Cool Event Happening on Jost

The Endeavour II

Hi everyone, we were asked to publicize a pretty cool event happening over on Jost Van Dyke tomorrow. Here are the details:

The Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society (JVDPS), is pleased to announce that after several years, it launched its island-built sailing vessel Endeavour II on Monday, November 25th at 10:00 in the morning; and it will be christened on November 30th.

The general public is invited to the Christening Celebration that will be held in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke this Saturday, November 30th, 2013. The official ceremony will take place at 11:00a.m. and will include traditional BVI boat-launching elements, a blessing and the ceremonial breaking of a bottle of rum over the vessel’s bow.  Live entertainers will perform for visitors, including mocko jumbies and steel panners.

The project is keystone of a Maritime Heritage initiative.  The vessel will serve as the JVDPS’ floating classroom, offering hands-on environmental and sailing education activities for all BVI youth.  JVDPS will offer informative day sails to the public to help support operational costs for the vessel. Since 2008, JVDPS has promoted hands-on outdoor education for island youth, including numerous field trips to the BVI’s protected areas and snorkel clinics/dive training activities.  And, over 8000 hours of JVD youth apprentice-in-training were invested in the construction of the hull.

Endeavour II was built on-site in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke; Its design, informed by island elders, is based on the BVI-specific “Tortola Boats” that were once built and sailed throughout the Virgin Islands’ waters.

The original Tortola boats were about 18- 20 feet in length and planked in native woods.  Endeavour II is an updated version of the classic vessels and is planked in tropical hardwood, but saturated with epoxy resins and sheathed in fiberglass for protection and durability.   Built to endure longer-range sailing needs, Endeavour II has a 4,000 pound lead keel that was poured on site from salvaged boat wrecks around the Virgin Islands, as opposed to original vessels which had moveable rock ballast.   The sailing sloop has a 55. H.P. engine for auxiliary power and will carry a traditional leg-of-mutton sail plan.

For more information contact the Preservation Society at 284.540.0861.



St. John Named Top Island to Start a Business

Start Own Business

For those of you not currently living on St. John, how many of you have dreamt about packing up, moving to the rock and opening your dream business? If so, we have some pretty good news for you. Islands Magazine just named St. John the second best island to live on for starting a business.

Islands Magazine said St. John would be a good choices because, “there are no language or currency barriers. More than half the island is national park, so outdoor enthusiasts have a good reason to make a go of it.”

St. John was joined by Guam, Florida Keys, Cozumel and American Samoa.

“To start a business on an island, answer these questions: Are there lots of expats on the island? Can you find reliable help? If yes, then you’re first step after landing on the island is to make connections by volunteering at local events. These places make the most sense for all of the above,” the magazine wrote.

You can read the full article on Island Magazine’s website here.

A few months ago, we asked our readers what their dream job would be on the island. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Bill Willis: Snowmobile rentals. (I don’t like to work too hard.)
  • Russ McGill: Quality Assurance Supervisor at the Beach Bar!
  • Stephanie Dunn: Food co-op for island residents. You almost need to get a personal loan to go into Starfish & Dolphin. I’m working on the business plan now…seriously.
  • Casen Baumgardner: Food DINGHY! Pull up to whatever beach sounds great at the time, have snack, drinks, “boat drinks”, lunch food and sandwiches ready for people to come buy directly from the boat!

What’s your dream job? Leave it in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

Let the Holiday Shopping Begin…

What a wonderful holiday today has been. I hope you are all having a lovely Thanksgiving, and for those of you who celebrate, a happy Hanukah as well.

As one holiday winds down, it’s time to start looking to the next. Christmas is right around the corner, which means that holiday shopping is on the horizon. That being said, Mongoose Junction is holding its annual Evening in the Courtyard event tomorrow night from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Here are all the details:

MJ Evening in the Courtyard Ad

Evening Courtyard 2

Happy Holidays!

Daily STJ Thanksgiving 2013

This Thanksgiving, I’d like to extend a very special thanks to all of you. It’s been nearly six months since Frank Barnako entrusted me with News of St. John, and I can unequivocally say that I am having an absolute blast. I thank each and all of you for reading the site daily, for interacting with us over on Facebook and Twitter, and for reading our weekly emails. I’ve met so many people over the past several months and have received so many wonderful emails – I am so grateful to all of you.

From our family here at News of St. John to yours wherever you may be in the world, we wish you love and happiness this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukah everyone!

Virgin Fire = Delicious

Virgin Fire 1

I have to admit, we’re not super foodies here at News of St. John, but we do know a good meal when we have one. And let me tell you all, Virgin Fire is absolutely delicious.

