Villa Mear, 4 Bdrm, Rendezvous Bay

Villa Mear St John rental villa

Villa Mear is a stunning four bedroom four bath property. This villa has the old time St John charm of beautiful stonework but was just recently remodeled.

Villa Mear has a large high ceiling breezy great room, kitchen, dining, living room with the master bedroom / bath off the living room all on one level. The second lower bedroom has an en suite bathroom and queen bed. The bedroom pod has each two twin beds or a king bed and en suite bathrooms. Every bedroom comes equipped with a mini fridge. Every room in this villa has an amazing water view and sounds of the surf. The beach for this area is a short walk down the road from Villa Mear and then down several flights of stairs you will be on a rocky beach in Rendezvous Bay.

The lot next door has a house under construction. There could be possible noise from it during daylight hours after 7 am. The house be finished by December 2014. Sounds of the surf block most of the activity.

Amenties and villa details: 4 bdrm, 4 bath, 2267 sq’, A/C, washer dryer, cable, DVD, internet, spa, grill, oceanfront / ocean view, sleeps 8

Contact:
Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478

Availability and Pricing:
View the VRBO Listing for Villa Mear


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Dining Review – Aqua Bistro, Coral Bay

Aqua Bistro Review

Disclosure: We received compensation for this article and its timing. When we bring you items of interest, written by us, with editorial rights given to the featured advertiser you’ll see this disclosure. We do not receive commissions.


Ponzu Tuna at Aqua Bistro Coral BayLet’s face it, eating and drinking are top activities on any vacation!

Luckily St. John has some great places to eat and drink. So how do you know which places to visit? We review the restaurants on St John and give you our first hand impression including specialties, atmosphere, price and service.

“…Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining!”

Aqua Bistro is located on the “quiet side” of the island in Coral Bay. This local’s favorite spot has a great mix of plenty of bar seating, outdoor dining and ample parking. The atmosphere is casual but elegant – making it the perfect spot to kick back, relax and enjoy a wonderful meal under the umbrellas of their outdoor courtyard and romantic garden landscaping. Or enjoy an appetizer and a cool island-style libation surrounded by both tourists and locals, beneath the tiki-hut style outdoor bar.

What we liked

  • Good food – range from island pub fare to culinary delights
  • Price – $$$
  • Good wine list
  • Outdoor dining
  • Ample parking
  • Live music

What to Expect

Really Good Food Starts with a Great Chef
The cornerstone of any great restaurant is a skilled chef and a great menu. Aqua Bistro is blessed with both. Chef MJ Foody [ yes that’s his real name ] is famous on island for his culinary abilities. In fact, his Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining! Wednesdays he serves up incredible cuts of prime rib with a rich “beefy” Au Jus that’s simply to-die-for. But don’t let these signature dishes  cast a shadow on the menu’s other gems! The appetizer conch fritters are tender, light, perfectly fried and come with a wonderfully -complex cajun tartar sauce. Aqua Bistro’s ceasar salad is crafted with plenty of flavorful dressing and large shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese [ a favorite of this writer ]. MJ’s burgers are arguably the best on the island. The fish sandwiches ( Grouper or Mahi ) are hearty-portions of lightly deep fried fillet. A Staff Favorite is the Pan Seared Sea Scallops! Jumbo, tender sea scallops …done to perfection! We choose blackened for an island-style spicy entree. We also highly recommend the Pamesean Crusted Grouper. This dish is a signature MJ creation – well worth the drive out to Coral Bay! Rich alfredo over a hearty risotto topped with a belly-busting portion of grouper!

Aqua Bistro boasts one of the Island’s best wine lists! Soak up the Painkillers and tropical drinks but when it comes to dinner you’ll most likely want to switch to food-friendly libations like beer and wine. Aqua Bistro’s owner, Marc Kaye, loves wine and has expertly put together a great wine list. Whether you enjoy red or white … there’s something for just about every taste and price range.

