An Afternoon With Elin Hilderbrand

An Afternoon With Elin Hilderbrand 1

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.

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A Simple Twist of Fate- Behind the Scenes of Kenny Chesney’s Knowing You Video (Part 1/3)

A Simple Twist of Fate- Behind the Scenes of Kenny Chesney's Knowing You Video (Part 1/3) 2

On Friday, March 12, Kenny Chesney released a new music video entitled “Knowing You” that was filmed partially in Gloucester, MA and partially on the Virgin Island of St. Croix and in her surrounding waters. The video is a bittersweet love story from the eyes of a sailor in which the Pop Country super star reflects from chilly New England back on the memories he created with a beautiful free spirit in a very different time with a very different backdrop.

A Simple Twist of Fate- Behind the Scenes of Kenny Chesney's Knowing You Video (Part 1/3) 3

Even though the video was filmed on St. Croix and not on St. John, the iconic artist never ceases with his love affair for Love City and selected his beautiful co-star from his circles here. Through these same circles, this young woman also found the boat, Sailing Vessel Kai, for him to use in this video. A vessel that was coincidentally making her way back to the USVI after spending the fall in a boatyard in the same New England mariner town where the first part of this video was filmed.

Last week, the lovely co-star from “Knowing You,” Monica Knaggs, Kai’s First Mate for the journey south, Sarah Ford, and myself hopped aboard Asante with my boyfriend, Captain Teddy, who also sailed south on Kai and was kind enough to play taxi for the three of us for the day. 🙂

A Simple Twist of Fate- Behind the Scenes of Kenny Chesney's Knowing You Video (Part 1/3) 4

We left Great Cruz Bay and headed out to Christmas Cove to meet up with the 70-foot sailboat, Kai, and her Captain/Owner, Justin Smith. Monica, Sarah, Justin and I sat down in the beautifully appointed salon of Kai so I could get the story from the three of them about how they became a part of “Knowing You,” their journeys to St. Croix and their experiences working with Kenny Chesney and his team.

A Simple Twist of Fate- Behind the Scenes of Kenny Chesney's Knowing You Video (Part 1/3) 5
Captain Justin Smith, First Mate Sarah Ford, Monica Knags and Sam the Boat Dog on the bow of Kai

This is a synchronistic, three-part story of how the boat, the girl and the musician came together to create this video that, in the end, reflects a calm after the storm.

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The Inside Scoop on Kenny Chesney’s “Knowing You” Video

The Inside Scoop on Kenny Chesney's "Knowing You" Video 6

Good Morning!  Kenny Chesney released his “Knowing You” music video today and I wanted to share a bit about the people, and the boat, involved in this video….The following is a sneak peek into a more in depth, upcoming interview with the video cast and sailing crew aboard the featured vessel, Kai.

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DPNR Issues Notice of Violation for Denis Bay Property

Photo Courtesy of John McQuillen
Photo courtesy of John McQuillen

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.

Below is a map of the property’s location:

Marked Denis Bay Map

$t. John Villa$ for the rich or famou$

The arrival of Eco Serendib got the Inquiring Iguana wondering how expensive can villa rentals be on the island?  The answer is very!

Eco Serendib is  near the high money mark – today.  For $20,000 a week in low season (high season may be 70% more, we hear) you get eight bedrooms, three cisterns, an organic vegetable garden, and all the other stuff: TV sets, infinity pool, air conditioning, master dining room, yada yada yada.

What about other villas?

An informal survey of villa management companies and rental agents has turned up a number of other high priced offerings for your summer getaway.

Alamer Until now, A La Mer has been considered the highest-priced spread on the island. our $28,500 on off season gives you the keys to seven bedrooms in the main house and cottage, enough space to sleep 22 people.  Features include the usual luxuries plus Sirius/XM radio and three washing machines. The villa's Web site is here.



Read more$t. John Villa$ for the rich or famou$

Happy un-anniversary, Kenny and Renee

It was six years ago today (Monday) that Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney tied the knot on St. John.

However, as we learned soon, the knot was hardly tight.  Within four months, the marriage was annulled, and the un-happy couple went their own way. Neither has remarried.

What we reported then: 

The UK's Daily Mail reported Sunday, "Zellweger split from her husband of just four months because she wanted to start a family and he did not. A source close to Renee said last night: "Her biological clock is ticking loudly. She is desperate to have children. Renee's understanding was that Kenny who got cold feet.

Mario Batali’s St. John restaurants

One of the best known chefs and restaurant operators in the US made it a point to taste some of the best of St. John's eateries. (Who's Mario Batali?

During his vacation at Caneel Bay last week, Mario Batali made it to Cruz Bay several times and used Twitter to let his fans around the world know what he found.

The new fatty Crab restaurant apparently was the favorite.  "Yeow! Back at Crabby fatso … presently surfing wave of yumminess," Batali Tweeted one night.  Another visit prompted this comment: "The crabby chubster rules."  It also appears, from a Tweet, that besides two dinners at FC, he lunched there on his way to the airport and home.

La Tapa was also a fave.  "Ahh, La Tapa.  Paella again?" Untitled-2

After a day of "Sweeet fishing w our Capt. Chris," Batali and friends brought fresh snapper to be "cooked with love by Tapa kitchen."

On that fishing trip, Batali reported "Susi (his wife) caught and released a nice little sail fin off Lizard Rock," and posted this picture.

Also getting positive comments from, the former would-be pro football player-turned-food magnate, was La Plancha del Mar.  "Great menu. Killer amuse of crisp polenta with Duck Confit. Yumster!!"

He gave the St. John Brewers boys a thumbs up. "Killer brew and root beer made in USVI!," he Tweeted. The chef also visited Waterfront Bistro at Wharfside. His comment, "What a view."

When he wasn't eating, Batali stayed at Caneel – playing tennis, lounging on the Turtle Bay beach and "Counting clouds for the government!! 1, 2 …..3, uh?"

The Inquiring Iguana knows that some readers of this item might think the little green guy is a stalker. But, clearly, Mario Batali wanted the world to know his almost-every-move.  He even continued Tweeting at the St. Thomas airport where he proudly announced, "I just ousted @madisonmalone as the Mayor of Island News & Gift Store at St. Thomas Airport on Foursquare."

Come back soon, Mario!

Rich and Famous, Batali, Part Deux

Mario Batali's still on island – having a good time staying at Caneel Bay and Tweeting.


"Yeow back at the crabby fatso. Presently surfing wave of yumminess !!! Woohoo!!"

Waking this morning, he offrered, "Good morning sweet sea!! (@ Turtle Beach)."

When the Inquiring Iguana Tweeted, "Someone shud tell Mario it's Turtle 'Bay' not 'Beach'," he replied

"Thx frank but the beach on turtle bay is too dry to be called a bay so we call it turtle beach Woohoo!"

At last Tweet, Mario was "On the beach in st john admiring the war from the dmz of a pina colada surf." He sent  a picture, too.

Have fun, Mr. Batali.

St. John Rich and Famous sighting

Batali Batali's back

The great chef really does like St. John.

Matrio Batali's Twitter account lit up over the weekend with tweets about the great drinks at Caneel Bay and the food at La Tapa.

"Turtle Beach (he means Turtle Bay) late afternoon is suhweeet," he wrote. He also posted a couple of photographs from Caneel. This is one of them. 

From the Turtle Bay Great House, Batali texted, "Pina colada? Oy yes !!"

Then Sunday night, "Yumset beautiful!!! Ahhh La Tapa! Paella again??"