Coral Bay horses need your help

DrakeSt. John is a special place, we all know.

There are things on the island you don't expect to see or experience. More than once, I've shaken my head, smiled, and said to myself, "What a cute little island."  Now sometimes it's been a good thing that's happened, or a bad thing. But it's always a reminder St. John is unique.

Carolina Corral in Coral Bay is one of those things.  Who'd expect to find horseback riding trails on such a small island, or a menagerie of goats, donkeys, dog and cats. And don't forget the native donkey-drawn wagon tour through Coral Bay.

The Corral is the labor of love of Dana Bartlett, but perhaps not for much longer.  Late last year, she staged a fund raiser for the Corral because it takes lots of money to keep everybody fed and healthy and, now she frankly she told St. John Rotary, it's really getting tough.

The club is so concerned that a committee is going to help her with another fund raiser in April or May, according to a report of a recent Rotary meeting. "Proceeds from the event would be used to assist Dana to continue her animal rescue efforts which she is no longer able to fund without assistance," the club said.

On her own, Bartlett also manages the only large animal rescue center on the iusland – at her own expense. "The corral is the last hope for all of the horses in residence and most of the smaller animals too, having been abandoned by their owners or found themselves unwanted," she said.

New owners of Woody’s promise no changes

Kris Williams
and Paul Scott, friends for 16 years, say you probably won’t notice anything different now that they own at Woody’s Seafood Saloon in Cruz Bay. 

Saying the deal was fulfillment of a dream, Kris wrote  on Woody’s Facebook page, “Mike will still be the interior decorator/general manager and the plush stackable outdoor furnishing stay!” Making changes, he said, “would be dumb! Happy hour will still be happy and it will still be more than an hour."

They made their first visit to Woody's in 1997, and have been coming back ever since.  They bought a house on St. Thomas two years ago "as an added excuse to spend more time on the islands."

The former owners, Todd and Chad, endorse the new ones.  Although it was with “heavy hearts” that they announced the sale, they were quick to say, “We share their guarantee that nothing will change.”

St. John before Grande Bay and Wharfside

Return with us now to those not-so-thrilling-days of yesteryear: 1987 to be precise.  

When Bob Morris was living on the island in the late '80s, working as an artist.  He built furniture and did stained glass and painted, sold his art in Cruz Bay Park, on the street and at galleries and shows. He now lives in Dallas.

The island had a different pace, then, for sure. Hurricane Marilyn was eight years away, and so was the real estate development boom.

Morris took a video camera and recorded scenes of the island.  

In this video, posted on YouTube, frequent St. John visitors will recognize Gallows Point and, to the left down the coast of Cruz Bay, nothin'.  Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay look the same – just no people (which is not the same now), and Great Cruz Bay has just a few houses.

How time flies.

Rumor of a new St. John hotel

TripAdvisor’s St. John forum has this tasty: “I have been hearing from Westin employees about a rumor that the defunct Pond Bay development was purchased by Starwood and a W hotel will be built."

The Westin is a Starwood property.

While the idea of a big new resort may not be to everyone’s liking, there are few who would not say the abandoned construction site at Chocolate Hole is a real eyesore.

Pondbay 8686
, a contributor to TripAdvisor's island forum and, I believe a real estate agent, says she has heard the rumor,too.  She doubts that Starwood would do a lot of new construction.  Rather, she believes, Starwood might complete the buildings that are there now, add a pool and some landscaping. “But it is all just rumor at this point,” she added.

Must the villa have a pool?

The Inquiring Iguana wants to know …

You're visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world.  And the beaches are tops, among the best in the world and, certainly, the best in the Caribbean.  So, do you need a villa with a pool? 

"If I'm going to swim, I want to do it in the ocean," said Dreamshark in Minneapolis, on the TripAdvisor St. John forum.  "So if you love having a pool at tour villa, tell me how you use it."

Tinkerbelle was quick to say she likes "a dip in the pool first thing in the morning before coffee." And, to top off the day, "an evening swim after dinner, staring at the stars."

Wishiwasinthevis is also a fan of pools.  "I love the ocean, however I prefer to look at it than be in it. I'm not a fan if salt. I also love the smell of chlorine!"

Mountainmom spoke for several people when she said a pool is the thing when the family stays in. "We like villa days where we cook and stay and never see another soul. Swimming in the pool after laying in the sun is such a treat."

Localsailor considered the question from a practical perspective. "The real advantage of a pool is that you can get buckets if water from it to flush the toilets when the power is off for hours or days at a time."

Pools are also good for families, when there are kids who need to rest and the adults can continue to have a good time.

How about you?  Is the lack of a pool at a villa a deal killer?

SOLD! Beach Bar and Woody’s

The Inquiring Iguana has confirmed it’s true.

Thye Beach Bar’s been for sale since last fall. The Iguana said so. Now the deal is done.  Given that it’s been on the market that the place is changing hands is not too surprising.

What IS surprising is the word that Woody’s has also been purchased.

There is no word on who the buyers are.

Why the sales?  One commenter on TripAdvisor wondered if the places weren’t making money.  A frequent visitor to the island replied, “If those 2 places aren't profitable, no place on STJ is.”

Magee4475 in Cruz Bay posted on TA, “Woody's will continue to operate and the new ownership has vowed to keep the same Woody's spirit. Dan (long-time Woody's chef) and Mike (manager) will continue to work there as well.”

It could be the owners of Woody’s are simply looking to do something else. “I've heard rumors of a new restaurant by the now former Woody's owners,” said Mountain2Sea.

Salt Pond photo a winner

This is the first place winner of Old Mango's February Photo Contest.

image from www.oldmango.com

William Torrillo, aka Old Mango, said the nightime shot of Salt Pond Beach was the best image submitted in the month-long competition. "It was the winner with our judges because of the difficulty it takes to shoot stars at night and it truly represented the beauty of the Virgin Islands in a simple and beautiful way.

You can see the other winners here.

Torrillo said he'll host another contest at the beginning of summer.



St. John: What’s not to like?

It's been six months since a New England couple and their son decided to "Just do it!" and relocated to St. John.

So far, so good.

The husband, Matt, is a builder and he's found work on a house in Fish Bay, across the street from where the couple is renting.  The wife goes by the online name of P-600 and writes a blog about the family's experiences.  Her latest post is "My love/hate list for St. John."

The list has 14 "hates" and 36 "loves".


  • Driving behind water trucks
  • paying $8/gallon for milk
  • Taxis in the middle of the road, and
  • The Water and Power Authority


  • "That I don't watch TV at all,"
  • Her son reads for fun,
  • The people she meets
  • Animals roaming the streets
  • Views at every turn
  • "That we love living here." 

Read the P-600 Moving to St. John blog here

First-timer’s guide to St. John

This-weekSt. John is getting a lot of attention from the islands’ This Week magazine.  Distributed at the VI airports, businesses, and sometimes on flights from San Juan, the tourist guide highlights St. Joihn in several articles, all of which are accessible online, too.

Welcome to St. John is a general article about the island. It is accompanied by other articles highlighting beaches, local food, Mongoose Junction's 30th (!) anniversary, as well as recommendations of things to do.

If you’ve been to St. John once, you probably know everything that’s in the stories.  But if you’re about to make your first visit, this is a fine primer. 

Birds (or yachts) of a feather, flock together

While Mark Cuban’s yacht bobbed on the waters off Cruz Bay, David Geffen’s Rising Sun put in at East End at Hansen Bay.  Wikipedia says the 453-footer is the 10th largest yacht in the world. (A bit more than 50% larger than Cuban’s.)

East End’s Sloop Jones, the world famous artist/clothing designer snapped this picture and sent it to the Inquiring Iguana. Jones said, somehow it just snuck up on him, and when he glanced up he saw it and thought it might be “an alien invasion.” Some might see it as that.

Feratures of Rising Sun:

    Source: Wikipedia