Happy New Year! How many of you wish you were cruising into Cruz Bay today? Let me see that show of hands! Well I understand it’s not feasible for everyone right now, so I am bringing Cruz Bay to you!
I filmed the following video as I ferried into Cruz Bay (from Crown Bay) yesterday afternoon. This video was filmed using my new GoPro Hero 10, and it was filmed in 4k. It is super crisp if you view it on a laptop. My cell phone delivered a lower quality video, which was no bueno. It’s a little over six minutes long, and you should enjoy it all!
Island Tidbits would like to welcome our newest advertiser Lovango Resort & Beach Club. Off the coast of St. John, this private island is a beautiful 10-minute boat ride from St. John and St. Thomas. Arrive by private resort ferry or by boat. Spend the day at the beach club, enjoy lunch or dinner at the waterfront restaurant, or spend your vacation at St. John’s most luxurious resort accommodations. Click here to learn more about Lovango Resort & Beach Club.
It’s hard to believe that today is New Year’s Eve. This year has gone by so quickly! Here are some of the highlights from your favorite piece of paradise. Enjoy!
The year 2022 started off with some great news, and some not-so-great news. I’m a positive gal, so let’s start with that. 🙂 The Cinnamon Bay campground finally reopened after being closed more than four years due to damage sustained during Hurricane Irma. We profiled the campground back in October, and it truly looks great. Click here to read that story.
Sadly, everything wasn’t palm trees and sunshine in January. Bikinis on the Beach, the popular snack shack and rental hut at Honeymoon Beach, unexpectedly announced a temporary closure. The temporary closure wound up being permanent, and the official announcement was made several months later.
Sun Dog Cafe hit a pretty impressive milestone in January, having served its one millionth meal. A huge congrats to that! And lastly, the whales made their debut a little earlier than normal in 2022. They were first sighted in the latter part of the month.
Good news was shared in February for those longing to return to the British Virgin Islands. Inter Island Boat Services announced its intention to resume ferry service between St. John and Jost Van Dyke. The service ultimately began the following month.
St. John Brewers had a great month, as it opened its second location in St. Thomas. St. John Brewers on the Waterfront opened in Charlotte Amalie and has been wildly successful ever since!
Back on St. John, barstools finally returned at Joe’s Rum Hut. It’s the little things in life, folks! The actual bar area finally reopened at the Rum Hut in February after being closed off for nearly two years due to Covid. (The kitchen and main dining area had been open prior to that.)
Smiles returned indoors in March, as the Governor finally lifted the mask mandate for indoor businesses. And filed under the month’s creepy news, Little St. James and Great St. James – the two private islands owned by Jeffrey Epstein’s estate – listed for sale as a pair for a whopping $125 million. The pair have yet to sell, and they are now listed for $55 million a piece. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t see anyone wanting to hang out on them with their bad juju. But you never know, I guess!
Something very cool happened here on island in April. A leatherback sea turtle nest was found by beachgoers at Trunk Bay. It was the first time in quite a bit that a leatherback nested on St. John. The nests we typically see on the island are primarily from Hawksbill turtles, so it was pretty darn cool that a leatherback chose St. John to lay her eggs. The nest was protected and inspected regularly until it hatched in the early summer. (A second nest was found at Trunk Bay the following month.)
May marked the end of the travel portal… finally! Beginning May 1st, travelers could travel to St. John, and the Virgin Islands as a whole, without having to prove vaccination status or obtaining a negative Covid test. It was a very welcomed return to normalcy for many of us.
We were in the midst of a pretty intense drought in May, which brought on one positive thing. The salt pond near Salt Pond Bay (confusing, I know) began producing an abundance of salt. It’s a pretty neat thing to witness, and I was happy when the National Park informed me that people were allowed to take small amounts of salt for personal use. In fact, I just gave some away to family members for Christmas gifts.
St. John made the mainstream news in May as well! Two part-time residents, who happen to be good friends of mine, had a horse that qualified to race in the Kentucky Derby. And even cooler is that the horse was named Zozos after one of their favorite restaurants on island. Zozos didn’t take first place, but it was still very cool to watch nonetheless!
June marked the return of carnival, also known as festival, on St. John. It was the first time since 2019 that the event was held as normal. Food fair, the kids’ carnival, the village and more happened in June. Carnival culminated on the Fourth of July with J’ouvert, the parade, fireworks and music that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.
And continuing with the good news, our roads were paved in June! I know that sounds silly, but it’s the little things that matter sometimes. 🙂
For those of you who followed me during my News of St. John days (I sold the business back in the summer of 2020), you are likely familiar with my son Dalton. Well he turned four July 1st, and he celebrated with friends and a visit from one of his favorite businesses – Love City Delights.
August saw the return of our first post-Covid fundraiser – Bar Wars! I happened to be off island for the event, but friends of mine who attended said it was the first time in two years that life felt completely normal again. Cheers to that!
