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.
And lastly, taxi rates increased for the first time in 17 years. Click here to read that story and to see the current rates.
We had great news for our hikers in November, as the ranger-led Reef Bay hike returned for the first time post-Covid. The hike is now offered twice a week. Click here to read all about it and to see all of the Park’s offerings.
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.
Ronnie’s Pizza finally reopened in its new location in Palm Plaza beside the Westin, and the Caneel Bay Beach Club finally got approval to open at Honeymoon Beach. Click here to read all about Ronnie’s new location. And click here to read about the Caneel Bay Beach Club’s offerings and to see lots of pics.
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!
Jenn, we’re so glad you’re back to reporting on Love City! News of St. John is OK, but it’s not YOU. You definitely have your finger on the pulse of things local and interesting, and have a great writing skill to report all of it. I enjoy your Tidbits every time they show up in my e-mail!!!!
Happy Old Year!
I really enjoy reading your posts!
Happy Old and New Year! Your posts have been excellent, as always, and greatly appreciated! See you in May!
So glad you’re back. Happy New Year, Jenn! Your new site is the best–good writing about St John. I never miss it.
Love Island Tidbits! So, so glad you’re back to writing. Have a Happy, Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year!
Thank you -I enjoyed learning more about St. John!