The Spirit of St. John

Maho and Francis bays - Jan. 14, 2018
Maho and Francis bays – Jan. 14, 2018

I came across the following article yesterday, and it truly brought a smile to my face. It’s short and sweet, but it really speaks to the spirit of St. John. I can tell you all day long that the island is ready for visitors, but it’s also nice to add another voice to our story. Please take a minute to read the following article written by Hannah J. Farrow and published by Alive Tampa Bay.

The Spirit and Beauty of St. John Beckons
By Hannah J. Farrow, AliveTampaBay Correspondent

The hurricanes took away a lot of things—roofs of houses, car windows, taxi drivers’ passengers. It didn’t, however, take away from the beauty of the island or its people.

St. John, the US Virgin Islands has been a vacation destination for my family since before my birth, a home-away-from-home if you will. We rent a pick-up truck with bench seats in the bed, pile in the beach chairs and cooler, and take off one the left side of the road, through the mountainous, lush, tropical botany, with a “road beer” in hand.

We were anxious this year, gambling on the state of the island and questioning if vacationers were even wanted. I imagined locals rolling their eyes and shaking their fists as tourists with their money vacation on their destroyed land. We were even told time and time again by our travel agent not to expect the island to be how it used to be. My biggest fear was that everything I loved about St. John was gone.

To my pleasant surprise, I found that my family and I were welcomed with smiles and laughter as we reserved a table for 18 at various restaurants. What’s usually a pain to any waitress with a full section, with restaurant wait times over an hour long, was now a blessing to fill the empty seats.

We took a break from the relaxation of the pristine beaches and ventured on a hike called Ram’s Head Trail; only this hike was on the side of the island that took the hurricanes head on. I saw photos of stripped palm trees and heard stories of mudslides, leaving only my imagination to picture the state.

The beginning of the trail started off rocky, literally, and only indicated a similar three miles to go.

I was wrong.

The rough start turned into a calm bay where the water lightly lapped at the sandy beach. It continued on through the rocky waterside edge, up through cacti ridden bush, to what felt like the edge of the world. The clearest water rolled in waves, one after the other, crashing into the rocks below. The sun smiled down at us, and as I looked around, all of my fears of the island vanished.

I’ve always had respect for the island and its people, I’ve always felt welcomed, and I’ve always wanted to return. The houses are in repair and BBC electric works tirelessly to bring shining new wires to the island. I was devastated to hear how bad St. John was hit, but beyond relieved to see that its spirit wasn’t.

17 thoughts on “The Spirit of St. John”

  1. St. John ain’t goin anywhere folks! Recovery will be a long process but people will soon forget about Irma. People have short memories.
    ANYONE KNOW?——What happened to ISLAND BLUES? Is it gone for good?
    Will CONCORDIA ever re-open?

  2. Thanks for sharing this. We can’t wait to return to the island that we love so much. We’ve traveled to many other islands but there is no place like St John, home away from home for us and that is why we return every year. Counting the days…..

  3. We just came back from a week long stay. Paradise! The beaches and restaurants were empty. We were greeted over and over again with welcoming smiles and were thanked for coming down by every single person we encountered. Yes there is still a lot of damage but, the island is still beautiful. Lush, green and blooming. Some of our usual haunts were closed so we tried and loved other new favorites. Can’t wait to go back.

  4. I feel like Hannah is inside my head! We just returned from St John a week ago and these were my exact thoughts!! We were so nervous, not knowing what to expect, what would it look like, would they even want us there or would we be in the way of recovery? So welcoming, so beautiful, so excited to see tourists!! Thank you St. John for giving us our week away from being busy, overbooked, overworked, overschooled, etc,etc!!! And the lack of cell service,cable tv, and internet was exactly what we needed and just didn’t know it! Your spirit is amazing!

  5. Looking back to the videos in September and having spent two weeks on island through the New Year, it is nothing short of a miracle to see the difference. Stunning difference. Hard work by all. If you ever wondered what it would be like to visit SJ as an early settler, now is the time. If you are used to sitting at a resort. Not your rodeo. Find a place to stay, rent a jeep, get out on the water and beaches and you will be more than happy. All of the services work or are available on island. You will feel like you won the lottery and the island was closed to no more than 300 hundred tourists just for you. Visited the BVI’s. We were one of ten people having paid at the Baths that day. Now is the time to escape to SJ and the area as never before.

  6. My wife and I will be back in July for our annual 2 week stay, a beer in one hand and a cigar in the other. No place on earth we would rather be…We love ST. John!!!

    Ralph & Conya

  7. So happy to read rhe article and other comments! We weren’t as brave and went elsewhere, and are there now. Only missing the beauty of the island and Coral Bay! Can’t wait to return next January for 10 days.
    Sandra and Lowell, NH

  8. Absolutely no place on Earth like it.. When I stepped off the fairy onto the dock, I turned to my sister and asked if we went thru a Time Warp,In Love right then.

  9. We are planning a trip BACK this December. We can not wait. SJ is our FAVORITE vaca spot ever!!! *** The people of SJ are the most beautiful ever!!!

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