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How to Get to St. John

Flying over Water Island near the STT airport

Happy Monday everyone! That weekend sure flew by! Ok, so when I started chatting about this new blog with friends on island, one mentioned how some of my readers may be new to St. John, so it’s important from time to time to chat about the basics. Well today we’re going to do just that! We’re going to start at the beginning – how to get to St. John. Now for my seasoned visitors, don’t leave just yet! You never know when you’ll get some new information. 🙂

Traveling Here & Heading Home

In order to get to St. John, you must fly into St. Thomas. The airport code over there is STT. All of the major airlines fly into St. Thomas, including Delta, American, JetBlue, Spirit and United. We also have two smaller airlines – Cape Air and Silver Airways (formerly Seaborne) that have daily flights via San Juan.

St. John (and neighboring St. Thomas and St. Croix) are part of the United States Virgin Islands. Because we are a United States territory, you do not need a passport to visit. When you leave, however, you will have to pass through US Customs & Border Protection.  This is because the US Virgin Islands fall outside of the “Customs territory of the United States.”

When you’re heading home, you always want to give yourself some extra time at the airport as it’s a multi-step process to leave. If you are checking a bag, you have to stop at the airline counter. They do not take your bag there, however. You’ll keep your bag and head to Customs. (For those of you with a carry on, you head straight to Customs.) Depending on the time of the year, the Customs line can be quite long.

The Customs agent will ask you some questions like where are you heading and where did you stay. They will ask if you have any souvenirs, fruits, vegetables, tobacco, alcohol. etc. It’s a lot faster if you have a passport or passport card with you, although a driver’s license works too.

From there, you will drop your bag just before security if you have one. Then head through security. There is a pre-check lane, but it’s not always open. During certain times, there will be one line, and pre-check passengers will be handed a card indicating they’re pre-check.

Once You Get Here


There will be plenty of taxis available to take you to one of the three ferries to St. John. They are located just outside of the baggage area. The taxi drivers squeeze as many passengers inside as legally allowed, so the ride can be quite cramped at times. If you prefer not to be squished, you can hire a private driver onsite. That costs $90 for up to four people if traveling to Red Hook. You call also call my good friend Yogi, who is my number one driver on St. Thomas. His cell is 340-626-5695. Feel free to say Jenn on St. John sent you. He will love that. 🙂


There are three ferries that connect St. Thomas with St. John – Red Hook, Crown Bay and Charlotte Amalie. I will post their current (as of Oct. 3, 2022) schedules below.

You can buy tickets for the Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie ferries online at You can buy tickets for the Crown Bay ferry online at

You can rent a vehicle in St. Thomas and take it over to St. John via the car barges if you prefer. Click here to view those schedules. (Selfishly, I prefer that you rent on St. John to free up space on the barge for people who need it for work, doctor’s appointments, etc.)

And after all of that, you’ll be on St. John! We might not be the easiest place to visit, but we’re the best! And once you’ve arrived, be sure to explore the island with me! Explore STJ offers full and half day island tours. Check out beautiful beaches, centuries-old historical sites, grab a cocktail or two along the way, and have fun! It’s never too early to secure your spot! Just send me an email at or check out the website at

That’s it for today, folks! If you’d like to bookmark this page, you can find it easily at Have a great day!

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A Closer Look: Murphy Great House

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Yesterday we brought you along to one of our favorite hiking spots – the Murphy Great House, which is located near the Annaberg plantation. (Click here to read all about it in case you missed it.) Well today, I’d like to share a two minute video that I took for you. Take a walk through the site with me to get a better glimpse of this property and its incredible views.

And as always, you can see all of my videos at

Want to see St. John in real time? Check out our webcam page at


Go off the beaten path. See beautiful beaches. Explore centuries-old historical sites. Grab a cocktail or two along the way. But most importantly, have fun! Explore STJ island tours is rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

On the Trail: Leinster Bay Trail to Murphy Great House

St John Murphy Great House at Annaberg
The view from the Great House

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good walk in the woods, and we are beyond lucky to have more than 20 hiking trails throughout the island. One of my absolute favorite hikes is up to the Murphy Great House. But before I get into the actual hiking aspect of today’s post, I’d like to tell you a bit about this part of the island and its history. 

The Murphy Great House, which is located at the Annaberg plantation, is named for James Murphy, an Irish shipowner, St. Thomas merchant and slave trader. Mr. Murphy bought Waterlemon Bay back in 1796, and renamed it Leinster Bay soon thereafter, according to the St. John Historical Society. Within a year of owning the parcel, Murphy acquired Annaberg and Mary Point estates and then added a portion of the former deWintsberg estate, known as Betty’s Hope. He then started to build what was considered at the time to be a state-of-the-art sugar factory at Annaberg. 

(The Annaberg site still remains and is maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park. You can view the former windmill, horse mill, boiling house, remnants of the enslaved laborers’ village, cook house (built later on), and a beautiful garden, which is lovingly maintained by my dear friend Charles.)

Mr. Murphy continued to acquire land, and in 1803 added the Munsburry plantation to his landholdings. Four years later, he purchased the nearby Brown Bay estate. By that time, he had amassed 1,245 acres of land. And off that, 494 acres were planted in sugar cane. According to the St. John Historical Society, this was the largest amount of sugar land ever controlled by one person in the history of St. John. 

