Dining Out On St John

We are often asked what are the best places to eat on St. John.  Here is a list of our personal favorites…. in no particular order. 

Casual Dining

Cruz Bay Landing (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) 

Jake’s (Breakfast and Lunch)

Longboard (happy hour and dinner) 

Barefoot Cowboy (dinner- BBQ)

Lime Inn (lunch and dinner)

Fish Trap (dinner)

Sundog Cafe (lunch and dinner)

Sun Dog Cafe (lunch and dinner)

Morgan’s Mango (dinner – make reservations)

Cafe Roma (pizza- dinner)

Bar Dining

Tap Room (lunch and dinner- at Mongoose Junction. Great local beer) 

Woody’s (lunch, happy hour, dinner- dive bar)

Fine Dining 

ZoZo’s (dinner. super nice and $$$ but good- make reservations) 

Ocean 362 (dinner, located at Gallows, sit at the bar and watch the sunset- make reservations and request the upstairs bar) 

Waterfront Bistro (on the beach, lunch and dinner- very good)

Vista Mare (great sunset view, dinner)

The Terrace (make reservations)

Extra Virgin (make reservations)

Rhumb Lines (yummy – make reservations)

Ocean Grill (lunch and dinner)

La Tapa (menu changes daily – make reservations)

Da Livio (pizza)

Asolare (make reservations, have a drink with Kim at the bar before sitting at your sunset view table)

Knox and Ollie’s (dinner- located at Westin Resort)

 Beach Dining 

Beach Bar (lunch, happy hour, dinner- on the beach)

Drink (just a bar but it is awesome)

Joe’ Rum Hut (lunch, happy hour, dinner)

High Tide (on the beach, breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Deli Style – To Go

Sam and Jacks (lunch- deli)

North Shore Deli (breakfast and lunch)

Baked In The Sun (breakfast and lunch and where to order speciality cakes and pies)

Little Olive (food truck, open M-F breakfast and lunch/dinner pick up) 

Ice Cream

St. John Scoops (super yummy ice cream and more)

On the other side, Coral Bay. 

Aqua Bistro (lunch and dinner) 

Skinny Legs (lunch and dinner) 

Miss Lucy’s (Sunday brunch + lunch and dinner)

Shipwreck Landing (lunch and dinner)

Skippers Brit Pub (dinner)


How Far Away is the Beach?

saint-john-usvi beach photo

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “How far away is the beach from our Island Abodes suite?” The answer is simple: it’s closer than you think! When you arrive on island for a vacation full of adventure and relaxation, one of the first things you’ll want to do is throw on a bathing suit and head out to explore. St. John is home to gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by the sparkling turquoise Caribbean Sea, so jump on in! And, our beaches are in the National Park, so everyone has to drive to get to them! 

Hart Bay

Hart Bay is one of the closest beaches to the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite, both located in Chocolate Hole. Here you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming.

.8 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

1.6 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Chocolate Hole Bay

Adjacent to Hart Bay you’ll find Chocolate Hole Bay, which provides the stunning bay views seen from the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite. There’s a lovely bay to swim in, a place to lounge and relax, plus enchanting views of harbored yachts and unique rock formations.

.5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Westin/Great Cruz Bay Beach

Many guests stay with us to attend a wedding at the Westin or have boat trips planned with Cruz Bay Watersports from Great Cruz Bay Beach. Both properties are very close to the resort. You are also welcome to visit the Westin to enjoy a meal, spa services, tennis and workout room, (all for a fee). Great Cruz Bay Beach is also where Cruz Bay Watersports is located.

.5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

.5 miles from Sunset Sereande Rentals

Cruz Bay

The beach in downtown Cruz Bay is always a lively destination, as it’s home to beach bars, restaurants, charter boats, and the ferry dock. While we don’t recommend swimming here, it provides a picturesque backdrop for sunsets, beach strolls, and happy hour. Cruz Bay Beach is the perfect place to mingle and experience the eclectic, easy vibes Love City is known for!

1.4 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

.9 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

North Shore Beaches 

Take a day (or three!) to explore along the North Shore of St. John and you won’t be disappointed. Nearly twenty stunning beaches span the coastline, all protected by the USVI National Park Service. Each beach has a unique personality, from quaint Salomon Bay to the world famous Trunk Bay to sea turtle filled Maho Bay. Bonus: the panoramic views from North Shore Road are exquisite!

