Dining out Information for Offseason

•420 to Center: Staying open
•Aqua Bistro: Staying open
•Asolare: Closed permanently due to storms
•Banana Deck: Last day is August 26; Reopening date TBD
•Barefoot Cowboy Lounge: Closed due to storms
•Beach Bar: Closed due to storms; Will reopen this fall
•Bikinis on the Beach: Staying open
•Cafe Concordia: Closed due to storms
•Cafe Roma: Staying open
•Candie’s: Closed due to storms
•Caneel Bay Resort: Closed due to storms
•Château Bordeaux: Closed due to storms
•Chester’s: Closed
•Cinnamon Bay Campground: Closed due to storms
•Columbo’s Smoothie Stand: No info yet.
•Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis: Last day is July 20; Reopening October 1
•Cruz Bay Landing: Staying open
•da Livio’s: Staying open
•De’ Coal Pot: Closed due to storms
•Dog House Pub: Staying open
•DR!NK: Closing August 11th through mid-October
•Driftwood Dave’s: Closed due to storms
•Extra Virgin Bistro: Last night is August 25; Reopening date TBD
•Gecko Gazebo: Closing September 6 through 11 for maintenance
•Greengo’s: Staying open
•Hercules: No info yet.
•High Tide: Staying open
•Indigo Grill: TBD
•Island Cork: Staying open
•Jake’s: Closed due to storms
•Joe’s Rum Hut: Closed due to storms; Will reopen this fall
•Knox & Ollies: Closed due to storms
•La Tapa: Closing August 12; Reopening in October
•Lemongrass at the Westin: Closed due to storms; Restaurant will reopen January 2019
•Lime Inn: Last night is August 25; Reopening October 8
•Little Olive: Closed for offseason; Reopening in October
•Lucky Chops: TBD
•Margarita Phil’s: Closing last week of August; Reopening last week of October
•Miss Lucy’s: No info yet.
•Morgan’s Mango: Staying open; Will continue to close on Wednesdays until the week of Thanksgiving
•Nella’s Lounge: No info yet.
•North Shore Deli: TBD
•Ocean 362: Last day is August 27; Reopening October 10
•Ocean Grill: Closing August 24 through October 5
•Our Market Smoothies: No info yet.
•P & P’s: No info yet.
•Pickles: No info yet.
•Pizzabar in Paradise: TBD
•Pizza Pi (Located in Christmas Cove): Last day is July 21; Reopening mid-November
•Quiet Mon: TBD
•Rhumb Lines: No info yet.
•Ronnie’s Pizza: TBD
•Sam and Jack’s Deli: Staying open
•Shipwreck Landing: Closed due to storms
•Skinny Legs: Last day open is August 25; Will reopen on Halloween with a big party!
•Slimman and the Snack Dragon: Closed due to storms
•Sogo’s: Closed due to storms
•St. John Provisions: Staying open
•St. John Scoops: Staying open
•Sun Dog Cafe: Closing September 6 through 11 for maintenance
•Tamarind Inn: Closed due to storms; Reopening date TBD
•The Bowery: Closed due to storms
•The Tap & Still: Will be open
•The Tap Room: Staying open
•The Thirsty Donkey: Closed due to storms
•The Fish Trap: Closed permanently; Lucky Chops is now in that location.
•The Longboard: Closing July 29 through August 1
•The Terrace: Last day open is August 1st. Reopening mid-September
•The Triple B: Closed due to storms
•UMAMI: Closed due to storms
•Uncle Joe’s: Staying open
•Waterfront Bistro: Closed due to storms
•West Indies Delight: No info yet
•Wok on the Beach: No info yet.
•Woody’s: Staying open (closed on Sundays)
•Zozo’s Ristorante: Closed due to storms

Joy of Life

The Joy of Life.

Yes, it’s a lovely one-bedroom home for rent in Coral Bay. (Summer special: Stay six nights, get the 7th night free.) But it’s also something we’ve been thinking about a lot these days.

Joy of Life villa for rent in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI

Embrace the Joy of Life at this one-bedroom rental villa in Coral Bay.

As St. John continues to rebuild from hurricanes Irma and Maria, we are more focused than ever on all the things that make our island so special. Number one on the list is the people–the residents, the people who live here part-time, the vacationers who come year after year, the tourists who day-trip, and, now, all the relief workers who are helping us rebuild. There’s an amazing community of people who love St. John. That’s the reason they call us Love City.

