On the Market: Successful Short Term Rental in Gated Community

paper moon alternate exterior

Anyone interested in living on St. John? Perhaps you’re looking for a great investment? Well today we’d like to tell you about a successful short term rental located out past Coral Bay. It’s a nice masonry home with room to add on, plus it has deeded beach access. Check it out…

Paper Moon is a handcrafted stone and masonry villa located in the gated Johnson Bay Estates. Johnson Bay Estates is a gated, waterfront neighborhood located on the east side of the island, just a few miles past Coral Bay. Paper Moon has two bedrooms, two baths and a small caretaker’s cottage on site. The property also comes with expired plans for a second home on the property.

A lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into the design of Paper Moon – from the limestone kitchen counters to a sliding window that connects the kitchen to the outside dining area, to the pitch pine top shelves and cypress shutters.

Check out a few pics:

Paper moon kitchen paper moon ladder to loft paper moon bedroom paper moon bedroom 2 paper moon bathroom

paper moon porchpaper moon exteriorpaper moon exterior 2paper moon yard

Paper Moon is being offered by 340 Real Estate Co. for $699,000. Looking for more information? Contact Tammy at 340 Real Estate Co. at 340RealEstateCo@gmail.com

It’s Not Too Late For a Summer Vacation!

maho view

The view on Sunday afternoon

Hello everyone and happy Monday! We were chatting with some of our friends here on island who are in the Jeep and villa rentals business, and all have mentioned that the reservations really seem to drop off right around August 13th. Do you know what that means? It’s the perfect time for you to come and visit us!!

I know, you may be thinking, “why would I visit the Caribbean in the summer?” Well, for starters, it’s slow season which means the beaches aren’t super crowded. Unlike during the winter months, you can pretty much visit whichever beach you’d like on any given day without having to worry about parking.

Another reason – it’s cheap. Villas slash their prices during this time of year. And even better – if you book a place to stay less than a month before you visit, chances are you can get an even better deal.

Let’s talk about the water… It’s so lovely and calm and warm! But not too warm that you can’t enjoy it. It’s the type of warmth where you can simply float for hours (with a drink in hand of course!).

Ok, so you can get a cheap villa and a parking spot at the beach. Now you’re probably thinking about airfare. We searched using our favorite airfare aggregate website – https://matrix.itasoftware.com – and found some pretty good deals. We found fares as low as $247 roundtrip from Miami, $348 from Chicago, $383 from Boston, $403 from New York and $490 from Houston. Not too shabby.

And then, last but not least, book your News of St. John island tour and see the island with us! We’ve received several amazing reviews … you can check them out here. (Sorry for the shameless plug – lol)

Have a great week everyone, and I hope to see you all soon!

St. John Car Rental Now Allowing Renters to Remove Jeep Tops

new jeep top cruz bay overlook (1)

How many times have you rented a Jeep on St. John and wished you were allowed to remove the tops? Well now you can, but only when renting from St. John Car Rental!

St. John Car Rental recently began installing new, easy to use, convertible tops in several of its two-door and four-door Jeep Wranglers. The new fabric convertible tops make it simple for renters to open up the Jeep and enjoy all that St. John has to offer. All you have to do it open two latches and push the top back … it’s that easy!

jeep top trunk (1)Car rental companies generally do not allow you to remove the factory tops for several reasons, according to Chris Dudek, owner of St. John Car Rental. 1. If not properly put back, the tops can cause water leaks. 2. The tops can be easily scratched when removing and reinstalling, or when they are be stored in the trunk. 3. They are bulky and get quite hot when removing, plus they take up a a lot of space in the back. Chris has found that some renters have opted to leave the tops at home after removing them (which they were instructed not to do per the rental contact). And well with the frequent mini rain storms we get here, the Jeeps get wet. That means they can get mildewy or start to smell.

So he and his wife Shawna decided to install these new convertible tops because, let’s be honest, people who rent Jeeps typically want to feel the cooling trade winds as they cruise around our island. Chris and Shawna did when they used to vacation here, and so did I!

