Island Cork opens

St. John’s resident wine expert Paul Tsakeres has opened the doors at his new Island Cork location at Wharfside Village.

Paul got permits and all that other last-minute business work out of the way and had an unofficial opening late last week.

We’ll give Paul and the store a couple of days for the dust to settle and everything in its place before we give you a better look, but put the new Island Cork on your list. You can’t beat the location.

 

New Virgin Islands Centennial license plates

The US Virgin Islands redesigns license plates every ten years, and the new one, being rolled out as vehicles renew their registrations now, commemorates “The Centennial.”

The plates commemorate the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States in 1917.

Like most things the Virgin Islands government does, the plates are not without controversy.

You can see a lot of old Virgin Islands pictures at the official Transfer Centennial Facebook page, here.

Taking American to St. John? Here’s your cookie

Airlines are trying. Really they are, with a free something to munch on for the coach class.

Unlike the United Airlines Stroopwafel, the American Airlines Biscoff won’t gum up your teeth.

The chocolate cookie is called “Europe’s favorite cookie with coffee.” Depending on how you read that, you might be disappointed. There is no coffee in it. It apparently just goes well with coffee. But it’s a good cookie!

Ask your flight attendant if they’re American Airlines holdovers, or former US Airways. An American Airlines flight attendant will give you two cookies.  A former US Airways flight attendant will just give you former US Airways attitude.

 

 

Almost 50 restaurants in Cruz Bay! What’s your favorite?

Restaurants have always come and gone on St. John, but lately they seem to come more than they go.

Based on the St. John Spice restaurant list, I think the most comprehensive list there is, there are 48 places to get something to eat in Cruz Bay alone, the majority of them sit-down restaurants.

Island-wide, it looks like about 70 restaurants.

Looking over the list, we’ve tried most of them, but we all have our go-to favorites. What are yours?

The unexpected budget busters

On an island where good rum is $10 a bottle and a pack of cigarettes is $4, it’s always a shock to new visitors to see what actually does cost a lot.

Like $9 for a box of breakfast cereal.

Bagged chips are stupid expensive (and they go soggy shortly after you open the bag). Dairy, like ice cream, is more than you’re used to paying.

Not into breakfast cereal? The maple syrup for your pancakes is $20. And that bacon on the side is $12.

But barrel aged, Cruzan (CROO-shun) dark rum is $10. And, have breakfast in town. No dishes to do.

Indiegogo campaign to publish Buster’s book

Cheryl Geller has completed her illustrated book based on the life and times of Buster Keaton Geller, aka Buster the on-eyed rooster, and she’s launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise a little bit of money to get it printed and published.

“After Buster died last year, I promised myself that I would finish his book before the one year anniversary of his death,” says Cheryl. “And I kept that promise.”

Contributing to the Indiegogo campaign gets you a copy of the book. Want it autographed? Absolutely. But that’ll take a little more time to get to you.

Here’s the link to Cheryl’s Indiegogo campaign for “Buster’s Story.”

How to turn a $400 airline ticket into a $700 ticket

Airfare to St. Thomas is pretty attractive right now. Until you make yourself comfortable.

We have no status on United, but it flies these seasonal nonstops from Dulles and that’s just irresistible. And the fare is about $400 round-trip right now. Buying seats near the front of the plane, and buying our way to the front of the boarding line jacked that up a bit.

If you haven’t bought your December or January tickets yet, get going. Back-of-the-plane economy seats always sell out, and on some DC to STT flights on AA and UAL, they already are.

DC area travelers note: United has a second weekend nonstop from IAD to STT right now. One leaves at about 7:30am. The other at 8:30am.

The church where Lindy played

I love this little church, the Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church. It is right in Cruz Bay, across from Cruz Bay Landing, and the doors are almost always open during the day.

There is also almost always somebody in the chapel, and he is happy to greet you if you just say you wanted to look around.

Here’s a virtual tour of the chapel on the Ceremonies St. John Website.

A lot of people get married in this church, there is a joyful-sounding Sunday service there, and, if you’re a Kenny Chesney fan, you know the song “Lindy.”

“He plays piano at the church when nobody’s watching.” That’s the church.

“He used to sneak in there a lot,” says Ceremonies St. John’s Stacy Mulcare. “I once saw him play at Grumpy’s, where the Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel is now. He was a gifted musician. Always classical music.”

We’re told Lindy was nondenominational and played other church pianos too.

Major Wharfside makeover

Wharfside Village is undergoing a major, top-to-bottom and much-needed makeover, including what you see here street side that will soon be home to wine store Island Cork, which is relocating from Mongoose Junction.

Per the annual St. John Spice newsletter, the new owner of Wharfside Village, Joe DeCourcy of Joe’s Rum Hut and Waterfront Bistro, is undertaking the ambitious revitalization project which may take a year to complete.

“With new lighting and landscaping, we expect a higher-end Caribbean elegance in the ambiance and presentation,” St. John Spice Ruth writes.

All existing businesses at Wharfside Village will remain open during the renovations.

Jake’s does dinner

Jake’s Restaurant is serving dinner this high season.

The Cruz Bay mainstay had a soft open for dinner Wednesday night and plans a grand opening for dinner Monday.

Chef Michael Vargas, with eight seasons experience at Caneel Bay, is in charge of the evening kitchen and describes his food as “local contemporary fusion”

To kick off dinner, Jake’s is offering a full-course special: An appetizer, an entree and desert for $50.

Jake’s will be open for dinner starting at 6 p.m