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The 8 Tuff Miles Road Race is ON!

The 8 Tuff Miles Road Race is ON! 1

Good Morning, Good Morning!  In my early morning wanderings about the internet, I saw a post from 8 Tuff Miles announcing the date for the 2023 event!  This year’s race will be a bit different, according to the post.  But the date has been set and announcements have been made about the triumphant comeback of everyone’s favorite annual St. John event.

Read moreThe 8 Tuff Miles Road Race is ON!

A Message to the People of Florida- There ARE Better Days Ahead

A Message to the People of Florida- There ARE Better Days Ahead 2

Dear Florida,

We are incredibly sorry to see what you are going through right now.  We are watching day by day in trepidation as more and more loss reveals itself along your southwestern coastline.  We are feeling your pain in the same way you felt ours several years ago.  Storms that begin with “I” are not friendly, they are not fun, they are unwelcome, they cause pain, they cause loss, they cause destruction, and they are definitely not invited back for dinner or a second visit.  And, while our “I” storms have been very different, we stand with you today.  Because we have come to understand the terror of these horrible storms and their aftermaths.  And we understand the days, months and years that lie ahead of you in order to get back to “normal.”  We feel your loss.  And, although empathy may not be at all helpful right now, we want you to know, we feel your pain.

We want you to know that we are here for you.  We understand that, however comforting, thoughts and prayers do not undo the damages that have been done.  They do not bring back your homes, your cars, your material things or your items of sentimental value.  And, most importantly, they cannot bring back the lives of those who have been lost in this abhorrent and unavoidable natural disaster.

We want you to know that you should take it day by day, piece by piece.  That looking at the big picture of what is to be done right now will be too overwhelming.  It will be too much.  Take baby steps towards putting things together again.  Celebrate the small successes.  The power will be back soon.  Celebrate that.  If your home is gone, you must have faith that a new place to be is on the horizon.  And when it happens, celebrate that.  If your home was damaged, room by room it will start to feel cleaner, drier.  Celebrate that.  You will find cherished items destroyed, but you may also happen upon pleasant surprises of preservation in the mud.  Celebrate that too.  More outside help is arriving daily.  And, when each party arrives…You guessed it.  Celebrate that.

Better days ARE ahead.

In the weeks and months to come, dwelling on the loss and the devastation will not help you.  Yes, you should absolutely process the losses, feel them.  But staying in that space will not move you forward.  Plow into better days with your sights set on the horizon line.  Or take that friend in a drier space up on their offer to get out, get some rest and take a break.  And then go back and continue to plow forward.

You see, we understand that our “I” storms are not the same.  We cannot imagine the devastation brought about by the storm surges and flooding on top of the howling devastation of the winds.  We cannot relate to the specific paths of relief and then recovery lying ahead of you.  But we can understand the helpless feeling of your home at your feet in ruin, your community devastated and your familiar surroundings now feeling like a foreign place.  We GET that.  And we are here to tell you that it WILL get better.  You will survive and you will make it through this and, one day, you WILL feel “normal” again.  You, and your community, are stronger than you think you are.

It will take time.  It will take patience.  It will take your communities coming together to right what has been wronged by your “I” storm (we shall not speak his name!).  It will take the strong helping the weak.  Those who have done “alright” letting those who have lost so much lean on them.  Cry on each other’s shoulders.  Lift each other up.  Put your specific skill sets to work to rebuild your homes, and your communities, together.

We apologize for the “tough love” talk.  Because you probably don’t want to hear this right now.  But, one day down the line, you may need some of this encouragement.  Some of this direction.  Some of this “everything WILL get better” rant.  We know this because we have been there for the past five years.  Rebuilding our home, piece by piece, bit by bit, home by home and business by business.  And every once in a while, you will need a reminder to keep going.  If you need proof that everything CAN get better and feel somewhat normal again; well look at the absolutely hopeless situation St. John and so many other places devastated by natural disasters have been in.  And know…There ARE better days ahead.

Like we said, we do not pretend to fully understand the pain you are going through.  Every storm, and its impact, is different.  But we are here for you.  And we are willing to bet that many people across the country are as well.  If you are one of those people looking on in horror from afar, and you know someone in the impacted areas of this terrible “I” of a storm, REACH OUT to them.  Offer up a place to stay (a hot meal, dry bed and warm shower are likely high on the survivors’ priority lists right now), ask them, not just what they need, but what they want…Creature comforts are unrealistically essential to mental well-being in situations like this.  And listen to them, don’t tell them.  Ask them what they want, what they need and where you can support.  And LISTEN.