These tops are so cool that I installed them in my own Jeep, which I use for my News of St. John Tours (with the help of St. John Car Rental of course!). And all of my guests have absolutely loved them! As does my dog Charlie who likes to spin around the island just as much as us humans do. :)

Chris and I made an extremely professional how-to video the other day using my iPhone. It shows just how simple these tops are to use. Check it out:

Chris and Shawna planned to install these convertible tops on all of their Wranglers, but in the meantime, you have to specifically request one. The cost for a Jeep with this type of top is an extra $15 a day, well worth it in my opinion to get the full Jeep island experience. St. John Car Rental is the only company on island that currently offers this feature.

To learn more about St. John Car Rental, please visit its website at www.stjohncarrental.com

Sargassum Returning to the Area

sargassum drunk bay

Sargassum at Drunk Bay Friday afternoon

For those of you who have flown to the island in recent weeks, you may have notices what looked like an oil slick in the water. But rather than it being a darker color with an oily shine, it’s a lighter brown color. What you’re seeing from the air is sargassum and it’s been popping up on some of our beaches over the past month or so.

Sargassum is a genus of large brown seaweed (a type of algae) that floats in island-like masses, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). While it may be unsightly when found on the beach, it’s actually a very important part of our ecosystem.

This floating habitat provides food, refuge, and breeding grounds for an array of critters such as fishes, sea turtles, marine birds, crabs, shrimp, and more, according to the NOAA. Some animals, like the Sargassum fish live their whole lives only in this habitat. Sargassum serves as a primary nursery area for a variety of commercially important fishes such as mahi mahi, for example.

We saw a decent amount of sargassum on Cruz Bay beach early Friday morning, but fortunately it was most gone today. St. Thomas has reported a numerous problems with it over the past several months, including having to temporarily move the Division of Fish and Wildlife back in May due to the stench of the decaying seaweed.

Sargassum on Cruz Bay beach Friday morning

Sargassum on Cruz Bay beach Friday morning

The last big sargassum bloom we saw here on island was back in December 2014. At that time, the Territory had to employ heavy machine operators to remove it. Let’s hope it doesn’t get that bad this time and simply moves back out to the ocean.

New Hotel May Be Coming to Cruz Bay

Image credit: St. John Tradewinds News

Image credit: St. John Tradewinds News

We had a lot of news last week that made you all unhappy – the two BVI increases, for example – so we wanted to hold off on today’s story for a bit because we weren’t sure the reaction we’d receive. But it’s made the rounds in the traditional news media, so we figured it was time to share it. So here it goes… A new hotel is planned for Cruz Bay. And from what we’ve been told, it’s going to have up to 200 rooms if approved.

The hotel is being planned by Delbert Parsons and Delrise Varlack. Delbert owns Sea Shore Allure, a beautifully-designed, upscale hotel in Cruz Bay. Ms. Varlack owns Varlack Ventures, one of the companies that runs the ferry boats. She also owns a car rental company of the same name.

The hotel is going to have up to 200 rooms – both one and two bedroom suites. They will not have kitchens, Delbert said Thursday. It’s going to be a higher end hotel, along the lines of Sea Shore Allure, but the price point will be less than the Westin and Caneel Bay, he said.

If approved, the hotel have two pools – one at ground level and another roof-top pool. It will also have a walking path connecting it to nearby Mongoose Junction. He’s still working on the renderings and expects to have them completed within a month.

Delbert doesn’t foresee any approval issues, as he has the space, waste management and water plans, etc. If approved, he expects the project to take roughly three years to complete.

The site is located above the Lumberyard and would be accessed from the road behind the Islandia Building. It’s a perfect location, according to Delbert.

“The view is unbelievable. The sunsets – oh man, it’s priceless. The way it’s located, we don’t have the noise up there. That’s what’s so amazing about it.”

And when asked about potential backlash, which happened when Grande Bay and Sirenusa were announced, for example, Delbert remains positive.

“Progress is something you cannot stop,” he said. “We lost Maho Bay. We lost the Westin. (The Westin is being converted to all timeshares.) So we’re trying to bring back something we lost. We’re not adding more to the situation. We can probably bring back half the rooms we lost.”

We will keep you all posted on this folks.

2017 Seasonal Closings List

Closed Sign

Here it is folks, the 2017 Seasonal Closings list. If I missed any, please let me know in the Comments sections and I will add it in.