We are so grateful to everyone who is choosing to vacation here right now. Your tourist dollars are helping us recover.

If you plan to vacation on St. John, please consider renting local. Our rental business, stjohhhouserentals.com, is based right here on St. John. We put you directly in touch with our island homeowners and local property managers. Browse through our listings and if you see something you like, you’ll also find contact information to email the homeowner or property manager directly. He or she will be the best person to tell you the state of the house and the surrounding area.

For the latest information on hurricane recovery efforts, check out this recent post from the St. John Community Foundation. Find out what’s happening at Virgin Islands National Park at the park’s website, and on their Facebook page. You can read a more personal account of how some residents are faring HERE. And you can keep up with general news courtesy of the News of St. John and the St. John Tradewinds.

Thank you again for your continued support. We can’t wait to see you!

Hurricane Recovery Updates

Hiking the Johnny Horn Trail on a recent Sunday morning.

Mother Nature has been kind to St. John in the past few months. The weather is beautiful, the island is green, and the water is blue. All National Park beaches and hiking trails are open.

While the island is still in recovery mode–and will be for some time–we are making progress every day. Many restaurants and businesses are open and many villas are ready for guests.

Read more about what’s happening on St. John six months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria HERE.

If you’re thinking about a vacation on St. John, please consider RENTING LOCAL. Our business, stjohhhouserentals.com, is based on St. John and puts you directly in touch with our island homeowners and local property managers. Browse through our listings HERE and if you see something you like, you’ll also find contact information to email the homeowner or property manager directly. He or she will be the best person to tell you the state of the house and the surrounding area.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the last six months. We feel the love and can’t wait to see all of you back here.

St. John Strong!

The 17th Annual Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Thankspigging Chef Benji prepares the pig for roasting.

Chef Benji prepares the Thankspigging pig for roasting.

This just in: Photos from Thankspigging!

With power and phone service finally coming back after THREE MONTHS, we’re starting to get more news from Coral Bay.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman said there was no way Hurricane Irma was going to stop him from hosting his annual potluck Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone is invited to share a free, communal meal with their neighbors.

“Of course we were going to have it!” Ken said. “It’s more needed this year, for sure, with so many people without kitchens, or roofs…” Or homes.

The only question was where, as Skinny Legs—the traditional venue—was also ravaged by Irma, but as Thanksgiving approached, Skinny’s was starting to resemble her old self again. Ken decorated by hanging 17 commemorative T-shirts—one from every year since 2001—beneath Skinny’s new roof. This year’s theme: Irma La Douche.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Captain Pete of Angel’s Rest helps carve the roast pig.

“I lost everything so it’s nice to be here with people that probably lost everything too,” said Pete Hoschl, whose floating bar, Angel’s Rest, was wrecked in the storms. “Today’s a day that everybody gets together and forgets about the bad times.”

Chef Benji, who roasted the pig (it was mouthwatering), said he was thankful to be “helping out the community and just sharing a helping hand.”

The pig was a fraction of the size that Ken wanted, but this is a community that knows how to make do. Jeff McCrave from Drunk Bay Brewing fried three large and luscious turkeys, those who could brought homemade side dishes and desserts, and before long the (newly varnished) Skinny’s bar was full of delicious food.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay, St. John 2017

Coral Bay resident Megan Elliott organizes the desserts.

Megan Elliott, who was arranging platters on the buffet, said life’s been difficult in Coral Bay without telephone, television, or internet.

“You hear stories that the military can go into the middle of the deep dark jungle and set a system up in 24 hours and here we are, almost 3 months later.”

Thankspigging is a break from that.

“We need some normalcy and a sense of camaraderie,” Elliott said. “It’s been hard.”

Thankspigging Coral Bay 2017 St. John USVI

Drunk Bay Brewer Jeff McCrave deep-fried three mouthwatering turkeys.

McCrave is a regular at Thankspigging. He recalled meeting a tourist a few years back who wandered in with his wife and pretty much summed up the appeal of the event.

“He looked around and said, ‘This is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be.’ He said, ‘I’m bringing my whole family down here next year for Thankspigging.’ And he did!”

There were no tourists this year, but by 5 pm the band was ready to play and hungry locals were lined up out into the parking lot.

Thankspigging 2017 in Coral Bay

A Thankspigging feast!