If we have one gripe, it’s that the restaurant’s outdoor dining leaves no place to “hide” when it rains. Luckily, most showers pass quickly and you can get back to enjoying one of St John’s top restaurants! We give it a 4 forks out of 5 rating. A great spot to grab a bite after the beach, have a romantic dinner or to celebrate a special occasion.

“This was the only place on the island we went to twice.” – Douglas T, Florida

Service
The staff is experienced …no small feat on an island where staff changes are a part of high and low season migration. The waitstaff and bartenders, some of whom have been with the restaurant since it first opened nearly a decade ago, are some of the islands best. Don’t hesitate to ask them for recommendations …be it drinks or eats!

Getting to Aqua Bistro
Aqua Bistro is located in Coral Bay on St John’s eastern end. Visitors coming from the Cruz Bay side of St. John will take Centerline Road ( steepest exit off the rotary in Cruz Bay ) and follow the winding road for about 8 mi ( 25>30 minutes). Or, for a more scenic drive, take North Shore Road heading east – up the hill from Cruz Bay. Along the way you’ll have ample opportunity to see St. John’s North Shore beaches and scenic vistas. The road is slightly steeper so plan on a few more minutes travel time.

Aqua Bistro Reviews
Check out the hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor® – http://bit.ly/1d0Y5SA

Reservations
On busy nights ( Wed, Fri. ) the busiest hours are usually 4:30pm > 8:00pm.
Call 2 to 5 days in advance for peak dinner reservations.
Call (340) 776-5336
or check out the web site for more info: http://www.aquabistrostjohn.com/

St John Carnival 2014 Schedule

St John Festival 2014 USVI Carnival

St John Festival 2014 – Grande diamond Jubilee Anniversary
Festival Village Honoree: Leona E. Smith
Festival Food Fair Honoree: Avelino Samuel
Festival Parad Grande Marshal: Elsie V. Thomas – Trotman

Each year Saint John, US Virgin Islands, plays host to a month of activities, live music, beauty pageant, food, parade and fireworks! Visitors will enjoy the upbeat tempo of the festival celebration that accompanies the festival season. Listed below are this year’s main events. Be sure to plan accordingly for traffic and parking! And have some fun …!

Schedule of Events

DATE                      |     EVENT               |      TIME & LOCATION

Saturday, May 31 – Pan-O-Rama – 4pm at Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 6 – Festival Beach Jam – 7pm Cruz Bay Beach
Sunday, June 8 – St John Festival Jr Miss 2014 Selection Pageant – 6 pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 13 – Senior Variety Show – 7pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Saturday, June 14 – Festival Bike Race 2014
Sunday, June 15 – St John Festival Princess Selection Pageant – 6pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 20 – Festival Musical Mix 2014 – 9pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Saturday, June 21 – St John Festival Queen 2014 Selection Pageant – 8pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Sunday, June 22

  • Food Fair & Coronation – 1pm Franklin Powell, Sr. Park
  • Festival Boat Races – 3pm Cruz Bay Harbor
  • Children’s Festival Village – 6pm St John National Park

Friday, June 27 – Festival Village Opening – 7pm Cruz Bay Parking Lot
Thursday, July 3 – Emancipation Day – 10am Franklin Powell, Sr, Park
Friday, July 4

  • Jouvert – Sunrise at St John National Park
  • Festival Parade 2014 – 11am St John National Park
  • Festival Fireworks Display – 9pm Cruz Bay Harbor

Saturday, July 5 – Festival Village Wrap-up

St. John Festival 2014 events

Best Snorkeling on St John

Best snorkeling spots on St John Virgin Islands

Snorkeling 101 mask and finsTop on any visitor’s list of activities has got to be snorkeling on St John in the US Virgin Islands. Much of the island’s beaches and reefs are under the protection and management of the Virgin Islands National Park. The result is a marine environment without equal in the Caribbean – protecting world-class snorkeling for years to come!

