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TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Caribbean Islands 2014…

April 10, 2014

Clocking in at #2… St John!  You win this round Turks & Caicos.  We’ll see who takes 2015.  Check out the full article here.


Lind Point Trail – The Day Tripper’s Best Friend

April 7, 2014
Cruz Bay Overlook

Cruz Bay Overlook

One of the most frequently asked questions in the shop is “What’s the closest beach to walk to?”  The answer, my friends, is either Salomon or Honeymoon beach, accessible via the Caneel Hill trail (and Caneel Bay’s main entrance) or via the Lind Point trail.  I prefer to recommend the Lind Point Trail because it is accessible to a broader audience (Caneel Hill trail, as referenced in our post “When A Good Hike Gets Steep”, is not for the faint of heart).  Plus, you get an awesome view of Cruz Bay from the overlook on the upper Lind Point Trail!

The trail starts behind the VI National Park Visitors Center, easy access for anyone day tripping to St John from St Thomas or off a cruise ship.  It’s a 1.1 mile walk to Honeymoon Beach, or 0.75 mile walk to Salomon Beach, and the Cruz Bay overlook is less than half a mile from the trail head.  Total elevation change is 140 feet, making it one of the island’s more moderate hikes.

Early on (about 0.25 miles), the trail splits into the Upper and Lower Lind Point Trail.  The Upper trail  takes you to the Cruz Bay overlook via a small loop on the left of the trail, the Lower Trail simply takes you around the point toward the beaches, with less elevation change.  Both iterations of the trail take you through what was known as Estate Lindholm.

Salomon Beach is accessible via two spur trails, the first leading down the the western end of the beach, the second leading down to the eastern end.  Past these spur trails, Lind Point Trail intersects with the Caneel Hill Spur Trail.  The Caneel Hill Spur will take you up across North Shore Road to meet up with the Caneel Hill Trail.  Beyond its intersection with the Caneel Spur Trail, Lind Point Trail descends to Honeymoon Beach.  Honeymoon abuts the Caneel Bay Resort, and is accessible from that side as well for resort guests.


Salomon Beach

Locals love the Lind Point Trail for its moderate elevation change and accessibility to town – it’s great for trail running, on its own or in combination with the Caneel Hill Trail or North Shore Road.  The hike is manageable, whether you’re just trying a catch a couple of hours in the sun or setting up camp for the day with a cooler and chairs.

Be aware the both of these beaches are within the VI National Park, and the posted rules are enforced fairly regularly.  There is no glass allowed on the beach (cans or plastic only), trash will need to be carried out with you and disposed of properly, and there is no smoking permitted on the beaches.  We appreciate your help in keeping our island lovely!

Reef Bay Trail 3.9.14

March 9, 2014

St John got a bit of rain over the weekend, so Sunday morning seemed like a perfect time to hike Reef Bay Trail… Check out these pics from our hike!




Started Our Morning With This…

March 4, 2014


2014: Resolution Realism (or, I Need To Go To The Beach More)

January 8, 2014


Like many people, I’m not that great at keeping resolutions. Year after year, they last a few weeks, maybe a couple months at best, then fall by the wayside. This year I thought, let’s try to make some resolutions that are more manageable. It took some thinking, and some honest self-reflection ( will I really do yoga EVERY day? Really? Probably not), but I eventually came up with a few I know I can work on.  I aim to drive less and walk more around our little island, hills be darned.  I’d like to be up at sunrise more often – probably not every day, but at least a few times a week I’d like to enjoy the break of day.  Most importantly, I’m recommitting to the beach.

Upon announcing my intentions for the year, a family member asked, “you live on a tiny island in the Caribbean, how could you possibly need to RECOMMIT to the beach?”.  Admittedly, it seems strange.  The truth of the matter, as almost anyone here would tell you, is that all too often work and life and weather conspire to keep us from St John’s main attractions.  During the last few abnormally rainy months, I could count on one hand the number of my days off that were sunny, and much to my chagrin I didn’t even make it to the beach at each of those available opportunities.

Now, clearly the weather is out of my control.  When it comes to work, too, there’s not much I can do about that.  But upon reflection it becomes clear that one of my biggest hurdles is my own inertia.  After a long week (or multiple long weeks) of work, or after a big night out, or on just an off day, sometimes I’m just too darn lazy to pack myself up and go to the beach.  This is the part I intend to improve upon in 2014.  I vow to take advantage of as many beach days as possible.  I will not (often) sit inside on a beautiful day watching TV.  And by extension I will get out and snorkel and swim and hike more.