Ken welcomed all who gathered, gave a shout out to everyone who worked on Thanksgiving—including the linemen from BBC Electric who would join the party when their power-restoring work was done for the day—and ended with a Coral Bay “toast” of sorts that drew cheers from the crowd:

“We’re not even Coral Bay Strong. We’re Coral Bay (expletive) Tough!”

Love City Car Ferries, Inc. Update

Capt. Vic

Love City Car Ferries

It’s about three months post hurricanes. We, like many of you, are still in recovery and rebuilding mode. Here is an update of where we are and what’s going on at Love City Car Ferries, Inc.

The M/V Island Vic is deemed a loss; but we are working on its replacement;
The M/V Capt Vic is operational; We do not have office telephone service, but if necessary, you may contact us by calling 340-998-9597; We have temporary internet service; however it’s spotty at times;

As a result of the internet, we have entered many invoices via telephone satellite service; hence we could not attach copies of tickets to the invoice; Original copies of tickets are always given to drivers; we ask that you ensure that your drivers turn them in to accounts payable because we won’t be able to scan and attach copies until our offices are fully operational.

Since services have been rendered and since copies of tickets were given to drivers, we expect timely payments as per our terms. We update our ferry schedule on social media on a regular basis, so please check there first if you have questions regarding changes to our schedule.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the mobile number referenced herein. We look forward to continuing to provide a wonderful car ferry experience to residents and visitors alike.

Best regards,

Luck & Chance & Good & Bad

Picture Looking down on Coral Bay from a demolished Chateau Bordeaux
on Thanksgiving Day, 2017

Luck & Chance & Good & Bad
by Margie Smith Holt

At first it all seems almost normal. After two months of waiting, of searching for clues, of seeing the pictures of the devastation and the signs of renewal, of failing to have an actual phone call with anyone on island, of trying to read between the lines of the updates they manage to post on Facebook, you just want to see for yourself. So after two friends say they have a place for you to stay, you book a flight, and that’s normal, and you discover you can even rent a car online.

Most travelers had to be up early to make that 10:35 flight connection out of Miami, but I’m surprised that so many have their window shades pulled down as we approach Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Don’t they want to see? I can’t wait for my first glimpse, to see something with my own eyes, but when I do, it still doesn’t tell me much. I see green and blue. Normal.

You disembark from the back of the plane and feel that first blast of tropical heat. A few letters are blown off the sign at Cyril E. King, but the airport is functioning. You walk past construction, sure, but the Caribbean music is playing and the free rum punch is there if you want it, and the bags are already coming off the conveyer belt, and the taxis are lined up and waiting, and before you know it, you’re on your way to the Red Hook ferry dock and, again, it’s almost normal. You can tell there’s been a storm, you see damage around St. Thomas, but there’s traffic, and people, and business being conducted, or so it seems, or maybe you’re just distracted by the young woman sitting next to you in the cab who also is returning for the first time (you heard her tell the cab driver) but spends the entire trip staring at her phone, apparently shopping for a leather jacket. Doesn’t she want to look around?

The sun is shining and I make the 4 o’clock boat and sitting inside I see some people I know and it’s the first time I see what I will later hear called “the look.” I don’t know whether to describe it as vacant, or slightly wild-eyed, or maybe just beyond exhausted. It is not quite approaching defeated, but it is definitely not normal. This couple were on island for both Hurricane Irma on September 6 and Hurricane Maria two weeks later and are just returning from what should have been a much-needed break up north, but it was too short, and too stressful, trying to cut through the red tape of shipping down the things they need to rebuild their home, trying to figure out what’s next since he lost his job and his business.

The mood shifts when we dock. St. John. You almost didn’t quite believe it was still here. Fresh-faced, in-charge relief workers greet the boat. Men and women in their clean shirts labeled Bloomberg or Johns Hopkins are off-loading boxes and bags, tangible evidence that Things Are Happening.

My friend who meets me at the Cruz Bay dock is one of these “Do-ers,” one of the people making things happen. She works for the St. John Community Foundation, her job to take care of the needs of St. Johnians even before there were two Category Five hurricanes. She has a lot of company these days. In her tiny office—and all over the island—in the days that follow, I will see people from the Coast Guard and the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, from Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies and Love City Strong, and from all those acronyms that spell disaster relief and recovery: VITEMA, FEMA, VOAD, DIRT, and the BBC (more on them later). There are helpers and do-ers everywhere.

