And the Best Bar According to All of You Is…

beach bar photo

The Beach Bar!

Congrats Nikki and crew! You all took the top spot!

Congrats to Dan over at Castaway’s for taking second place!

And you know what’s super cool about all three of these bars… All of them are on our St. Johnopoly board! It’s not too late to get yours. Visit www.StJohnopoly.com/order to get yours. All orders placed today, Thursday, September 25 will ship within 24 hours.

Castaways St Johnopoly


Good News From the East End!

hansen 2

So lately we’ve had a lot of negative news about the East End – beaches being blocked, barbed wire being put up, trespassing signs, etc. Well we’re happy today to tell you about some good news coming out of the East End.

One group of property owners along Hansen Bay beach are opening up their land for public use. Most notably, they’ve invited Captain Peter of Angels Rest to anchor offshore. (Not sure what Angels Rest is? Click here to read about our Easter jaunt on the floating bar.) This stretch of beach along Hansen Bay will now be Angels Rest’s primary destination. Here’s what Captain Peter said about it on his Facebook page:

“(The owners of that stretch of beach) are so nice to me and are planning to make a fun beach to visit,” Captain Peter wrote. “They will be offering a lot of beach toys, such as paddleboards, kayaks, tri sailboats … There will also be a snack shop, cabanas and lots of free parking. And of course, Angels Rest bar (will be) a little closer to the beach.”

We reached out to the property owners Tuesday, and they are super excited to open their beach to the community.

“We want to enhance the community idea, to welcome businesses to a beautiful place,” one of the property owners said Tuesday. (She asked to keep her name out of today’s story, and we happily obliged.)” That is very difficult to do here on St. John, especially with the North Shore being mostly National Park. We’re opening up the shoreline as it should be opened, to those people who want to participate in that beach. We want to help the community. We are very community oriented.”

While they could not confirm Captain Peter’s statement about a possible snack shack, they did say they are welcoming Angels Rest with open arms. The owners are working on installing signs to let people know that Angels Rest is in the area and also to direct them where to park (across the street from the beach).

They did stress, however, that they do not want the beach to get overrun. They simply want people to come out, experience the beach and enjoy themselves while being respectful of the neighbors of course. They’ve also asked that all visitors pick up after themselves.

I’m not sure about you all, but I think this is amazing news! Kudos to these ladies!!


Something “Amazing” Just Happened…

Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters
Boats waiting to transport the racers – Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters

Anyone see an abnormally high number of seaplanes flying near Lovango and Congo cays yesterday? Perhaps you saw a helicopter flying back and forth in the area? Want to know why???

CBS chose our happy little slice of heaven as a location in its latest season of The Amazing Race! How cool is that??!!

We got the call yesterday morning from Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters.  He mentioned how someone inquired a while back about booking a charter for yesterday. Seeing how Captain John typically takes weekends off, Island Sue [Captain John’s better half :)] turned down the request. Captain John did do a bit of snooping, however, and soon learned what was up.

It turns out that another boat captain friend of ours was tapped to help out. (Now we’re not sure if any confidentiality releases were signed, so we’re keeping his name out of today’s post.)  What we do know is that this second captain was out near Carval Rock for a good part of the day. It seems that they did some filming in a variety of places around St. Thomas and St. John.

Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters
Set up for The Amazing Race – Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters

Check out this mobile movie of the seaplane coming in courtesy of Captain John Brandi:

And here is a helicopter moving in, again courtesy of Captain John Brandi:

Once we heard that CBS was using helicopters, we knew Caribbean Buzz had to be involved. Here’s their super official statement (my guess is they signed something):

“We provided aerial support for filming of a CBS reality TV show. It included (Carval) rock, Hans Lollick, Magen’s Bay and downtown at Fort Christian.”

So cool!

Amazing Race Map

Laurie and Craig Crandall just happened to be passing through St. Thomas yesterday afternoon when they caught a glimpse of filming.

“We just came home from a week in Alaska and were coming to the waterfront. And there were all of these filming crews and teams,” Laurie said. “We asked what was happening and we were told it was The Amazing Race. The seaplane was at the waterfront, so I think it was whoever arrived first got on the plane … There were probably about six teams. I wish I was able to get out and talk to them because it looked really cool.”


Angel’s Rest: Easter with the Angels

Angel's Rest - USVI's Floating Bar

Hi everyone, happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter yesterday for those of you who celebrate. I had one of the best holidays ever, and I wanted to tell you all about it.