1.6 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to lower Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to lower Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

2 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to upper Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

1.5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to upper Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Caneel Bay

2.5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Caneel Bay

3.5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

3 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

3.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

3.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

4.2 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Dennis Bay/Peace Hill

3.7 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Dennis Bay/Peace Hill

4.3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Jumbie

3.8 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Jumbie

4.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Trunk Bay

4.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Trunk Bay

5.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Cinnamon Bay

5.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Cinnamon Bay

6.8 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Maho Bay

6.3 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Maho Bay


Breakfast at Cruz Bay Landing

Cruz Bay Landing BreakfastIs there anything better than a satisfyingly delicious breakfast after a peaceful island sleep? If there is, please let us know! We love trying out all of the tasty breakfast and brunch spots on St. John, and one of our top picks for a casual morning munch is the incredible Cruz Bay Landing.

Cruz Bay Landing offers a great variety of breakfast options, ranging from sweet blue banana pancakes to savory veggie omelets. Whether you choose a traditional breakfast bennie, classic egg sandwich, or giant cinnamon swirl pancakes with bacon, you won’t leave hungry. Our personal favorite is the signature ‘Landing Skillet’.  If you’re looking to feel good before spending the day at the beach, treat yourself to a healthy and filling California omelet accompanied by some of the best guacamole we’ve had on St. John.

         Need your daily caffeine fix before heading out on an island adventure? Look no further than Cruz Bay Landing’s specialty craft coffee menu. Lattes, espresso, and cocktails, oh my! The drink menu features refreshing coffee concoctions, both with and without alcohol. Choose to sip on a hot Drunken S’more made with S’more vodka, coffee, milk, and chocolate syrup or cool down with a Snow Cap on the rocks.

Coffee          Located just steps from the Cruz Bay ferry dock, we never hesitate to recommend a visit to Cruz Bay Landing. While enjoying a mouthwatering meal at a reasonable price, you can savor your last moments in paradise as you wait for the ferry, or stop by during your stay to try out the awesome coffee bar, where Danielle or Cassie will serve you up! Open seven days a week at 7am, this breakfast hot spot certainly has our stamp of approval! Be sure to sit at the bar and enjoy the company of our friends, Eric, Boo and Heather! 


Movie Night at the Ruins

There’s something so dreamy and romantic about drive-in style movies. Rarely are there ever opportunities to enjoy a drive-in theater; it seems like those days have long left us behind because of technology advancement and mega movie theaters. The closest movie theater is on St. Thomas, but our community has a once in a lifetime cinematic experience waiting for you: Movie Night in the Susannaberg Ruins. It’s like a drive-in movie theater, but so much better!

        The Susannaberg Ruins are apart of a private piece of land on Centerline Road near Gifft Hill. There’s a sign at the entrance of the drive up to the ruins to show you where to go. These ruins are home to an old, but pristine sugar mill at the top of a hill overlooking St. Thomas and other islands. The sunset views are gorgeous, but most of the movies begin after dark during busy season. Even so, the sparkle of St. Thomas and the unbelievably clear stars make it such a dreamy location. Since Susannaberg is private property, guests are only allowed during the Movie Night specified time, and with the sunsets happening later and later throughout the next several months, sights of the sunset should not be missed. Regardless, the views are gorgeous, the ruins are magical, and the movies are such a great bonus!

Once you park your car, you can walk up to the ruins where there’s lots of space to lay a blanket or set up chairs. Typically, movie night has a great turn out with forty or more people lying under the stars and enjoying each other’s company, and even though that may seem like a crowd, everyone is able to enjoy their own space. It’s never incredibly crowded or overwhelming. Our team recently attended the Movie Night in the Ruins watching “Officespace.” The movie started at 7pm sharp, so try to be there a little earlier to set up your space. You can bring food and beverages to the Movie Night, but they have a full-service concession stand inside the sugar mill. They have cocktails, water, freshly popped popcorn, and candy. Sometimes they’ll make themed concessions and cocktails to go along with whatever movie is playing. In fact, this Halloween there’s set to be a spooky arrangement in the mill with Halloween movies playing, so definitely a must-do activity if you’re on island.

Watching movies in the ruins is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and something very special to do while visiting St. John. Pack a dinner, grab some wine, and relax amongst some of St. John’s best history. 


Annual Save The Coconuts

Block Party
  Who doesn’t love a block party benefiting a      good cause? It’s that time of year again, the 7th   annual Save the Coconuts party at Woody’s!  This year’s Save the Coconuts party will be h  held this Friday, October 14 from 7pm to 11pm.

 As always, this block party will feature great  entertainment, raffle prizes, drinks, and more!  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event is donated to the St. John Cancer Fund and goes directly to residents on island battling cancer.

Just to showcase how much this event has helped the community, last year, the residents of St. John and Woody’s contributed $103,000 to the St. John Cancer Fund. It’s amazing to see just how much an event like this benefits a great cause, and the St. John community can’t wait for this year’s turnout!

