Speaking of short term visits

The Wall Street Journal reports the Caribbean cruise business has grown to "unprecedented levels" with nearly 1.8 million people pouring onto island beaches, up from 700,000 in 2001.  Great for Carnival and Disney, not so good for folks looking for a quiet place in the sun.

The commissioner of the VI Department of Tourism likes cruise people, but loves resort and villa vacationers.  They spend four times as much as the boat people, says Pamela C. Richards.  However, she reports, each ship that docks brings about $200,000 to $400,000 of "immediate economic impact."  And, some days, there are half a dozen ships in Charlotte Amalie harbor.

WindjamSt. John gets very few cruise ships – we’ve seen only one multi-sailed Windjammer in the last two weeks. The Journal does say that, while "St. Thomas sees the majority of cruise arrivals, many (people) take day trips to St. John."

More press for St. John

The New York Times spent 36 hours on St. John.  And an exhausting time was had by all, I’m sure. 

Start at Joe’s Rum Hut at Wharfside, then Woody’s (where they actually went to eat!!. Then on the second day, a picnic to go from Dolphin and snorkeling at Watermelon Cay, lunch at Skinny’s in Coral  Bay, shopping at Cocoloba Center, Miss Lucy’s for dinner. Sunday, Chilly Billy’s for brunch and shopping in Cruz Bay. 

I’d be pooped.

Suggestions for a short-term stay like this: Caneel Bay, Westin Resort, Maho Bay and Cinnamon Bay.  The article is online at http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/02/24/travel/escapes/24hour.html?incamp=article_popular_5

New Mongoose restaurant a work in progress

Mongoose_3In the past year, there’s been some apparent progress on opening a new restaurant at Mongoose Junction

A two-story building has is being completed where there was a large outdoor dining area. Looks like the concrete building will be the restaurant’s new kitchen.The old main under-cover bar and restaurant has been cleared. In its place is a swanky-looking indoor bar and bandstand.  ]The setting is beautiful, and the area is quite large.  This could be the site of the island’s next, upscale restaurant and perhaps even a nightclub.  Is the island about to get a "star" chef?

Sunday brunch at Miss Lucy’s


MisslucysMiss Lucy’s in Coral Bay is unique – and hardly unknown.  Despite being a 40-minute drive from Cruz Bay, it was packed Sunday.  Could be folks staying in the increasing number of villas on the East End, or it could be years of offering a perfect way to spend Sunday morning.

Eggs Benedict under a seagrape tree, while musicians softly play light jazz under their own branches, while you sip a spicy bloody Mary … it doesn’t get much better – anywhere.  I can’t think of another place on the island you can have a brunch, or dinner, six feet from the water. Fellow diners are in good spirits, everybody knows they’ve found something special.

If you want a table outside, you better get there by 9:15am – brunch is served 10a-2p.  We got there at 10:30, and there wasn’t an outside space available for an hour.  Parking is also tough.

New police cars

My tax dollars on the move. 

Shiny, new-looking dark blue and white SUVs, cruising the south and north shore roads, always it seems with flashing blue lights.  To alert the bad guys they’re in the neighborhood?  To show neighbors they’re on the job?  I don’t know. 

But if the cars are not being  continuously washed and buffed outside the Cruz Bay police station, they’re on the roads blinking blinking, always blinking.

Whale watches in jeopardy

An annual series of efforts to espy whales off St. Thomas and St. John is iffy right now, due to the
sale of the 50-foot catamaran that;’s been used in past years.  Last year, there were four sailings; no whales were seen.

Dalma Simon, activities coordinator for the Environmental Association of St. Thomas-St. John said the group is negotiating with boat owners to find a substitute.  Several species of whales migrate each year from the upper Atlantic Ocean to the warmer waters of the Caribbean in February and March.

In fact, a whale was spotted off St. John about two weeks ago, and the News published a photograph. 

If a boat can be found, watches are scheduled for Mar 4, 5 and 19, she told the Virgin Islands Daily News

Cost U Less to expand

St. John’s version of Wal-Mart is expanding. the seven-year-old "warehouse club-like" retailer on St.

Cost U Less has begun expanding the 38,000 square foot store by 6,000 feet.  The company’s chief financial officer said the store will add services such as a broader selection of produce.  The goal is to create more of a "supermarket" operation, instead solely bulk sales, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.  New refrigeration equipment, meat cases and lighting will be added. More types of goods, from good to furniture, will be added. There will also be additional checkout lines.

Love was in the air

The Celebration of Love vow renewal ceremony at Trunk Bay drew 56 couples representing 1,189 years of marriage.

One couple had been married 57 years, while another was just five hours into their life together. John and Barbara Achzet of St. John, the long-timers, offered simple advice for the newly-weds. ":I would tell them that you always have to listen," said John Achzet, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News. "You just don’t make rapid decisions."

The ceremony was conducted, as it has been for four years, by Ann Marie Porter and Cathy Dove. Romantic music was played as couples, hand in hand, walked to the beach. Most were dressed informally, and finally barefoot as they let the waves wash over their feet while repeating their vows.