And, to the people of Florida, we know that SO MANY of you supported us when we were going through the earthshattering aftermath of our “I” storm (we shall not speak her name either!).  You donated to our causes and our fundraisers, you sent relief supplies, you showed up on our shores to support our re-emergence to tourism.  And we want you to know that we are here.  If you need an escape, a listening ear, a sympathetic shoulder to cry on or an understanding and knowing glance.  Reach out to the people you know in the Virgin Islands.  You supported us.  And we support you.

Keep your eyes on the horizon line.  Keep moving forward.  It WILL get better.

St. Johnopoly is BACK!!!

St. Johnopoly is BACK!!! 3

Greetings Friends!  Yup, you read that right!  Everyone’s favorite St. John board game is hitting the shelves again.  The Fourth Edition of St. Johnopoly, an island version of the traditional Monopoly celebrating St. John, is now available for pre-sale.  This fourth edition of the celebrated St. John centric and fun for the whole family board game features a ton of new businesses (many of which you will recognize) and iconic game pawns like palm trees, sea turtles and Jeeps 🙂

Head on over to the pre-sale page to learn more and order your Fourth Edition St. Johnopoly game for yourself or for the lovers of St. John in your life!  This is a great Christmas gift for folks who have traveled to Love City with you in the past!  Your pre-order gets you first in line to have St. Johnopoly shipped directly to your home in time for the holidays.

St. Johnopoly is like being on St. John when you can’t be!  So, get your game ordered today and, when it arrives, throw on your favorite island threads, crank up the heat, turn on a St. John webcam and your favorite island playlist, make yourself a Painkiller or a Bushwhacker (or both!) and move your Jeep around the game board to your favorite St. John locations such as High Tide, The Windmill Bar, Colombo’s Smoothies and Beach Bar!

Winter is coming….So get yourself set up for regular St. John game playing in your own home during the colder months of the year by pre-ordering your Fourth Edition St. Johnopoly board game today!

Travel Tip: COVID Testing and Proof of Vaccination Are NOT Required for Entry to USVI

Travel Tip: COVID Testing and Proof of Vaccination Are NOT Required for Entry to USVI 4

Hello, hello!

I know, I know, this is OLD news for a lot of you!  But I have received a ton of messages just this week of folks asking about requirements for entering the USVI.  Some are new followers of the blog, and some are first time visitors to St. John and some just simply have not visited Love City since before the pandemic.  So, welcome and welcome back everyone!  Either way, after an influx in messages this week, I went to the USVI Travel Portal to see what is posted there and it actually doesn’t exist anymore.  And the COVID link leads to nowhere on the USVI Department of Travel website.  So….

In order to travel into the USVI you DO NOT need the following:

  • COVID-19 test
  • Proof of Vaccination
  • Travel Portal QR Code
  • Passport (Although, these are helpful for getting into a potentially shorter customs line for your flight back home!)

So, coming to visit us here in Love City is just as simple as it always has been in the good old pre-pandemic days.  Then US Virgin Islands entered the Open Doors phase back in May of 2022, getting rid of the travel portal, testing and vaccination requirements.

Again- Sorry if this is redundant for many of you, but I wanted to put it out there for everyone who has been asking!  I’m sure there are more that I haven’t heard from 🙂

BVI Update: Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed by USVI & BVI

BVI Update: Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed by USVI & BVI 5

Good Morning, Good Morning…Do you ever have that feeling that you just put your foot in your mouth?  Well, I may have done just that with my statements in the charter boat section of yesterday’s article about USVI commercial boating in the BVI.  And, for once, I can say I’m grateful for my lack of predicting the future as I wrote about it!  HA!  Yesterday, BVI News released an article announcing an update to the Memorandum of Understanding between the territories to be signed by USVI Governor Albert Bryan and BVI Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley on Virgin Islands Friendship Day in relation to boaters moving between the two territories.

Read moreBVI Update: Memorandum of Understanding to be Signed by USVI & BVI

Travel Tips- Planning Your Love City Winter Getaway!

