Archive for April 2017

Random Final Thoughts on St. John   Leave a comment

Every cat I saw during the week was black.  Interesting.

Driving on the left when you can’t see around corners and steep drop-offs, with potholes poised to swallow your Jeep whole can be terrifying at times.

The little market at the Gallows Point Resort actually has pretty competitive prices on many grocery items.  In some instances they were even cheaper than the much larger Starfish Market.

Gallows Point Resort was, for us, just perfect.  Our ocean view condo (in building seven) gave us an unimpeded view of stunning blue water and St. Thomas.  We never heard a peep from Cruz Bay and our central location within the resort was excellent.  We would (will!) stay there again in a heartbeat.

Gallows Point is a four-minute walk to Cruz Bay.  Convenient!

I still don’t get people who state that St. John is so much better than Maui.  Now that we’ve experienced both, for us they are apples and oranges and both are great for very different reasons.

We really “got” the St. John vibe once we were back in the traffic of St. Thomas.  Ugh!  Talk about apples and oranges!

The ferry ride to St. John is way better than the ferry ride to the airport. 🙂

STT airport was such a madhouse on the way out it almost makes us reconsider returning!

BUT we had read that employees at the airport were rude.  Everyone we encountered was nice and had a smile for us!

Joe’s Rum Hut has good pizza.  Great for takeout and dining on our patio.

Painkillers are yummy.

Been snorkeling from Bermuda to Hawaii to Bonaire and everywhere in between and have never, ever, seen so many turtles as what we saw at Francis Bay!

The Sundog Café has the best Mahi tacos.  Period.

Angel’s Rest is a cool idea.  Why didn’t I think of that?

Who has the best crab Rangoon?  Umami or 420 to Center?  Undecided.  Opinions?

Best burger, Skinny Legs!  Honorable mention, the Tap Room.

Sitting on your patio and having peacocks and iguanas stroll by is seriously cool.

No-see-ums are evil.  Still have welts!

Memorize your license plate! We were the only car in the Starfish Market parking lot…and came out to find we were one of three two-door red Jeeps parked next to each other!

Leaving our condo by 9 each morning meant we had no problems parking at whatever beach we wanted to go to (including Jumbie)!

For us newbies, the National Geographic’s Virgin Islands National Park “Trails Illustrated Topographic Map” was a great tool helping us navigate the roads and St. John Feet, Fins and Four-Wheel Drive is a great little travel guide, written by a local with a good sense of humor.  Both provided invaluable information!

Places that advertise “air-conditioning” more often than not mean they have fans! 😉

Sitting on the shore, watching dolphins frolic at South Haulover was pretty damn neat.

Yes, really, shorts and a casual polo shirt are fine at even the “fancy” restaurants.

I wasn’t sure that it would apply to us, but apparently, you can’t visit St. John without immediately planning your next visit!











Posted April 11, 2017 by cubechick in St John, USVI

Final Day(s) in St John   Leave a comment

I cannot talk about the fabulous weather enough! It really has been perfect during our entire stay. New visitor to our patio today!

Today we were seeking a breeze at lunch time so we went to Joe’s Rum Hut. I had a delicious (if very messy!) Cajun shrimp po’ boy. Yum! DH had a good for you turkey wrap. Very happy with the food at Joe’s, and the view of course!

We had to spend some time this afternoon packing. Boo! I can’t believe the week has flown by! In case we forgot, we got a packet with departure information in it when our condo was spiffed up for the day. And we received a call asking for our departure time and ferry info (I tried not to take it personally!) 😊

I followed News of St. John on Facebook and they posted that there was a “First Friday” celebration that evening at Mongoose Junction. That decided us on what to do with our last evening! It was a fun, family atmosphere with a band playing, traditional dancers, free face-painting and a “tall man” as one shop keeper put it. 😊

DH found his new favorite Mahi on the island at the Sun Dog Cafe in the form of tacos. He also loved that all of the toppings were served on the side like a mini taco bar!  My blackened shrimp quesadillas were delicious, but an enormous portion! Be sure to stop by and say “Hi!” to David the bartender. He was great!

Back at the condo I spent every precious moment I could on our patio, watching the lights of St Thomas twinkle. 

Final breakfast and packing done. DH had read that getting food at the airport could be challenging with one overrun restaurant. So I brought wraps, cheese and condiments with from home. With turkey and ham purchased at Starfish Market, I made us a couple of wraps. In a gallon ziploc bag, I placed a couple of trays worth of ice cubes. Everything got tucked into a plastic bag to keep everything cool until the airport. It worked perfectly! I just discarded the bag of ice before security. 

With a 3:30 flight, we caught the 11:15 ferry to Charlotte Amalie. It took awhile for us to get loaded onto a taxi. Once at the airport we got our luggage tags and joined the enormous line to customs (someone in line said they had never seen it this busy…the line wrapped around outside to the Delta check-in). It took forever to make it through that line and then security so we were very glad that we had given ourselves ample time. 

