St. John Travel Tips

St. John Travel Tips 1

Good Morning Everyone!  We just wrapped up a  CRAZY busy wave here on St. John!  President’s Day week was one for the books and it’s no surprise.  With many destinations, including the British Virgin Islands, continuing to keep their borders extremely restricted, flight costs to the territory at an all time low and the USVI topping the lists of travel blogs all over the web as a top destination for 2021, its not surprising that we are seeing a lot of new visitors and repeat travelers doubling down on their time spent here this season.

In the following post, I’ve compiled a list of current Do’s and Do Not’s, including up to date COVID-19 information, as a guideline for newcomers and as a refresher for those of you who have visited religiously over the years.

Read moreSt. John Travel Tips

Love City Takes a Shot! (In the Arm)

Love City Takes a Shot! (In the Arm) 2

The winds have shifted here in the USVI. Today we no longer focus on the number of positive COVID-19 test results, although those numbers are very, very low!  In the Governor’s press conference yesterday, he marked the coming one year anniversary of a year of response and hardships for our community and small business owners.

This one year anniversary reveals a new chapter and new goal of working as a community towards herd immunity.  As of yesterday, 12,000 Virgin Islanders had been vaccinated, and the Governor has set a community goal of 50,000, or half of the population of the territory, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months.

Love City Takes a Shot! (In the Arm) 3

So today, we focus on growing the number instead of decreasing it.  Say what you will about the administration and their accelerated efforts towards the COVID-19 pandemic.  St. John is currently busier than I have seen in recent years.  And active cases are below 100.  Something is working.

Love City Takes a Shot! (In the Arm) 4

This is not a plug for vaccinations…I believe that we have all been on our own very individual paths through all of this pandemic.  And each person’s stance on vaccinations do not delineate from that belief.  Here, I’ll tell a story of a milestone for a local clinic, a story of a community working together and my own personal experience in receiving the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine.  Because during my experience, I was once again reminded of how truly fortunate I feel to live in this community and how grateful I am for the hardworking people who make the wheels turn behind the scenery and the beautiful backdrops!

Read moreLove City Takes a Shot! (In the Arm)

Postcards from Love City

Postcards from Love City 6

Happy Tuesday!  It has been busy and beautiful down here this past week!  I cannot say enough how much we appreciate all of our visitors and their kind and careful consideration of the COVID mandates the Governor has in place. The towns and beaches are bustling with rosy cheeks and smiling faces and the majority of them have been masked up on the streets as per our government’s regulations.  This has allowed us to keep numbers down and remain OPEN and we thank you ALL for visiting!

The beauty of St. John and her surrounding waters has been breathtaking as of late.  For those of you who are here, I’m sure you can agree that the non-stop rainbows, consistent Caribbean breezes, the brightest of blues and striking sunsets have given a lot of reprieve from the day to day hustle and bustle.  For those of you who aren’t here, I wanted to take a moment today to share with you some of the recent beauty I have been fortunate enough to capture.  Enjoy the views and the rest of your Tuesday!

Read morePostcards from Love City

New Business Alert: Smoothie Stand Re-Opens After Lengthy Closure

New Business Alert: Smoothie Stand Re-Opens After Lengthy Closure 7

If you’ve driven up Centerline Road recently, you may have seen some activity at the iconic Colombo’s Smoothie Stand just between the Reef Bay Trailhead and Coral Bay. The stop that was once known singularly for its fresh fruit smoothies with a splash of rum managed to withstand the wrath of Irmaria in 2017 only to be closed and put up for sale in 2019. I’m happy to say that today, this St. John gem has re-opened with a new look, a new menu and a healthier twist on their infamous smoothies!

Read moreNew Business Alert: Smoothie Stand Re-Opens After Lengthy Closure

Kevin and Cheech Talk Love City Hard Seltzer

Kevin and Cheech Talk Love City Hard Seltzer 8

Last Friday, I was at Cruz Bay Landing having dinner and I ran into Kevin Chipman, co-owner and founder of St. John Brewers…Love City’s only brewery.  He was wearing a backpack and a mask and pounding the pavement in promotion of the company’s latest creation; Love City Hard Seltzer.  Kevin asked me to come by and pick up one of their mixed 12-packs to sample before coming in to chat with he and STJ Brewers co-founder, Chirag “Cheech” Vyas, about the product that is proving to be the dynamic duo’s silver lining of 2020.

Kevin and Cheech Talk Love City Hard Seltzer 9
Cheech (left) and Kevin (right) started St. John Brewers over 15 years ago.

Since the pandemic hit, I have watched with pride as many Love City locals, business owners and residents, once again, proved resilient.  Although severe economic impact swept St. John like a dark cloud, I watched as many people changed their focus, tried something new or made a great use of their time to produce a new venture that would further sustain them in the event of ANOTHER bump in the road.  On February 1, St. John’s beloved brewers launched their new Love City Hard Seltzer that would broaden their market and give seltzer lovers, like myself, another way to shop local.

