First Visit After Irma – Impressions

Jumbie Bay St John USVI

Well, we’ve been here for a week and wanted to let you know our impressions, observations and experiences so far. We promise not to oversell anything. Having proper expectations is key to enjoying this amazing place – either pre- or post- hurricanes.

What’s still here? Let’s talk nature first…Great temperatures, beautiful colored skies and water, green hills and mountains, sunsets and sunrises painting the clouds coral and pink, rainbows – both single and double, boat and ferry activity in the harbor to observe, beaches with the amazing soft white sand we all love, clear water to see your toes in the beautiful sand, turtles, fish chasing each other across the surface of the water and hermit crabs rolling down the trail as you hike the nicely cleared and maintained trails.

 

Changes in the natural environment… palm trees and many of the sea grape shade providing trees on the beach are down. Solomon Beach is very different with lots of rocks washed up, but you can see where more sand is being washed up onto beach. The three twisted palms are gone and that was a bit sad. We walked on to Honeymoon Beach which still has beautiful sand, but less shade. Jumble Beach was the first beach we visited and thought it was great! We found some shade, the beach was a little wider. Francis Bay was very nice, still a great place to snorkel or stand up paddle board. Cinnamon Beach is wider and the sand is still beautiful. Unfortunately Maho Beach will take your breath away due to the amount of trees it lost. But even the bent trees are sprouting new growth.

Here is a general theme – getting to and approaching many beaches will be shocking and overwhelming at times when you see the destruction to some vegetation, others will be slightly changed from before. But once you get there, sit down in your chair (possibly under the beach umbrella we brought down) you will sigh and say “aaahhhhh – this is why we love this place.”

We keep trying to put our feelings into words to adequately convey to you what to expect. One thought is this. People who love St John will probably really enjoy it now. Why? Well for one thing it is a lot less crowded. That may not last long but it reminds us of when we come in the fall and you recognize faces -locals and tourists. And it reminds you of a simpler, less spoiled island.

Let’s move on to the man made attractions. Biggest change that we saw when arrived on ferry was that Wharfside Village is not open and there are still two boats on the beach. But barges with cranes are moving sunken ferries and sailboats every day.

But you can have a waterside drink at “Drink” right next to Grande Bay. (I can see its roof from where I am sitting writing this.). And we hear that High Tide on the ferry terminal side of Wharfside Village will open any day now. The Terrace is open, Lime Inn, Dalivio’s, Longboards. Many people will watch playoffs today at Drink, The Doghouse Pub or Quiet Mon.

We’ve actually enjoyed Quiet Mon a lot this week and even the guy who made it famous by singing about it was there last night hanging out with his local buddies. Yep, I mean Kenny Chesney, a true hero to the island with what he and his foundation have done.

There are lots more restaurants and stores open, just can’t name them all. And many more beaches to visit.

And then as always, you start and end your day with the incredible views from your terrace at St John Escape.

panoromic-view-towards-st-thomas

We will share more with you next week. Pls feel free to ask questions.

Cheers!
Leslie & Peter

Day 1 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

Day 1 of Your Perfect Week on St. John

It’s hard to argue that going to Trunk Bay on your first day is a bad idea.  Sure some consider it to be the most touristy beach, but once you visit it’s easy to see why its so popular.  It is often rated as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and it is  certainly the most photographed.  Make sure you stop for a great photo op at the overlook along the North Shore road.

We would recommend not going on days when there are lots of cruise ships visiting St. Thomas, because Trunk can get crowded.  If you visit at off peak times like early in the morning or late in the afternoon, this top rated beach might only have a few people on it.  Once you walk on the powder white sand and take a dip in the clear  water, it might be hard to leave the beach, let alone St. John.

Trunk Bay is the only beach on St. John where you have to pay an admission fee.  It’s worth it though because you get lifeguards, bathrooms, showers, a snack bar, snorkel rentals and an underwater snorkel trail.  Even though there is better snorkeling elsewhere on St. John, Trunk Bay is a good place to start because of the underwater signage along the self guided trail.  As we right this, Trunk Bay is open to visitors but is not yet charging admission because all of the facilities are not yet up and running.

 

The Perfect Week on St. John

The Perfect Week on St. John

As your plane begins to land and you look out the window, your reasons for visiting St. John–no matter how many times or for however long –become as clear as the turquoise Caribbean waters surrounding the island.  As we prepare to visit the island this week, we are just as excited as we were when we visited 16 years ago.

great view of-coral-bay-st-john

With about two thirds of the island preserved as a national park, lush green vegetation covers the mountainous terrain ( even after the hurricanes) and colorful reefs surround the beautiful beaches.

St. John is the smallest and least developed of the three US Virgin Islands, but what it lacks in size it easily makes up for with its natural beauty.  The abundant beaches on St. John are as diverse and beautiful as the marine life under the water.  The island is home to many hiking trails that please all skill levels of hikers.  The only problem in this paradise for you, is the limited amount of time you have to spend here.

As owners of a second home on St. John, our guests frequently ask us what they should see and do during a typical one week stay.   Our blog posts for the next two weeks will be devoted to what we believe is the best one week itinerary to follow.  During our upcoming stay on island, we will get a first hand view as to how far St. John has recovered from Hurricane Irma and we will share our impressions with you upon our return.

St. John Is A Hikers Paradise

St. John Is A Hikers Paradise

There is more to St. John than just its world famous beaches. St. John is about two thirds national park thanks to generous donations from philanthropist and conservationist Laurence Rockefeller. Because of this there is limited commercial development which allows the island to preserve its delicate ecosystems. This makes St. John a go to destination for nature lovers and is a hikers paradise.

One of the most popular activities on St. John is hiking the trails in the Virgin Island National Park. There are over twenty trails, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced, meaning the island has the perfect hiking trail for you.

Not only do some of the trails offer amazing vistas, many connect to historical ruins such as sugar mills, plantations, and the petroglyphs which are the unofficial symbol of St. John as well as and the Caneel Bay Resort.

The hiking trails get you up close to St. Johns variety of flora and fauna. The many plants you will see include mango, bamboo, mahogany, cacti, and wild orchids. As far local wildlife, expect to see the much loved wild donkeys, iguanas, mongoose and deer.

In upcoming blog posts we will describe some of our favorite hikes and what you can expect to see along the route.  Stay tuned!