St. John 2016: Year in Review

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Another fantastic year on St. John has passed…

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! Here is a brief rundown of the top happenings on island this year… Enjoy!

The year started off with a bang when we heard about yet another marina proposal out in Coral Bay. This proposal was courtesy of Sirius Development, LLC, also known as T-REX, and it includes a marina and a hotel/resort complex.

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Just a few days later, however, Coral Bay made major news as it was featured in the NY Times as being one of 52 places to visit in 2016. Did you make it?

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Then who can forget one of the biggest stories that happened back in January when the feds seized the Mister B car barge due to its failure to pay a substantial debt. And sadly, the Mister B continues to sit at the car barge dock today.

But our very favorite story of January involves a lovable little pooch named Moose. Moose lived at the Animal Care Center for almost five years and at times, was considered unadoptable. Well Moose proved us wrong when he flew up to Massachusetts and is now one of the happiest pups we have ever seen. Yay Moose!!!

moose-and-his-new-family

The crew from HGTV – who really seem to love it down here – visited the island once again in February when they filmed an episode of Caribbean Life. The show featured our friends Shawna and Chris, the new owners of St. John Car Rental. We also happened to meet our other good friends Liz and Steve Horner, the new owners of the Barefoot Cowboy that day!

caribbean life 2016

We got a new bar here on St. John in late February when the Bowery finally opened its doors. The Bowery is a nice, dark, air conditioned bar located beside The Beach Bar. It held its official launch party in early March. 

the bowery

And after sitting vacant for years, Pond Bay, the failed development over in Chocolate Hole, finally sold. Nothing really has happened over there since, but we have hope.

pond bay april 1 2015

We had some pretty huge news to share April 1st when we announced that Joe DeCourcy purchased Wharfside Village, both the buildings and the land. Many people thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but it was actually very real news.

The Barefoot Cowboy got new owners in April when Liz and Steve Horner, two former Texas residents, moved to town and took over the place.

We also had a one of the best days of the year here back in April when the air was so clear we could see the cliffs of St. Croix!

St. Croix

Sadly the beauty didn’t last too long because the Saharan Dust rolled in hot at the end of the month.

dust caneel hill

The crew from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show showed up on island in May when it filmed a hilarious segment on the election. That segment aired the following month in June, and it was absolutely hysterical. 

We also got another new restaurant on June when Virgin Fire transformed itself into Viva Cantina. 

And lastly, HGTV was back on island in June when it filmed Liz and Steve Horner for an episode of Caribbean Life, which happens to be airing this Sunday.

One of our favorites events happened in July – the Chaotic Kayak Race. The event raises money to bring wounded veterans to the island for a week of rest and relaxation.

We had some more positive real estate news in July when the former Voyages building out in Coral Bay, which sat vacant for years, finally sold.

voyages building

And yet another marina proposal was released in July, this time over in Cruz Bay. The proposal caused quite a stir and it also garnered us here at News of St. John a new, number one fan who we love, love, love!

One of our absolute favorite restaurants closed in August – The Tourist Trap. We sure do miss Larry and Mary and those fantastic tacos!!

larry tourist trap

We had a ridiculously cool visitor in August too when a flamingo decided to check out some of the world’s best beaches for a couple of days.

Image credit: St. John's Off the Beaten Track App
Image credit: St. John’s Off the Beaten Track App

And to finish off the month, we learned that X on St. John had closed its doors for good. 

x is closed

In early September, we learned that Sweet Plantains rebranded itself into Skipper’s Brit Pub. 

skippers pub

We also learned in September that Concordia had been sold and “working” plans for a new eco-resort had been released.

view from concordia

The island lost a great restaurant in October when Ms. Vie announced that she would no longer be operating her Snack Shack out on the East End. 

ms vie

Major work started happening at Wharfside Village in October when new owner Joe DeCourcy started to give the waterfront complex a nice little makeover. Work is continuing, and it’s really starting to look great.

wharfside-4
Before it started to look good…

But by far, our favorite story of October is thanks to all of you. Because of your generosity, we were able to raise more than $10,000 by holding a raffle. The money raised was donated to the Animal Care Center, St. John Rescue and other worthy organizations here on island.

Yet another new restaurant opened in November. Knox and Ollie’s opened their doors over at the Westin on November 1.

We had some huge news the very next day when we found out the The Beach Bar had sold. The new owners Reed and Sherrie Compton hail from Alabama, and said they’d always wanted to operate a business here on island.

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And HGTV House Hunters crew visited the island yet again in late November, this time to film our friends Julie and David, who manage Coconut Coast Villas. 

Dave and Julie Filming

Island Cork opened its doors at its new location at Wharfside in early December. Paul is now offering a wide selection of meats and cheeses in addition to fine wines from around the world.

paul

We also told you about several changes that have been happening over at Cinnamon Bay. The parking has greatly expanded, and the old tents are slowly being replaced to nicer eco tents.

And last, but certainly not least… We unveiled a new St. Johnopoly game for the island! The 2nd edition is selling like hotcakes and we could not be more proud. If you haven’t already, you can get yours at www.newsofstjohn.com/stjohnopoly

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That’s it folks. It was a great year, wasn’t it??!! I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve this evening! Adios 2016!!

9 thoughts on “St. John 2016: Year in Review”

  1. Great web site! I will be visiting St John in February, and I find your site to be an invaluable tool in planning my visit. Good wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

    • Cinnamon Bay Campground is along the north shore of St John, just past Trunk Bay as you drive out from Cruz Bay. The website is: http://cinnamonbayresort.com

      The property has been undergoing extensive renovations this Fall. The Eco-tents are advertised to be available again in Feb 2017.

      Reservations at (669) 999-8784 or online.

  2. The best story for me was Moose finally finding his forever home. I visited Moose a few times at the ACC while on my vacations. I always felt so bad for him. The last time I visited him the staff member said that she thought he had “given up”. He fooled us all, he was just being extremely patient. I am so happy every time I see a post from Moose’s family with updates and photos (please keep them coming). I love all of his first’s, like family camping trips, boat rides, holidays with his family and especially the ones with the kids. He waited so long and so deserved the best Forever family and that’s just what he got. It just proves that there is always hope, sometimes it just takes longer than we would like. I Couldn’t be happier for you Moose. I still smile every time I think about Moose’s happy ending.

  3. Thanks so much for keeping us up on all the island happenings. It was nice to meet you in June… my inlaws LOVE their (1st gen) St. Johnopoly game! See ya next June 🙂

  4. Thanks a million Jenn for your weekly blog. It is always a way to keep in touch with our beloved island paradise. We are only able to be their once a year, usually in November, and we really enjoy keeping up to date with what’s going on. Hope 2017 is another great year for you and your very very lucky island neighbors.

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