Dining Out On St John

St. John Restaurant Guide

Casual Dining

Cruz Bay Landing (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) 

Longboard (happy hour and dinner) 

Lime Inn (lunch and dinner)

Morgan’s Mango (dinner – make reservations)

Cafe Roma (pizza- dinner)

Greengo’s (Mexican- lunch and dinner)

Banana Deck (lunch and dinner)

de Coal Pot (local food)

Gecko Gazebo/Sun Dog Café (brunch, lunch and dinner)

Hercules (local food)

Margarita Phil’s (Mexican)

Ronnie’s Pizza (pizza)

Tap and Still (burgers)

Uncle Joe’s (BBQ)

ZoZ0’s H20 (lunch, happy hour and dinner- must arrive via boat or ferry. Located on Lovango Cay)

Bar Dining

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

Woody’s (dive bar)

420 to Center (sports bar)

Cap’s Place (local food)

Dog House Pub (sports bar)

Hillside Terrace (local food)

Nella’s Lounge (local food)

Quiet Mon (Irish)

Fine Dining 

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

The Terrace (make reservations)

Extra Virgin (make reservations)

La Tapa (menu changes daily – make reservations)

1864 Restaurant  (Lunch and Dinner) 

Dave and Jerry’s Island Steakhouse 

 Beach Dining 

Drink (just a bar but it is awesome)

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

Joe’s Rum Hut (lunch, dinner)

Beach Bar (lunch, dinner)

Bikinis on the Beach (at Honeymoon Beach)

Deli Style – To Go

Sam and Jacks (lunch- deli- also provisioning)

North Shore Deli (breakfast and lunch)

Little Olive (food truck, open W-F lunch/dinner pick up) 

Shaibu’s Gourmet Grab and Go (2nd floor marketplace)

Food “Shops”

Island Cork (wine and provisioning)

St. John Provisions (coffee shop)

Papaya Café (coffee and book shop)

Bajo el Sol Art Bar

Dessert

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

Columbo’s Smoothie Stand (on Centerline Road)

Cool Desires Ice Cream (home of the 16oz drink)

Irie Pops (RJ’s favorite)

Our Market Smoothies

On the other side, Coral Bay. 

Aqua Bistro (lunch and dinner) 

Skinny Legs (lunch and dinner) 

Miss Lucy’s (lunch and dinner)

Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis (dinner)

Rhumb Lines/Indigo Grill (dinner)

Lime Out (floating taco bar)

Pizza Bar In Paradise (pizza)

The Danforth (brunch, lunch and 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

Distance: .5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals

Cruz Bay Beach

Distance: .9 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Chocolate Hole Bay

Distance: 1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Hart Bay

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 (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! 


St. John Tips: The Baths at Virgin Gorda

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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.

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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.

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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

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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, Hibiscus Suite 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.

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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

 

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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 accommodations 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.

 


St. John Beach Report: Hawksnest

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Breathtaking view from the Hawksnest beach access entrance

So you just got your rental car, checked into your Island Abodes suite or villa, and are all settled in. That means it’s beach time, and Hawksnest is the closest North Shore beach with easy parking, accessibility, and facilities.

 

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A view of paradise!

Hawksnest is located right off North Shore Road (Route 20) about 2 miles from Cruz Bay. From Sunset Serenade Suites, it’s located about 3 miles away (12 minute drive), and from Island Abodes’ Chocolate Hole villas it’s about 3.5 miles away (14 minute drive). You can also get there by taxi, which costs, per person, approximately $7-$8 from Chocolate Hole, and $6-$7 from our Sunset Serenade Suites. There’s a large free parking lot located steps away from the beach, and there are also bathrooms, covered pavilions and charcoal grills.

The beaches at Hawksnest, like so many on St. John, are gorgeous. Just because it’s located close to town does not take away from its breathtaking beauty. This beach shares a bay with Oppenheimer and Gibney beaches, and is home to a lengthy shoreline. In the mornings, the shoreline stretches out for lots of sun exposure, and as the day goes on, more shade is available. There are also plenty of trees to place your

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Evening views from Hawksnest Beach.

chairs and towels under while you snorkel or swim. Sometimes, you may see a little surf at Hawksnest because it is an unprotected bay, but nothing too wild, making it a fine place to float or for children. The snorkeling in Hawknest is a bit limited, but still an enjoyable activity. Overall, this is a great place to relax, swim, and enjoy your first day on St. John.