This year, DJ Adonis and Cool Sessions Brass will be our entertainment for the night, and there will be activities like flip cup competitions, raffles, and beer pong. Also, some of the best restaurants on St. John have agreed to provide some of their amazing food for the event as well!

Save the Coconuts 2016A large portion of the event is online now in form of an auction! Items up for bid include boat charters, restaurants, villas, and more. A three-night stay at the Honeymoon Suite at Sunset Serenade Suites is one of the popular items! Be sure to check out all the awesome items here. We’re so excited to be apart of such a great event, if you are on island, it is a must attend event! If you are not, help out Woody’s and the St. John Cancer Fund by bidding on something now here.


Island Abodes Secret Beach Breaks: Brown Bay

 

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Brown Bay beach

St. John is loaded with special “off the beaten path” spots, and the Island Abodes team is here help you find them! This week, our team got the opportunity to scope out a wonderful destination called Brown Bay.

Brown Bay is located past Coral Bay toward the East End of the island. To get to this private oasis, it would be wise to rent a Jeep and drive about a mile past Skinny Legs. When you get to the entrance, you can park in the gravel lot and begin your hike.

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Lots of conchs to find at Brown Bay!

The hike to Brown Bay is a 1.5 mile round-trip and we rate it as moderately difficult. Waterproof hiking shoes are recommended given the rocky trail surface, but if you’re careful and a bit daring it can be done in flip-flops. When we got to beach, we were rewarded by the shallow and calm water, so refreshing! We spotted dozens of conch, crabs and sea stars! Just off the shore on the east side there’s great snorkeling with lots to see. This beach is also home to sea turtle nesting sites, so you may see a turtle gliding up to say hello. When we visited the beach, we were the only ones there for two hours. It was so nice to be able to enjoy our Sam and Jack’s deli lunch while gazing into the crystal clear waters and sitting in the plentiful shade around the beach.

brownbay

The Brown Bay Trail reaches the beach

At Island Abodes, we love every St. John beach and want you to see them all. Brown Bay is a spot that not many know about, making it the perfect unexpected adventure while you stay


St. John Tips: The Baths at Virgin Gorda

BATHS1

Crystal Clear water and rock formations at the Baths

A day trip to the British Virgin Islands is a must-do while vacationing on St. John, and the Island Abodes team recently visited one of our favorite spots in all the BVIs, The Baths on Virgin Gorda. The Baths are home to huge granite rock formations, crystal clear secret pools, and exquisite white sand beaches. Along with St. John’s North Shore, The Baths are known for being one of the best beach destinations in the world.

BATHS2

A look through a rock formation.

We booked our excursion with Cruz Bay Watersports and met at the Westin Resort dock for an early start. After about an hour boat ride, with snacks provided enroute, we reached Virgin Gorda and took a taxi to the entry of The Baths National Park. From there, we hiked to Devil’s Bay, a glorious white sand beach, for swimming, snorkeling. and low key rock climbing. Our tour guide, Megan, told us about a “secret spot” located on a trail away from the beach; so naturally, our team took the opportunity to find seclusion and came across a beautiful and completely deserted rock beach.

Next, we headed to the actual Baths. What an adventure as we climbed over rocks and through caves to find hidden grottos with crystal clear water! The Baths are an otherworldly beautiful place. After the exploring ended, we retired for a frozen pina colada at Mad Dog (one of our favorite bars in the world) followed by lunch at the Top of the Baths restaurant, which featured a fresh water pool, great food, yummy drink specials, and stunning views.

BATHS3

Unbelievable water clarity at the Baths.

At Island Abodes, we love St. John and all of the wonderful things to do here, but if you’re here for a full week and want to explore the Virgin Islands as a whole, this excursion should definitely be on your list. Check out our Facebook photo album to see more photos form Virgin Gorda and stay tuned for a blog on the Norman Island part of our BVI tour!


St. John Tips: A Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving

Sam & Jacks1

The Sam & Jack’s storefront

Holidays are right around the corner, and it’s time to decide if you’re coming to St. John. Why not spend Thanksgiving on St. John with all the beautiful beaches, amazing hikes, and glorious warm weather!

Our Island Abodes rentals are the perfect places to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll have an amazing view and unforgettable adventures. Thanksgiving is about family, so if you’re bringing the whole family and want to cook up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, our Down Yonder VillaGarden Suite in Chocolate Hole, One-bedroom at Sunset Serenade Suites, and Penthouse at the Sunset Serenade Suites come with fully-equipped kitchens. They’re the perfect getaways for family time and holiday memories.

