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Fun & Interesting Things to Do on Your Next Vacation

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! So as many of you may know, my five-year-old son Dalton is a kindergartener at Gifft Hill here in St. John. He absolutely loves school and is so excited about his first field trip to Annaberg Gardens, which happens tomorrow. The gardens at Annaberg are lovingly tended to by my friend Charles, a man who has taught me so much about native plants over the years. Charles and Ital, another St. John treasure, will teach the children about a variety of native plants and will even give them the opportunity to sample a few.

Charles, the gardener at Annaberg, sent Dalton home with a soursop plant last winter. We planted this tree at our new home in Fish Bay.

This all got me thinking. The Virgin Islands National Park has so many great activities, seminars, and hikes that are available to the public, many of which are free of charge. So today, I thought I would share several of them with you. There is so much more to this island than simply sun and fun. Please check out some of St. John’s rich culture while you’re here.

Here are some of the current offerings happening in the Virgin Islands National Park.

Taste of the Virgin Islands

Ms. Oliva Christian also provides demonstrations at the Annaberg Cook House.

This is a brand new seminar that takes place in the Raintree Cafe at Cinnamon Bay Campground. Learn about local cuisine, food culture in the Virgin Islands, and traditional cooking techniques. Ms. Olivia Christian is a St. Johnian who grew up working summers in the Daylight Bakery in Charlotte Amalie which is owned by her family. She studied food service at college, raised four sons, and loves sharing her passion for VI cuisine. Ms. Olivia also oversees the cook house at Annaberg Plantation. This is a free event that happens on the last Friday of the month from November through June.

Annaberg Cultural Program

Please take the time to visit my friend Charles at Annaberg.

Annaberg was the largest plantation on St. John at one time. Visit the site and watch cultural demonstrations like bread making, and learn about local plants, fruits, and more. This is a free offering that happens every Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through June.

Traditional Uses of Plants

Ital is a wealth of knowledge here on St. John.

Local cultural ambassador, Ital Delroy Anthony shares his passion for the culture and history of St. John, especially focused on the relationship between plants and culture. These talks take place at Cinnamon Bay. This is a free offering that happens the first Friday of the month from November through June.

Reef Bay Hike

The waterfall is currently flowing at Reef Bay. Image credit: Steve Simonsen Photography

Unfortunately, the guided Reef Bay hike has yet to resume this season. It is expected to start up again in January. The trail is still open, but there will not be a boat waiting for you at the bottom of the 2+ mile trail, which means you should be prepared to complete the steep hike back up.

Want to know about all of the offerings in the Virgin Islands National Park? Click here to learn more.

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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Where to Stay in St. John

People ask me quite often where to stay when visiting St. John. There are so many places to choose from, which makes it very tough to narrow it down. Today I am going to tell you about several options that I can personally vouch for.

Ok, so the first decision that you need to make is which side of the island you’d like to stay on – either Cruz Bay or Coral Bay. Cruz Bay is better for people who want easier access to town, the shops, restaurants, etc. Coral Bay has a few great shops and restaurants too, but not as many as Cruz Bay. The views from some of the hills in Coral Bay are breathtaking, but so are some of the views in and around Cruz Bay. It’s a tough decision to make. I usually tell people that if they plan to go out to dinner every night, then they should pick Cruz Bay. If they want a little more peace and quiet and plan to spend more time at home, Coral Bay may be the better option. It’s truly a matter of preference. And regarding the logistics of it all, Coral Bay is about a 30-minute drive from Cruz Bay.

Ok, so now that you’ve decided which side of the island to stay on, you have to decide the type of accommodation to pick. St. John has only one true resort, and that’s the Westin which is a Marriot property. It’s located on Great Cruz Bay (although its address is Chocolate Hole) and is about five minutes from town. It is not walkable to town unless you want to walk up and down Jacob’s Ladder, which is a super steep hill.

St. John has an abundance of condos to choose from, and all are located in or around Cruz Bay. We have two bed and breakfasts – Garden By the Sea and Estate Lindholm, as well as numerous villas located throughout the island. You can rent a cute little one-bedroom house or a palatial six-bedroom estate and everything in between.

Prices change based on time of year. High season is typically December through April, so prices are the most expensive then. Prices are also dependent on the number of people traveling. Two people will be charged less than six, for example, when renting the same home. This is because you will not need as many bedrooms, nor will you use as much water, power, etc.

Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, here are several properties that I recommend. Full disclosure here: They are all advertisers on this website. I am super picky about who I work with, so if they are on this website, I personally vouch for them. Quite frankly, if I like you, I will include you. If I don’t, I won’t. It’s not about the money with me. It’s about providing a high-quality product or experience. Basically, I just want y’all to have the best vacation possible. 🙂

Interested in adding your property to this list? Please email me at to chat.


Desert Rose is a private, two-bedroom, 2.5-bath Caribbean-style home. It has beautiful views of Coral Bay and a pool. Click here to learn more.

Fish Tales is a private, two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Caribbean-style home. It’s cute, comfy, and has air conditioning and a view. Click here to learn more.

Mare Blu is a luxurious, six-bedroom oasis overlooking Rendezvous Bay. It has an infinity-edge pool with panoramic ocean views and generous outdoor living space. Click here to learn more.

Mystical Mermaid is an ultra-private, newly renovated two-bedroom villa located in Fish Bay. It has a large pool and spa and high-band wifi. Click here to learn more.

Sea Gate Villa is a beautiful and well-appointed five-bedroom villa located close to Cruz Bay. It has beach access, snorkeling onsite, and 24-hour concierge services. Click here to learn more. 

Southern Exposure is a spacious three-bedroom, three-bath villa with panoramic ocean views. This villa is great for couples and families. Click here to learn more.

Still Waters is a beautiful, quiet, and relaxing three-bedroom villa. It has a pool, gourmet kitchen, views and is just minutes from Cruz Bay. Click here to learn more.

Villa Bonita is a three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom villa located in the quiet Fish Bay neighborhood. This home has water views, a pool, and central air. Click here to learn more. 

Villa Circe is a stunning six-bedroom, four-bathroom home with panoramic BVI and Coral Bay views. It has a pool, hot tub, and even games for the kids. Click here to learn more. 

Waterfall is spectacular, tranquil, and private. It has three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a large, heated infinity-edge pool. Click here to learn more.


Mermaid’s Tale at Lavender Hill is a one-bedroom suite located in the heart of Cruz Bay. Beautiful views, private deck, walk to everything. Click here to learn more.

Seagrape Vista has eight luxury suites with year-round sunset views. Pool, parking and located right in Cruz Bay. Click here to learn more. 

Serendip Vacation Condos offers studio and one-bedroom condos just minutes from Cruz Bay. Rates start at $249 a night. Click here to learn more.

Vacation Rental Companies

Bonvi Hospitality Group offers a variety of luxury vacation rentals. All are private and many are either waterfront or have ocean views. Click here to learn more.

Caribbean Soul Vacations is a family-run property management company that offers everything from one-bedroom condos to six-bedroom villas. They have 23 properties to choose from and even accept Marriot points. Click here to learn more.

Caribbean Villas offers a variety of two to seven-bedroom villas and condos from economical to high-end luxury. More than 80 homes to choose from. Click here to learn more.

Island Getaways offers elegant two to six-bedroom beachfront and oceanview villas. They’ve created unforgettable vacations since 1996. Click here to learn more.

James M. Miller Property Management offers more than 30 beautiful rental homes. On-island service. Not on island time. Click here to learn more.

St. John Rental Villas offers several great vacation rentals all in one place. Villas start at just $300 a night, and there are both affordable and luxury options. Click here to learn more. 

Nearby Resort

Lovango Resort + Beach Club offers stunning accomodations on an ultra-private island, just minutes from Cruz Bay. Choose to stay in a glamping-style luxury tent, cottage, treehouse or villa. Lovango reopens for the season on December 17th. Click here to learn more. 

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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Brand New Panoramic Cruz Bay Webcam!

Webcam screen grab taken Saturday at 3:59 p.m.

Hello everyone! Is it getting chilly where you are? Well, I have a brand new way to warm you up!

Our friends over at The Beach Bar just upgraded their beach cam. It’s now a panoramic webcam that shows you a 180-degree view of Cruz Bay beach. Watch the palm trees sway while the waves roll in, or perhaps spot a familiar face or two enjoying some time at the world-famous beach bar. You can watch the boats and ferries come and go through the day, and then check out the sun going down at night. Tonight’s sunset time is 5:43 p.m. in case you want to check it out. And remember, we do not observe Daylight Saving Time, so we are currently one hour ahead of New York City.

