiting the island. 3. We have the new Crown Bay ferry.

The Crown Bay ferry has limited runs, so your schedule has to work with its. It travels between the Creek in Cruz Bay and the Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas four times a day. The ferry leaves from Cruz Bay daily at 11 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. It leaves from the Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas daily at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (The Creek is the area in front of the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay.)

The ferry ride is about 35-40 minutes. When I took it earlier this month, we left a few minutes before 11 a.m. and my friend and I were ordering beers at Tickles (a bar/restaurant) at Crown Bay by 11:30 a.m. We downed two rather quickly (don’t judge! haha), grabbed a nearby taxi and were at the airport by noon. This is the same time we would have arrived if we had taken the regular Red Hook ferry and then taken the taxi ride across the island.

The Crown Bay ferry at the marina in St. Thomas.

The Crown Bay ferry at the marina in St. Thomas.

What I personally loved about the Crown Bay ferry is the fact that I did not have to take the long taxi ride across the island. The roads are steep and windy, and this little blogger gets a tad nauseous by that, so I will skip it any day of the week! The staff on the boat was also great. And the best part, there were taxis waiting for us at Crown Bay, so the whole process is just so simple and relaxing.

The cost is a tad more, but worth it in my opinion. I paid $25 for a one-way ticket with one piece of luggage. The taxi ride was either $6 or $8. Sorry I can’t remember the exact price… I blame those two Coronoas I had!

We have heard that a few of the taxi drivers are trying to sway people from taking the ferry when leaving the airport. Just be adamant that it is where you need a ride to, and they will take you.

So, if you want to take the ferry from St. John, make sure to arrive a bit early. I arrived about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to leave. You can enter the gates across from Cool Breeze Car Rental and the ticket office is to your right. If you want to take it from St. Thomas, get a taxi to the Crown Bay Marina. The boat leaves from the dock near Tickles.

The Crown Bay ferry is operated by Inter Island Boat Services. Click here to visit their website. 

Caneel Bay: The 2013 Environmental Assessment

Caneel Bay, June 2019

Caneel Bay, June 2019

Earlier this month, we told you that the current leaseholder of Caneel Bay wants $70 million to walk away and that he wants protection from any environmental liability. Well we finally got our hands on the 2013 environmental assessment performed at Caneel that mentions these environmental hazards among other things. It’s Monday morning and many of you are back to work after a wonderful weekend, so I thought I would give you a good amount of reading to pass the time today. :)

“The 2013 Environmental Assessment was prepared for the National Park Service to evaluate the proposed relinquishment of the Caneel Bay Resort Retained Use Estate Indenture Agreement (RUE) and award of a long-term lease of the RUE property (and certain property associated with the RUE) to be entered into by NPS and the owner of the relinquished RUE,” the report states. “Public Law 111-261, signed by the President in 2010, expressly authorizes NPS to enter into this transaction, provided that, under the lease, as stated in the law, the general character of the Caneel Bay Resort must remain unchanged during the lease term, including a prohibition against any increase in the overall size of the resort and any increase in the number of guest accommodations available at the resort. In addition, as required by the law, such a lease must include provisions that ensure the protection of the natural, cultural, and historic features of the resort and associated property, consistent with the laws and policies applicable to property managed by NPS.”

So basically, this assessment was performed to see the impacts a lease would have on the Caneel Bay property and what the impacts would be if a RUE continued. The alternative is that the Park take control of the land.

One interesting that I read, which really doesn’t have much to do with the current Caneel situation, is how they mentioned potentially paving the Lind Point Trail from the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay to Honeymoon beach to make it ADA compliant. I personally would love to see that happen as a momma who has very few shady places to walk her nearly one-year-old son. :)

Ok, but back to Caneel… There’s a lot of pages to get through, so let’s get right to it!

Click here to view the Caneel Bay 2013 Environmental Assessment.

Click here to view the Caneel Bay 2103 Environmental Assessment Appendix and Consultation.

Summer is Here & So is the Dust

Dust June 21 2019

The dust is heavy today. June 21, 2019

Today is the first day of summer … yahoo! And with summer, here on St. John, comes the dust, and the dust is currently here in force.

For those of you who regularly watch the webcams, you may have noticed a bit of a haze in the picture today and over the last couple of days. That haze is actually dust, dust that came all the way from the Saharan Desert in Africa. It’s something that happens each summer, and it’s supposed to help keep hurricanes away. So it’s a welcomed thing of sorts.

The dust 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 Eleanor 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 the amount that will be here Monday. The swath isn’t as large, but it will still be here.

The dust layer as of Friday morning.

The dust layer as of Friday morning.

The dust layer for Tuesday, June 24.

The dust layer for Monday, June 24.

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 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as sunset is currently at 6:58 p.m. EST.

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