DISCOVER:

  • TOP SNORKELING SPOTS
  • OUR MOBILE FRIENDLY SNORKELING MAP
  • OUR “BEST OF” SNORKELING LIST
  • LINKS to SNORKELING DESTINATION MAPS and GUIDES

So what makes the snorkeling on St John so special? Well, first and foremost is the accessibility of many of the patch reefs and sea grass beds. Most are within a short walk of roads and parking. Most are located in and around the many world famous beaches. Second is the variety and health of the marine habitats under park protection. The reefs surrounding St John are home to over 400 species of reef fish and dozens of species of hard coral. The sea grass beds support rays, turtles and protect many juvenile marine species.


The following are our top picks for snorkeling destinations on St John, Virgin Islands. We hope this guide will help you pick the destinations that are right for you.

ST JOHN’S TOP SNORKELING DESTINATIONS

OUR LIST of the BEST SNORKELING ON ST JOHN

Waterlemon Cay – #1 snorkeling destination on St John.
Henley CaySTAFF PICK, requires guide or kayak, best overall snorkeling on the island!
Haulover (North)STAFF PICK, Some of the most dramatic underwater structure and corals on the island.
Salt Pond – Can get a bit crowded but offers some nice snorkeling especially center of the bay.
Yawzi Point – Located between Great Lameshur and Lameshur Bays, Yawzi Point has some of the best snorkeling on St John.
Hurricane Hole MangrovesSTAFF PICK, Located in Coral Bay, the mangroves are teaming with juvenile fish and corals!
Trunk Bay – A beautiful beach with an underwater snorkeling trail! One of the most popular snorkeling spots on St John!

BEST SNORKELING FOR CHILDREN

Maho Bay – Easy access, shallow water, shade and a good chance you’ll see turtles, rays and lots of fish!
Caneel Bay beach – Shallow entry, calm waters and plenty to see close to shore.
Trunk Bay – Virgin Islands National Park snorkeling trail and a lifeguard!

BEST SNORKELING FOR COUPLES
Honeymoon Beach – The name says it all …out of the way; but has a small water sports shack!
Hansen Bay – Off-the-beaten-path location with a beautiful beach, food and some of the best snorkeling.
Trunk Bay – One of the top beaches in the Caribbean also has some great snorkeling!

WATER SAFETY
Snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable things to do on St John. But, even a confident swimmer can be distracted. Make sure you stay within your physical limitations. Be aware of your surroundings. Never snorkel alone. Watch for strong currents, waves, boats, jet skis, changing weather and the distance you’ve traveled.

Snorkeling Information and Instructions


US Virgin Islands – St John Snorkeling Map


 

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Uniquely St John – Ranifly Bikini

Ranifly Bikini, Coral Bay St. John

Disclosure: We received compensation for this article and its timing. When we bring you items of interest, written by us, with editorial rights given to the featured advertiser you’ll see this disclosure. We do not receive commissions.


Owner / designer Rani Keohane has spent her life in and on the water. So, it should be no surprise that her life-path would bring her to the tiny island of St John in the US Virgin Islands.

Spend more time on and in the water than you do on land and you’ll need a flexible, functional and comfortable swim suit – and that’s exactly what inspired Rani Keohane to begin creating her bikinis.

Ranifly Bikini suitRanifly Bikini was born in January of 2009. Her store and studio are located in the Coccoloba Shops on the “quiet side of the island” in Coral Bay. Since launching Ranifly her uniquely crafted bikinis have found an ever expanding fan base. You’ll find Ranifly at retail locations from the USVIs to the BVIs from NY to Key West and Hawaii. Note: all custom work is done out of her St John studio.

The Shop
Step into her shop and you’ll see that it’s half retail and half workshop – allowing you to see both the creative process and the finished products. The atmosphere is relaxed. Suspended between bamboo poles, like island-style clotheslines, hang colorful bikinis, beach bags and sarongs. Browse among the various styles and sizes, patterns and shades. The selection is mix-and-match allowing you to find the right top and bottom to flatter your figure. The styles are modern, sporty, fun and designed for active use. And if you’re unsure or just looking for guidance, Rani and Sarah Swan [ Rani's right hand woman] are there to help … AND remind you that the process should be fun!

