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World’s Shortest (and Greenest) Parade

parade route

At just a few hundred feet long, St. John’s St. Patrick’s Day parade just may be the shortest in the world. But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in fun.

The festivities start at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15 and according to the Quiet Mon Pub, the parade itself will start at noon. The parade starts at the firehouse and then takes a quick left before moseying on down to the Quiet Mon Pub. Yup, it’s that short.

Not on the island? The boys over at StJohnNow.com are planning on streaming it live beginning at 11 a.m. Click here to watch it live.

Looking to do a little pre-parade partying? Head on over to Cruz Bay Landing tonight, March 14, for their full moon party. The party starts at 8 p.m. and will feature music by The Ish. And from what we’re seeing on Facebook, it looks like they are planning on some fun.

Image credit: Cruz Bay Landing
Image credit: Cruz Bay Landing


Blue Tang: #2 and proud of it!

Bt_tripadvisor
Longtime readers know that News of St. John began as a not-so-subtle effort to encourage rentals of our home on the island.  There's a lot of competition for rentals and I thought the site would help.  It has. It is the oldest and largest Web site with news about St. John.

Ext_day_pool So it was with surprise and gratitude that, while mousing around TripAdvisor.com the other day, I found that Blue Tang was ranked as the #2 most popular rental on the island, with a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars ranking, too.  Shocked … thankful … happy.

Blue Tang ranked so well because of the reviews people who have stayed at the house were kind enough to post.  A few of their comments:

  • "A peaceful, relaxing, romantic honeymoon at Blue Tang."
  • "Blue Tang rocks."
  • "Best vacation we've ever taken."
  • "Awesome views and location."

I have to admit that each time we visit Blue Tang and read through the Guest Books, we are often moved to tears at the kind things people say about the house as they recount the wonderful time they had on the island and at our place.

If you're headed for St. John, I hope you'll consider our home, too.

Frank Barnako, aka The Inquiring Iguana

The Shark means free shots

The newest night spot in Cruz Bay is in an old place that's hosted at least three other bars in years past.


Castaways Castaways Tavern
and sports bar features lots of live music and dancing.  A frequent performer is Kenny Floyd, a recently-relocated entertainer whose own Web site says he is "armed with six strings of courage."  Fans of Floyd and Castaways have posted a number of videos of his performances there on You Tube.

Frequent appearances are also made by the Free Shot Shark.  A papier mache fish glides out of the wall during the evening and when he does – everybody gets a free shot.  Party time!     

The loud and dark watering hole is located across from Joe's Pizza in Cruz Bay.  For years it was a favorite of locals when it was the Back Yard, a favorite hangout for tourists as well as construction workers.  Then the space hosted the a short-lived branch of St. Thomas' Duffy's Love Shack.  And that was followed by Crazy Crackers, a restaurant and bar. which lasted about 18 months.  A couple of Cracker's former owners have partnered up for their own shot.

New tax on airfare to the Virgin Islands?

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The company responsible for providing cargo, baggage and technical services at the St. Thomas airport is not happy. 

Faced with the continuing poor baggage belts and an "unreliable infrastructure", a spokeswoman for Worldwide Flight Services raises an interesting issue on behalf of her co-workers. (Photo via William Hartz' Flickr account.)

"Many in the airlines and airport community would like to see an accounting of what the Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC) has been used for," Joanne Bohr said to the St. John Source.  She reacted to word the Port Authority wants to increase the PFC from $3 to $4.50 per passenger.

Those funds, she said, are supposed to be used for projects approved by the airlines to improve the experience of using the airport. "The PFCs are not intended for overhead or salary," she said, implying the Authority may have been tapping the fund for operations rather than repairs and improvements.

"As difficult as it may be for the passenger," she continued, "it is a much bigger hardship for those that work in the airport … without … bag belts, (and) without any air conditioning."

Before the Authority can increase the fee, which would apply to both inbound and outbound tickets the Federal Aviation Administration must give its approval.  And presumably the FAA won't do that unless the airlines agree, and believe, the money will be used to pay for improving the St. Thomas and St. Croix airport.

Some people have a good, good time waiting at STT.