A plate from a Sam & Jack's Thanksgiving

A plate from a Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving

But wouldn’t it be great to spend Thanksgiving Day at the beach then come home to a wonderful, home cooked meal without all the hassle? Local deli, Sam & Jack’s, offers ready-to-go Thanksgiving turkey dinners with all the trimmings! To order, just sign up with Sam & Jack’s, get a pickup time, and bring your food home to enjoy. Pickup times vary anywhere from 11am to 2pm Thanksgiving Day, and prices vary based on when you sign up. If you sign up before October 31st, it’s $55 per person, and if you sign up from November 1st to November 10th it’s $60 per person. The option for early pickup the day before Thanksgiving is also available; all you have to do is heat it up! There’s a two-person minimum for Thanksgiving dinners, and Sam & Jack’s can also accommodate large groups.

Sam&JacksFlyer

The Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving Flyer

St. John is the perfect place to enjoy your holiday season, and being able to relax with the entire family your entire vacation is priceless. Book your holiday retreat for the whole family with Island Abodes today, and don’t forget to reserve your family feast. It’ll be the best Thanksgiving EVER.

 

 


St. John Experiences: Mermaid Swim VI

 

Mermaid2

Island Abodes Mermaid Twins!

Girls of all ages dream of being mermaids, and what better place to pretend than on St. John. Thanks to Mermaid Swim VI, the Island Abodes girls got to live that dream this week. Owner, Crystal D’Abbraccio, met us at Maho Bay Beach with her amazing mermaid gear. Crystal, a dance instructor and ocean enthusiast, created the vision of Mermaid Swim VI, providing visitors from all over the world with the opportunity to become a mermaid for the day. Crystal can let you be a mermaid just for fun or show you how to get your mermaid workout on!

Our experience with Mermaid Swim VI was nothing short of magical. Crystal, friendly and inviting, asked us to pick a tail from her large and varied collection (available for all sizes), and off we went to the shore for pictures. She helped us get on the tail, which is realistic; it truly turns you into a mermaid! We placed our feet in a flipper (the tail end), rolled the tail fabric up to our waistlines, and voila…we transformed into a mermaids! The photos taken by Crystal that day were incredible, and since the tails are fully functional, we got to do some swimming too.

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What a great day to be a mermaid!

Later that evening, the mermaid play continued with a sunset mermaid workout class in Maho. This is a new addition to Mermaid Swim VI, and what a unique way to exercise! Crystal continued to work with us, but this time with a weighted mermaid workout fin. Crystal showed us some toning moves, and let us play on our own as well. It was a complete full body workout that we were able to enjoy while still being a mermaid in one of the best bays in St. John.

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The awesome “Merobics” tail!

Mermaid Swim VI can create mermaid themed birthday parties, bachelorette parties, individual shoots, or family shoots. Being able to become a mermaid in St. John is truly a once in a lifetime experience. When staying with Island Abodes for your next vacation, be sure to check out Mermaid Swim and book your fantasy photo shoot, workout, or day of play. Check out our photo album from the day here to get an idea of exactly what Mermaid Swim VI is all about.


St. John Events: 8 Tuff Miles Road Race

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Our Island Abodes Team passed the finish line

One of the most popular events on St. John is the annual 8 Tuff Miles Race, which is a road race beginning on the west end of St. John at the National Park Visitor Center in Cruz Bay, and ending at the ball field in Coral Bay. The course is called “8 Tuff Miles” because it measures precisely 8.38 miles and has points ranging anywhere from 5 feet to 999 feet in elevation.

This race is no joke. Over a thousand local, stateside and global competitors participate each year. Some aim to finish, and many have the goal of beating last year’s time. Some go as far as mimicking exact conditions of race day in their gyms, and spending an entire year figuring out the best methods to conquer the course.

This year, the 21st Annual 8 Tuff Miles road race will be held on Saturday, February 25th 2017 starting at 7:15am. Online registration begins October 1st. Prizes include $300 cash for the top female finisher and $300 in Tap Room Dollars for the fastest male. Registration fees cover the cost of entry and an official race t-shirt.

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Our team loves 8 Tuff Miles!

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year on St. John, so finding an accommodation requires advance planning. Island Abodes is pleased to offer comfortable, well-equipped vacation rentals in both Cruz Bay and Chocolate Hole, perfect for resting up before and after the race and getting to the starting line on race day. Race fees are non-refundable, so it’s smart to secure your travel plans before reserving your spot in the race. Booking early is key to finding the perfect place to stay on St. John, so book with us today and get ready to race! Big thanks to Yelena Rogers Photography for the awesome photos of past year’s races.