The Studio
The back of the shop has sewing machines standing-ready under stylish work lights. Swatches of brightly colored fabrics, with the most amazing patterns, are purposefully scattered about the construction table! Tropical inspirations and photos of family and friends are tacked to the walls. This is where all of her custom work and prototyping takes shape. And it’s at this table where your custom bikini will be cut and crafted!

The Atmosphere
You can and should leave any body image issues at the door. This is a woman-centric shop. While the cuts and styles are decidedly youthful and sporty – they are meant to accentuate and flatter a wide range of sizes and figures …for women of any age! Select a suit that’s already crafted or work with Rani in selecting the perfect colors, patterns and style for a suit that’s uniquely you! Either way, you’ll enjoy the comfort and fit of a bikini that’s anything BUT off the rack!

Rani still makes all of her suits by hand. Her newest bikinis utilize reversible construction and complimentary patterns and colors! Spoil yourself and take home something uniquely St John!

Ranifly Bikini is open M-F 11:00am > 6:00pm
Call 808-551-5461
or visit www.RaniflyBikini.com

St John Rib Cook Off 2014

St John Rib Cook Off 2014 to benefit St John Rescue

RAIN DELAY! Rescheduled to Nov 15th!

Following the success of last year’s benefit event, the St John Rib Cook Off promises to be the most finger-lickin’-est thing to do Saturday, November 15th starting at 4:30pm.

All proceeds from the Second Annual St. John Rib Cook Off  will go directly to St. John Rescue

St. John Rescue’s Second Annual St. John Rib Cook Off will be held Saturday, November 15, 2014, starting at 4:30pm at the Coral Bay Ball Field.

Rib tickets will be on sale at one of two ticket tables. Ten St. John Restaurants and Individuals will compete for the title of Best Ribs on St. John. Judging will be done by five willing St. Johnians, chosen out of a hat a week before the event.

The Competitors List

  • Tourist Trap (Last Years Winner)
  • Aqua Bistro
  • Cafe Concordia
  • East West Catering
  • Sam & Jack’s Deli
  • Dan & Jeff

In addition to the sale of ribs, there will be a raffle with many great prizes. All proceeds from the Second Annual St. John Rib Cook Off will go directly to St. John Rescue to aid in the purchase of training and medical supplies, vehicle maintenance and operating costs associated with the St. John Rescue Headquarters Building.

The Second Annual St. John Rib Cook Off kicks off at 4:30pm with live entertainment throughout the evening. There will be Community Information tables, a Giant Jenga and a Corn Hole Tournament.


 

Where: Coral Bay Ball Field ( no directions required – you can’t miss it! )

When: Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Time: Starts at 4:30pm

Fish Tales 2bdrm – Fish Bay

Fish Tales St John rental villa island cottage

Fish Tales is a cute and comfortable two bedroom,with new spilt AC units & 2 1/2 bath Caribbean Cottage with nice views of Fish Bay and the surrounding area out to Bovocap Point and Little St James Island. This spacious home away from home is easily accessed via a large flat driveway. Two small steps up from the driveway and you enter the home from a covered deck. The door leads you into the Great Room with comfortable seating, TV, DVD player, and Stereo. Cable TV and wireless internet are provided. The kitchen and dining area, as well as a 1/2 bath with full size laundry all flow easily off the great room. There is a sliding door that opens up to the large covered and uncovered pool deck. At the far end of the great room is the entrance to the master bedroom as well as the internal stairway to the lower bedroom. The large master bedroom has great views and a king size bed with a very comfortable memory foam mattress. A sliding door takes you out to the covered deck. There is a full, private, en suite bath in the master bedroom. The lower bedroom has a queen sized bed and a twin sized day bed with trundle that can expand the day bed into two twin beds or one king sized bed. All mattresses are very comfortable memory foam. There is a sliding door to a private deck with nice views of Fish Bay. There is also a private full en suite bath, closet, and small beverage refrigerator. This lower bedroom can also be accessed from its own entrance from an exterior stairway and deck.