So a friend and I were taking a nice cruise out east yesterday when we happened upon Angel’s Rest in Haulover Bay. For years, I’ve been trying to catch up with Captain Peter and the Angel’s Rest, but our paths never officially crossed until yesterday. So naturally the second I saw him, all of our other Easter plans got put on the back burner. We parked the Jeep, grabbed some cash and hopped in the water.

What Is Angel’s Rest?

For those of you unfamiliar with Angel’s Rest, it’s a very cool floating bar. But what makes it even cooler is Captain Peter himself. Captain Peter built Angel’s Rest a few years back and it’s the only boat on St. John that has a liquor license. It’s a comfy little spot with a bar with seating for about seven or so people , a glass table with chairs for those looking to relax while watching the critters swim by through the circle cut out in the floor below, two beds in the event that you need a little catnap and a very comfortable rooftop sun deck for those looking to chill or work on their tans.

You need to see this for yourself. Check it out this little video we took:

Angels Rest goes out a few times a week (when Peter feels like it) and it can be found either at Haluover or Vie’s. If you’re on island and looking to find him, give him a ring. You can see his number on his “business cards” below:

Peter Angels RestAnd an added bonus, the head at Angel’s Rest has probably the best restroom view on island.

angels rest bath

Vote for Your Favorite St. John Business

Vote for Your Favorite St. John Business 2

bestofvi

There’s a pretty hot race going on right now, and you should all get in on the action.

Voting is underway for the annual Best of V.I 2014 contest, the Virgin Islands Daily News Annual Readership Poll. Here are the details from the official contest page:

Hundreds of nominees in hundreds of categories, are competing for your vote, so they can claim the title of The Best of VI! Only you can bestow this coveted title upon them, by voting for the Virgin Islands businesses, places and people who deserve to be recognized as the best. Cast your vote to let your favorite businesses and people know “You’re the best!”

Here are a few we’ve personally done business with who’ve gotten our vote (in no particular order):

  • VI Ecotours – kayak tours and ecotourism
  • Honeymoon Beach Hut – kayak tours
  • Cruz Bay Realty – real estate company
  • Seaview Vacation Homes – real estate company
  • Dr. Cool – home appliances, a/c refrigeration, a/c specialists
  • Sadie Sea – charter boat
  • Grande Bay – hotel/resort
  • VIVA! Villas – villa event rental
  • Diana Beam – real estate agent
  • Coral Bay Garden Center – plant nursery

And then there are are personal favorites – Animal Care Center of St. John and Friends of VI National Park. The only thing missing is a “favorite blog” category. 🙂 Maybe next year…

Click here to vote for your favorites.

Vote for your favorite St. John business

BestofviThe Virgin Islands Daily News is running its annual "Best of V.I." competition and this year's promises to be the  biggest ever.

You don't have to be on island to vote for your favorite restaurant, jewelry store, real estate broker, or whatever. You can do it via Facebook, Twitter, or text message.

Just download the "Voter's Guide" so you can make sure your vote goes to the business you intended. You can get the listing here. Neither the Facebook app nor the Official Ballot indicate when voting ends.

The 64-page official ballot lists hundreds of business categories and businesses in those categories.There are also provisions for write in votes.

Wining a "Best of V.I." award is a big deal.  Business owners love to post certificates of their award as a way of assuring customers they're good people to deal with.  And on the "Best of" Facebook page now, you can read messages from business owners campaigning for votes.

‘Flavors’ a tasty treat at the Westin

DessertsA crowd of several hundred locals, snow birds, and transplants partied well into the night Saturday at the annual Rotary Club fundraiser, Flavors.  The event supports college scholarship funds awarded by the St. John organization.

Dozens of the island's restaurants and bars are the centerpiece of the evening, competing for honors by serving appetizer-sized samples of their best offerings.

Flavors is a nearly year-long project for its Rotary Club members and organizers.  The effort is lead by Katherine Steinborn of St. John's Katie Lady Catering with lots of help from Paul Kessock Jr. of the West Indies Corp. on St. Thomas, the major spirits distributor in the territory.

The photographs and information about the award winners accompanying this article are all courtesy of wedding photographer-par-excellence Bob Schlesinger.  He and his wife, Karin, operate Tropical Focus Photography and you can see samples of their work here (weddings) and here (family portraits).