Virgin Fire is the latest restaurant created by Michael and Barbie Barry. It’s located on the upper level over at Mongoose Junction. The Barrys also own Sun Dog Cafe, which is another great spot. I was eager to try Virgin Fire, so I made a reservation and decided to bring along one of News of St. John’s biggest fans – my dad. We had dinner there last week and will definitely be dining there again. Here are the details:

We started off with the fresh baked house popovers. They were served warm with Coral Bay honey butter. We received three for $5 and they sure were yummy, especially the honey butter. Here’s a quick pic:


Each of us then had a Josephine’s Garden salad, which had organic greens, hearts of palm, dried cranberries, cucumbers and a sweet basil vinaigrette. The salads were satisfying and priced at $14 apiece. (Click here to learn more about Josephine’s organic greens, which are grown in Coral Bay.)


For the main dish, I chose the Churassco Steak and Papa News of St. John chose the Jamaican Jerk Pork Porterhouse. My dish came with rosemary gratin, blue cheese fondue (which was amazing) and grilled vegetables with a demi glace. This is a truly scrumptious dish for only $26. The steak was seasoned to perfection, as was the gratin and vegetables. The cheese fondue added a unique flavor that perfectly complemented the dish. The dish was perfectly portioned and left me feeling very satisfied but not overly full.

Papa News of St. John has not stopped raving about his meal since. He said it was his favorite jerk dish he’s found on the island thus far (although he did give high marks to a jerk wrap he had over at High Tide the other day). His dish came with cinnamon apples (which were to die for – I swiped a few), mashed yukon gold mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. That meal was also priced at $26.

Jenn's meal
Churassco Steak
dads meal
Jamaican Jerk Pork Porterhouse

We opted to have dessert (for research purposes of course.) I chose the key lime dish and he chose a Dark & Stormy beer float, yes you read that right – a beer float. My dish was fabulous, especially the homemade caramel that was drizzled on top, and Papa News of St. John enjoyed his float as well.

key lime
Key lime dessert with homemade caramel sauce
Beer float

Overall, I think Virgin Fire is going to be hard to beat. The food is delicious and priced well, and the atmosphere is very nice. Virgin Fire is open Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It will be open seven days a week beginning December 22. You can contact them by calling (340) 777-FIRE or by visiting their website at www.virginfirevi.com

 We’ll leave you with a few more pics:

Virgin Fire outside virgin fire interior

Bon Appetit!

Another Mega Yacht Visits St. John

Image courtesy of Scott and Kathy Trerotola, owners of One Villa
Image courtesy of Scott and Kathy Trerotola, owners of One Love villa

Tis the season? The holidays and high season are clearing approaching as yet another mega yacht has arrived in St. John.

David Geffen’s Rising Sun is currently (Tuesday evening) anchored near Great Lameshur Bay. The Rising Sun is 453 feet long, so if you’re in the area, you really can’t miss it.

And from what we’ve seen, it looks like David Geffen might be hanging out with Barry Diller and Diane von Furtsenberg. Rising Sun was anchored beside Eos over in Rendezvous Bay earlier today. (Click here and here to read what we said about Eos earlier this week.) We received this picture (and the one above) from Scott and Kathy Trerotola, owners of One Love villa:

Image courtesy of Scott and Kathy Trerotola, owners of One Villa
Image courtesy of Scott and Kathy Trerotola, owners of One Love villa

This isn’t the first time David Geffen has visited the island this year. Sloop Jones spotted the Rising Sun on the East End back in March. At the time, he descibed it as looking like “an alien invasion.” Click here to read that story.

Image courtesy of Sloop Jones
Image courtesy of Sloop Jones

I don’t know about all of you, but I wouldn’t mind spending time on either of these yachts.

What’s Happening Near Maho Bay?

Marsh Estate 2
North Shore Road looking toward Maho Bay

Curious what’s happening over near Maho Bay? We were, so we did some digging.

For those of you who’ve driven through the area recently, you’ve probably noticed that there is a bit of work occurring in the area where North Shore Road curves in the vicinity of the new parking lot. Brush is being cleared and a fence was installed along the roadway just last week. Not sure what was happening over there, we decided to give the property owner a call.

As it turns out, the owner, Dr. Alva Marsh, isn’t too sure about his plans for the site. We chatted with him Monday and he had little to say. He was even quite surprised when we mentioned how the island’s been talking about the work happening on his property. His response: “If people want to know what is going on, they should call me like you did.” That made me chuckle a bit. I then promised not to hand out his number. 🙂

He said that they are currently working to remove some of the overgrown brush and that they were “trying to improve the area near the beach.” But what do those improvements entail? That’s still up in the air, he said. He said it would depend on a variety of factors, although he didn’t elaborate too much. He did stress that it is private property, however.

Here are a couple more pics:

Marsh Estate

marsh estate 3

The Marsh family has owned land in the area for more than 100 years. In late 2006, several Marsh family members agree to sell their interest in the land to The Trust for Public Land (TPL). The following is an excerpt from a 2006 TPL press release:

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, 9/5/2006 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, today announced it has signed a contract to buy and preserve a 415-acre property in the heart of St. John that ultimately will become part of Virgin Islands National Park. It would be the biggest preservation project on St. John since the National Park was created in 1956.

