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, 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.

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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 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 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.

 

The St. John Brewers Beer Tour and Tasting

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St. John Brewers’ Unique Brew System

Our Island Abodes team had the pleasure of going on the brewery’s first official tour and tasting at Mongoose Junction, and it was AWESOME! Co-owner Cheech told us about the birth of the brewery, their brewing process, specialty brews, and the new location of the brewery.

The tour kicked off at a shipping container in the parking lot of Mongoose Junction that houses a complete brewing system, bathroom, and A/C. Cheech gave us, and our twelve other tour participants, a run down about the general brewing process of the beer and let us sniff some sample barley varieties and hops. Afterward, we were able to visit the exciting new location of the brewery and restaurant. As many of you may know, the Tap Room was destroyed by a fire last year and has been operating from a temporary home since then.

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Cheech and his assistant pouring up samples

During the tour, Cheech told us how St. John Brewers was born. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Cheech and his buddy Kevin decided to quit their mainland jobs and move to St. John with plans to be bartenders. They quickly noticed a complete lack of good craft beer on the island, so they decided to brew their own. After testing many recipes, they produced their first beer, the Mango Pale Ale. The idea was the first of its kind and quickly caught on. So, the brewers were able to open the Tap Room and bottle their creations, including some sodas.

The tour concluded with a scrumptious beer tasting, including their Island Summer Ale, Liquid Sunshine, Mango Pale Ale, Island Hoppin’ IPA, Amber Ale and Root Beer. All were fantastic, and perfect for drinking on the islands. All Island Abodes guests get a complimentary St. John Brewers beer in your fridge!.

Stay tuned for another blog, highlighting the great brews and tastes St. John Brewers has to offer. If you want to experience the new brewery tour, visit the Tap Room to sign up today! It’s definitely a new “must-do” activity on the island.