Read moreKevin and Cheech Talk Love City Hard Seltzer

ABC Announces TV Series Based on Elin Hilderbrand Trilogy

ABC Announces TV Series Based on Elin Hilderbrand Trilogy 10

If you are an avid St. John vacationer and you love a good beach read, you have likely followed along a notorious author named Elin Hilderbrand.  Dubbed “the queen of the summer beach read” by the New York Times, Hilderbrand is a local celebrity on St. John and created the “Paradise” trilogy.  In these page turners, Hilderbrand drops the names of many St. John locals and locales, business owners and bar dwellers…Making Love City enthusiasts feel right at home, regardless of from where they are enjoying the three novels.

ABC Announces TV Series Based on Elin Hilderbrand Trilogy 11

Last month, ABC announced the possibility of a new limited series entitled “Winter in Paradise” that features the characters and stories from these Best Selling, St. John centric novels.  And, in turn, St. John herself 🙂

Read moreABC Announces TV Series Based on Elin Hilderbrand Trilogy

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date!

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 12

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! We have such great news to share with you all today! A reopening date has been announced for the campground at Cinnamon Bay! How exciting!

For those of you who have known and loved St. John for some time, you probably know that the campground at Cinnamon Bay was destroyed during Hurricane Irma back in September 2017. The campground has been closed since.

In May 2019, we learned that Tom Secunda – a part-time resident, philanthropist and cofounder of Bloomberg LP – took over the campground, was rebuilding it and planned to donate the proceeds back to the island once it reopened. Thank you so much Mr. Secunda for that!

Well construction hit a snag when asbestos was found in some of the sewer pipes. And then the pandemic happened. So that delayed the project too. But now it’s back on track and will reopen this year… woohoo!

A December 2021 reopening date was recently announced at the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park’s annual meeting. Such great news!

We took a little stroll over at the campground yesterday and took some pics to show you what’s happening over there. Please take a minute and check them out…

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 13

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 14

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 15

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 16

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 17

It’s starting to come together, folks!

And here is a short beach video for those of you who are experiencing the arctic air up north… I hope this warms you up a bit!

In the meantime, if you are looking to take a fun tour of St. John, please check out my tour company – ExploreSTJ.com. And if you are looking to have dinner delivered directly to your villa, condo or even your boat, we’ve got you covered! You can order online at www.stjtogo.com and have your dinner delivered in under an hour! We have a few spots open for our Super Bowl delivery this Sunday, but orders need to be placed today. You can do so at order.stjtogo.com/superbowl  Thanks all! Have an amazing weekend! -Jenn

Cinnamon Bay Campground Gets Reopening Date! 18

Real Estate Spotlight: Find Your Paradise at Little Palm Villa

Views from Little Palm Villa

Good Morning!  Today I have a home to share with you that has me a little green with envy towards the future buyer.  This two bedroom, two bath masonry villa has so much sophisticated charm, an affordable price tag, plenty of space without being extravagant and an incredible location with views to match.  Little Palm Villa is, for me personally, a perfect St. John escape.

Read moreReal Estate Spotlight: Find Your Paradise at Little Palm Villa

Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail

Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 19
The water catchment area

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! For those of you who know me, you know how much I love exploring this island! Well today, I’d like to tell you about a new-to-me hiking trail that I recently explored. It led me to something pretty neat, so I thought I’d share it with all of you!

Chances are, you’ve noticed a sign along Centerline Road that marks the Water Catchment Trail. It’s on your left-hand side before the intersection of Route 104 (commonly known as Gifft Hill Road) if you are heading toward Coral Bay. It’s a rather short trail – just .4 miles from the road to the water catchment area – although it’s downhill most of the way. That means it’s uphill most of the way back. 🙂

The trail itself is rather wide most of the way and is maintained pretty well. I’d recommend wearing sneakers for this one,  and perhaps bring a bottle of water if it’s a hot day.

Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 20
There is a small parking area at the trailhead.
Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 21
This trail also leads you to Caneel Hill, although that’s a very tough, steep trail.
Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 22
You will see several beautiful tyre palms along the way.
Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 23
You will come to an unmarked intersection a few minutes along the way. Take the trail to the right to get to the water catchment area.
Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 24
You will walk through a ghut briefly before arriving at the water catchment area.
Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 25
You have arrived!

Check out this quick video I took:

Now you’re probably wondering what the heck this is. The water catchment area was used for Caneel Bay Resort back when it was in operation. (Feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it??!) The actual catchment area consists of a large, fenced-in basin that collects rainwater in a large holding tank. Water from Caneel Bay desalination plant, which is still in operation, was also pumped up into this tank. The water from the catchment area was filtered and chlorinated before it was brought into the resort. The water catchment area is located high above the resort, so when the water flowed down into the property and its buildings, it had all the water pressure it needed to adequately serve the resort. Pretty neat, right?

So the next time you are on island, take a little hike in the woods and check this out. Or better yet, take an island tour with me! I would love to show you around! For more information on my island tours – which are rated “excellent” on TripAdvisor!! – please visit www.explorestj.com

And in the event that you missed our announcement last week, I am now offering restaurant delivery on the entire island through STJ To Go. You can order from several of your favorite Cruz Bay spots and get it delivered to your doorstep in under an hour! We’re even offering a special Super Bowl package for those of you who want to have fun, but you don’t want to go out. We’re bringing the fun to you! Learn more about this great new service at www.stjtogo.com

Thanks all! And thank you News of St. John for allowing me to shamelessly plug Explore STJ and STJ To Go. 🙂 Have a great day everyone!

Explore STJ: Water Catchment Trail 26