The property, known as Estate Maho Bay, will be added to the park when federal funds become available, said Greg Chelius, director of TPL’s program in Florida and the Caribbean.

“The national park on St. John is one of the world’s great treasures,” said Chelius. “We are very excited to be part of the effort to preserve its incredible natural beauty.”

“TPL has been working on preserving Maho Bay for more than five years and while there have been a lot of challenges, it looks like we’re finally on the road,” Chelius continued. “We have a lot of hurdles to go, and we have to raise millions of dollars to make this happen, but we’re confident that Estate Maho Bay will be protected.”

The property has more than a quarter-mile of beachfront on pristine Maho Bay and rises to almost 1,000 feet in height. It also has significant ruins from the Danish colonial era, 1700-1860 and may have pre-Columbian cultural resources from the Taino Indian people, who inhabited St. John for 800 years before Christopher Columbus arrived. Just offshore are seagrass beds, green turtles and coral reef systems which are visited by thousands of people every year.

“Protection of this large property by TPL represents a very significant event for the V.I. National Park and for St. John. Development of this watershed would have had considerable impact on the natural and cultural resources of the park as well as residents and visitors to St. John,” said Rafe Boulon, native St. Johnian and chief of resource management, V.I. National Park.

TPL has been working for years to acquire the property, which was owned by 11 heirs of Harvey Monroe Marsh. In fact, John Garrison, director of TPL’s Southwest Florida Office and lead project manager on this acquisition, was interested in preserving this property before coming to TPL five years ago, when he was director of Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, a nonprofit on St. John dedicated to protecting the park.

Garrison said that the property has not been subdivided, so that each heir owns 1/11 interest in the entire parcel. Six heirs agreed to sell their interests to TPL. TPL had previously purchased one interest. The NPS owns three interests and the 11th is being retained by one of the heirs. By contract, the purchase price of the six interests is to remain confidential. The heirs are also each retaining a six-acre lot, with the ability to build up to two homes.

“Preservation of this property will be the culmination of many, many years of work,” said Garrison. “A lot of credit goes to the heirs, who were willing to work with us and gave us a significant bargain on the sale, as well as to the Friends group for their continued support.” A spokesperson for the Marsh family said, “Maho Bay has been in the family for over 100 years so it is important to the family to retain ancestral home sites and at the same time preserve the natural beauty of the estate for future generations to enjoy.”

Click here to read the full 2006 press release.

Fork in the Road Gets a Fancy Makeover

The new and improved Fork in the Road
The new and improved Fork in the Road

We were cruising down Gifft Hill last week when we came across the shiny new fork in the road. We have to admit – it looks pretty fancy. Well, we wanted to scoop, so we headed on over to Connections and chatted it up with Cid Hamling a bit. Here’s what we learned:

Many people have speculated that the new “dinner” fork (as opposed to the smaller “salad” fork it replaced) was an early holiday present, but in reality, it’s actually a late birthday present for Cid herself. Cid’s birthday was September 23. Factor in a bit of island time and it actually showed up right on schedule!

The new fork, made completely out of metal, was built by Paul Pono with the help of Gary “Sinbad” Cox. And if you look closely, you’ll see a small LIbra emblem inscribed on it. (Both Cid and Paul are Libras.)

The original fork in the road was erected more than 20 years ago. The newly built “dinner” fork is the third fork of its kind. The original fork was destroyed in April 2012. You can read all about that here. It was then replaced with the salad fork soon after.

The fork has gotten pretty fancy over the years. It’s been decorated with a pumpkin head and black robe for Halloween, and last year, a giant shrimp was erected on it in time for the holidays. It was even covered with bandaids once after Cid fell and was injured.

And here’s a random fact that made us chuckle: The people living near the fork in the road refer to themselves as “the forkers.”

Only in St. John.

Fork in the road 2

CVista: Luxury Open Air Villa with Spectacular South Shore Views


cvista views

Searching for a luxurious, open air villa with endless panoramic views? Behold CVista.

CVista is one of St. John premier villas, which overlooks the beautiful waters of Rendezvous Bay. This totally private, luxurious villa includes four king-sized bedrooms, two of which are master suites, and 4.5 baths. It’s perfect for a large family or couples, and children of all ages are welcome.

Want to know more? Click here to learn more about CVista and to view additional images.

Found: Two Memory Cards on 10 a.m. Ferry to St. Thomas


We just received an email from a gentleman who found two memory cards on the 10 a.m. ferry to St. Thomas. If these are yours, please email us at [email protected] and we will put you in touch with the man who found them. (He has asked that you identify the photos on the cards.)

Thank you and happy Sunday everyone!