Outside on the main level is a large covered and uncovered pool deck. The dipping pool is 8 x 13 x 3, and it is surrounded by 4 chaise lounge chairs. The outside dining table with seating for six and a Weber grill provides an easy, comfortable outdoor living space.

A short walk from the home brings you to the National Park and Reef Bay. Walk down a short trail and you are on the beach, where, in calm weather, the snorkeling is great. On windier days you can watch the surfers, or hike along the beach, over the low rocks, along a second beach, over a trail to a third beach where the Reef Bay Sugar Mill ruins are located. You can then go up the famed Reef Bay trail to the petroglyphs. For the more adventurous, Reef Bay Trail also connects with other trails that take you to both Europa and Lamshur Bay.

Fish Tales is quiet, comfortable, and only 15 minutes from downtown Cruz Bay. Enjoy!
Amenties and cottage details; 2 bdrm, 2.5 bath, pool, ocean view, A/C, grill and so much more!

Contact:
Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478

Availability and Pricing:
View the VRBO Listing for Fish Tales


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Spotlight on – Brown Bay beach / Hike

Brown Bay, St John beach and trail

Brown Bay St John mapBrown Bay is one of St John’s hidden gems. With its off-the-beaten-path location and moderate hike – it just doesn’t get the number of visitors that hit Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest and Salt Pond. And in one sense it’s a shame – because Brown Bay has a great mix of hiking, adventure, seclusion and wonderful beach and water.

The Brown Bay Trail
Located on St John’s East End, most visitors reach Brown Bay via the Brown Bay Trail. The trail starts just off Rte 10 / East End Road about 3/4 mi. past Coral Bay center. There is a convenient parking area which leads to the narrow hiking trail that takes you up and over the ridge and down to Brown Bay.

The hike is moderately challenging – because you must climb to the ridge before descending to Brown Bay. I’d plan on 30 min. each way – give or take …

Brown Bay Beach
The beach is narrow and soft sand turning to pebble as you go west ( away from the trail). The shoreline has some wonderful shade and spots to hang a towel. The water is shallow and sandy turning to sea grass the farther you go from shore. Waves are usually lightest in the morning and when the wind is out of the south. Since it takes some effort to get to Brown Bay – I suggest bringing some refreshments – food/snacks and water. It’s a wonderful place to spend a day relaxing.Brown Bay Trail on St John, USVI

Brown Bay Ruins
At the western end of the beach you’ll find a rambling group of foundations, arches and a maze like system of stonework. The area is pretty overgrown with vines – but well worth a bit of exploration. A word of caution – the Jack Spaniard Wasps seem to love to make a home on the vines. They aren’t particularly aggressive – but it’s best to keep an eye out for them so that you don’t inadvertently come face-to-face with a nest!

Looking for other St John hiking trails?
The Virgin Islands National Park has dozens of trails to great destinations. Lace up your shoes and hit a trail to discover St John’s natural beauty, history and secluded beaches. For more information

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Uniquely St John – Fine handcrafted Jewelry

Michael Banzhaf jewelry

Jewelry by Michael Banzhaf, Cruz Bay, St JohnWith a nod to the many wonderful memories and photos you’ll take …there’s nothing as wonderful as bringing home a treasure from the US Virgin Islands.

Among the many shops and galleries of Cruz Bay is a gem among gems, Michael Banzhaf Studio. While The Gallery does represent paintings and works of art by local artists – the real star here is Micheal’s work in gold, platinum and silver accented with Diamonds, Sapphires and other precious and semi-precious stones.