We go to Mongoose for a Painkiller. (Almost normal. Normal would be the Beach Bar, but all of Wharfside Village is shuttered and fenced off—save for Paul’s shiny and stocked Island Cork—a handful of beached boats still blocking the entire front of the complex.) My friend tells me about the successes and setbacks of her day—the hurricane rhumba, another friend calls it. One step forward, six steps back. She is relentlessly positive. We have dinner at Sun Dog where the lights are on, the place is buzzing, and people are upbeat. It’s a good night because Ted cooks on Tuesdays. Ted is one of the best chefs on the island, I am told. The dry rub mahi is delicious.

The house where my friend is staying fared well in the storms. The owners, off-island, apparently had the money—and the island wherewithal—to get things repaired, scrubbed, done. The house is clean and comfortable. There’s no power, but she has cool solar lights, plus a big generator. She turns the generator on long enough to settle in, take a hot shower, and flush the toilets before retiring for the night. The breeze is so strong on this hill overlooking Great Cruz and the Westin, I have to close a window. The stars are out. The tree frogs are singing. Normal.


The imposing West Indian man in the car rental place is talking about the rain. Everyone has been complaining about the rain but “the rain made everything green,” he says. “Maybe God knows what he’s doing. Maybe the island needed a cleansing.”

The island is so green—and has been for about two weeks, I’m told—a stark contrast to those early days when all of St. John looked desolate, a barren, scorched landscape, not a leaf to be found. When home looked so strange and foreign, a National Park ranger (St. John is two-thirds National Park) who has lived here for years got lost trying to get to work. That green and the bursts of red and orange and purple from the flamboyant trees and the bougainvillea, and, always, the blue of the water, make for a stunning—and incongruous—frame for the scenes of obliteration you see on that first drive around: A pile of rubble where Chateau Bordeaux used to be. Decapitated palms at beloved Maho beach. The Shipwreck restaurant smashed to smithereens. We’ve all seen the pictures, but it doesn’t really prepare you. Downed power and telephone lines as well as piles of rock and debris litter North Shore Road and Centerline, which are just fine in parts, and cratered with muddy potholes in others. The road is single track in some places, forcing people to slow down or even stop in some places and wait for oncoming traffic to pass. Fewer people and, I suppose, fewer working cars mean less traffic, but I swear, it still seems there’s almost always someone riding up my ass. (Normal.) Heaps of wood and metal that used to be somebody’s home cling to the hillsides. So many trees were toppled or denuded, there are now views of the sea where they used to be none. It’s hard to take it all in, harder still when you’re driving, but a few glances around show the randomness of the destruction: a house intact next door to a house blown to bits, a FEMA blue roof covering what’s left. Blue used to be just the color of the water, but now it’s a color of the land, too.

On my very first drive I see lots of wildlife, and that’s encouraging: donkeys, mongoose (mongeese? I never know the plural…), goats, cows, pigs. Deer, pelicans, and a bananaquit will soon get added to the list.

The friend I stay with in Coral Bay has not fared as well as my friend in Cruz Bay. Her property is in ruins, her personal possessions and tools of her restaurant business soaked by Maria after Irma took her roof, but she is also—on this day, at least—relentlessly positive, her boisterous laugh buoying the people around her, her bear hugs consoling another young woman who starts sobbing when we see her in the grocery store and ask how she is.

We stop at Connections, where people get their mail, to see what that day’s deliveries have brought in. My friend can’t get the screws she needs to put her roof on, but Jen, who runs Connections, has to make a trash run every day to get rid of all the catalogs taking up precious space in her cramped office. Even in a hurricane, the junk mail gets delivered. A care package from Boston contains work boots and clean socks—a big hit. A bag of trail mix is roundly rejected. Nobody wants to see another bag of trail mix. I make a feeble attempt to defend the poor sap who sent it. (I’ve sent a few boxes of it myself.) People want to help and they don’t know what to send, I offer. Some well-meaning church sent boxes of blankets and sweaters. Not much use in a place where it’s 80 degrees—at night. Medical supplies not from an official source have to be thrown away. Getting unwanted stuff off the island is as challenging as getting the needed stuff on. There’s a reason relief organizations ask for cash.