Flavors' prize winners in the various categories represented restaurants both new and old.

Flavors_asolare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asolare, the People's Choice Award winner, with a 'close second' by the Westin.

On the other end of the spectrum, a Bar Food award went to the island's newest place, Castaways, which opened recently in space formerly occupied by Duffy's Love Shack and Crazy Crackers. It was honored for a grilled tuna with coconut curry conch confit.

In one of the new categories, Mixology, Happy Fish won, followed by Asolare and High Tide.  All three of the winners' entries featured Kettle One vodka.

Judges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stjohnbrewers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening's winners:

Appetizer:

  • East West Catering – Lobster and shrimp potsticker with Japanese ponzu sauce and sweet Thai chili sauce
  • Westin – Pan seared sea scallops with wild mushroom risotto , white truffle crème fraiche and local greens
  • Tap Room – Duck Confit – purple potato chip, cherry port reduction, blue cheese

Entre:

  • Asolare – Beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes, asparagus with lemon grass and soy demiglace.  Seared scallop with local pumpkin puree, house cured bacon with port and chili emulsion
  • Banana Deck – Chili rub grilled shrimp with barbeque hollandaise sauce (served with chilled cucumber soup)
  • Happy Fish – Red curry duck, braised in a red coconut curry sauce with white rice

Bar Food:

  • Tap Room – Pulled Pork Sliders – bacon savory succotash, parsnip crème. They cheer their winning by doing beer shots
  • Mojo’s – Hummus, chicken and bacon slider, chili
  • Castaways – Grilled tuna sashimi on brioche with coconut curry conch confit

Desserts:

  • Westin – A large selection including a lemon grass crème Brule and raspberry Chambord (sp chocolate truffle with choice of coconut, macadamia nut, heath bar, pecans, roasted tri-citrus almonds
  • Café Roma – tiramisu

Mixology:

  • Happy Fish – Summer and Spice: Kettle One with fresh tamarind, lemon and chai featuring a citron Kettle One agave nectar reduction.
  • Asolare – Wild Card: Kettle One with lemon grass, coconut, cardoman (spice gives the drink its name) with ginger bear
  • High Tide – Maho Mule – Kettle One with lemon grass, tamarind, lime juice all shaken then some ginger bear

Arizona couple fawns all over Caneel

David and Carol Porter, aka The Roaming Boomers, are either just having a hell of a good time in retirement or very smart business people.  Probably both, to judge from their work-in-progress travel web site.

Caneel


The latest stop on a 25th wedding anniversary Caribbean tour (aka 'romantic' trip) was Caneel Bay Resort. Their video chronicle shows off beauty of the resort, includes a bit of original video featuring Carol, and a lot of stock photo shots from Caneel's promotional library.  A credit at the end of the video offers "Thanks to our Host: Caneel Bay Resort" which hints at, perhaps, the Porters' stay was a freebie, or partially comped, in exchange for the publicity.

The Porters' Web site makes clear that they are into high-end travel spots.  And it looks like they're developing it into a new business. (They sold a previous venture in Michigan and moved to Scottsdale.)

Kudos to the Porters.  They like to run their own business, they like to travel, they're putting the two together.

Whether there is a disclaimer that should have been included in their video, there is no denying … Caneel is gorgeous and we'd agree that it's, as the Porters said, "a place you should attempt to visit at least once in your life."

  • Watch the Roaming Boomer's video of Caneel here.

Sundown for Baked in the Sun

St_john_bakery_01 Soon there will be no cake for you, or scrumptious sandwiches, from one of the island's best bakeries. 

Located on the third floor of the Marketplace, the owner of Baked in the Sun confirms that "as of today we are closing Oct. 16th."

But says Kim Edwards, "Nothing is decided or final," and she even holds out the idea of reopening after "some time off with my family … spend(ing) some time sailing in the Caribbean."

News of the closing traveled quickly on the Trip Advisor forum.

WishIWasintheVI spoke for many, commenting, "It's a shame, as they have rave reviews  and I hate to see any business close…and leaves me at a loss for a cake for my daughters(and both my parents) birthday and my vow renewal unless I want to pay a fortune from Katilady or St. John Cakes, etc."  STTresident was more philosophical; "It's sad but so the islands turn. Businesses come and businesses go and only the very strong survive!"

Baked was listed for sale in April of 2007 with an asking price  of $450,000.  Edwards said one of the current employees "is considering buying the business."