St John's Blues Festival

Nov 26th, 2007, 06:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
St John's Blues Festival

We are considering taking our first trip to the USVI in March '08 and see that the blues festival is in Coral Bay, St Johns at the same time we will be there. Has anyone been to the fest. before? Will it be impossible to get a room/condo in Coral Bay or is more of a local fest? Would it be too far to drive from Cruz Bay? We are planning on being in the islands for 8-9 days and would like to divide our time up between a few islands, spending several days at each. I'm thinking of starting with St. John's and ending at St. Thomas because the airport is there. Any recommendations? We are a 50ish couple who love local culture, food, bars, music and solitude. Thank you in advance for your help
Jeanne is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 23,442
Not familiar with activities at the Blues Festival but if you want to be out Coral Bay way, you'll more likely wind up in a villa (self-catering). Most of the accomodations are in or closer to Cruz Bay. It's not a bad drive - twisty and turney and up and down but very scenic and very dark at night. Would probably recommend 4-wheel drive as you'll need a car since taxis don't usually make the run - unless that changes when events happen out that way.
Accomodations are from high end Caneel Bay to "luxury" camping at Maho Bay (or the eco-conscious Harmony or Concorida) but hotels are Caneel and the Westin. B&B's (inn at tamarind court), condos and villas dominate. Some will have minimum stay requirements and many are scattered island wide in the hills. Might want to go to or virgin-islands-on-line for locations, amenities, price points. I was always curious about because it is out nearer Coral Bay. 8-9 days is short for a lot of island hopping but depending how long you want to stay for the fest on St. John, loosing the day of travel coming and going and then repacking and unpacking and travel, you could spend a lot of time going and coming. Ever think about a bareboat with captain for island hopping? Just a thought! Might even find one that is at Coral Bay to stay aboard for the festival - ???
Are you planning to just overnite on STT on the way home or staying a day or two? Again lots of choices for accomodations from B&B's to full service resorts.
BTW, when you go to the other boards, make sure you loos the "s" - they'll be happy to tell you St. John's is on Antigua; St. John in in the USVI!

beachplum is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 32

A little bird told me to come over here and tell you to check out for more information about STJ. We would love to have you!
Ksea is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 68
Hi Jeanne,

I've never been to the fest, but have heard it is a fun time.

Here is the schedule:

It would be hard to find a room for a night in Coral Bay; more doable in Cruz Bay, but since it is still "in-season", there may be minimum requirements. The fest website says there will be safari's running to/from Cruz Bay for the festival.

The site Ksea mentions has tons of good information regarding USVI.

I wouldn't try to do more than a couple of islands in 8-9 days; maybe home base in Tortola/St. John and do some day trips.

happy planning,
jayseadee is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3

That will still be "in-season," and it'd be hard to find any accommodations on St John that will let you do less than three days that time of year. I truly believe (although I'm sure some will disagree with me) that the best way to enjoy St. John is to rent a villa and spend at least five days there. You could easily spend a week and still have plenty to do. I know when folks vacation there's this urge to "get the most for your money" and cram it in, but St. John is just not that kind of place. It's so laid back and there aren't any schedules, and that's what makes it lovely. I think the British Virgin Islands run even slower than STJ, so taking a whirlwind trip is contradictory to the whole experience.

What I'd recommend is this: take at least five days, but probably a whole week on STJ. A lot of people take the day at the beginning and end of their trip on STT to make travel easier, and if you want to see STT, that's a good way to get a quick flavor for it. With STJ as your base of operation, it's easy to take a day trip to STT or the British Virgin Islands or both!

I hope that helps. As others mentioned, both VINOW and Virgin Islands Online have a wealth of information and knowledgeable folks to help you plan your trip. I know they've been invaluable to me. VIOL tends to focus more on STJ where on VINOW it's pretty much equal time for all three of the USVIs. There are other forums for the BVIs, but I don't frequent those.
laurajo521 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 04:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Thank you all so much for the valuable info. We have booked our flight ($665 pp round trip from Detroit) and after considering all your advice I think that we will spend 5-6 nights on St. John and our last 2-3 on St. Thomas so we will have time to explore that island a little and be close to the airport for the flight home. Now we are trying to decide on a rather to get a condo/ villa near Cruz Bay or Coral Bay. Any feelings one way or the other on that? It appears that there are more restaurants, shops... near Cruz Bay than Coral Bay. Is it better to be closer to the festival? I read where they will have shuttles available back to Crus Bay for only $5 per person. Also, we thought about a day trip to Virgin Gorda to the Baths. Does a ferry leave from St. John or do we have to go back to St. Thomas to catch one?
Jeanne is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,532
I havent't actually had the pleasure of making to one of the official "festivals" but any reason's a great reason to go to STJ in my book. I have a CD from one of the festivals and it is top flight. The music is enough but the locale is over the top! We've got some awesome jazz musicians up here in Connecticut including the great Charles Flores (Grammy winner)and Ed Fast (should be Grammy winner) who have kept a close eye and ear on STJ thanks to yourstruly. Cruz Bay is a mere 20-25 minute drive to Coral Bay. You will have to research the accomodations for yourself but nowadays, STJ seems to offer a range of possibilities. There aren't many "Condo"s in the Coral Bay area, but there are some very reasonable possibilities. I'd definitely fit your STJ time around the "festival." Whether you are 5 or 50, you will have a wonderful time.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 23,442
There is a direct public ferry on Thursdays and Sundays between STJ and Virgin Gorda. There are plenty of taxis to take you back and forth to the Baths. It leaves from St. John at 8:30 and leaves VG for the return at 3. Otherwise you take the ferry to Tortola and transfer to VG and back again.
beachplum is offline  

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