I wanted to bring as much as possible with me when I flew down, but every single person I was able to communicate with said they didn’t need anything. The truth is that many need almost everything. This one needs a roof. That one needs furniture. Let’s not even talk about the jobs just yet. The final item in the care package is a Kenny Chesney Christmas CD, from the $5 bargain bin. My friend gives it a big thumbs down. Jen snatches it up. Nobody’s allowed to say anything bad about Kenny, who’s funneled millions to the island so far. It’s because of him that Skinny Legs, the famous burger shack next door, now has a new roof, and a real one at that, not just a bunch of old sails.

We need the four-wheel drive to get through the muck that counts as a road to my friend’s house. She gives me a tour of the damage, of the mold, of the tiny closet where she and two friends huddled, cross-legged during Irma, water rising up to their waists. I brought her new sheets and pillows, and I’m embarrassed when she puts them on the bed where I’ll be sleeping. She shows me how to pull buckets of water up from the cistern to flush the toilet. She points out all the hazards while it’s still light: the open hole in the floor where they access the cistern; the stair railing on the left that’s about to give way; the network of extension cords snaking across the floors to position as many fans as possible toward the beds, the only relief from the bugs. From her front porch she gives me an assessment of her neighbors, all of whom, she thinks, are worse off than she is: the Haitians next door, living under a tarp; the family across the valley whose girls shrieked with joy every time they plucked something salvageable from the wreckage that used to be the second floor of their home; the couple whose home survived, but their business is gone and he suffered a stroke. She, too, has a view of the water where there used to be none. Maybe two dozen boats are floating in Coral Bay harbor, which seems sort of normal, except you realize most are sailboats and are supposed to have masts. Dozens more boats lie in jumbles on the shoreline, or splintered on the rocks.

My friend, who I know is one of the best chefs on the island, cooks dinner for half a dozen people—pasta with fresh vegetables, which have only recently begun appearing in the grocery stores. The meal is delicious. Halfway through, she mentions she had to pick weevils out of the pasta. There’s a brief pause in conversation, but nobody stops eating.


At 7:30 in the morning, Coral Bay is a hub of activity. A line of cars backs up towards the Disaster Recovery Center, across from the firehouse. You hear chainsaws and construction sounds. A fleet of BBC trucks hits the road. BBC Electrical Services is an electric utility contractor based in Joplin, MO and contracted to repair the power lines. Their linemen—uber-friendly, exuding competence, are working all over the island, seven days a week, the new heroes of St. John. The cavalry, someone called them.

Amidst the obvious progress are other signs of hope. Three National Park beaches are officially open, and beckoning. One of Miss Lucy’s sea grapes is flourishing on the beach in front of the closed restaurant. Delicate pink flowers bloom across the top of the fence around the Coral Bay ball field, which is currently being used as a trash transfer station. A tamarind tree, keeled over and uprooted, sprouts tiny shoots of green. While it’s hard to see new growth as anything but positive, one friend confessed to wanting to send a big Fuck You to Mother Nature for bouncing back when so many others were not quite ready.

We take a drive out to East End. It’s one of those clear days when you get a spectacular view of the BVIs. From a distance they exude normalcy. They are velvet green, and the sky and water are Caribbean blue, and then someone points out that Thanksgiving is just days away and there is not a single boat in Sir Francis Drake Channel. Not one. Not normal.

My friend checks on other friends whose property she has not seen. One structure is covered with a blue tarp. Another is open to the sky. Someone is living in a tent. A big stone house looks untouched, a fortress. I see more people with “the look.” “I can tell you weren’t here for it,” one weary woman says to me. “You’re too clean.”

“That hurricane was luck and chance and good and bad,” says a native islander, another resident who counts himself among the blessed, even though he lost his roof and his car, and his home was wet for weeks and weeks, and both he and his wife, he says, are suffering from “hurricane brain.”

I watch people greet each other: “How are you?” “I’m good. How about you?” “Good. We’re good.” In some cases, I know what “good” means for one person who is speaking, and I can tell you it’s not what a lesser person would call “good.” I can only imagine how the other person in this conversation is defining “good.”

Sometimes I am the greeter. “How are you?” I will ask, a vague, anodyne question because at first I’m not quite sure what to ask, if they want to talk. “Good,” they will answer, and I don’t have to ask any questions because then we will sit down and an hour and a half later, they will still be talking. About the 200-plus mile-per-hour wind gusts. About the closet where they hid during Irma’s screaming eye. About the bombed out aftermath. About the people who came to help. The flotillas from St. Croix and Puerto Rico. The helicopters dropping food. The first responders. The people who went door to door. The Red Cross working with the functioning restaurants to serve hot meals every day. The things they lost. They things they salvaged.