This is my big commitment for the year, and I’m pretty excited about it.  We’ll see how it goes come March and April when our island fills up with spring break families, or in May and June when wedding parties abound, but I plan on remaining vigiliant.  I’m hoping that this focus on doing will spread to other areas of my life as well, as I become more aware of how I’m actually spending my time versus how I’d like to be spending my time.

* I’m happy to report that I’ve been to the beach 3 times since January 1, which is more than the entire month of December.  This may be the first resolution EVER that I keep.

Jetsetter Thinks We’re The Best At Honeymoons

January 8, 2014

Jetsetter Thinks We’re The Best At Honeymoons

Looks like Jetsetter likes our vibe… check out their suggestions for a honeymoon in Love City, and browse through the rest of their destination suggestions while you’re at it… it will help dispel some of those Polar Vortex Blues.

The Government Shutdown Goes Caribbean

October 2, 2013

St John, USVI, hotbed of #shutdown protest?

So it would seem, however unlikely.

Our fair island is about 70% National Park land.  Our tourism industry depends largely on operations and concessions inside the park – everything from taxi tours to boat charters, from snorkeling trips to beach weddings.  Visitors come from near and far, both domestic and abroad, to sit on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Most of all, people visit for a chance to breathe, relax, and let the rest of the world fall away for a little while.

Yesterday, all of that changed.  When Congress allowed partisan politics to prevent them from reaching an agreement to fund the government, a long list of government programs and agencies were immediately shut down, including the National Park system within the Department of the Interior.  In the Virgin Islands this left some 65 employees furloughed until further notice, a move that most within the Park had been warned to expect.  What we, the residents of St John, did not expect, was the full scale closure of the National Park beaches and surrounding waters.

This complaint may sound like small potatoes to the rest of the country, so lets detail some of the effects of these closures:

  • Tours in the park were suspended, on foot, by car, or by boat.  This is a main source of income for an eco-tourism based destination.
  • Use of the National Park mooring balls was suspended, preventing boaters and dive companies from accessing beaches and dive sites within the park.
  • Citations and parking tickets were issued to visitors and locals alike found using the beaches – I can only imagine what a bitter taste this would leave in your mouth if you had saved money all year for your Caribbean beach vacation, only to arrive and be told that you cannot use the beach.
  • Any business in Cruz Bay renting snorkel gear, paddle boards, or any other gear designed to be utilized mainly within the waters of the park experienced significant drops in business.

In some ways, I suppose we should be grateful that it is our slowest time of year here, with the fewest tourists on island affected.  In truth, however, this is the time of year when every dollar counts, when one more sale can make a demonstrable difference in local lives.  Now our government is not only furloughing employees who need the hours and threatening our livelihoods during a particularly delicate time, they’re shutting down WIC overnight, leaving some mothers wondering how they’re going to feed their children.

There have been a lot of upset, frustrated, and bewildered voices making themselves heard on our quiet little island in the last 24 hours.  We’re used to being overlooked by the federal government – we don’t vote, we have a delegate to Congress who can’t vote either, our taxes are territorial, not federal.  Even within the hierarchy of territories, power-wise we don’t hold a candle to our neighbor Puerto Rico.  Why the government has chosen to implement these measures is a mystery to most of us.  Ostensibly it’s a liability issue: if the Park is closed, and some sort of accident happens, the Park is liable.  However, only one of our beaches is staffed with lifeguards under normal circumstances anyway, and when the Park closes on holidays, beaches are not barricaded, nor are citations issued to beach-goers.  It should also be noted, interestingly, that according to VI Coastal Zone Management Act Section 903 (b) (6), all Virgin Islands beaches are public, from the high tide mark down to the water line… one can only assume, with the National Park claiming the adjacent land and water areas, that we could safely and legally parachute into the “public” sections of the beaches..?  I see potential here.

So where’s the disconnect?  I don’t claim to know the answer, but what I do know is this: every day that this shutdown drags on is hurting our economy, as it’s hurting the economy nationwide.  I guess we should all rest easy knowing that Congress is being paid well to hurl insults and rhetoric across the aisle and point fingers, but I sure wish they would start acting like adults who bear the burden of responsibility to fix this problem.

Here on St John, as our Park rangers do their appointed tasks efficiently and effectively, and we smile  (It’s not their fault, after all.  They don’t like it anymore than we do), and take our citations, and go out to the beach again tomorrow (Occupy St John Beaches), we will try to placate justifiably irritated tourists and remind them that life in the islands is about more than beaches.  It’s about community, and perspective, and happy hour… and more often than not it’s about rolling your eyes at the unbelievable stupidity of government.