You can see this new webcam, plus more than 20 others at Check them out!

Catch some nice sunset views!

Lime Inn Announces Upcoming Changes

Image credit: Sarah Swan

Earlier this week, I shared that Quiet Mon Pub has decided to close its doors after 26 years of operations. Well, today I have another announcement from a well-established Cruz Bay restaurant.

The owners of Lime Inn, Chelsea and Richard Baranowski have decided to change up their restaurant offerings for the upcoming season. They plan to open the bar area where they will offer a simpler “Lime Out-relevant concept.” The restaurant area will be available for event space and for buyouts, Chelsea told me earlier this week. Chelsea also mentioned that she plans to operate a small office out of the space with community betterment in mind.

“Lime Inn is under renovation while we switch up our concept and bring something new and exciting to Cruz Bay,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea’s family has owned Lime Inn since 1984. It is one of my favorite places in Cruz Bay, and I will miss the dinner service dearly. But everything that Chelsea and Richard create is amazing – Lime Out and Johnny Lime in Coral Bay, for example – so I know the next phase of Lime Inn will be great too.

As Chelsea mentioned, the restaurant is still undergoing renovations, and they plan to open on December 18th. I will let you know as soon as I learn more.

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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It’s Webcam Wednesday!

This sky is real, folks!

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday! It’s my last day of vacay up in Connecticut, so I am not feeling super creative today. So I have officially decided that it is webcam Wednesday!

I hear it’s a tad rainy on the island today, so there will likely be lots of people milling about town today. Why not check them out on the webcams, right? You can see what’s happening inside The Beach Bar and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Mike who had to fly back yesterday, so he could make all of your Painkiller and Bushwacker dreams come true! Or check out our friends over at The Windmill Bar, a spot that has arguably one of the best views on St. John!

Curious who is coming or going at Cruz Bay ferry dock? Check out the Spice Cam! Want to see what’s happening in Cruz Bay itself? We have a webcam over there too! And so many more!

But before you go and check them all out, let’s chat about Quiet Mon for a second. (Click here if you missed the story.) I was blown away by the response we received yesterday. How sad is it that they have to close??!! I hear that someone has already agreed to pay the new astronomical rent over there, but I hope that’s not true. I understand that St. John is somewhat of a luxury destination and I understand that prices have increased across the board in recent years, but let’s not price out the people who make St. John so special. And that includes those who were born there and those, like me, that got there as fast as I could. Just my two cents…

Now go ahead and check out those webcams! The link is Enjoy!

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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Quiet Mon Pub is Closing.

A pic from the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day parade

Well, friends, this is a sad one to post. Quiet Mon Pub announced that it’s closing after 26 years in business. Its last day will be December 17th.

About a month or so back, I wrote about how the price of rentals – both for long-term residents and vacationers – have skyrocketed here on St. John. Well unfortunately that’s happening in the commercial space too. The rent at Quiet Mon was set to nearly double, which forced the business to make the difficult decision to close. I still have hope that someone will swoop in at the 11th hour, so it can keep its doors open. But sadly, I think that’s simply a dream of mine, perhaps a dream of many.

Quiet Mon is a place that just feels like home. You’re always greeted with a smile and there is always a friend or two (or three, four, or many more) parked over on one of its barstools. It served as a gathering place of sorts for residents and a place where vacationers wandered up the stairs to see the local watering hole that Kenny Chesney mentioned in his Be As You Are song.

🎶 Play my guitar in the Caribbean sun🎶 Hang with the locals at the Quiet Mon🎶 Where you can be a tourist🎶 A beach bum or a star🎶 And be as you are

Everyone has a story about the Quiet Mon. Whether it’s falling down the stairs and nearly breaking your leg within the first few weeks of moving to the island (I’m looking at you, Mike Hedy!), or remembering that it was the last place you were before you lost your keys, cell phone and got knows what else (yup, this is a lot of us!), or simply locking the doors so you can have beers and football with friends, Quiet Mon is a place where so many memories have been made and will continue to be made over the next month-and-a-half.

Now go ahead and book that last-minute trip to St. John and hang with us over at the Quiet Mon. Sláinte.

Dalton & Quiet Mon Kenny 🙂

Want to learn more about St. John? Take an island tour with us!

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media