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Author: Jenn Manes

Interesting Places to Check Out: Catherineberg

The Catherinberg plantation is located roughly three miles from Cruz Bay.

One of the places on St. John that I find to be incredibly fascinating is the Catherineberg plantation. Located three miles from Cruz Bay and approximately 500 feet north of Centerline Road sits an impressive and well-intact 18th century sugar plantation. If you haven’t explored this area already, add it to your must-do list for your next St. John vacation. Or better yet, book an Explore STJ island tour and let me take you there.

Catherineberg, also known as Hammer Farm, Cathrineberg and Jockumsdahl, was parceled out in 1719, one year after Denmark officially settled St. John. Sugar was cultivated on the property beginning in the 1730s, and that continued until the latter part of the 1800s. The site contains a large, unusual windmill, a horse mill, a factory and a still, among other structures.

The Windmill

The windmill is nearly 37-feet tall, and its walls are six-feet wide at the base. Below the windmill are several storage areas, including a long tunnel and separate storage rooms. A t-ramp leads up to the tower. The windmill was built sometime between 1800 and 1826. It is the only windmill on St. John constructed in this manner.

Rooms located under the t-ramp at Catherineberg
The vaulted basement at Catherineberg

Three large rollers were positioned inside of the windmill tower. The wind turned the “sails” on the windmill, subsequently turning the rollers. Enslaved laborers fed stalks of sugarcane into the rollers, which crushed them and squeezed the juice out. That juice was then boiled and ladled from kettle to kettle. This gradually concentrated and purified the boiling liquid. The juice was then poured into flat wooden pans where it cooled and ultimately crystalized into sugar. If the juice boiled too long, it became molasses instead of crystals. So timing was imperative.

The windmill in the 1970s before it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places
The windmill in the 1970s
The windmill today
The windmill today
Inside the windmill where the rollers once stood

The Horse Mill

The horse mill at Catherineberg

The horse mill was also unusual construction for its time period. It’s a circular structure that measures roughly 50 feet in diameter, and its walls were raised four to ten feet above grade level. It, too, had three large rollers in its center. But in this structure, animals were used, as opposed to wind, to turn the rollers. Roughly 25 to 35 carts of sugarcane would be crushed daily using this method. The windmill, by comparison, could crush significantly more sugarcane. The horse mill was built around 1720.

In the early 1850s, the horse mill was converted to a cistern and was used to store water. The horse mill in its current, altered state has lost many of its original features. But it is still a very interesting structure to check out.

The Factory 

The factory (boiling house) at Catherineberg

Just down the hill from the windmill and horse mill sits the remains of the factory house, also known as a boiling house. You can see remnant of a boiling bench, firing trench and a cistern, but the majority of the building is badly deteriorated. The site is unstable, so please do not try to walk up the stairs or too close to the site.

What’s left of the factory

The End of Production

The majority of sugar production ceased in that latter part of the 1800s following the emancipation of the slaves in 1848. By 1867, only five plantation remained operational. In comparison, there were more than 100 operating at production’s peak around the turn of the century.

Catherineberg was then used for cattle farming from roughly 1870 though the 1930s. It is possible, however, that cattle farming began as early as 1846 at this particular location.

So as you can see, St. John isn’t just about the beaches and bars. There’s a lot of rich history on this tiny little island. Be sure to check some of it out on your next trip.

If you’d like more information on Catherineberg or if you are interested in booking an Explore STJ island tour, please feel free to email me at


The USVI Department of Tourism is Giving Away a Free Vacation!

February 7, 2023

I have a great little tidbit to share with you all today! The United States Virgin Islands’ Department of Tourism is giving away a free vacation, and it costs absolutely nothing to enter to win.

The USVI wants you to “Experience the U.S. Virgin Islands like a Sports Illustrated Model.” That’s their verbiage, not mine. 🙂 St. Thomas and St. Croix were featured in the 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, which was released last spring, and now they want to share that experience with one lucky winner.

How is this Free? 

This is a sweepstakes, not a raffle, so it costs nothing to enter. You simply have to fill out an online form and agree to receive future communications from the USVI’s Department of Tourism.

What You Can Win

One winner will receive the opportunity to travel on the itinerary of the 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition models. (The sweepstakes does not specify the actual itinerary.) This prize includes a five 5-day/4-night trip for one winner and his/her travel companion to either St. John, St. Thomas or St. Croix. The winner can choose their preferred location.
A photographer will also be on-hand to capture content while in the destination, hence the Sports Illustrated Model tie-in. The prize includes round trip economy air transportation for the winner and his/her travel companion from major airport nearest winner’s home, hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy), and other sponsor-selected transfers, excursions and some meals in sponsor’s sole discretion. The prize is value at roughly $15,000.

When Can You Travel 

The prize will be awarded as a travel voucher, which must be redeemed by Dec. 31, 2023. Travel must be completed by Dec. 31, 2024 and booking must be made at least three months prior to the departure date.

How to Enter 

Visit Simply fill out the form, which asks for your name, email, phone number and zip code. It’s that simple.

You can enter to win through 11:59 p.m. ET on February 13th. The winner will be chosen on February 14th.

It’s that easy, folks! Now go ahead and enter. Good luck!

Here is the legal information that we are required to share:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter the sweepstakes. Open only to legal residents of the 48 continental U.S. and DC, who are 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. The Sweepstakes starts 12:00 am ET on 1/16/23 & ends 11:59 pm ET on 2/13/23. Sponsored by United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. For Official Rules, visit

Coral Bay Fresh Market Closes; Lists For Sale

Well folks, I have some not-so-amazing news to start the week with. Coral Bay Fresh Market closed late last week. According to their online announcement, it was due to financial issues.

