I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again … I cannot believe 2014 is coming to a close. It’s been a great year both on island and here at News of St. John. Here’s a little recap of what happened on our favorite little island throughout the year:
The first major story of 2014 was the reopening of Cafe Roma after a fire destroyed the restaurant in April 2013. We were excited to dine in one of our favorite restaurants once again, and the food was just as delicious as we remembered! In other food news, a few of the owners over at Rhumb Lines announced their intentions to open a new restaurant in the space that once housed Donkey Diner in Coral Bay. The restaurant was delayed a bit, but Indigo Grill finally opened just last week. (Stay tuned to News of St. John for more information on that in the New Year…) There was also a pretty amazing yacht sighting in January when Venus cruised through the waters around St. John. Venus is the megayacht that Steve Jobs was building prior to passing away. And finally after months of false promises, work FINALLY began on the section of Centerline Road that was washed out years ago.
The US Virgin Islands gained an amazing new anthem in February when Pressure released his new tune Virgin Islands Nice. To this day, I simply cannot get enough of that song. The video is pretty amazing as well and featured shots from St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix. Next up was the 18th annual 8 Tuff Miles race. It was a pretty rainy and soggy day, but that didn’t stop more than 1,000 runners, including Mr. News of St. John, from running 8.3 miles from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. Just over a week later was the Super Bowl. How did St. John celebrate, you ask? Well it did so in the dark as a rolling outage hit the island during the first quarter. Luckily it didn’t last too long.
St. John got a ton of national exposure during March. Caneel and Mare Blu were featured in a national Target commercial in the earlier part of the month while Ranifly swimsuits made an appearance in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition later that month. We had two great new establishments open during March – Scoops ice cream in Cruz Bay and Chester’s Getaway at mile 2 on Centerline Road. Lastly we has a pretty scandalous schooner make an appearance around the island…
We started April off with a bang with the best April Fools’ Day joke ever! After months of hearing about two new passenger ferries, yet not seeing either on island, we came up with a pretty good April Fools’ Day joke. We decide to make up a silly story about how Captain John Brandi, then the owner of Palm Tree Charters, was planning on renting one of the new ferries to create an express booze cruise of sorts from Cruz Bay straight to the Soggy Dollar. We even got the Soggy Dollar crew in on the fun. You all seemed to love it and many people believed us! Now here’s a little secret that Captain John Brandi and I have kept to ourselves since last April… A certain country star who happens to have a house on island read the story, believed it and asked to charter the boat for a Jost trip for his music buddies … I almost died when I found out!! The actual ferry did in fact make its first appearance in Cruz Bay later that month.
Not much happened in May other than a major television show stopping by to do some filming. The Amazing Race filmed its first episode of its latest season around St. John and over in St. Thomas. The coolest part was that a lot of local charter captains were asked to participate in the filming … so cool!
There were three pretty major announcements that happened in June. The first, and definitely the most controversial, was the announcement that a McDonald’s was set to open in Cruz Bay. It took a little digging, but we soon learned that it was simply a drunken rant that one local thought would be funny to post on Craigslist after a fun night out on the town. Not everyone found it to be amusing, but we certainly did! Next up was the announcement that a major country music fest was in the works, which left everyone wondering would would be on the lineup. And lastly, we had a pretty major announcement of our own … St. Johnopoly! I’m sure you know the story by now, but what started as a tipsy little conversation over drinks between myself and the Sadie Sea turned into a pretty fabulous board game. A HUGE thanks to everyone who has purchased one!!
There was some good and also some bad that happened during the month of July. For the first time, we learned about the proposed marina in Coral Bay and were completely lied to by the developers. We were told it would be a small marina when in fact there developers had much more in store than they initially led on. The month, however, ended on a positive note with the Chaotic Kayak race. The event was a blast and raised more than $40,000 for wounded veterans.
August was relatively quiet other than Tropical Storm Bertha making a brief appearance on island. Fortunately there was little damage, and everyone made the best of it including the boys over at Castaways. (Sorry folks but you must be logged in to Facebook to watch this video…)
September was another banner month for us here at News of St. John. After months of anticipation, St. Johnopoly finally arrived!! It essentially turned my home on island into a storage facility and my stateside home into Amazon.com. It was all worth it though, but it turned out so cool! We also adopted out beloved little Charlie from the Animal Care Center during the month of September, and our lives haven’t been the same since – lol. September also marked the first time when chikungunya really started to rear its ugly head. People were dropped likes flies due to this miserable virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
There were some pretty great things that happening during October including the opening of one of our new favorite restaurants – Ocean 362. Ocean 362 brought in a great new chef in 2014 and a completely new menu and it is simply outstanding. We also had a pretty major celebrity sighting in October when Derek Jeter of New York Yankees fame made a brief appearance on island. Lastly Coral Bay really came together during the month and launched its Save Coral Bay campaign, which has raised an astonishing amount of money.
We had some more restaurant news in November. The North Shore Deli opened over at Mongoose Junction in the space that formerly housed Deli Grotto. We also learned more about The Longboard, a new restaurant that is set to open in early 2015 in the space that used to house Joe’s Diner.
And to end out the year, we had more business news. Island Blues, the popular waterfront spot in Coral Bay, announced that it had closed its doors for good, while Motu, one of our favorite Cruz bay watering holes announced it would serve its last drink at the end of the month. On a positive note, we immediately learned that DR!NK would take the place at Motu and that lots of familiar faces will remain onboard. We also had a great new Italian restaurant, Vista Mare, open in Wharfside Village, and a new market opened over in Coral Bay.
All in all, it was a truly a great year. Here’s to hoping 2015 is even better! Happy New Year everyone!!