A while back, I received a message from “the queen of the beach read” and best selling author Elin Hilderbrand. She reached out to me via Instagram to ensure that I had seen the story about ABC’s possible option on her Paradise Trilogy. I asked the famed novelist if she wouldn’t mind sitting down with me when she was next on island. She told me she would be on St. John this month for her annual five week “Winter in Paradise” and, with a green light from Captain Teddy, I invited her to join us for an afternoon of conversation and sailing on Asante.
So, on March 18, Elin and her boyfriend, Tim, joined Teddy, Chewy and myself on the boat to celebrate their ninth anniversary and chat about the madness of 2020, Love City of past and present and some interesting parallels between the author’s home of Nantucket and her beloved winter “paradise,” St. John.
Good Morning All! I have mentioned many times before the absolutely devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on our island’s very necessary non-profits over the past year. The majority of them host fundraisers throughout the year that give the little island that could a reason to get out and socialize for a number of great causes. This year, many of them have struggled with the cancelling of these momentous annual events which has caused drastic decreases to their annual fundraising efforts.
But, in the true spirit of St. John, most of them have been flexible and creative; developing new ways to raise funds and collect donations online. And fortunately for all of you who are not currently on St. John, this means that you can participate and support from afar like never before! This month, the St. John School of the Arts has taken their annual concert series to the web and are hosting an online art auction to “keep their lights on” and support the artistic community and students of St. John!
Good Morning and Happy Friday to you all! Last week, the VI Consortium shared a video featuring 15 artists from the USVI and BVI with an absolutely beautiful message, stunning views and impeccable talent. “This Too Shall Pass,” written by Patrick “Soljah” Farrell and Luis Ible Jr. of St. Thomas, paints the picture of working together through the hard times. Once again, Virgin Islanders spread a message of hope, compassion and resiliency….
When I saw this amazing video pop up on Facebook yesterday, I was beyond excited!
I reached out to the videographer, Spencer Chaney, about permission to share this with you and about our dual interests in sharing the stories of the beautiful individuals who make up the Love City Community.
Spencer has just moved to St. John and started his company, Island Media Co. His goal with this mini-series, Rooted in the Caribbean, is to “give a voice to the unheard.”
This is episode 1 and I, personally, am very excited about seeing more of his work!
Have you have ever bumped into a stranger somewhere completely random, only to notice they have on a hook bracelet that matches your own? Then you know. You know you have found someone else who leaves a little piece of their heart in the Virgin Islands.
If you don’t know what I am talking about, you’re likely reading this while dreaming of your first vacation to St. John. Once you arrive, you will quickly notice this unique bracelet, one or more, on the wrist of every man, woman and child. Yes, we even put them on our babies.
What Is the Hook Bracelet’s Connection to the Virgin Islands?
Today the hook bracelet is an established symbol of the Virgin Islands. Its rebirth has been accredited to Sonya Hughes of St. Croix. Hughes began creating her handcrafted, unique and signature hook bracelets in 1964 and they quickly became a MUST HAVE for all who visited St. Croix.
This stunning tradition is now interwoven into VI culture, and artisans on St. John are now crafting their own versions of the notorious hook as well. The St. John specific hook evolved from the simple “U” shape with the addition of a ball embellishment turning it into a “J.”
Like many people, Ali Norton always wanted to live a free and independent lifestyle. After a little soul searching, she found herself settled on our beloved island of St. John where, for the past 10 years, she’s created whimsical art that is sure to make you smile.
Ali focuses on creating artwork that brings the vivid colors and tranquility of paradise into the homes of her both travelers and locals alike. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, anyone who loves St. John will certainly see its beauty, and Ali hopes that through her art people can keep a piece of this beauty with them always.
See for yourself:
Ali sells her paintings and mixed media pieces at Hibiscus Jazz, a quaint little boutique tucked next to Chateau Bordeaux on Centerline Road. In addition to her paintings and mixed media items – many of which she creates right on site – the boutique also sells other artist’s works and touristy items. Nearly all of the items sold at the boutique are made in the USA, Ali said.
The next time you’re on Centerline Road, make it a point to stop by Ali’s shop and say hello. Be sure to bring home one of her amazing items. We did!
Ali is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also find her on the web at www.AliNortonArt.com
The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) issued a Notice of Violation to the Denis Bay property owner accused of altering the area’s landscape and VI National Park land.
DPNR found that property owner Tony Ingrao violated seven provisions of the VI Building Code including excavating and land clearing on National Park land; failure to secure an earth change permit; building without a permit; violating provisions of permits; and excavations affecting adjoining properties.
According to the Notice of Violation, the Division of Building Permits was notified on May 13 that a landslide occurred on a lower section of the roadway adjacent to plot 2B Denis Bay. Prior to the landslide report, the Division had met with the construction project manager to discuss concerns about possible environmental impacts and hazards created by the site. Mitigations efforts were discussed and it was indicated at the time that they would begin as quickly as possible.
Now that the Notice of Violation has been issued, Ingrao will be required to submit plans and a new building permit application for site stabilization, drainage and any associated structure needed to stabilize the affected area. Ingrao must submit any agreement or mitigation approved by the National Park with regard to the impacted areas. Ingrao is required to notify and receive approval for any work conducted on the recently reopened roadway leading to the property, and upon approval, Ingrao has 45 days to make repairs to that roadway. DPNR also fined Ingrao $10,500 which must be paid within 30 days.
Jamal Nielsen, DPNR Media Relations Coordinator, stated Monday that Ingrao has already implemented corrective action measures, although he did not have specific details on what types of measures have been put into place thus far.
Ingrao is a world-renowned interior designer based in New York City. News of St. John reached out to him Monday, but was unsuccessful.
If you’re planning on visiting St. John for the annual Independence Day celebration and activities, bring ID.
“Together with federal law enforcement partners, Virgin Islands law enforcement agencies will stage random passenger screening for persons traveling by barge or ferry to participate in the annual Fourth of July festivities on St. John”, Governor John P. De Jongh announced. “This is for everyone’s safety.”
It's the third year for the increased security which will involve “screening on random days” at Red Hook, Cruz Bay dock, or both locations.
“Passengers are encouraged to have a form of identification on their person,” the Governor said.
You can save $100 a night at the St. John Westin by donating a few hours of your time to help the Virgin Islands National Park.
The Westin will credit you if you head out to the Park and put in a couple of hours doing things like picking up debris or maintaining the trails. The Westin is offering the deal in partnership with the Friends of the Park. To get in on it, mention it when you check in.
The Inquiring Iguana heard about the offer via a travel blog, but when he checked the Westin's Web site it said the offer was good through 2011. A call to the reservations desk at the resort got confirmation it's being offered this year, too.
A shuttle bus takes volunteering Westin-ers to the Park twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday.