Gym in Paradise renamed, re-opened

Gym The workout spot on the third floor of the Marketplace is now called ‘Hardware Abs.’ 

'Hardware’ refers to the gym's owners, the Bertolinos and the Swans, the founders and operators of St. John Hardware.  (originally I wrote they were the founders, but  in a comment Wilson Roberts corrected me.

"They bought St. John Hardware from Hardware Bob and his wife some years ago," Roberts wrote. "They did maintain Hardware Bob's tradition of high prices, but they added stock and a more reliable restocking policy, tore down the old building, which housed a gym in addition to the hardware store, and moved all to the new Marketplace."

We remember Hardware Bob, who was of course the only game in town.  He was a nice guy but his inventory was quite limited.  Behind his counter was his faithful dog, a German Shepherd I believe.  The Bertolinos and the Swans had vision when they bought Bob's ramshackle building and business, and their success is well deserved.

The swans and the Bertolinos/Swans expanded the small gym to become Gym in Paradise. Recently, they sold it, but – well, the deal didn’t work out.  So, they’re back in the exercise business.

The Islandia Real Estate blog says the place has been spruced up, the equipment maintained and working well, and the monthly dues are $65.  BTW, the yoga room is available for rent (party anyone?)

Pack your passport

Passport It’s a brand new month and there’s a brand new rule for Virgin Islands travelers. 

While you don’t have to have a U.S. passport to vacation in the islands, or to come back to the mainland, you do need a passport if you’re going to do some sightseeing in the BVIs.

That mans if you’re planning on taking a day trip or charter to Foxy’s or the Baths on Virgin Gorda. bring your passport\.  You’ll need it as proof of citizenship when you return from your BVI visit and clear through the U.S. Customs office in Cruz Bay.

Here's a link to the passport Office's regulations concerning the British Virgin islands.

St. John strip club is hiring

Update: Wednesday 5 p.m. They say nothing disinfects like sunlight.  Within a few hours of this story being posted, the advertisement was withdrawn from Craigslist.  Coincidence or reaction to all the comments?  You be the judge.

So, you thiDancenk you can dance?

If so, this Craigslist ad's for you.

“We are currently looking for attractive exotic dancers between the ages of 18-30,
as well as ladies interested in becoming a dancer (no experience necessary).”

Applicants who are hired will be required to pay $50/night and work for at least three weeks.

The ad suggests the local gentlemen can be expected to be generous. “St. John is an island in the Caribbean Sea …  It is renowned as the wealthiest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Dancers will stay at an island house. “You will have one roommate, or you may have you own room depending on occupancy,” the listing says. (That’s kind of a strange way of putting it.  You’ll have a roommate, or you won’t, depending on how many people are in your room.)

The ad indicates airfare to St. Thomas will be provided, but must be repaid if the dancer doesn't fulfill her three week commitment.

The strip club opened about a year ago, in the old Mixology Warehouse space, on the first floor of the Lumberyard.

Here's the ad.

Friends ‘Swim’ draws hundreds


A 15-year-old Miami resident, returning to his former home island, won the sixth annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim competition last weekend.  Augusto Cividini finished the 3.5-mile course in one hour, 21-minutes, 50 seconds.

Close behind, in second place, was Maggie Ravenna, a 22-year-old from St. Louis.  She completed the race in one hour, 23-minutes and 22 seconds.

The competition drew 238 entrants form 22 states, the BVIs, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands.  Last year, there were 164 swimmers.

There were three courses.  The shortest was the one-mile Maho Bay to Cinnamon Bay swim. The most ambitious is the 3.5- mile route from Maho to Cinnamon, Cinnamon to Trunk, and Trunk to Hawksnest Bays.  It was swum by individuals and relay teams.three person/relay .

Winners received blown glass fish produced at the Maho Bay Camps’ recycling program.

New blends from St. John Brewers

Coming-Soon Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman are doing anything but taking it easy in the Virgin Islands. 

This past Friday they threw their second Porch Party. “Keg of Summer Ale on the back porch, and everyone drinking out of red cups – feels like college all over again!," they wrote on their newly-launched blog.

Their two beers, Virgin Islands Summer Ale and  Tropical Mango Pale Ale continue to do business on island as well as in six states.

But, wait! There’s more!

The brew boys are preparing to introduce a root beer and a Belgian-style ale.  The ale will be called Liquid Sunshine, which is also what locals call rain.  They describe it as an “unfiltered wheat ale spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel." No date for introduction but, well … on St. John … it ‘soon come.’

Pine Peace does it again

For the second month in a row, the VI Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs has tagged Pine Peace Market as the cheapest grocery store on island. 

The DCLA’s latest food basket of 32 items cost $83.12 at the store, located at the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder.  The Virgin Islands Daily News said the government agency report found Dolphin Market in Cruz Bay was the most expensive, at $86.53, while Starfish Market’s tab was $86.24.

Dolphin being the high-price operator continues to be worrisome.  With the Roundabout construction, it's very difficult for people to park anywhere near the store.  Which has to mean lower sales volume, which clearly has meant higher prices.  How long can this go on?

Read the Daily News story: http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17636004

New gate house for Caneel

Gerald Singer reports the a grand new guardhouse at Caneel
is completed, after several months of hammering, stone chipping, and
construction.  But he’s perplexed as to why it was built, replacing a
more modest stone-faced kiosk at the entrance to the Virgin Islands resort.

we saw it being built in February, the project appeared to have three
different buildings. One of them looked big enough to be a guest room,

Anyway, Singer says the structure is done but wonders what was the need?  When we showed some photos of the project in progress, one commenter may have hit the nail on the head when he suggested it was related to Homeland Security,
like the silly black gates at the ferry.  They certainly will protect
you from terrorists coming to the island via the dock, but do nothing
at all if you come by dinghy, on either side.

Singer's blog is St. John LifeRead it here.

Beach book banned?


The author of half a dozen books about St. John is having a problem. 

Gerald Singer says the National Park Service is stiffing him and won't sell the latest version of his St John Beach Guide.  A resident of the island since 1969, he first published the book in 1994. 

The self proclaimed “world;’s foremost authority on St. John’s beaches” immediately ran into a roadblock getting the Park to sell the book.  The problem: it had photos a pen-and-ink-drawing of a young lady sunbathing, apparently topless (the picture was from the back), and there was an image of two donkeys in a field.

At the time, the Park Service was trying to discourage nude sunbathing at Salomon Beach.  And the Service was trying to cull the free-range donkeys who can eat a lot of vegetation. Those issues were resolved and the books went on sale. 

But his latest revision, updated last year, is still not on the shelves at the Park building.  He submitted the book for approval to be sold.  “In January, it will be three years since I made that first request and the book still has not been approved,” Singer complained on his blog.  He’s been told the process has not been completed.  Previously it took about a month.