Travel Tips- Planning Your Love City Winter Getaway! 6

Good Morning, Good Morning!  I hope that all of you had a spectacular weekend as the chilly fall temps begin to cast their shadows on some of the cooler areas of the country.  As the fall and winter winds begin to blow, a lot of you are probably starting to set your sights on travel plans for a winter escape to bluer waters and warmer breezes here on St. John.  So, I wanted to take a moment today to get you a few travel tips and guides for getting your Love City vacation planning knocked out as the days at home get shorter and cooler.

Read moreTravel Tips- Planning Your Love City Winter Getaway!

Where to Stay Spotlight: Book A Discounted Stay at The Westin With St. John Condos!

Where to Stay Spotlight: Book A Discounted Stay at The Westin With St. John Condos! 7

Good Morning, Good Morning!  You guys, I am thrilled to be sharing with you today a service that I have used for visiting friends and family a multitude of times.  Their customer service is fantastic, their rates much more reasonable than those on the regular rental market or Airbnb and, by renting your stay at the Westin Resort through St. John Condos, you still get access to all of the incredible amenities and location-based bonuses offered by one of the only resorts in Love City.  Let’s take a look at how this awesome secondary rental company operates and what benefits you’ll see by booking your next stay with them.

Read moreWhere to Stay Spotlight: Book A Discounted Stay at The Westin With St. John Condos!

Progress Report:: Construction on Cruz Bay Playground to Begin October 1

Progress Report:: Construction on Cruz Bay Playground to Begin October 1 8

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some AWESOME news for you today!  If you have visited St. John over the past five years, you have probably noticed the overall lack of outdoor facilities for our kiddos.  We used to have two baseball fields and a functional playground right in Cruz Bay and a ball field in Coral Bay as well.  After Hurricane Irma, the ballfield near the National Parks Dock (across from Mongoose Junction) was utilized a as a parking area for Federal vehicles and, later in recovery efforts, the BBC trucks.

Progress Report:: Construction on Cruz Bay Playground to Begin October 1 9
Construction on the NPS Ballfield began in October of 2021 with a re-opening date for the end of that month. Here we are in 2022…Still no ballfield. Photo- Amy Roberts, St. John Source

The ball field near Julius E. Sprauve School (JESS) was functional post-Irma until the space was reappropriated to accommodate the modular classroom units.  And, while a small playground was constructed on the school grounds at JESS for the school children to utilize during recess, the access to a competitive sports area for the children of St. John was diminished.  The Coral Bay ball field, part of the Moravian Church property, still sits unused and in disrepair.  And while the tennis courts and basketball courts have been open and recently received re-paving and facelifts, the playground near the NPS dock and ballfield has remained a sad, sad sight.  BUT, in the name of progress (!), next month, construction, repairs and a full rebuild of the playground will begin with the goal of incorporating the nature, culture and history of St. John in a kid friendly and community minded environment.

Read moreProgress Report:: Construction on Cruz Bay Playground to Begin October 1

Enter to Win a One Week Stay at Lovango Resort + Beach Club!!!

Enter to Win a One Week Stay at Lovango Resort + Beach Club!!! 10

Good Morning, Good Morning! Now that the sun is starting to show her pretty face once again on St. John, I have some fantastic news to share with you! The St. John Land Conservancy (SJLC) launched their Second Annual Love for the Land Fundraiser last week and the lucky winner of this contest will be absolutely living in the lap of luxury for a week on Lovango Cay. Oh, but this prize package isn’t JUST for incredible lodging…It also includes St. John dining, activities AND airfare credits. And every ticket purchased in an attempt to win this incredible prize goes towards a great cause: Preserving the cultural and natural resources of St. John from unsustainable development. It’s a win, win! Pun absolutely intended 😉

Read moreEnter to Win a One Week Stay at Lovango Resort + Beach Club!!!

Hurricane Fiona Creeps Out of the Virgin Islands & Delivers Devastating Blow to Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona Creeps Out of the Virgin Islands & Delivers Devastating Blow to Puerto Rico 11

Good Morning, Good Morning!  I’m happy to report today that Fiona left St. John pretty well unscathed with the exception of nasty winds and rains throughout the entire weekend.  The airports and seaports are now open again and, with the exception of public schools remaining closed for the day in the USVI, everything is back to business as usual on St. John.  However, Fiona has not been as kind to Puerto Rico, and we should all set our sights on the upcoming recovery and relief efforts for our sister island as this continually building storm is leaving catastrophic flooding in her path throughout the larger territory to our west.

Read moreHurricane Fiona Creeps Out of the Virgin Islands & Delivers Devastating Blow to Puerto Rico