Best places to buy booze on St. John

BeerVeteran island visitors and locals agree there are three places where you will get the best deals on liquor.

The first is right there at the airport in Charlotte Amalie.  While some think its business really is duty-free purchases for folks to take home, a number of people make it their place to stock up for their week on St. John.  The shop is a small one, inside the airport near the baggage belts.  

In a post on Virgin-Islands-On-Line.com, Tuxedocat said, "We often buy there … offers a very good selection of all kinds of liquors. The prices are about the same as elsewhere on the islands."

Also getting a thumbs up for liquor purchases on St. Thomas, is Cost U Less, a warehouse discount store. Huge selection, good prices.  But only stop there if you've rented a car to come across to St. John. The taxis from the airport are not going to drop you off and wait while you do shopping.  

Of course, Cost U Less is also a great place to do lots of other  shopping for groceries before you ride the car barge across.  Wine prices there are said to be 10-15% less than on St., John.

There's general agreement that Pine Peace Grocery has the least expensive St. John liquor. The store is located in Cruz Bay, at the foot of the newly-resurfaced Jacob's Ladder.

Juice and other mixers re about 15-30% higher than home, but not enough of a difference for you to lug it over," added Tuxedocat.

What's your experience?  Vote in this poll.

St. John sunsets and sunrises keep coming

"Oct 2009…from Cruz Bay… a magical time for my family… 
there for daughter and her beloved to get married."

Kate Armstrong


"I took this in May 2004 from my balcony at Battery Hill while testing my new camera. It saddens me that I haven't been back since that trip.   At the time, I had a one year old, now I've got three kids and as soon as they are all strong swimmers we are coming back so I can teach them about the island, the reefs, fish, and how fragile they are."

Mark from Oakton, Va.


"Took this sunset photo a few years ago (2008 May).  View is from our Condominium at Gallows Point."

Ron & Michelle Rossio



Read moreSt. John sunsets and sunrises keep coming

More St. John businesses for sale

Two of the island's oldest businesses are making new efforts to sell by listing themselves on Craigslist

Folks who have the dream of living full-time on St. John have a number of choices of how to do it.  Owning a business is one of them.  Understanding, of course, that running a business is a full-time job, which may leave less time for sunning on the beach than you might wish for.

While starting a business is always possible, buying an operation that's up and running and generating cash might be a better way to go – if you're willing to learn and work (there's that word again!).

Read moreMore St. John businesses for sale

St. John’s largest retailer is for sale

St. John Hardware is being offered for sale for $1,695,000.  

The owners are long time island residents, well known for their community involvement and support of its activities and charities.

Now located at the Marketplace, and one of the original developers of the project, the business has been the go-to place for builders, contractors, craftsmen and home owners for more than 15 years.  The owners bought t just a year before Hurricane Marilyn, which devastated the island in 1995. 

Read moreSt. John’s largest retailer is for sale

Accessible trail at Cinnamon Bay ruins

A formal ribbon cutting this week marked completion of the island's second accessible train in the Park.

The project at Cinnamon Bay project is 610 feet long and uses ramps and raised walkways to make it possible for people using wheelchairs or needing support or assistance to enjoy the recovered ruins of the ancient sugar factory.  

Visitors can see where sugar cane was processed to become rum, a boiling house where kettles boiled down the syrup to crystal form.  Also on the property are crypts of a Danish family who lived and died on the island.

Read moreAccessible trail at Cinnamon Bay ruins

Why there will be more tourists on St. John

New York Magazine's latest choice for its "Weekend Trips" feature is your favorite island.  And with one exception, travel writer Grace Bastidas' recommendations are spot on.

NewyorkIt's unfortunate she's only writing about a two- or three-day stay, but then again, you know how New Yorkers are!  

Here's what she suggests:

Read moreWhy there will be more tourists on St. John

Baby, it’s dry outside

The islands are in the beginning stages of a drought, according to a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in San Juan, the St. John Source reported.  "That was the driest January on record," said Rafael Mojica.

Making the lack of moisture more troublesome is the low humidity which only adds to the risk of fire, he said. According to forecasters at Weatherunderground.com, rainfall this month has been 10% of normal.

What this means to people on St. John is noise.  More water trucks than usual can be heard coursing across the island to fill cisterns at rental villas.  

A load of water, 4,200 gallons, goes for $365 or 8.7 cents a gallon.  By some calculations, that would mean a five-minute shower uses $1 worth of water.  

On St. Thomas, because water reserves are low, some people are being asked to conserve and residents may find they have little water pressure during the daylight hours.  This is because several pumping stations are being repaired.

So,  the usual caution to visitors … please watch your water use.  On St. John, except for Cruz Bay which gets its water via an underwater pipe, the only water available comes from the sky and into the cisterns.  

Warming up for Wagapalooza

Planning for the St. John version of the Westminster Dog Show is well underway.  

The 11th annual Wagapalooza is set for Saturday, May 21, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Winston Wells ball field in CRuz Bay, across the street from Fatty Crab, and next to the Sprauve School. They hold the fund raiser for the Animal Care Center in the evening to avoid the heat of the day.

As always, the show will feature competition.  Prizes will be awarded to the "Best Old Timer," "Best Lap Dog," "Best Chow Hound," and others. "Winners will chosen by a distinguished panel of judges comprised of infamous St. Johnians," according to the ACC.

This the logo for this year's show. It's just been released and soon it will appear on posters and t-shirts, suitable for purchasing and/or framing.  Bring either to the event and you could get it paw-graphed by your favorite mutt.

Mario Batali’s St. John restaurants

One of the best known chefs and restaurant operators in the US made it a point to taste some of the best of St. John's eateries. (Who's Mario Batali?

During his vacation at Caneel Bay last week, Mario Batali made it to Cruz Bay several times and used Twitter to let his fans around the world know what he found.

The new fatty Crab restaurant apparently was the favorite.  "Yeow! Back at Crabby fatso … presently surfing wave of yumminess," Batali Tweeted one night.  Another visit prompted this comment: "The crabby chubster rules."  It also appears, from a Tweet, that besides two dinners at FC, he lunched there on his way to the airport and home.

La Tapa was also a fave.  "Ahh, La Tapa.  Paella again?" Untitled-2

After a day of "Sweeet fishing w our Capt. Chris," Batali and friends brought fresh snapper to be "cooked with love by Tapa kitchen."

On that fishing trip, Batali reported "Susi (his wife) caught and released a nice little sail fin off Lizard Rock," and posted this picture.

Also getting positive comments from, the former would-be pro football player-turned-food magnate, was La Plancha del Mar.  "Great menu. Killer amuse of crisp polenta with Duck Confit. Yumster!!"

He gave the St. John Brewers boys a thumbs up. "Killer brew and root beer made in USVI!," he Tweeted. The chef also visited Waterfront Bistro at Wharfside. His comment, "What a view."

When he wasn't eating, Batali stayed at Caneel – playing tennis, lounging on the Turtle Bay beach and "Counting clouds for the government!! 1, 2 …..3, uh?"

The Inquiring Iguana knows that some readers of this item might think the little green guy is a stalker. But, clearly, Mario Batali wanted the world to know his almost-every-move.  He even continued Tweeting at the St. Thomas airport where he proudly announced, "I just ousted @madisonmalone as the Mayor of Island News & Gift Store at St. Thomas Airport on Foursquare."

Come back soon, Mario!