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Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge #159295
04/20/2018 02:36 PM
04/20/2018 02:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline OP
Traveler
TomB  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
[Linked Image]

Flights:

We flew from Washington DCA to STT on American roundtrip – with a stop in MIA both ways. Tickets in the mid-400s. We have done better, but I was happy with the fare. We even got upgraded on one leg! No problems – no complaints. I will say STT airport is still a work in progress. No restaurant/bar or stores. There are kiosks for food and candy, but no duty free available. We did get to STT airport 3 hours early as recommended. We breezed right through because no one was in line - Forty-five minutes later it was a zoo. Me personally, I can sit and be bored much better than I do standing in line with hundreds of people I do not know for an hour trying to get to the lounge.

Lodging:

Sweet St John was simply awesome! The location is just minutes from town overlooking Frank Bay and St Thomas. The one bedroom cottage is decorated beautifully – modern sleek – appointments, with a kitchen that has everything one needs to prepare a gourmet meal or a bowl of cereal. We prepared most breakfasts and three dinners in the cottage, which were enjoyed on the deck.

[Linked Image]

We only used the AC the first night and the last night but found the breeze with the aid of fan more than comfortable. In the late afternoon it could get warm in the cottage, but if you remember to close the blinds on the slider when you leave Sweet St John cools off quickly. Power is pretty stable on island now, but I would not say it is 100%. We only had one power outage (very brief), however, Sweet St John is connected to a generator that automatically kicks on… No worries.

The cottage has great Wi-Fi with Netflix and Apple Tv available also. We did watch a little TV (NBC from NY) but mostly just for news, and couple Netflix shows. We both commented more than once that in reality Sweet St John provided all we needed for living or for vacation. Great Place! The owners live on the property and are extremely nice. Marcus met us upon our arrival and provided a great indoc so we actually knew where everything was and what we had available.

wave

Sweet St John offers a great location, great owners, beautiful place, and we had zero complaints.

Restaurants and Bars:

Cruz Bay Landing’s breakfast is hard to beat! Had it twice and wish I could have it tomorrow.

La Tapa – Year after Year one of our favorites. Wonderful wine selection, great service, and the Pallela was wonderful.

Morgan’s Mango – Another great meal. The place looks great after the renovation. It has definitely not missed beat from pre-storm.

Lime Inn – New chef, dishes had a Puerto Rican flair. Food was good, the wine selection limited but well paired.

High Tide was our first meal on island after a day of travel. Conch Fritters were extremely good, and the hamburgers were tasty.

As far as favorite bar - I will always say Quiet Mon because it is Quiet Mon. A dark tonic for me and dark and stormy for my lady. I love to sit on the balcony and watch the day go by. My wife will say she had the best Bushwhacker ever at the Salt Dog Café while we listened to music there one evening.

Oh yeah… Great lunch at Aqua Bistro in Coral Bay. They have been opened for a couple weeks.

[Linked Image]

The Beaches:

The north shore beaches are beautiful with blue water and white sand. The amount of shade however is limited. Caneel is completely off limits so the only way into Honeymoon is the Lind Trail. It is my understanding that a dinghy makes a run back and forth from Cruz Bay for $5, but I cannot confirm. There is no doubt that underwater the reefs have taken a beating. In the shallow areas it is as if they had been sandblasted.

[Linked Image]

The blog will show you in pictures the beaches we enjoyed and there are some underwater shots also. I guess the big surprise was we enjoyed Trunk Bay all by ourselves for a period of time. That is something we have never experienced in 39 years of going to St John. We did go over to Haulover and there are more rocks than ever on the beach. Although it may have provided our best snorkel of the week. Unless… you count the turtles at Maho. Maho was always a great place to see turtles, but they are there and are thick as thieves. New grasses growing on the bottom must be the appeal.

[Linked Image]

We did snorkel over to Little Maho, but not a lot of sea life viewed.

The Island

So much has been done and there is so much more to do! Cruz Bay has recovered to much higher degree than Coral Bay. As one drives around they will be surprised at size of the dumps that have been created to consolidate all the trash. It is just overwhelming the amount of debris and smashed boats on the shore. There are still houses clinging to the side of hills. I am afraid the next big rain will wash them down to the bottom. Yet their neighbors on both sides may be in perfect shape. The chaos the storm left behind is random and yet massive.