The restaurant was packed as advertised  (another line out the door) but I spotted their kiosk and grabbed a couple of drinks there. I have read several reports of rude workers at the airport, but everyone we encountered was friendly. 

We grabbed a piece of floor and had my prepared lunch (still cool despite spending 4 hours in my carry-on).  

Thankfully our flight left on time. We landed 47 minutes early in Boston  (yay) which means they didn’t have a gate ready (boo)!

Coming up! Final thoughts on our week in paradise!

Posted April 8, 2017 by cubechick in St. John

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Sorry St. John Peeps…Day Six is a Snooze    Leave a comment

After running around for three days, we decided to have a veg day. Once we had shaken off the previous night’s sleep, we hopped in our cute red Jeep and filled up her tank and turned her in. I had to pay for 5 days even though we had her for four (when I booked this I expected to leave a day earlier) but we were completely satisfied with St. John Car Rental. It is easily walkable from the ferry which is good to know next time!

Once settled, we went to Cruz Bay Landing for breakfast. A much more satisfying experience than lunch or dinner! I was very happy with my Philly cheese steak omelet (tasty and not too large) and my first Bloody Mary of the vacation! 

We spent the morning on our patio, enjoying the view, reading  and relaxing. Our big excitement was went this lady iguana scurried from the top of the coconut palm near our patio. 

We went to High Tide for lunch (okay, not great) and went back for Happy Hour (it seems we have found our spot).  We ordered a couple of happy hour snacks, $5 per order (tasty!):

Dinner was leftover pizza from Joe’s Rum Hut and the sunset from our patio. 

Not an exciting day for my readers, but very satisfying on my end!

Posted April 6, 2017 by cubechick in St. John

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Drove Over to Haulover   Leave a comment

Day five dawns with another gorgeous day. I think the weather gods are making up for the fact that every other time we have been in the USVI, it has rained on us!

Are we the only ones who think the roads here are absolutely crazy? We drove route 10 to Haulover and my goodness the steep hills and hairpin turns! Island roads don’t offer signage to warn you. It is quite nerve-wracking to come to an “end of the world” moment with no pavement visible to find that the road is in fact still there, but it’s a steep drop off to the left. DH says we will be better prepared to drive up Haleakala on Maui after this week!

Anyway we made it to Haulover in one piece and parked along the road. Leaving our condo by 9 each morning has been early enough to grab parking everywhere we go. We picked our spot on South Haulover in the shade. After maybe thirty minutes a small pod of dolphins showed up to frolic in the bay! 

They entertained those of us on shore for about 20 minutes…until a snorkeler finally realized they were there and got too close. 😒 Off they swam. 

They probably would have left shortly thereafter as Angel’s Rest puttered into the bay. DH was out snorkeling and for him the bar just appeared out of nowhere!  His response, “When did a bar show up? “😂

Even without the bonus of dolphins and a floating bar, Haulover was worth the harrowing (to us!) drive. 

Skinny Legs was the logical spot for lunch on our way back to Cruz Bay. We’d heard rave reviews of their burgers so even though a salad sounded pretty good at this point, a burger it was. DH proclaimed it the best burger he has had this week. I was equally pleased…juicy and cooked to perfection. It lived up to the hype!

Happy hour was at High Tide. What a nice spot and a decent happy hour. 

For dinner we took a shot as we didn’t have reservations and tried Extra Virgin Bistro. Wow. Just the best food we have had all week! DH had the mussels appetizer which was pleasantly surprising with a rich pork broth. My salad was a burst of spring with greens grown on their rooftop gardens. 

While the entrees were spectacular  (halibut cheek for DH and shrimp and crab parpadelle for me) the service was so rushed it put a bit of a gray cast on the night. The appetizers came out within moments of our drink order. Fine. But our dinner was delivered 2 minutes after the starters were cleared and DH wasn’t even at the table. Six minutes passed before he returned. The manager could tell I was antsy and I explained that I don’t feel the entree should have been served when we both weren’t at the table. Just a very rushed, non “island -time” vibe we were used to. 

The Banana Deck had live music, so we stopped there on our way home. Followed by a pitstop at Drink. Overall another perfect St. John day. 

Fourth Day on St John   Leave a comment

The plan this morning was to head out to Jumbie. The snorkeling is supposed to be excellent and with only 6 parking places, we felt like Jumbie would be a feather in the St. John beach cap! We were excited to see only two cars parked in the lot, but as we grabbed our gear, the drivers of the other Jeeps returned to their vehicles, reporting very strong winds. Boo!  So Jumbie turned into a photo op. 

Now apparently, my St. John research failed me a bit. We decided to continue to Maho and a deer ran out in front of us! Fortunately we were going slow enough to avoid a collision and she scampered into the woods. I was prepared to vigilantly watch for donkeys, not deer! Literally two minutes later we can across two more deer in the road. 

On we drove to Maho (cautiously!) but as we approached the parking area DH decided with the winds he’d prefer to go back to Francis Bay, which would be protected. We planted ourselves on the far right side of the beach where he’d seen so much turtle activity the day before. We had barely settled in our spot when DH spotted three deer in the forest behind us! Amazing! Six deer in ten minutes!