And then the island finally started to slow down. We had another extremely busy season, so numerous restaurants and businesses took an extended, and well-deserved, break for off season.
September was a great month for me, as I finally decided to write again after taking a two-year break. When I launched Island Tidbits, I initially thought I’d write a few times a week about silly things like donkeys and whatever made me smile that week. Well that changed pretty early on when I received a call from a friend over at Cruz Bay Watersports. They had just received approval to go to the BVI, and she wanted me to announce it. The news gal in me returned rather quickly, and I soon realized that it’s simply in my blood. (I used to make newspapers for my parents to read when I was about seven years old, so this goes way back. 🙂 ) So why the initial intention of Island Tidbits wasn’t to be super newsy, it sort of ended up that way. We’re all allowed to change our minds, right? All of that aside, I hope you are enjoying the new website, and I thank you all for reading it each and every day!
And not soon after, Tropical Storm Fiona made a quick little appearance in the Virgin Islands. Fortunately it passed quickly and no severe damage was sustained.
October saw the return of St. John-based boat charters to the British Virgin Islands for the first time since March 2020. Cruz Bay Watersports became the first St. John-based company that was approved to offer multi-passenger trips to the Virgin Islands. (Click here to read that story.) And later on in the month, Palm Tree Charters became the first St. John-based company to be approved and offer private charters to the BVI. (Click here to read that story.)
(The BVI loosened its requirements for day charters later on, and now there are numerous companies that are able to bring guests over to the BVI.)
We had several big announcements on October, as well. The owners of the Windmill Bar announced that they had purchased the former Dog House restaurant and planned to open a new spot called The Upstairs. That bar and grill just opened yesterday, and I will have more on that soon. Click here to read that story.
The Caneel Bay Beach Club also announced its intention to open on Honeymoon Beach in October. Permitting issues pushed back its opening date, which ultimately happened earlier this month.
We also had a new business open in November. Golden Hour, a wellness, apothecary and feel-good lifestyle store, opened up in Mongoose Junction in November. The store is owned by Rebecca Reinbold and Lindsay Soper. The pair also co-owns Lulee, which has locations in Mongoose Junction and over at the Westin. Click here to read all about it.
And here we are in December. The island remained a tad quieter than we are accustomed to, but I have to admit, it was pretty nice having some extra space.
Now it’s New Year’s Eve. There is a lot happening around the island tonight. There are parties being held all around Cruz Bay, and live music is happening out in Coral Bay too. Not on island, but want to see some of the action? You can always check out our webcam page to see what’s happening live. The Beach Bar’s webcams will probably be the best to check out tonight. Visit www.IslandTidbits.com/webcam to see more than 20 live streaming webcams.
And with that, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! Thank you again for reading Island Tidbits in 2022, and cheers to an even better 2023!
Looking for something fun and interesting to do when you’re vacationing in St. John? The Virgin Islands National Park has a lot of great offerings, and the best part is that the majority of them are free! All of the following information was provided by the Virgin Island National Park and Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park. Here is the full list of events:
Astronomy in the Park – Free
Join a park ranger for a tour of the night sky including constellations, planets, and deep space objects like nebulae and galaxies. The program will include use of the Park’s 10″ telescope and talks on the structures that comprise our universe, as well as the impacts of human activity on our ability to see the into the cosmos from Earth.
Park in the lot for Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground, and take the sidewalk to walk past the restaurant on your way toward the beach. Once you reach the end of the sidewalk make a left turn, and you will see the ranger on the beach with the park’s telescope.
The Park recommends that each member of your group bring a flashlight to illuminate your way to and from the parking lot. Lastly, if you are uncomfortable standing for up to one hour, you may also want to bring a chair or a blanket to spread out on the grass.
This is a free program that occurs every Wednesday through August 31st from 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. You do not need to make a reservation to attend this free event.
Feathers of Francis – Free
Join a park ranger for a bird-watching walk on the Francis Bay Trail. This is one of the best areas on St. John to spot both native and migratory forest, sea, and wetland birds. This event starts every Friday at 7:30 a.m. (through May 26th) and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Participants should meet at the Francis Bay Trailhead. You do not need to make a reservation to attend this free event.
Annaberg Cultural Programs – Free
At one time, Annaberg was the largest plantation on the island and is well worth a visit for anyone interested in the history and culture. Learn from a bread maker and gardener about some of the rich heritage on St. John. Both are available for discussions every Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a free, walk up event.
Annaberg History Tour – Free
Want to learn more about Annaberg? Join a guided tour by park docent Mark Mahowald, and learn about the history of the Annaberg plantation ruins, the colonial history of St John, and the process of sugar production. There will be demonstrations from the bread baker and gardener as well. This free event occurs on the second Friday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon. This is a free event, however you must register as space is limited. Click here to register.