Because of the amount of foliage that was stripped away as part of the storm damage, there are views that we have never seen before. The donkey and deer still roam freely island wide, but it appears that mongoose and iguanas took a hit. We saw both, but not like in the days of old.

The National Park Service is need of volunteers to help with different projects, so if you think you can spare a few hours of your vacation to help restore the island’s beauty - your efforts would be gratefully appreciated. The NPS has gloves and tools all you need to do is provide some sweat.

[Linked Image]

Shopping

The grocery stores are stocked, and we shopped at Starfish, Dolphin Cruz Bay, and Dolphin Coral Bay and they all seemed to have what we needed, or at least most of it. The prices did seem a little higher than in the past, but I have no specific examples – just a perception. I would guess about half the stores in Cruz Bay are open with more coming soon.

The million-dollar questions!?! - Are you glad you went?

The simple answer is ABSOLUTELY, but I will have to caveat that reply. St John is in dire need of visitors; however, I am not real sure the infrastructure is fully ready to be invaded by tourist. April being a shoulder month or the close out of the season the island historically was fairly busy in the past. My guess would be that visitors are down around half of the normal of past years.

If you have been before and need to return to paradise to relax and recharge by all means book a ticket. If you have never visited the island, I am not sure I would recommend you go right now. St John is a beautiful place but it is still a little bruised. I would be concerned that some may have expectations that are greater than reality or the island in its current state can fullfil. If you have come to island before I think you would be able to see past the ugliness of some places, but I am afraid a first-time visitor may focus on the ugly and leave a lasting wrong impression of St John.

Great week – We had a blast and most importantly we did Relax and Recharge. If you have not checked out the blog – here are the links to each day.

4/10 Tuesday Pre-Trip: It is time to return!

4/11 Wednesday: The Longest Day

4/12 Thursday: Beauty and the Beast

4/13 Friday: Where is Everybody?

4/14 Saturday: We be Limin'

4/15 Sunday: Sunday - No Sun Day

4/16 Monday: With a little help from friends

4/17 Tuesday: Say it ain't so!


[Linked Image]
The saddest view of the entire week!

It meant it was time to board the ferry and leave this beautiful island.
Until next time...
grin


Last edited by TomB; 04/20/2018 03:29 PM.

“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
BVI Sponsors
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159309
04/20/2018 03:35 PM
04/20/2018 03:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Glad to hear your electric concerns were unfounded! The views look lovely from your abode, but as I said early on, I personally just don't care for that modern look, especially in the Caribbean. Different strokes! Thanks for taking us along!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159313
04/20/2018 04:28 PM
04/20/2018 04:28 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
louismcc Online content
Traveler
louismcc  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
Great report & blog. Could you post a link for Sweet St. John?


Louis from Houston
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159317
04/20/2018 06:20 PM
04/20/2018 06:20 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 160
Billings, MT
harleybuffett Offline
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harleybuffett  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 160
Billings, MT
Great trip report! Love your photography! Thanks for sharing..:)

Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159321
04/20/2018 06:46 PM
04/20/2018 06:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline OP
Traveler
TomB  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
Louis - not sure what the rules are linking from TTOL to a commercial page, but if you Google VRBO Property
#759476

Sweet St John it should be the first choice.

Thanks Harley I am glad you enjoyed.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159322
04/20/2018 07:26 PM
04/20/2018 07:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
louismcc Online content
Traveler
louismcc  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
Thanks. My son is planning some extra days on St. John after our July BVI bareboat so I'm gathering options for him. He won't meet the minimum stay for Sweet St. John but there are lots of options showing up on VRBO.


Louis from Houston
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159491
04/23/2018 01:02 PM
04/23/2018 01:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline OP
Traveler
TomB  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
Louis,

Coconut Coast may be a good option also.
Not far from town - walkable.
We have stayed there before - nothing fancy but has everything you need.


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Trip Report – Return, Relax, Recharge [Re: TomB] #159498
04/23/2018 02:04 PM
04/23/2018 02:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
louismcc Online content
Traveler
louismcc  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 842
Houston, Texas
Thanks for the recommendation.


Louis from Houston

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