Festival jewelry maker Alton Evans

July 3rd, 2012

OSJ roving reporter Annie Caswell stops by to talk to Alton Evans about his unique jewelry and art at the arts and crafts fair during Festival.







Inside a Festival food vendor

July 3rd, 2012

There are lots of food shacks to belly up to in the Festival Village, which officially opened Friday.

But you’re on the outside looking in.

Some of those shacks are crowded, busy,serious kitchens inside. Roving reporter Annie Caswell took a sneak peak inside one of them…







Pop up BBQ restaurant in Cruz Bay

July 2nd, 2012

Say ‘Hi’ to Uncle Boozie, who runs the kitchen at Castaways.

Boozie’s manning Boozie Q’s, in vacant retail space next to Castaways, serving up ribs and fried chicken during Festival.

Castaways wasn’t able to get a booth at Festival Village this year (too bad…last year’s Castaways booth was a hit and raised thousands of dollars for for the John’s Folly kids), so they went to their landlord and made a deal to take over the empty space for a few days.

Castaways owner Dan Boudreau is bummed they aren’t in the Village this year, but is hopeful about next year.

“We had a great time and brought a whole new feel to the Village and we hope to have the opportunity next year to help celebrate St. John Festival,” he says.

In the meantime, check out Boozie Q’s while you can.  It’ll shut down when Festival ends.  (But his spareribs always show up as specials on the Castaways menu.)







The Heineken Boat

June 30th, 2012

St. Croix musician Kurt Schindler rocked Cruz Bay on the Heineken Boat, just off the beach in front of the Beach Bar Friday night.

He performs again July 4 at 7:30 pm.







A brand new Building Blog to follow

June 28th, 2012

Oh boy, another family is taking the plunge.

Christine and Mark Fano from New Jersey had Cruz Bay Realty find them a lot in Klein Bay, and they are now ready to break ground on their four-bedroom villa named Casa La Famiglia.

We’re afraid this villa project is partially our fault.

VILLA: Casa La Famiglia
LOCATION: Klein Bay
ARCHITECT: Michael Oxman
BUILDER: Iroquois Builders
EXPECTED COST: There is one
EXPECTED COMPLETION: In time for Winter 2013 rentals

They should just go into this project like Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure: Dive right into the water, hold your breath, swim as hard as you can, and know you’ll eventually come up on the other side.

Except, then she had a heart attack and died in Red Buttons’ arms so that’s probably a bad analogy.

Bookmark Casa La Famiglia here! Good luck Christine and Mark. We’ll be following along. (From a safe distance.)







How’s this summer shaping up?

June 27th, 2012

Judging from the crowds at the airport, there are plenty of people visiting St. Thomas and St. John so far this summer, but maybe less so than last year.

“July looks really good for us,” says Cindy Ward at Carefree Getaways, but rental agencies agree August and September are soft. We’re getting a lot more bookings just two or three weeks before arrival than usual this year.”

Same thing in the condo market, though it may be seeing stronger bookings.

“Our summer booking pace is slightly ahead of last year, though it’s hard to say if that’s a trend because we only have one year to compare it to,” says John Alvarado at Grande Bay Resort, who also notes more last minute shoppers.

Air fares are also all over the map and that may be keeping visitors on the sidelines until the last minute too.

Business is good at High Tide.

“We’ve had a couple of slow days, but they’re few and far between, and the island seems busy gearing up for Carnival,” says manager Dulcey Rood.

Fall is just around the corner. September and October are awesome months to visit St. John. Book a trip!

What about you? Have your travel planning and booking schedules changed? And if so, why?

(By the way, if the airport’s serving spaghetti and meat balls, get it. It’s really good!)







The DER in the sand

June 26th, 2012

This is Jeff, from North Carolina, writing a message in the sand in front of the St. John Spice Cam, which recently ticked over 6 million views by the way.

That camera sends a lot of sandscript messages back to friends and family in the states, just like Jeff is doing.

Unfortunately, we were off the clock and well into an early happy hour when we stumbled across Jeff, and the story is a little fuzzy. Here is what our notebook says:

-Jeff, NC
-Visiting for 10 yrs.
-Sister-in-law Sandra, nickname Der
-Calling her.

And then the notes become illegible. (We’d ban drinking on the job from now on, except that actually is part of the job.)

So Jeff or Der, if you can fill in the rest of the story, we’d appreciate it.







Help with Guy Benjamin’s expenses: Buy the book

June 25th, 2012

Me and My Beloved Virgin, by Guy Benjamin, is a great read, and there are still copies available. If you buy a copy, you’ll have an enjoyable read, and you’ll help with his family’s expenses.

Connections sells the book for $25, so click here to email Connections with your contact information, and Connections will get back to you.

And enjoy this excerpt from the book:

I was at home on St. John at home during the past Easter vacation.  I had gone to the Emmaus Moravian Church to practice on the organ there, since someone had borrowed (never to return) the speakers from the tone cabinet of my Hammond.  On my way back, I must pass the Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School.  A lady is taking a picture of the school and I stop, so as not to break up her camera.  “Please come in and pose for me,” she asked.  “Certainly, on condition you’ll send me a picture,” I replied.  “Done,” she said.  She took the picture and she requested my name and address.  I had a package of mail on me, and I said to her, “Bet you aren’t going to believe this,” as I tore off the mailing label from a letter.  She looked at the name, she looked at me, she looked at the school’s name.  She then looked again, in the opposite order.  “No,” she said, “but I still don’t believe it.”  Then she put her worst fears into words.  “You are telling me that this school is named after you?”  “Yes,” I replied quietly.  A month later, I received the picture and a letter.  She still doesn’t believe it consciously.  One day it might strike her as being really true.







The Message in a Bottle proposal

June 22nd, 2012

We’re suckers for romantics.

Floridians Steve and Leslie McKibben are frequent St. John visitors, and on this trip, Leslie’s 50th birthday, and with sons Jason and Shane, she decided to spring a vow renewal on her husband of 23 years.

In a bottle.

“Our son Jason was supposed to plant the bottle during a snorkel stop at Mary Point so I would find it, but it wouldn’t sink,” says Steve. “So he ‘found it’ and gave it to me to open.”

Capturing the moment on tape was Captain John Brandi, who is always in the middle of the fun stuff. We pick up the story from here, below…







In Memory of Guy Benjamin

June 20th, 2012

Guy Benjamin, born on St. John’s East End 98 years ago, died peacefully Tueday afternoon at his home surrounded by family.

A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Emmaus Moravian Church in Coral Bay.







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