Good Times Round the Bend

Good Times Round the Bend

Good Morning, Good Morning!  I have some slightly bittersweet news to share with all of you today.  After nearly three years of spinning tales and truths of Love City to all of you beautiful people out there, I am moving on from my role as sole contributor and manager of News of St. John.  I know, I know…I’m feeling a little nostalgic about it as well.  But all good things must come to an end, and I will be popping in from time to time to check in and update you on St. John happenings and tales from the sea in the future.  In the meantime, here’s what’s next for the blog…And for me!

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Cinnamon from the water

Man, we have been through some tumultuous times, haven’t we?  That whole pandemic thing?  Sheesh.  What a way to start this journey as I began on the brink of uncertainty in May of 2020!  How many COVID-19 updates did we address together?  More than I care to remember as I’m sure you’ll agree!  And all of the BVI stuff?  Wow, what a lot of murky waters we have waded through together!

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If I never have to look at this particular graphic again, I will die a happy woman. Ha!

But, I think back about all of the progress on St. John that has happened over the past few years.  And how fortunate I feel to have been in a position to write about it.  ZoZo’s reopening at Caneel Bay, the playground at the National Park Dock being rebuilt (which should be open by the end of February!), progress on the roads and the WAPA underground project, new business openings and expansions for old favorites, the re-opening of Cinnamon Bay Campground and the gradual steps towards some sort of resolution at Caneel Bay (a few more months left on the current RUE and one final update coming from me on that next week!).  Turtle nestings and coral restoration projects, reef safe sunscreen initiatives, plastic recycling, a historic shipwreck uncovered in Coral Bay, an absolute emergence of local food vendors serving up the delicacies of the Caribbean region….

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For maximum lunch satisfaction: Look for the red bus, order the roti.

Oh, and let’s not skip over all of the incredible fundraising we have done together to support these very important programs!  All of your support has been absolutely instrumental in the expansion of so many important initiatives that have helped to build homes, keep our island green and our shores and seas protected.  I cannot thank you all enough for contributing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised to support these essential efforts going here on St. John.  I always say, everyone else is doing the important stuff.  I’m just writing about it 😉

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I thank you all SO much for following along, for caring and for providing support to me from afar so many times without even knowing you were doing it 🙂

As for me, I am NOT leaving island (probably ever!).  After ten years, I call this place my full-time home, my work is here, my framily is here, my life is here.  Through hurricanes and pandemics, sargassum and Sahara dust, flooding and droughts, slow mail and canceled orders, power outages and internet crashes and times of economic distress…We all stick together here and make it work.  Because, at the end of the day, the good days here outweigh the challenges for me.  And this little island and her incredible community never cease to amaze me.  So, St. John is likely where you will continue to find me; through the good times and the bad.

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I’ll still be writing!  I’m hoping to work with some other publications in a freelance capacity in order to continue to shine a light on the hidden gems of St. John and the Virgin Islands and will be updating my followers on my Instagram and Facebook accounts about articles on the horizon.  You will also likely hear from me here on News of St. John as there are so many stories left that I want to tell you.

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I’m so excited to dig into pitching the stories behind the scenes of St. John…Beyond the beaches and happy hours.  To continue to learn more and cast a light on a lot of the bigger things only seen with a narrower scope. (Annaberg from Leinster Bay trail)

We are plowing forward with Asante and just announced that we will be adding Overnight Adventures to our repertoire of trip options this spring (more on that next week!).  And I am so, so excited to be spending even more time on the water with Teddy and Chewy and our marvelous guests.  Many of whom are out there reading this right now.

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Chewy is truly the star of the show 🙂

And we are so grateful for your friendship and support of our sailing adventures!  Follow along there as well as I will start occasionally writing on the Sailing Asante blog in the near future, mostly about our trip offerings, our life and adventures at sea.

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Asante at sunset from ZoZo’s at Caneel Bay- Photo

A few years ago, I started a business called Restless Spirit Creative in an effort to help support the small businesses and non-profits on St. John in a more personal marketing capacity.  And I have kind of lost the hours in a day in order to do that over the past few years.  One of our guests on the boat this week looked at me strangely when I told her the name of my business.  “It’s quite fitting for your restless spirit,” she said.  I hadn’t really thought about it like that…But I tend to agree.  So, I do look forward to jumping back in to help my friends succeed with their dreams in the near future as well.

In a nutshell, there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for us.  And we are so ready to jump into it!  But (and here’s the bittersweet part) I will SO miss corresponding with all of you almost daily.  So, please follow along via the info below so we can stay in touch!