You can also find the list at www.newsofstjohn.com/seasonalclosings

Click here for a printable PDF version of the list.

  • 420 to Center: Staying open
  • Aqua Bistro: Staying open
  • Asolare: Staying open
  • Baked in the Sun: Permanently closed
  • Banana Deck: Closed September 1st through October 15th
  • Barefoot Cowboy Lounge: Closing briefly for a remodel; Dates TBD
  • Beach Bar: Staying open
  • Cafe Concordia: Closed; Will reopen mid-November.
  • Cafe Roma: Closed August 28th to September 28th
  • Candie’s: Closed for September
  • Caneel Bay Resort (including restaurants): Closes August 26th; Reopens November 1st
  • Château Bordeaux: No info yet
  • Chester’s: Staying open
  • Cinnamon Bay Campground: Water sports & beach food services staying open; Resort closed September 5th through November 1st
  • Columbo’s Smoothie Stand: Closing but dates not yet decided
  • Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis: Closed during the month of August
  • Cruz Bay Landing: Staying open
  • da Livio’s: Staying open
  • De’ Coal Pot: Staying open
  • Dog House Pub: Staying open
  • DR!NK: Closing August 18th (Drink the bar dry party); Reopening mid-October
  • Driftwood Dave’s: Staying open
  • Etta’s West Indian Cuisine: Closed for the foreseeable future due to health reasons
  • Extra Virgin Bistro: Closed August 27th through October 17th
  • High Tide: Staying open
  • Indigo Grill: Closing but dates TBD
  • Island Cork: Staying open
  • Jake’s: Staying open
  • Joe’s Rum Hut: Closing September 4th; Reopening October 2nd
  • Knox & Ollies: Closed September 2nd through October 2nd
  • La Tapa: Closing August 25th; Reopening between October 15th and 23rd
  • Lemongrass at the Westin: Staying open.
  • Lime Inn: Closing August 26th; Reopening outside bar October 2nd; Reopening full dining room November 6th
  • Little Olive: Closing at the end of August; Reopening date TBD
  • Margarita Phil’s: Closing September 3rd; Reopening end of October
  • Miss Lucy’s: Closing end of August; Reopening mid-November
  • Morgan’s Mango: Staying open
  • Nella’s Lounge: No info yet
  • North Shore Deli: Closing mid-September for a week
  • Ocean 362: Closing August 15th through October 11th
  • Ocean Grill: Closed August 19th; Reopening September 13th
  • Our Market Smoothies: Staying open
  • P & P’s: No info yet.
  • Pickles: Closing July 29th; Reopening in October
  • Pizzabar in Paradise: Staying open
  • Quiet Mon: Will likely close August 30th until September 30th
  • Rhumb Lines: Closed September 19th through October 18th
  • Ronnie’s Pizza: Closing the end of August for two weeks
  • Sam and Jack’s Deli: Closing on Sundays only through early November
  • Shipwreck Landing: Closing August 26th; Reopening first week of November
  • Skinny Legs: Last day open is August 11th; Reopening October 15th
  • Slimman and the Snack Dragon: Staying open
  • Sogos: TBD
  • St. John Scoops: Staying open but with shortened hours
  • Sun Dog Cafe: Staying open
  • Tamarind Inn: Closed September 1st through October 1st (Inn and restaurant)
  • The Bowery: Opening at 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays throughout off season.
  • The Tap Room: Staying open
  • The Thirsty Donkey: Staying open
  • The Fish Trap: Closed August 19th through September 15th (weather permitting)
  • The Longboard: Staying open (Will close for 4-5 days for maintenance in either late September or early October; dates TBD)
  • The Terrace: Closing August 1st; Reopening around September 15th
  • The Triple B: Closing August 13th; Reopening early November
  • UMAMI: Closed September 8th through September 28th
  • Uncle Joe’s: Staying open
  • Viva Cantina: Permanently closed.
  • Waterfront Bistro: Lunch service closes August 1st; Entire restaurant will be closed September 1st to October 1st
  • West Indies Delight: Staying open
  • Wok on the Beach: Staying open
  • Woody’s: Staying open
  • Zozo’s Ristorante: Closing August 25th; Reopening November 1st