St. John is a top “Romantic Getaway”

May 6th, 2016

No argument there.

TripAdvisor puts St. John on its list of 9 Dream Romantic Getaways. As a matter of fact, it’s at the top of the list.

Caneel Bay, the Park, Sam & Jack’s Deli and Gallows Point all get props, as does Ocean 362 for its “gorgeous views accompanied by pan seared local tuna and lemongrass creme brûlée.”

St. John is in some pretty good company as a top Romantic Getaway. Here’s the TripAdvisor list.







Steve Simonsen on display

May 4th, 2016

Steve Simonsen does not just take pictures on St. John.

Steve and wife Janet make it a habit of traveling to National Parks all around the US-of-A, like Yellowstone National Park, above.

You can see some of Steve’s work at Bajo El Sol starting May 6 (he’ll be there from 5pm to 8pm opening night) through the end of the month.

“Janet and I enjoy staying in the parks, camping, and waking up and going to sleep in the parks, which is one of the reasons we chose to live on St. John,” Steve says.

Steve may photograph other national parks, but I’m guessing St. John is his favorite.







Villa owners: VRBO gets cheaper, with a catch

May 1st, 2016

The headline from VRBO’s latest change for owners sounds great: The annual renewal drops to just $349 a year, IF you sign up for online booking. That’s how VRBO will collect its brand new service fee from your guests who complete their booking through VRBO, not through you.

If you reject the new online booking system, the renewal rate still falls to just $499 a year, half what some plans are now.

But here’s the veiled threat in VRBO’s message to owners: Participating, or not participating, in online booking will determine the position of your listing in search results.

The way I read that? Let VRBO hit your guests with a big service fee (4%-10%), or VRBO will bury your listing.  (WATCH THE CEO’s VIDEO)

The sort of good news is a grace period. VRBO will let you add one year under your current plan if you renew by July 11.

VRBO is also adding an owner review of renters feature – I guess so other owners and management companies can see if they’re about to rent to horrible people – and it’s adding a VRBO tab on the Expedia website (Expedia paid $3.9 billion last year to acquire Home Away, VRBO’s owner.)

I really don’t know what to make of all of this. It’s a money grab, and people traveling to St. John already shell out a crap-load to rent a villa, plus 12.5% in hotel taxes to the VI government. A VRBO service fee of 4% to 10% might be too much to ask.

On the other hand, VRBO generates a bucket load of St. John bookings. You can’t really live without them today.

What do you guys think?







School of the Arts summer program for kids

April 27th, 2016

The ASCAP Foundation is sponsoring a summer program for children at the St. John School of the Arts.

The best part? It’s free.







The only sure thing in shipping to St. John

April 26th, 2016

Whether you’re sending your snorkel gear and non-perishables down ahead of your trip, or sending throw pillows and a new toaster to your villa, there is only one absolutely, always, never fail and fast way to do it.

USPS Express Mail. Guaranteed in two days and in all these years, it has never failed us.

You know exactly when Express Mail will be there and that makes planning easy. And send your stuff to Connections or  PostNet, not the post office.

Express Mail’s only limitations: No more than 70 pounds and no more than 108 inches, length plus girth.

Express Mail is also very expensive. We’ve occasionally paid more for the shipping than what the contents of the box are worth. But it has never failed us.







Hummingbird residents

April 25th, 2016

Recent Bongo Bongo guests added one of the best entertainment systems: A hummingbird feeder.

Currently playing are the Antillean Crested Hummingbird and the Green-Throated Carib.

Click on their recipe for the feeder, below…







Cruz Bay rush hour

April 22nd, 2016

There is the predictable Cruz Bay traffic jam. The loop from the ferry dock to the old First Bank.

We need toll lanes…







The Don’t Hurry

April 21st, 2016

Cruzan (CRU-shun) rum’s Welcome to the Don’t Hurry marketing campaign is still going strong.

This is at Wharfside Village. The same theme is at the luggage claim bar at the airport. I wonder if the distributor limits these setups by territory.

Remember this funny Cruzan commercial?







Another Di Bruno Bros. spread

April 20th, 2016

I cannot get enough of these cheese spreads at St. John Gourmet.

Here’s another: cheddar & horseradish with smokey bacon.

Buy the box of Carr’s assorted crackers to go with it.

Pro tip: Crackers, chips, cereal, cookies, all go straight into the frig after opening. If you leave them out, the St. John humidity will turn them all to soggy mush in hours.







What’s your view at work?

April 19th, 2016

Work days on St. John are so hard.

If you have the cash and the opportunity to rent anything in Catherineberg, like this place called Cinnamon Ridge, you should. All Catherineberg views look like this.

That is the premier Caribbean playground down there.







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