Make sure you write about the bugs, someone says. They came in waves. The Jack Spaniard wasps, the mosquitoes, the no-see-ums, some big green things. Write about the hurricane diet. Everyone’s lost at least 10 pounds; some of the men, 30. Be sure to talk to X, her shirt got blown off during Irma. Talk to Y, he can’t even find his boat. Write about the local people. What are the taxi drivers doing? How are the kids? One Coral Bay mother who evacuated her family from the boat where they lived told me her little girl wanted desperately to take a favorite doughnut pillow with her but there was no room in the dinghy. She soldiered through the storm, a 5-year-old trooper, who didn’t cry until a few days later when, asking when they’d go back to the boat to get her pillow, finally understood they were never going back. In Cruz Bay, a dance instructor says her dream is to organize a free trip to Disneyworld for some of her young students. She asked them to write down why they need a break: “I’m tired of doing my homework by flashlight.” “I’m being skinned by mosquitos.” “I’m afraid of the dark.”

Some people have had no breaks and none are in sight. Some have breaks coming up. One hurricane survivor, who just returned from a break, told me he was lucky to get up north to “decompose” for a couple weeks. I wrote “decompress” in my notes, but thought later that maybe he had it right.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving there was (more) torrential rain. Restaurants closed, plans were cancelled, roads were flooded, everybody stayed home. It was damp and depressing. By some accounts, there have been 40 inches of rain since the hurricanes. In the two days after the rain, when the skies were clear and people were out and about again, three different friends mentioned wanting to learn more about PTSD. Not that they were worried about themselves, mind you, but they thought “some people” might be suffering from it. Any heavy rain or strong gust of wind these days seems capable of triggering fear in someone. Almost every female friend I have on island has cried in the week I’ve been here, and I’ve seen more than one grown man on the verge of very public tears. People are smiling, and people are strong, and they are optimistic, and it is just not possible that they are not very, very tired. The DIRT (Disaster Immediate Response Team) folks checking up on people have a list of assessment questions. One of them is: Do you feel you need emotional support? No, come the replies. I need a roof. I need a job. It’s suggested that maybe the wording of the questionnaire should be changed: Do you feel like punching someone in the nose? We can guess the answer to that one.

The big question, of course, is when will the island be ready for tourists, and on this opinions are fierce and disparate. Those who fell on the good side of luck and chance are naturally eager for business to get going again, as are those less fortunate who also depend on tourism for their livelihoods and, moreover, their futures on St. John. Others see the weakened infrastructure and strained ability to serve the local people and say the island is not close to ready. One person squarely in the not-ready camp reminds me that the clinic has been condemned and there is scant access to health services. There is little room for error. I offer no opinion on this as I know only the tiniest fraction of what is going on here, but I’ll make one observation as a witness who is neither local, nor a first timer. It seems to me that St. John personified—the island and its infrastructure—is telling the same story as its people: Beautiful, resilient, optimistic, on the whole; and yet, in certain places and times, still with “the look” that reminds you it has endured something severely traumatic, is quite fragile, and may be harboring issues that are yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, by Thanksgiving, the weather was better. The sun was shining. In the face of immeasurable loss, there is much to be thankful for. There was a free Thanksgiving celebration in Cruz Bay park for residents and responders, sponsored by the St. John Community Foundation and the Rotary Club. Long-haired Ken hosted his annual Thankspigging celebration (the 17th) under the new roof at Skinny’s. This year’s theme was Irma la Douche. This weekend the Coral Bay Yacht Club holds its annual regatta. This year’s theme: the Not a Lotta Yachta Regatta. One thing this community did not lose was its sense of humor.

Read More by Margie Smith Holt at https://www.getmerewrite.biz

St John Restaurant Information


Restaurants that are currently open

420 to Center, Banana Deck, Cafe Roma
Chester’s: Open intermittently, Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis
Cruz Bay Landing, da Livio, Dog House Pub
Extra Virgin Bistro: Open – Now serving lunch too!
Hercules, Indigo Grill, Island Cork, La Tapa, Lime Inn
Nella’s Lounge: Bar is open!, North Shore Deli
Our Market Smoothies, P & P’s, Quiet Mon
Rhumb Lines, Sam and Jack’s Deli, Sun Dog Cafe
The Tap Room, Uncle Joe’s, Wok on the Beach

Restaurants that are currently closed

Aqua Bistro, Asolare, Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Beach Bar, Cafe Concordia, Caneel Bay Resort
Château Bordeaux, Cinnamon Bay Campground
Columbo’s Smoothie Stand, De’ Coal Pot. DR!NK
Driftwood Dave’s, High Tide, Jake’s, Joe’s Rum Hut
Knox & Ollies, Lemongrass at the Westin
Little Olive, Margarita Phil’s, Miss Lucy’s
Morgan’s Mango, Ocean 362, Ocean Grill, Pickles
Pizzabar in Paradise, Ronnie’s Pizza, Shipwreck Landing
Skinny Legs, Slimman and the Snack Dragon, St. John Scoops
Tamarind Inn, The Bowery, The Thirsty Donkey
The Fish Trap: Closed – Freshwater Church is serving free lunch daily from noon to 1 p.m., The Longboard, The Terrace, The Triple B, UMAMI
Waterfront Bistro, Woody’s, Zozo’s Ristorante


A Trip to St John


‎John Hilbert‎ to Stateside St. Johnians Alliance for Hurricane Irma Posted on Facebook on
November 10 at 7:31pm . Thank you John! We all appreciate that you made your pictures and thoughts public.  For those of you who don’t have Facebook I am posting some of John’s pictures and thoughts below.

“I’m going to post more photos of my trip to Jost separately but here are some more St John photos and my personal thoughts on when to return. As I mentioned previously, I asked everyone I came into contact with to give me their opinion. My advice to you all is, if you love St John (as I know you all do) then YOU NEED TO GO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to support the economy. Make sure you have accommodations and transportation arranged in advanced, and then JUST GO! You will in no way be a burden. In fact, you can provide what they need most which is tourism and business and maybe a helping hand.

So many people I met with are worried about their next paycheck once the relief ends and the disaster workers are gone. They want tourists to come – with the right expectations… While its still beautiful, its not YET the ol’ St John you remember. Only one beach open. Limited options for dining and bars. Accommodations options are also limited. On the flip side, the grocery stores are stocked, roads are clear, power is returning, dining options are already great, and the island is still beautiful! But, the best thing is that the vibe on the island is AMAZING! Everyone says hello to each other, waves and flashes the peace signal when driving; you see random acts of kindness and generosity everywhere. Its really inspiring!

The beauty of the island is still there – its just the man made stuff that needs work, but that’s coming along too. Power is coming quickly. Debris is being removed. The beaches are recovering. I was so impressed! I know my opinion will not be shared by everyone here on Facebook. That’s fine. But after just a week there, I am so thankful that our island has survived, hopeful for the future, and excited for my next trip down soon.


airport“This is it for the STT airport. You are seeing the entire departure gate area except for the small Spirit gate off to the right. The main hall has been reduced to 1 gate.”

Cruz Bay on November 10, 2017

Coral Bay on November 11, 2017

Skinny Legs new roof!

Coral Bay Community Council Update

Thursday October 26th


We haven’t sent a newsletter in a while, due to the continuing communications “void” after the storm – and the need to keep communicating here on St. John using our Coral Bay Community Council voice. We keep expecting cell service and real wifi to be delivered to Coral Bay by AT&T and Broadband VI and by several disaster relief nonprofit organizations working hard on St. John – but they all continue to run into parts issues and operational problems that they did not anticipate – so “waiting” is the key word for our Coral Bay populace. Right now, Text to cell phone numbers, occasional WIFI calling and short emails do get through at the one WIFI point at the Coral Bay Firestation. Don’t expect people to be able to use weblinks, unless they are going all the way to St. Thomas – where smart phones and computers are working pretty well. Cruz Bay is so -so, but intended to improve shortly. Red Hook is pretty good.

You may know more than we do about the overall conditions in the VI, since we cannot routinely see any of the on-line or other news sources.

The Coral Bay Community Council office is in a building that will be getting a donated generator because FEMA will have a Disaster Recovery Center to serve people in the building, CBCC is running a contributed goods distribution center and because CBCC will offer a full access WIFI point for people in Coral Bay – using our computers or your own – as soon as the generator and WIFI capacity reaches us.

