Old Feb 12th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Hi All,

I am leaving for a trip to the USVI in two weeks.
While scrolling through the many threads - I thought it might be fun to start a favorites thread for St. John - where everyone can list their favorite things, places, activities etc. It is a popular destination - and it would make for easy reference for all (and a good way to reminisce about past trips).

So answer any or all questions below - with your absolute favorites from St. John. You can give rationale (reasons for WHY its your favorite) if you want to, but its not required. (If you think I forgot something, feel free to add another category)!

List your favorite:

1. beach
2. snorkel spot
3. dive spot
4. hike
5. sightseeing spot
6. non-beach activity
7. day-trip
8. accomodation
9. car rental
10. boat charter/rental company
11. place to shop
12. fancy restaurant
13. casual restaurant
14. place for a drink
15. specific meal/dish

steviegene is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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1. Little Lameshur: because it is more remote, plenty of sandy beach, variety of snorkeling areas. You can also hike Yawzi Point and swim to other bays.
2. There are so many great places and many more I haven't found yet but if I had to pick one it would be Turner's point or Hurricane Hole. Unfortunately, these can only be accessed by boat but are totally worth it. Turner's point has canyons and Hurricane Hole is a fish nursery and neat mangroves.
3. Haven't done much diving there but I hear Eagle Shoal is a local favorite.
4. Reef Bay trail is long but lots to see and you're rewarded with lovely Reef Bay at the end of the trail.
5. The overlook of Coral Bay on Centerline Road. Many consider it one of the most beautiful in all of the Caribbean.
6. Shopping at Mongoose Junction or hanging out at Skinny Legs'
7. Boat through the BVI's especially the Baths at Virgin Gorda, and a catamaran to Jost Van Dyke.
8. Villa rental - much more room and privacy, amenities and usually for a lower price. It's also a taste of what it's like to live there.
9. Budget on St. Thomas or Delbert Hill on St. John, both because of convenience and competitive pricing.
10. Crabby's in Coral Bay. Nice guy from Connecticut.
11. Mongoose Junction for variety and nice amenities or small fun shops next to Shipwreck Landing.
12. Asolare for its gorgeous setting, and the food is pretty decent too. Try to reserve dinner on the porch at sunset... super romantic.
13. La Tapa in Cruz Bay has a great menu, is a bit pricey but not really fancy. It doesn't have a waterview, but it does have a fun, lively street scene and oftentimes great live music. But overall, Miss Lucy's out in Friis Bay. The right on the water Caribbean ambience cannot be beat. If my DH wants to get me happy, we go here. The nights when there is some moonlight are pure magic. When the chef's on his game, the food is as good as anywhere on island, and when he's off, it's still pretty darn good. I also highly recommend for a casual dinner, Island Blues. Great, low-key bar scene, and you can have dinner right on the water with sweeping views of the whole bay.
14. Woody's in Cruz Bay for its super casual, right on the street freeforall giddiness, and Island Blues or Skinny Legs' in Coral Bay for the laid-back atmosphere mix of locals and tourists and the always reliable casual fare menu.
15. Well, I'm partial to Miss Lucy's chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and spinach with cabernet cherry sauce. But I do have to put in a word for Sweet Plaintain's which features an eclectic mix of West and East Indian food. When you tire of fried this or that, this is a great place to treat your tastebuds to something more exotic. The atmosphere is unique too. Close to the water, you don't know if it feels like the Caribbean or a little place in Essouirra, Morocco. Finally, among my nearly endless list of favorites of STJ, I highly recommend you take a trip out to Miss Vie's Snack Shack for lunch on a Saturday (she serves her special garlic chicken only on weekends) out in Hansen Bay in the East End. She also has one of the nicest little beaches across the road which she charges a small admission fee for (totally worth it). My favorite times on STJ usually involve a long lazy lunch at Miss Vie's, and then sunning myself like a fat lizard afterwards (with a cold beer) on Miss Vie's beach, followed by a refreshing swim and snorkel in Hansen Bay. How's that for a picture of paradise?!
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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a great start tuxedocat!
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Old Feb 12th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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So Steviegene- are you headed to SJ instead of St. Croix? Have a wondeful time.
We rented a little zodiac (called "The Painkiller" of all things) right there on the harbour in Cruz Bay and had a fun morning putting over to Hawksnest and other spots in slow speed. A nice way to spend a pretty day.
We loved snorkeling with Captain Cathy out of Caneel Bay if she is still around.
If the little stand is still there in Coral Bay selling hot sauce (Mad Dog?) then be sure to stop there.
It has been a few years but we liked the Lime Inn, Woody's, Duffy's Love Shack (pupu platter and drinks). Late afternoon on Francis Bay and snorkeling at Waterlimon were fun, too. Climb up that little hill on the roadside pullover to enjoy the view from the old sugar mill site (think that is what it was). Whatever that little waterfront bar is where we rented the zodiac had a good lunch with a view. I love breakfast so Chilly Billy's was a good breakfast spot. Unfortunately, I can't remember the names of all the places but there will be lots of others to help you.
Hope you are feeling good and have a great trip!
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 03:48 AM
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1 - Hawksnest for it's calm water, good snorkeling & is close to town. 2nd would be Dennis Bay for it's solitude(do love Lameshur though it's a bit of a drive).
2 - Haulover Bay when the seas cooperate, otherwise I love Reef Bay, Rainbow Beach & the point at Chocolate Hole.
3 - Caravel Rock with Perkins Cay a close second. Carvel Rock dive depth is 75' and awesome. Perkins Cay is at 35' and a really long beautiful reef right off Gallows Point. Use Low Key Watersports in Cruz Bay.
4 - Ditto - The Reef Bay trail without a doubt. Take snorkel gear & water with you, in back pack, because there's a great beach at the bottom.
5 - Ditto - Again that overlook of Coral Bay is stunning!!!!
6 - Touring VIERS at Lameshur & the Annaberg Ruins, an old sugar mill.
7 - Go with Pirates Penny/Stormy Petrel to the BVIs. Second choice rent a zodiac in Cruz Bay and go to Waterlemon Cay.
8 - We rent a villa but have stayed and liked Gallows Point, Caneel Bay is pricey but very lovely. We own a timeshare at the Westin but now we give it to friends and employees to use for free. All they have to do is fly there.
9 - After 12 trips we've rented from many companies but the best so far is Courtesy Car Rental. They are next door to police station & have a small parking lot which is key with so little parking in Cruz Bay. Big plus they actually appreciate your business!!!!
10 - See #7.
11 - Mongoose Junction and the stores at Wharfside Village.
12 - Stone Terrace or ZoZo's.
13 - Cafe Roma, Uncle Joe's Bar B Q or Woody's Seafood.
14 - Woody's Seafood.
15 - Uncle Joe's Bar B Q!!!