Traditional Uses Of Plants In The VI – Free
Interested in learning more about the plants located in the Virgin Islands? Delroy “Ital” Anthony will talk about the culture and history of St. John, especially focused on the relationship between plants and culture. This event happens on the first Friday of the month (through June) from 10 a.m. to noon. This event occurs at the Friends Volunteer Camp at Cinnamon Bay. Participants can park at the Cinnamon Bay main parking lot. It is suggested that you bring water and hats. This is a free event, however you must register as space is limited. Click here to register.
Sea Turtle Talk At Maho – Free
Stop by the sea turtle info table on the beach at Maho Bay to chat about turtles and marine life in the bay with the Virgin Islands National Park Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program Team and volunteers. This free, walk up event happens every Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The info table is located on the western side of the beach, across from Maho Crossroads.
Hike Leinster Bay with a Park Ranger – Free
Learn about the natural and historical resources of this beautiful area recently designated as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. This guided hike with retired ranger Laurel Brannick showcases panoramic views, diverse flora and fauna, and three different historic sites. This free event happens on the third Friday of the month through June from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The meeting point is the Annaberg parking lot. Transportation is not provided. This is a free event, however you must register as space is limited. Click here to register.
Hike Ram Head with a Park Ranger – Free
Ram Head is the southernmost point of St. John and one of the most unforgettable hikes in Virgin Islands National Park. Enjoy this guided hike with Friends Trails Manager Taylor White that begins and ends at Salt Pond. This free event happens on the last Friday of the month through June from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The meeting point is the Salt Pond parking lot. Transportation is not provided. This is a free event, however you must register as space is limited. Click here to register.
Cinnamon Campground Chats – Free
Every Tuesday: Traditional Music & Crafts | 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Cinnamon Raintree Cafe
Every Thursday: Coral Reef Protection | 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Cinnamon Raintree Cafe
Every Friday Friday: Archaeology: Exploring The Past | 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Cinnamon Raintree Cafe
The two following opportunities are paid events:
Reef Bay Hike – $75
This popular three-mile guided hike of Reef Bay Trail with a boat pickup at the bottom is back! The hike takes about three and a half hours from the trailhead to the beach and ends with a 40-minute boat ride back to the Cruz Bay Visitor Center. This hike is offered every Monday and Tuesday. Participants should meet at the National Park Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. Transportation is provided to the Reef Bay trailhead. The cost to attend this event is $75. Click here to register.
Turtle Boat & Snorkel Experience – $90
This unique experience is hosted by a sea turtle and coral ecosystem expert. Learn about these majestic endangered species and make two stops to snorkel with sea turtles. This event happens on the second Friday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pickups and drop-offs occur both on St. John and in St. Thomas. The cost to attend this event is $90. Click here to register.
Let’s be honest, most of the United States is pretty darn chilly right about now. How does a nice little warm up in St. John sound? Pretty darn good, I’m sure! Well today I want to tell you about a contest that’s currently happening, and it doesn’t cost a thing to enter. But there’s one little catch…
Lime Brands – Lime Inn, Lime Out, Johnny Lime & Lime Lofts – is holding a holiday contest along with Flyaway Charters, and you are all invited to enter. The catch: You have to have an Instagram account to participate. But before I get into that, here is the prize that’s up for grabs:
A seven-night stay for two at Lime Lofts in Coral Bay
A half-day charter for two with Flyaway Charters
Lunch for two, plus drinks at Lime Out
Dinner for two at Lime Inn
BBQ for two at Johnny Lime
(There will only be one winner who will win the complete prize. Airfare and a vehicle rental are not included.)
Now here’s how to enter:
You must have an Instagram account to enter. (There are no exceptions to this.)
Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! I know it’s tough to get back to work following a holiday weekend, so how about an easy, breezy story about a nice little spot in Coral Bay?
For those of you who’ve been to St. John before, you’re probably familiar with Wok on the Beach in Coral Bay. Well Wok on the Beach had a little makeover a few months back, and is now being called Surf Club Cantina. The owner is the same, but the spot has a brand new look and a new menu.
Surf Club Cantina, formerly Wok on the Beach, is located across the street from Coral Bay in the Isola Shops building. Salty Mongoose is right beside it, and Aqua Bistro is located next door in the Cocolobo complex. (Click here to see our Restaurant Map, and to see the exact location of every restaurant on St. John.) Surf Club Cantina is a mostly outdoor location with great breezes and nice views of Coral Bay. Check it out:
And as I mentioned, it has a brand new menu too. Check it out:
I stopped in with my friend Leah, owner of Flyaway Charters, before the holidays, and she made sure I knew how good the salsa was. And it was! We shared that, and I ordered the ground beef tacos. Here are a couple of pics:
Surf Club Cantina is open from noon to 8 p.m. seven days a week. And if you’re looking to purchase an existing business on St. John, it happens to be for sale as well. Click here to read about all of the St. John businesses that are currently listed for sale.