One place you don’t want to be: Virgin Islands airport

CanceledNotice on Spirit's Web site 

Pilots at Spirit Airlines went on strike Saturday morning.  The airline canceled all its flights for the day, potentially stranding hundreds of people at the St. Thomas airport. News reports indicated the airline told customers they were on their own to find alternate flights.
Spirit  

When the Inquiring Iguana tried to book a flight for Sunday, Spirit's Web site said there were no seats available, perhaps indicating more flights will not operate this weekend.

Spirit is a low-cost airline, offering occasional specials of $9 a ticket.  Pilots  say they are paid well below market salaries.  The airline reportedly offered the pilots raises of 30% which, Spirit said would allow it "to continue offering you the ultra low fares you have come to know and love."

The Iguana can only imagine the holy heck that the STT airport is today.

Surly’s old space for sale

Cantina A few hours after the Surly Cantina's owners announced they were leaving the island, it became known the operator of the Mexican food spot that replaced them at Wharfside Village has put the business up for sale.

"Resturant-Mexican Cantina – $65000 (St.John, USVI)" is the headline.  The ad reads, "Here is your opportunity to get away and own your own buisiness (sic) in St.John. This is a turn=key (sic) operation with minimal experience needed. A perfect chance for 2 people to own their own buisness (sic) on a tropical island."

So, even if you can't spell business, you can buy one.

Saga of the Surly Cantina: The End

Surly Cantina is leaving St. John. 

On the popular Mexican restaurant's Facebook page, this message appeared over the weekend.

"The Surly Cantina is no longer. We are moving to Charlotte NC on Wednesday. We will miss all of our incredibly loyal fans. Who knows, maybe a Surly in NC. Best to all."

Suzanne_craig Comments made it clear that many folks will be sorry to see the cantina owners, Suzanne Schlessinger and Craig Sullivan, leave the US Virgin Islands.

Some posted saying they hoped the news was a late April Fools joke.

  • Rosanne Perkins said, "That is a bummer!!! I was hoping to see you over the summer!!" 
  • Cici Davis said she was "Sad to hear" the news.
  • Tiffany Gilbert Thomas sounded melancholy, writing, "The island of broken dreams."

History of the Surly Cantina

For Virgin Islands roundabout fans


If you sometimes think life has you going in circles.

Roundabout

Anthony Finta of Virgin Islands On Line shot a one-minute video of St. John's traffic roundabout in Cruz Bay. One person commented, "I must be bored.  I watched this video five times."

Cafe Bordeaux back in business

Bordeaux Chateau Bordeaux has been reopened.  Once again, it is possible to have a meal and look down on Coral Bay and across the Sir Francis Drake Channel, one of the loveliest views on the island.

Lorelei Monsanto, the daughter of the woman who launched the restaurant 30 years ago, is overseeing the venture.  She's also reported to be the landlord.  For many years, Bordeaux was managed by the same people who operated high end restaurants in Cruz Bay including Paradiso and Asolare.  But times got tough, the economy got soft, and Bordeaux closed.

Monsanto's reopened the spot for lunch and has plans to add dinner service.  But food isn't the only reason to make the drive to Bordeaux.  She told the St John Sun Times, "Enjoy the moon as it's rising, the shimmering lights in the distance – it makes you feel like you're on a tropical island, naturally."

Perhaps it's best that food isn't the only draw.  One lone review, via TripAdvisor, was quite negative. "The view remains exceptional but the food is now by many accounts INEDIBLE." wrote EvergreenOhio. "Prices are inflated and there is no wine list."

How much could you grab at Starfish?

Bob As part of the celebration to mark completion of the renovation at StarfishMarket, the store offered one lucky winner the chance for a one-minute long Supermarket Spree.  Take what you can get, no cost. Bob Schlesinger, one of the island's fine photographers, was the lucky guy.

As luck would have, Bob's wife, Karin, is also pretty handy with a camera.  She works with Bob in their business, Tropical Focus

She clicked away as Bob eagerly filled the basket.  There appeared to be no focus on grabbing the high-value items, but rather the necessities.  Looks like there's a ham or a turkey, bread, some hamburger, apples, etc.  But, according to Karin, the most prized acquisition was some of his favorite java, Dunkin' Donuts.