Have a great time and to paraphrase the CA governor says - You'll Back!
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 06:42 AM
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1. Have to go with Gibney. Hardly anyone around, and it looks like a postcard.
2. Either Waterlemon or Salt Pond. Both require a healthy swim out to the reef, but well worth the effort.
3. Did a couple dives through Caneel Bay outfitter, and can't remember the names...sorry. Good operation though.
4. Didn't do much hiking beside the hike to Salomon beach, and also to Waterlemon. Both pretty tame.
5. The ever popular overlook above Trunk is simply breath taking.
6. Cocktails inside with a loved one on a rainy day...the rest is up to your imagination!!
7. Never got to do a BVI trip, but my guess is that would be the favorite. We did a local catamaran around STJ, and it was awesome.
8. Only been once, and stayed at Gallows Point, and it was fabulous. Great views, and an easy walk to talk...great location.
9. St John car rental, the cheapest I could find, and they provide in town parking which can be very important.
10. Sorry, just can't remember the guys we used.
11. Not a big shopper. Plenty of small shops in & around town.
12. ZoZos was excellent.
13. Beach Bar or Skinny Legs...good burgers at both.
14. Beach Bar hands down. Happy hour made us very happy!!
15. Try a Lobster Crepe appetizer at The Balcony....incredible.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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I'll play!

1. beach: Turtle Bay (but I'm biased since that was where my room was perched upon)
2. snorkel spot: Hawksnest
3. dive spot: The Rhone (BVI)
4. hike: Reef Bay Trail
5. sightseeing spot: view of Coral Bay from Centerline Road.
6. non-beach activity: touring the island via jeep
7. day-trip: drive out to Coral Bay and snorkle at Salt Pond
8. accomodation; Caneel Bay
9. car rental: no opinion on this
10. boat charter/rental company: didn't do this
11. place to shop: I guess Cruz Bay but I wouldn't go for the shopping
12. fancy restaurant: Asolare
13. casual restaurant: Morgan's Mango
14. place for a drink: Skinny Legs for a beer, overlooking the point on Turtle bay with a glass of champagne for seclusion and serenity
15. specific meal/dish: Can't go wrong at Asolare.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 07:16 PM
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I'll play too, but some area are well out of my expertise.