My more recent designs draw upon my fascination with plant life. I find inspiration in natural forms for the stylized interpretations that appear in my pieces. – Michael Banzhaf

His creations are an amalgam of styles that pull their inspiration from ancient designs, Art Nouveau and more earthly forms of leaves, animals and the geometry of nature. Each piece is handcrafted in his Studio with an attention to detail that is rarely seen today. The smallest detail has been conceived and created at the hand of a true master goldsmith. Michael’s designs create A stage for some of the most interesting stones and pearls imaginable.

Recent works showcases his most popular creations using rare green-blue Tourmaline, Sapphires, Aquamarines and Gem Chrysocola!

Treat yourself or someone you love to the gift that is an instant heirloom. The shop is open M, T, Th, F 12-6 or by appointment: 340-642-2047

A portfolio of his work can be seen by visiting http://michaelbanzhafstudio.com ; better yet, visit his gallery in Cruz Bay – conveniently located in the St John Properties building beside Mongoose Junction.

Spotlight on Jumbie Beach

Jumbie Beach on Saint John, US Virgin Islands

Jumbie Beach St John mapEvery beach on the planet has something special or unique about it. It could be majestic waves or long stretches of white sand or perhaps it’s secluded. For some, it’s the memory of a vacation or holiday or summers at the shore. And each of St John’s beaches are different and special and each has its fans and diehard visitors.

… a tiny crescent of sand rimmed by dark volcanic rocks and the cool shade of seagrapes.

Jumbie Beach, located on Saint John’s north shore, is a tiny crescent of sand rimmed by dark volcanic rocks and the cool shade of seagrapes. Fans of Jumbie will likely be up in arms because they treasure this “secret” gem. Jumbie Beach is located along North Shore Road, just west of world-famous Trunk Bay. For this reason most visitors pass right by the narrow path that marks the entrance to this tranquil beach. And Jumbie fans would just as soon have you drive past!

This beach was historically visited mostly by St John residents. It was a retreat from busier beaches like Hawksnest, Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho. It enjoys a pleasant breeze and  doesn’t get the strong summer sun or hard afternoon light of some of the other North Shore beaches. Because of its orientation and reef structure just off shore, Jumbie gets larger surf than some other beaches. Larger waves and a steeper water entry make it less kid-friendly than Trunk or Maho. But don’t let that deter you from spending some time relaxing on this special little piece of paradise. Pack a cooler and head out along North Shore Road. Parking is limited to a handful of spots. At Jumbie you’ll discover a place that quietly hides in the shadow of Trunk – and thus remains one of the top beaches on the island.

St John rental JeepHow to get to Jumbie Beach: Take North Shore Road east out of Cruz Bay about 2 mi. or west out of Coral Bay. Just before you reach the Trunk Bay overlook you’ll encounter a set of speed bumps. Parking is just off the roadway – with the easy-to-miss path located just across the road. Follow the path about 150 yrds and you’ll emerge onto the south east end of the beach. There is more shade on this end of the beach. There are more stones and less sand as you enter the water on the far end of the beach. Early birds can grab a spot under a short palm located at the center of the beach. St John Beach Map

Snorkeling at Jumbie: Not known for its snorkeling, there are still some descent structures, corals and fish to the left and right of the beach. Depending on the size of the waves, head toward Trunk and you’ll pass over a Swiss-cheese type maze of corals and rocks. Out at the edge of the reef it drops to about 20′; with the leading edge of the wall having larger numbers of sea fans, corals and a wider variety of fish. Keep an eye out and you’ll likely see reef squid, parrotfish, Atlantic Blue Tangs and Surgeon Fish, wrasse, Yellowtail snapper and the occasional grouper and Spotted Hind.

St John Island

Getting to know St John island is half the fun. Discover the best St John resorts, top St John snorkeling beaches, beach bars and restaurants and more!. Our pages are the #1 Virgin Islands resource for visitors - providing maps, guides, bar and restaurant reviews, St John villa rentals and news announcements.
Enjoy!

Links

Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Virgin Islands National Park