Murphy’s land. Image source: Estate Consolidation, Land Use, and Ownership: A GIS Archaeological Landscape Survey of St. John, Danish West Indies (1780-1800), with a Particular Focus on Annaberg Plantation

Murphy House, the destination of this hike, is the former homesite of Mr. Murphy. It is located high on a hill, above the Annaberg plantation site, and overlooks Leinster Bay and the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The site has spectacular views of the British View Islands and beyond. The views, in my opinion, are some of the best on island. Mr. Murphy controlled this land until his death in 1808. The land was then appraised separately. Some was sold off to his creditors, while some was split among his heirs.

Murphy Great House location

The hike to the Murphy Great House takes about 30 minutes or so in each direction. The time varies based on your pace, of course, and how often you choose to stop and take pictures along the way. I recommend sneakers for this hike, although it is doable in flip flops or sandals. I usually carry a bottle of water with me, although there are typically nice easterly breezes that cool you along the way.

To take this hike, you’ll want to park in the small lot below the Annaberg plantation. Then walk toward the water where you will see a sign for the Leinster Bay Trail. Follow the rocky path along the shoreline and through the mangroves. After about 15 to 20 minutes, you will arrive at the beach at Waterlemon Bay.

The trail to Murphy Great House starts here.

Walk across the sandy beach until you see an opening into the woods. Take a right into the woods, and, almost immediately, you see a sign for the Johnny Horn trail. You’ll want to walk toward the left and up a slight hill.

The path is to the right here near the end of the beach.
The path up to the guardhouse and Great House is to the left of this sign.

After less than five minutes, you will see a small path on your left that leads you to the former guardhouse site. This structure was purposefully located in a strategic spot, so the overseer was able to keep an eye on the the Fungi Passage, between Whistling Cay and Mary Point, and the Narrows, which separates Great Thatch and St. John. 

Remnants of the guardhouse

From the guardhouse, continue your walk uphill. After a roughly five minute climb, you will come to an intersection. Take a left to visit Murphy Great House. (The trail continuing straight leads to the Brown Bay trail and ultimately out to Coral Bay.

Once you arrive, be careful of the loose stone at the bottom of the stairs. From atop the site, you will see Annaberg in the distance off to your left, Tortola to your right, Waterlemon Cay below, Great Thatch to the far right, and glimpses of St. Thomas and Jost Van Dyke, among other islands, in the distance. There is a picnic table up there as well, so perhaps pack a lunch or a snack or two, and soak in the beauty St. John has to offer. Check out some more pics I took for you…

Pretty incredible, isn’t it?

Please check back tomorrow to see a video I took from my hike. It’s a bit long, so I decided to save it for its own post. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful day. And if you’d like to see more of the island or perhaps learn a thing or two about St. John’s amazing history while having an amazing day during your vacation, please be sure to check out Explore STJ island tours at

New Webcam Alert!

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! I know how much you all love webcams as much as I do, so you’re going to love this!

A brand new webcam popped up over the weekend at Tropical Panorama, a five-bedroom villa located in Cruz Bay. The webcam is situated above the mouth of the bay and has northernly views out toward Lovango Cay. Check it out:

Great view, right?!

You can see this webcam and over 20 more on our webcam page at

Go off the beaten path. See beautiful beaches. Explore centuries-old historical sites. And more…

Mind = Blown (Thanks to all of you!)

Oppenheimer Gibney beach St John US Virgin Islands

Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I just wanted to write a quick post to thank you all for reading Island Tidbits! I have to admit, my mind has been absolutely blown by the response. When I first started this way back when (ok, it was only 12 days ago lol), I wasn’t sure how it would be received or if anyone would actually take the time to read it. Well you know what? You did! And I am so thankful!

Now that my nerves have subsided (you like me, you really like me!), I am super excited to be on this journey again. I absolutely LOVE sharing stories and videos from the island. I definitely have a lot of ideas up my sleeve ( including some super random stuff like that one time a family of bats decided to take up residence in my wall or when a bird from Puerto Rico decided to move into Palm Tree Charters‘ porch), but I’m interested in your feedback too. So if there is anything specific you’d like to know more about or if there’s something you’d like me to feature, please either leave your suggestion in the Comments section here on the site, or email me at

Now let’s get to some housekeeping…

  1. If you are interested in taking an island tour, please check out Explore STJ. I offer both full and half day tours. Together we can go off the beaten path, see beautiful sights, check out amazing beaches, explore historical sites, perhaps grab a cocktail or two (you , not me, of course!) and more. Please visit to learn more, or send me an email at
  2. In case you missed it, you can find nearly two dozen webcams all in one spot at Bookmark the page, and check out your favorite island spot 24/7!
  3. And if you’re looking for videos, you will find every video we post in one spot too! You can see them at
  4. And last, but certainly not least, Island Tidbits has its first advertiser! Woohoo! I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Elaine Estern, owner of Coconut Coast Studios, for supporting this website. Elaine has great stuff, including amazing artwork and a brand new calendar, so please be certain to check out her website at We will definitely have more on Elaine later this week!

Again, thank you all so much for reading! Have a wonderful day!