1. Everyone loves Trunk and I do too, but some of my personal favorites thus far are Maho for it's shallow calmness and it is close to the road. More of a local favorite, no facilities and great pelican watching. Salt Pond also very calm, very few people. I think this is a hidden gem. The 1/4 mile trek down a dirt trail deters many. I thought the walk back up would be way worse than it was. If you go to Salt Pond, the short trek to Drunk Bay is a must do. It will wow you. I also like Solomon and Honeymoon for their serenity. Note that some of the North Shore Beaches may have very little beach if the swells are up.
2 and 3. I don't snorkel or dive. Gasp!
4. If you really want to hike, try The Ram Head trail off of Salt Pond or The Reef Bay Trail. You can arrange a guided trail with The NPS, but need to do so in advance. If you do this, you don't have to walk back up the very steep trail. You are taken back by boat. If you want some easier hikes like we do, try The Lind Point Trail from Cruz Bay to Solomon and Honeymoon Beaches. You can then walk to Caneel and go back by taxi or hike back. The Drunk Bay hike is also easy from Salt Pond and there is a Nature Trail across from the entrance to Cinnamon Bay.
5. I agree the view of Coral Bay from Centerline is beautiful. It is at The Chateau Bordeaux Restaurant. There is a little shop across the road also. I think the views from The Annaberg Ruins are spectacular as well. For a first timer it is worth the trip to walk around the ruins. Awesome views of The BVI's from here.
6. Agree, just getting in the jeep and going. We use Pam Gaffin's book, Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive. It is a fantastic reference.
7. Drive all the way out to the East End. Stop at Vie's Snack Shack if she is open. If not, pay the $2.50pp in the honor box and go to her beach. Stop at Sloop Jones for some local art. Head back to Coral Bay for lunch, then venture on to Salt Pond and on to Drunk Bay.
8. We have only stayed at Gallow's Point, so are partial to them for various reasons. We will eventually do the villa thing, but like being close to town for now.
9. Have only used Cool Breeze and I have read good and bad about all of them.
10. We have done The New Horizons II powerboat trip and loved it. It is a great overview of The BVI's if you are looking to explore that area, particularily Virgin Gorda as it is quite a bit farther than the others. Although I haven't personally done these charters, I have island acquaintences that highly recommend Lion in da Sun (Josh and Matt) and Palm Tree Charters headed by Capt John Brandi. The latter two let you choose the itinerary and are of course pricier.
11. Mongoose Junction and Wharfside Village.
12.Can't help you much here. The most upscale place we have eaten is Zo-Zo's in March '06 and their menu has changed since then. La Tapa which isn't riduciously priced is one of favorites in this category.
13. Now this is up my alley. There are so many. Cafe Roma, The Banana Deck,Uncle Joe's, Skinny Legs, Island Blues. I could go on.
14. Any Happy Hour. Drinks are expensive on the island.
15. The escargot at La Tapa and the signature mussels dish at The Lime Inn. Skinny's for a burger and atmosphere.
Whew, I think I got through them all. I can get carried away when it comes to STJ.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 03:13 AM
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# 5 - My wife reminded me that one of our favorite moments on St. John was when we went to visit Estate Concordia. At the end of their road is an amazing view across Rams Head toward the BVIs. Better than Coral vista believe it or not.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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ttt- anyone have anything else to add?
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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I vividly remember the cinnamon smell hiking thru the Cinnamon Bay trail.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2008, 05:34 PM
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Old Feb 22nd, 2008, 06:01 PM
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smetz: Well, I don't know what you mean by bookmarking, but I can agree that there are too many things to list in ST John favorites, an that Steviegene: you must be just about ready to blast off so, buddy, we send you off with lots of love and vibes for a GREAT time. Only two things I want to remind you of (which I think are quintessential to a STJ trip, a day trip to Miss Vie's, and a leisurely dinner at Miss Lucy's). Enjoy, and don't forget to write a detailed trip report.
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Im leaving in 15 hours (or so) !!!!!!!

So, so so excited!!!!!
Thank you everyone for your advice and great tips.

We are looking forward to a few days of exploring beaches, nice restaurants and then have a day booked with a boat charter to the Bristish VI.

Bon voyage!
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Have fun!! I'm green with envy. I'm so sick of cold weather and snow!
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 03:29 AM
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Steviegene, have a great time. I have to wait until August! Get some ribs at Uncle Joe's.
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 12:32 PM
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wow these r all great suggestions! hears a few more Honeymoon beach, Solomon beach(little hike to get there)but worth it!! daytrip to the bvi's loved the Bath's was beautiful & a lot of fun! & of course u all covered all the other best to do on STJ!!!!!!!! looking forward to a day trip to JVD on next visit in may!
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Old Mar 30th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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tuxedocat: did you figure out bookmarking since your post in february?
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