Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! So for those of you who read News of St. John, you know that I think the island is definitely ready to have visitors back and I’ve thought this for the past few months. Well over the past week, I received several emails from readers on the topic and thought I would share a few of them with you today. I can tell you all day long that the island is ready for tourists, but I also think you should hear it from the actual tourists themselves.
This first email was sent by Andrew D., who lives in the Chicago area. He and his wife just spent two nights at the Cruz Bay Hotel followed by a seven-night stay at Grande Bay where they own a fractional ownership. Here is what Andrew wrote:
My wife and I spent 10 awesome days in St. John, having returned home last night. The hard work of everyone has truly paid off. We’ve been coming annually since 2002, and I can’t recall a better trip.
The beaches look great, the Lind Point and Rams Head trails are gorgeous as always, and the snorkelling remains top-notch. Any concerns about damage to the coral reef was allayed. We snorkeled on 10 different beaches, and the sealife remains awe-inspiring.
To those of you who are on the fence about visiting St. John this winter or spring, please allow me to provide the necessary reassurance. The cool-vibe of Cruz Bay remains intact, there are a number of high-end and affordable restaurant options, and the owners and staff provide incredible post-Irma stories to share.
Thanks Jenn for getting the word out. Your comments about St. John being ready for tourists was spot on.
The second email I’d like to share is from Pat and Jane S. of Shawnee, Kansas. They are annual visitors who stay in Coral Bay. Here is what they wrote:
We have come to StJ every February for several years – just got back yesterday. As frequent visitors – wanted to pass on our impressions. First – almost everyone we met – from a young lady we met on the ferry, to shop owners, restaurant owners – everyone said ‘thank you for being here’ – we were kind of humbled by it – but it was consistent everywhere we went & we were really impressed. Second – we stay in Coral Bay & try to make it a point to visit with business owners, home owners, etc. We were amazed at the resilient, positive attitudes we heard. It was so consistent – ‘we were devastated at first but we are recovering, rebuilding & getting things back to (almost) normal. It was absolutely awesome. As visitors, we couldn’t do much to help, so we just shopped & ate out a lot.
…Heard story after story about the recovery mentality – utility workers efforts & long hours, Red Cross food & water, neighbors helping each other dig out & clean up. Just amazing. On the way to the airport, visited with a young lady that lives in Tortolla – she said they were getting very little assistance, most are still without power. Makes me very proud of our country.
And it’s just not the repeat visitors who think the island is ready. I have taken out numerous first timers on island tours lately, and all became immediately hooked. Here is a quick note I received from Brian B. of New Hampshire. Brian and his wife Diane visited St. John for the first time earlier this month. I took them out on a tour the first full day to their trip to get them acclimated with the island.
We want to thank you again for a great tour. Diane and I have fallen in love with St John for sure. While some businesses remain closed we are very impressed with the resiliency of St Johnians to bring things back. We met so many great people there, including you of course.
Back in the office to today and in a word…………yuck. Same old computer, mouse, desk and phone. We will be checking News of St John however to keep up with happenings there and our virtual escape of New England weather.
So for those of you who remain on the fence about visiting us this season, all I can say is that we’re ready. Our beaches are open and look beautiful. Sure some are changed and some still need additional time to heal, but they remain beautiful. Our hiking trails have been cleared and are open. Our sugar mill ruins are in tact and are awe-inspiring. Our restaurants are open. Our shops are open. Our charter boats are ready to take you around the USVI and BVI. I’m ready to take you all out on island tours. The island is ready. The people are ready. And we cannot wait to greet you all with open arms.