Check CBCC’s facebook page for updated info on businesses in operation (as well as business Facebook pages)– a few highlights below:

Mail is starting to flow again, and more businesses are open in Coral Bay. Connections East and Keep Me Posted are open and can only accept stamped mail right now to go out. (probably not outgoing packages yet – due to post office constraints.) Mail and packages are being delivered.

Donated generators are being installed at the two grocery stores – which are still not fully operational. This has been labelled a Priority. The Bloomberg Foundation Team and Kenny Chesney Foundation are taking this responsibility – as well as repairs to some of the business establishments and some people’s homes – according to the recommendations of their hired disaster specialists – how to get St. John running again.

Oasis is serving food from 11-5 daily, Wok on the Beach restaurant (old Voyages building) is serving Breakfast 7-11. Lunch – dinner 11-5. Thirsty Donkey has happy hour 2-5 daily. And Indigo Grill will open shortly.

Vanessa’s Mumbo Jumbo store is reopening so you can buy t-shirts and clothes, etc. Skinny Legs is “working on it.. “

BOATERS: If your boat was beached or sunk in Coral Harbor or elsewhere in Coral Bay – but not Hurricane Hole – please send an email to usvidpnr@gmail.com which is being monitored by the Coast Guard. You can also call 340-423-6353. A flyer with detailed info can be picked up at the CBCC office and will be sent via email shortly. The Coast Guard needs to know your intentions for the boat – and you don’t have to decide right away – just let them know which boat and how to contact you – to start right now.

If your boat was beached or sunk in Hurricane Hole or elsewhere in National Park, please do the same thing to this corrected email address: Caribbean_recovery@NPS.gov . More detailed info will be emailed shortly for all boaters.

Thank you to everyone who has made donations thus far to the Coral Bay Community Council and to other organizations for “hurricane relief”. And thank you to those who have brought down a suitcase of requested donated goods – like solar and battery lanterns and extension cords and more. And to those people who have reached out to individuals who need help in Coral Bay—and addressed their needs directly. It is all of these gifts that help all of us here continue to strive to work together – in a positive manner — to recover. http://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/ to donate or learn new things about CBCC.

Cruz Bay “downtown” is supposed to be getting electric power from St. Thomas this week – and it will continue out towards the Myra Keating clinic. So many of the Cruz Bay restaurants and other businesses will be normalizing pretty quickly now.

We are told by WAPA and the Governor that there will be a backbone of electricity in Coral Bay by Christmas and some neighborhoods then or soon after. A number of rental villas are “ready to go” –as soon as power is restored or owners get reliable generator/solar power. Please tell your friends that they will be able to enjoy a St. John Vacation this winter – just wait a little while to book – so you can see what your choices are. Beaches are already open for swimming, and Reef Bay trail is being cleared… more each day… And the views are incredible already!

The toll on the wildlife – particularly birds that eat native berries and fruits – is significant. But it is gratifying to see flowers popping up along the roadside, even flamboyant trees – at this unusual time of the year as their biological clocks say “reproduce…recover… recreate nature’s bounty…and beauty!”

Help restore native vegetation in your home garden – stop by CBCC’s office for a free copy of the book “Landscaping for Erosion Control” or see it on our website here: http://coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/landscaping-sediment-r…/ Many of these recommended plants provide berries and fruits for birds and other creatures.

Generator Use – Please be Very Safe. Do not refuel while the generator is running, or when it is hot. The smartest time is before you use it each time – when you check fuel level and oil. Also please respect others trying to sleep and don’t run your generator all night. Waste oil – you will be changing oil after 5 to 10 hours (very important) – and then at regular intervals – according to your manual. Please read closely so your generator will last! Save the waste oil – do not pour on the ground or put in regular trash. We are arranging for an environmentally safe disposal site with EPA – hopefully in Coral Bay!

For all of you who are off-island now: We are all “camping” in our homes, or partial homes, and it will be like this for several more months. So if you are coming down soon, be prepared for this reality in Coral Bay. Around Christmas time it should start getting better.

Saturday, December 9th was originally going to be the CBCC Bizarre Bazaar date. Instead there will be a scaled down version combined with CBCC’s “Annual Meeting” – which has always been a potluck. Whatever we do –it will be a fun celebration for all of us in Coral Bay. We need some volunteers to help with this– and make it a great day. Stop by the CBCC office and speak to Michelle Bransom of our staff — who has been a champion through this whole recovery operation for Coral Bay at our office.
That’s all for now….
Living strong …
Sharon Coldren and your CBCC board and staff