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Maho Bay

I will also miss the opportunity to, every day, get to know this beautiful island and the community here even better.  Even more personally.  These past few years have given me the unique opportunity to really dig in, research and better understand so many of the innerworkings of  St. John; the history, the ocean, the ever-changing business and tourism environments.  It’s been incredible really.  Falling in love with St. John over and over again by reading and asking questions and exploring.

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So, what’s next for News of St. John?  Great things!  The owners have hired at least three lovely ladies who live here on St. John; Banen Chaney, Elise DuPont and Hannah Eckert.  Banen has written a few posts over the past little bit and I just LOVE her voice and her connection to the Coral Bay community. It is, admittedly, something I lack as I live and work on the West End and it is TOUGH to find the time to get out there and immerse myself.

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Coral Bay Photo: Leah Hansen (Flyaway Charters)

Hannah has been on St. John for just a few seasons and has a young and fresh perspective on things here.  You heard from her last week too.  It is easy to slip into being a bit jaded when you have been living here and doing this for as long as I have.  And a bit of bright new light is an absolutely positive thing.

Elise is an absolute wealth of Love City knowledge and will be contributing an article here and there with an expert voice.  She has been here as long as I have if not longer.  She lived through the storms of ‘2017 and has watched St. John grow and evolve over time and has a ton of experience with activities, lodging and dining here on island.  So, as I said, with this well-rounded team of writers, you are in good hands.

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Whistling Cay

I’ll still be writing and managing the site through next week, but I wanted to share this news with all of you now so as not to be abrupt in my parting.  Remember, it’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later, or elsewhere 🙂 If you are interested in keeping up with my future endeavors and our sailing adventures, you can do so via the following links:

Instagram or Facebook for me- Here you will find a ton of beautiful scenes and updates from St. John (and a whole lot of Chewy!).  I will be posting any upcoming writing and projects on these pages.

Instagram or Facebook for Sailing Asante- Here we will update on trip offerings and our adventures at sea.  You’ll also see any upcoming writing that I do on the Sailing Asante website.

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America Hill

Thank you again so much for reading the words and the stories that I write.  This opportunity kind of fell into my lap on the brink of a pandemic.  And it has been such a surprisingly wonderful ride, for which I am forever grateful.  I have a few more really amazing stories to share with you over the next week with more to come from fresh perspectives after that!  So, please, keep following along for the inside scoop on what’s happening right here in Love City.

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Cinnamon Golden Hour

17 thoughts on “Good Times Round the Bend”

  1. We have loved this “connection ” to St.John and have appreciated all the great informative and fun articles you have given us as well as things that are happening. Best wishes on your new chapter. Looking forward to reading what your successors will add to the News of St. John.

  2. Thank you so much Hillary! You have done an outstanding job! As an island we are all better off because of the care and thoughtful effort you have instilled in each article, person, or purpose. Wishing nothing but the best to you and your future endeavor! Love from us all ❤️

  3. Sounds like you have a book of short stories up your sleeve. Or something like Modern love.
    It will be fun following you.

  4. I have followed for many years and you have been so helpful in so many ways. We are at least yearly visitors and love keeping up with what’s happening. Wish you the very best in this next chapter!

  5. You’ve done a terrific job – I’m sustained by my daily “fix” of St John by your articles. Best wishes for success in your new adventures, and do return to writing a column when you can.

  6. Over the years I have grown accustomed to reading these posts. They always help when we are planning a trip to St. John. Good luck in this next phase, keep enjoying the beautiful scenery.

  7. Best of luck Hillary. I will never ever forget your kindness to me when I had questions after the storms and some people were not kind. I’ve never forgotten it. Your kindness or their lack of. LOL. You have a beautiful spirit. . PS. Think I may have spied you at the Windmill last week but didn’t want to interrupt you with your friends.

  8. Thank you Hillary! I enjoyed all the articles you have written over the past few years. I definitely will be following on Instagram!

  9. Thank you so much, Hillary! I so enjoy opening up the News of St. John and reading the articles. It really helps me keep going between trips down to the island! I will be following you on Instagram and beyond.

  10. Thank you so much, Hillary! I so enjoy opening up the News of St. John and reading the articles. It really helps me keep going between trips down to the island! I will be following you on Instagram and beyond. We hope to make St. John our home some day. Just waiting for it to pick us 😉

  11. Good luck!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience of St. John. We visit every year (20 years) and reading this blog for the past few years has been a true treasure…. Will continue reading news of St. John with the gals taking up the helm.

  12. St John has many many memories for me, not to mention it’s probably my absolute favorite turquoise waters destination and always will be. So your news letters mean a whole lot to me. Thank you and may your journey keep you healthy happy and strong! Here’s to you, Teddy and Chewy! Sail on Asante!

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