HURRICANE IRMA AFTERMATH

As you may or may not know, our beautiful island St. John took a direct hit from a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma.

Unfortunately, due to the catastrophic circumstances on the island, and to the overall damages sustained in the Caribbean, we must cancel all remaining 2017-December 2018 bookings. It is estimated that 80% of the structures on St. John were damaged, including all of our properties.

You may have seen in the media that the island is without power and communications are minimal. Recovery efforts have been slow and severely challenged due to the expansive nature of the damage sustained. Our family does not have a home today, and we lost all of our household possessions. We will share more as we learn more.

IS MY BOOKING AVAILABLE?

Unfortunately, this means that your 2017 booking is not available. To our knowledge, there are no available vacation accommodations on St. John through the end of 2017. We regretfully have no choice but to recommend that you make alternative plans for your upcoming trip.

CAN WE RE-BOOK FOR A FUTURE DATE?

Thank you so much for your confidence. Because information from the island is limited and the recovery effort is really just starting, we do not know today when a reasonable re-booking date will be. We hope to have much better information about this in October. By then, we expect the situation on the island to have stabilized enough to assess when re-booking will be possible. We promise to keep you updated.

IS A REFUND POSSIBLE?

At this time, Island Abodes is not able to process refund requests. I believe that our entire Island Abodes team is currently homeless. The people of St. John are still being evacuated. The best information I have is that there are no available vacation accommodations on St. John. Through the rest of 2017, St. John is unlikely to be a suitable vacation destination. We will update this information as soon as we can.

OUR GRATITUDE

Thank you for booking with Island Abodes. We have been deeply moved by your love, prayers, and tremendous support during this devastating time. Hurricane Irma has gone in the record books as the most powerful storm to ever cross the Atlantic. It completely overwhelmed every island in its path. We deeply apology for the inconvenience this is causing you. We commit to provide updates when we can.

OUR FAMILY

Robert and I appreciate you being part of the Island Abode family. Your love and support has always been incredible. During this difficult time it means that much more. We just had our first baby ten weeks ago. This was not how we envisioned starting a family! To lose our home, our livelihood, and all our possessions is devastating. We are thankful to be alive and have each other. We are strong due to amazing people like you. We will rebuild our island, our homes, and our lives because of you. Thank you for being part of the Island Abodes family. We just ask for your patience and understanding during the next couple of months as we sort things out. We will do all we can to keep you updated.

Warmly,

Brittany



Things to Do on a Rainy or Overcast Day

Maho Bay Overlook. Image courtesy of newsofstjohn.com.

We know that most of you visiting St. John look forward to laying out on the beautiful beaches, swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear water and soaking up all the sunshine you can while you are here. Unfortunately, even in the Caribbean, there are rainy and overcast days.

We have been experiencing a lot of rain in the past couple of days so we thought we’d share a few things to do on days the sun decides to take off.

Spa Day

Take a day to pamper yourself. There are several masseuses on island that will come to your rental! Our Chocolate Hole and Sunset Serenade rentals all have plenty of room for a masseuse and their equipment. Ask us for more details if you decide to book a massage.

You can also visit the spa at The Westin which a short drive from any of our rentals. Caneel Bay Resort offers spa services and the Drift Away Spa above St. John Market has reopened.

Shopping

Image courtesy of mongoosejunctionstjohn.com.

You will find plenty of St. John apparel and souvenirs to take home at any of the shops in Mongoose Junction. Wharfside Village has several shopping options as well. If you decide to visit Coral Bay you can shop in Skinny Legs and in the Cocoloba Shops where Aqua Bistro is located.

Dining

Grab lunch and a beer at any of the awesome restaurants in town. In Cruz Bay, some of our favorites are Woody’s, Jake’s, Ocean Grill, Sun Dog Café, The Tap Room, Waterfront Bistro and Cruz Bay Landing. In Coral Bay, you can’t go wrong with a rum punch and burger at Skinny Legs to pass the time in the afternoon.

TV and Movies

All of our rentals (except for the Studio) are equipped with a TV and Roku where you can catch up on your favorite Netflix show or watch the latest movie release.

Hiking

With clouds covering the sun, temps might cool down a bit to enjoy a nice long hiking day on St. John. The Reef Bay and L’Esperance trails are great options on days when the sun isn’t shining bright. You can discover more hiking trails throughout St. John in the Last Trail Bandit Guide that we provide in each of our rentals.

One of the best things you can do on a rainy day is RELAX! You’re on vacation! Kick back and throw your feet up while lounging on the outside deck area at any of our rentals. Listen to the rain fall while enjoying an adult beverage too… we strongly encourage it!


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?

 

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, most of our beaches are in the National Park, which means everyone has to drive to get to them! 

How far away is the beach from our Sunset Serenade Suites?

Great Cruz Bay Beach/ The Westin

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 mealspa services, tennis and workout room (all for a fee). Great Cruz Bay Beach is also where Cruz Bay Watersports is located.

Distance: .5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals

Cruz Bay Beach

The beach in downtown Cruz Bay is always a lively destination, as it is home to beach bars, restaurants, charter boats, and the ferry dock. While we don’t recommend swimming here, it does provide 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!

Distance: .9 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.

Distance: 1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

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.

Distance: 1.6 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!

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

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

Distance: 2.5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Caneel Bay

Distance: 3 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

Distance: 3.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

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

Distance: 3.8 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Jumbie

Distance: 4.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Trunk Bay

Distance: 5.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Cinnamon Bay

Distance: 6.3 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Maho Bay

How far away is the beach from our Chocolate Hole properties?

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.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

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.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

Great Cruz Bay Beach/ The Westin

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 mealspa services, tennis and workout room, (all for a fee). Great Cruz Bay Beach is also where Cruz Bay Watersports is located.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

Cruz Bay Beach

The beach in downtown Cruz Bay is always a lively destination, as it is 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!

Distance: 1.4 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

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!

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

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

Distance: 3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Caneel Bay

Distance: 3.5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

Distance: 3.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

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

Distance: 4.3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Jumbie

Distance: 4.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Trunk Bay

Distance: 5.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Cinnamon Bay

Distance: 6.8 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals 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

 

brownbay3

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.

brownbay2

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!