Coral Bay Fresh Market was a great little grocery store that also served as the home of Homemade Meals To Go. It was located in the Isola Shoppes complex in Coral Bay, the same spot where Salty Mongoose, Jolly Dog and Surf Club Cantina are. Sadly, the market had only been open a few months. It listed for sale following the announcement. Here are the details straight from the MLS:

Turnkey space including fixtures and equipment. Has a kitchen, coolers, shelving etc. Over $500,000 in existing leasehold improvements. Could be a great location for a deli, market, meals to go, etc. New tenant must verify sq ft of the space. Contingent upon landlord approval. Lease is triple net.

The asking price for Coral Bay Fresh Market is $350,000. Please contact 340 Real Estate Co., the listing agency, at for more details.

April 2023 Update: The space is now listed for $50,000. 

The Isola Shoppes complex also listed for sale last month, which is completely unrelated to the market’s closing. Click here to read more information on that listing.

Ferry Service Set to Resume to Virgin Gorda

The Baths on Virgin Gorda

Hello everyone! If I’m posting on a Friday night, you know it’s got to be good!

I am super excited to tell you all that ferry service is set to resume to Virgin Gorda next month. How exciting is that?!

Inter Islands Boat Services plans to start weekly ferry service from St. John (and also from St. Thomas) to Virgin Gorda beginning on Thursday, March 2nd. The ferry will depart Red Hook every Thursday at 7 a.m. and will then depart Cruz Bay at 7:30 a.m. It will then depart Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda at 3:45 p.m. The cost will be $150 roundtrip, plus $30 tax.

Inter Islands Boat Services also offers ferry service to Jost Van Dyke every Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. Those ferries leave Red Hook at 7 a.m. and Cruz Bay at 8 a.m. It departs Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke at 3:30 p.m. The cost of that trip is $120 roundtrip.

As of now (February 2023), this is the only ferry service between St. John and the British Virgin Islands. There is daily ferry service to Tortola from St. Thomas. A passport is needed in order to take the ferry to the British Virgin Islands.

For more information on the Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke ferries, please visit Inter Island’s website at

Take a Ride Along St. John’s North Shore

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! I see that the arctic weather is affecting a great deal of the country this weekend, so I figured this would be a great time for a substantial escape to St. John. How does a drive along Route 20 – also known as North Shore Road – sound? It’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with the locations of the island’s most popular spots.

I strapped the GoPro to the Jeep last week and filmed this video in 4k for you all. I started at the Cruz Bay overlook and ended just past Maho Bay. It’s just over 21 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee or perhaps a mimosa or two (no judgement!) and enjoy the ride! Looking for a specific place? Here’s a little cheat sheet:

  • Entering Virgin Islands National Park – :46
  • Caneel Bay overlook – 2:32
  • Caneel Bay entrance (ZoZo’s & Caneel Bay Beach Club) – 4:12
  • Hawksnest – 5:58
  • Gibney & Oppenheimer area – 7:18
  • View of Hawksnest Bay – 7:52
  • Easter Rock – 8:05
  • Peace Hill & Denis Bay parking – 8:28
  • Jumbie parking – 9:00
  • Trunk Bay overlook – 10:02
  • Trunk parking & entrance – 11:05
  • Cinnamon Bay – 15:19
  • Maho Bay overlook – 17:22
  • Maho – 18:58

Want additional details on all of the beaches shown in the video, plus several more on island? Check out the Island Tidbits Beach Guide at

Is there a specific spot on island you’d like me to record? Feel free to send me an email at

Tag: Route 20 St. John 



Need a Little Warm Up? Check Out Our Live Webcams!

I had to look back at my phone to make sure these colors weren’t altered by accident. These colors are real! So darn pretty!

Well folks, I am happy to report that the palm tree shaw its shadow in Cruz Bay this morning, so it looks like we are getting another year of summer – woohoo! A big thanks to Palm Tree Charters for capturing this elusive photo below today. 😉 After looking at the weather across the United States, it looks like many of you are in need of a nice little warm up today and through the weekend. I understand that many of you can’t hop on a private jet today (but wouldn’t that be nice?!), so this is the next best thing.

Thanks for letting us know Palm Tree Charters!

Please take a few minutes to check out the more than 20 live streaming webcams below. You can see views from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and everything in between. There are also views from neighboring islands, including Lovango Cay and Jost Van Dyke. Enjoy everyone!

St. John Spice Cam – Overlooking the ferry dock & Cruz Bay

The Beach Bar – Bar Cam

The Bar Bar – Beach Cam

The Beach Bar – Stage Cam (This webcam is only online when The Beach Bar has live music.)

The Windmill Bar

Calichi at Picture Point – 360 degree views!

Coral Bay Views – Located at Coconut Hill cottage, high above Coral Bay

Grande Bay Resort – Overlooking Cruz Bay

Fish Camp – Overlooking Turner Bay, Little St. James & French Cap

Great Expectations villa – Overlooking Hart & Rendezvous bays

Great Expectations – Sunset cam


Lovango Resort & Beach Club

Maho Bay House

Soggy Dollar Bar – Located over in Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands 

Villa Calypso – Overlooking Klein Bay with views of Ditliff Point

Windsong Villa – Overlooking Fish Bay & beyond

Windswept Point Live – Located on a point between Trunk & Cinnamon bays 

Coconuts villa – Located in Gifft Hill with views toward Pillsbury Sound & St. Thomas

Esprit villa – Located on Bordeaux Mountain, above Coral Bay

Mare Blu villa – Overlooking Rendezvous Bay

Sunset Ridge Villas – Located above Cruz Bay with views toward St. Thomas