Staying with Island Abodes not only gives you beautiful views of Cruz Bay or Chocolate Hole, but with a rental car, you’ll have all the freedom in the world and a lovely home to return to after your many adventures. A visit to Hawksnest is the perfect way to kick off your vacation and relax on the beach!

 


Get Ready to Paddle the Park

Our Island Abodes owner and team member, Robert, participating in the 2015 Paddle the Park Race!
Our Island Abodes owner and team member, Robert, participating in the 2015 Paddle the Park Race! Go Robert!

It’s time for one of Island Abodes’ favorite St. John special events: Paddle the Park SUP race. This event is for all levels of paddleboard enthusiasts and celebrates the beauty of St. John. The race starts and ends in beautiful Maho Bay on St. John’s spectacular North Shore.

This year, the race will be held on Sunday, November 6, 2016 starting at 9am. Check-in for registered participants will begin at 7:30am, a pre-race briefing will start at 8:30am, and then the whistle blows at 9am, kicking off the race! Since this race is geared for all levels of participants, there are a variety of courses to choose from. The Short Course is beginner level going from Maho Beach to the National Park Service floating fee station and back (1 mile); the Open Course is moderate difficulty going from Maho Beach to Whistling Cay and back (3 miles); and the Elite Course is for the hardcore competitors going from Maho Beach to Whistling Cay, to and around Cinnamon Cay, and back (5.5 miles). There will also be a special category for children under the age of 12.

Reaching the finish line!
Reaching the finish line!

To register early for this awesome event, go online, call 340-779-4940, or visit Connections,

Caribbean Surf Co., or the Friends of the Park Store starting September 19th through October 28th. Early registration costs $60 for adults and $30 for children under 18. General registration begins October 29th through November 4th and costs $70 for adults and $35 for children under 18. Finally, late registration takes place at the Friends of the Park Store ONLY on November 5th from 9am to 2pm costing $80 for adults and $40 for children under 18. Entry registration fees include a race jersey, event goodie bag, and lunch during the awards ceremony. Awards for male, female, and children participants will be given.

If you’re vacationing with us on these dates or love SUP, this is great event to attend on St. John. Board rentals are available upon registration, but rentals are limited. Register today to take on the best SUP race in the Virgin Islands!

 


St. John Hiking Guide: America Ruin Trail

St. John is home to some of the best hiking in the world.

The gorgeous America Ruin Trail overlook of Maho Bay.

There are trails for every taste: short, long, sandy, rocky, mountainous, and even some that end at spectacular beaches. To kick off our trail series, we wanted to describe one of our favorites, the America Ruin Trail. We were lucky enough to have local professional photographer, Yelena Rogers, hike the trail with us to capture the beautiful views and moments on top of the world!

The trail starts 100 yards past Cinnamon Bay’s entrance on North Shore Road. The trailhead is marked by a sign for “Cinnamon Bay Trail” (there’s another sign along the way where the two trails diverge). It’s adjacent to the Cinnamon Bay Ruins and there is a place for one or two cars to park. This is a great hike to tack on to a day at Cinnamon Bay Beach.

Starting point of the hike on the Cinnamon Bay Trail.

The ruins were once home to the Danish Cinnamon Bay Estate (a/k/a America Hill) sugar cane plantations and bay rum distilleries, the most prosperous on island. Today, the remnants of the old rum factory are still prominent, and at the top of your hike, you’ll be able to perch on the ruins of the Estate boiler room and gaze over to Maho Bay, Francis Bay and Tortola. These unforgettable views, with the ruins and forests all around, make you feel completely lost in time.

We rate this hike as moderately difficult. The start is quite steep, then it’s about 30 minutes to the top with moderate incline, rocky points, and passable foliage. While hiking, you’ll see tons of bay leaf trees. Be sure to grab a leaf to sniff; the bay rum distilleries used these leaves in the early 20th century to make colognes and lotions. Be sure to bring plenty of water.

Our intern, Mary, overlooking the beautiful Maho Bay from the top of the America Ruin Trail.

All Island Abodes units come equipped with tons of island information, including trail guides, making it easy to explore during your stay on St. John. While having a car makes it easy to get to the trail, a taxi to Cinnamon Bay would work great too. Hiking is a must-do while on St. John, and this trail cannot be missed! If you loved the pictures in our blog, be sure to visit Yelena Rogers Photography’s blog and website to book your photo shoot during your next St. John vacation.