It is also simply amazing that that was 10 feet behind us while this was in front of us! 

I had the pleasure of seeing several turtles surfacing for a breath of air from this vantage point. DH spotted several turtles again as well as a stingray and a “sharksucker”.

On the way back to Cruz Bay we stopped at Peace Hill. The very short (but rocky and somewhat steep) trail takes you to a windmill ruin and a wonderful view! 

After hosing off and cooling down we walked to the Lime Inn for lunch. I liked the flavor of my Cuban sandwich, but not the dryness of the pork. DH was similarly unimpressed with his steak and cheese. Oh well. I did think their potato salad was tasty though! 

The rest of the afternoon involved a rigorous schedule of reading and napping. Someone has to do it! 

Finally, we made a stop a Joe’s Rum Hut. A couple of beverages then a pizza ordered to go, to be enjoyed on our patio. 😊

I have to say the pizza was better than I anticipated! Thin crust, good flavor, it could have done with a couple more minutes in the oven to crisp up the crust, but I like that they included parmesan cheese and red pepper flake packets. 

Posted April 4, 2017 by cubechick in St. John

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St. John Just Keeps Getting Better   Leave a comment

Day three arrives with another beautiful day. I could easily get used to sitting on my patio in the morning and gazing over my slice of ocean. 

After another quick breakfast sandwich we loaded up the Jeep and headed to Maho…but missed the parking lot and ended up at Francis Bay. That’s okay.  We had wanted to go there too! 😂 Arriving around 9:00 am meant plenty of parking. 

All I can say is wow! What a pristine slice of heaven. The soft white sand was very similar to that found on Trunk Bay, but with way less people. 

DH was thrilled to see “turtles galore” while snorkeling, while I was content, shaded by sea grape trees, reading. 

As it was nearby, we stopped at the Annaburg Sugar Plantation ruins. It was an interesting stop. They even have a woman set up in the old kitchen baking traditional St. John bread. They produced sugar here for 150 years, first with slave labor then paid. 

Back to Cruz Bay we went to the Banana Deck for lunch. We both thought this was our first meal on St. John that really met expectations. My spicy Mahi wrap was delicious and DH’s grilled Mahi sandwich was moist and seasoned nicely. 

This evening the resort had a little manager’s cocktail hour by the pool. We stopped by for a beverage, crudite  (tried watermelon radish for the first time!) and conversation. 

Last night while at Woody’s, we noticed that Umami, right across the street was doing a booming business. So tonight we head there for dinner. This did not disappoint! We shared small plates and sampled their pork gyoza, crab rangoon and lobster sliders  (tempura battered with house-made kimchi). Everything was perfect (although DH still prefers the carb rangoon at 420 to Center).

Posted April 4, 2017 by cubechick in St. John

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St. John day 2!   Leave a comment

We were too lazy on this second day to have much to report! 

The morning was glorious, so we did go for a walk before breakfast. 

We made breakfast at the condo. I had brought cheese, pre-cooked bacon and English muffins with us and arranged with the small store on site to deliver eggs and butter. It worked out perfectly! And it turns out that their prices are even better in some instances than the larger markets! So breakfast sandwiches on the patio it is. 😊

DH did go snorkeling for a bit (there are stairs leading into the water for this purpose).  Reportedly, the reef here has some of the best snorkeling on the island, however the conditions were a bit rough so he didn’t last long. 

Around noon, we made our way into town for lunch. We attempted Cruz Bay Landing first. After being seated we were asked if we wanted breakfast. I said, “No, we’d like lunch.”  She replies, “Well we have to finish up the breakfast orders then switch the kitchen over to lunch…that will take about 25 minutes…you can wait if you like.” Huh? That is the strangest thing I have ever heard! Remember, this was noon! We declined to wait and continued onward where we found Mongoose Junction and the Tap Room. Decent food (I had a daily special of pulled pork flatbread and DH a cheeseburger) but meh beer. Kind of disappointing, but now we don’t have to walk all that way again!

After lunch we walked to St.John Car Rental and picked up our Jeep for the next few days. There was a lot of chatter on Trip Advisor about needing proof of insurance and also between myself and the rental company, so I was surprised that they never asked to see anything!

Once we had wheels we drove to Starfish Market (this is where I would learn that our resort store has good prices…for the island) and picked up a couple of items that our little store didn’t carry. 

It was then back to being lazy. 

Around happy hour time, we made our way to Woody’s. I has thought to eat dinner here, but the conch fritters were so disappointing  (just no flavor!) we went elsewhere. Woody’s had an excellent Painkiller though and was a superior people-watching spot! 

We ended up trying Cruz Bay Landing for dinner. It was okay. I had the steak which was a bit overcooked  (decent flavor though) and the sides were cold. Service was great though! Oh and nice Painkillers! So far no food being knocked out of the park this visit. 

Posted April 3, 2017 by cubechick in St. John

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