A Holiday Treat – Guavaberry Wine

St John Guavaberry Wine

Christmas is a time for celebration and the Virgin Islands are no different. Well, there might be somethings about Christmas and New Years celebrations that are unique to the islands. One of them is Guavaberry Wine.Boiling guavaberries for wine

Guavaberry is a small purple to orange/red fruit of the guavaberry tree. This spindly tree is very finicky and won’t grow just anywhere. But St John is one of those places that the guavaberry enjoys. High on Bordeaux Mountain on the eastern side of St John, the forest are the perfect environment for the guavaberry. With plenty of rain and cool winds – the guavaberry tree thrives.

Because it isn’t commercially produced – guavaberry wine isn’t usually available. It is something each family produces and shares with great pride.

So, make some friendships while on island and you may be lucky enough to taste this unique island treat.

For generations residents have picked the guavaberries and, according to each families recipe, made them into a traditional holiday drink, guavaberry wine. Ingredients include raisins, vanilla bean, sorrel, prune, cinnamon and rum make up guavaberry wine. But don’t let the name fool ya’h. This isn’t like the wine from Napa -this is a fruit and rum infused drink with the power to bring you great celebration [ and, if taken in large quantities - great woe]. You’ve been warned!

Spotlight on – Brown Bay

Brown Bay Trail and beach on St John

Queen Conch, St John beachesBrown Bay is, literally, one of the off-the-beaten-path beaches. The beach at Brown Bay is sandy and wind swept with plenty of shade along the narrow sand and pebble shoreline. The water is a mix of sandy bottom and sea grasses. Shallow entry. Waves are lightest early in the morning and on days when the wind is out of the south. Located on the East End of St John your only way to get to this beach is by rental car / Jeep. And that’s part of what makes it special and secluded and worth the hike to get there.

Hiking the Brown Bay Trail from East End Road is moderately steep from the parking area to the top of the ridge ( approx. 20 minutes). You’ll follow a narrow path that zigzags its way up the hill. Once you reach the crest it’s all down hill from here (approx 10 to 15 min.). As the trail levels off you’ll see Brown Bay to your right. When you reach a “Y” in the path – go right along Brown Bay beach. This protected bay doesn’t get the larger waves common on some of the more popular north shore beaches – but you should choose a day with plenty of sunshine and wind out of the south. And remember, hike in means hike out. Save some water for your return up the hill.
Snorkeling is best along the eastern side where the corals are exposed to a stronger current and deeper water. While Brown Bay isn’t known for snorkeling it does nonetheless have some interesting structure and marine life to see. So pack that snorkel and fins and enjoy a day of secluded paradise.

Getting there:
The most popular way to reach Brown Bay is by hiking the Brown Bay Trail, located just off East End Road (Rte 10). Plan on approx. 30 min. of hiking each way.

Brown Bay Ruins – there is a rambling group of foundation stones and archways along the western side of the beach. The area is pretty overgrown and difficult to explore. Also, beware of the Jack Spaniard wasp! They love to build their nests hanging from vines …at about head height ; )

Spotlight on – St John Brewers

The Tap Room, Cruz Bay, St JohnThe TAP ROOM is St John’s island Microbrewery & Brew Pub. For over 10 years the guys at St John Brewery, Kevin and Cheech,  – have been crafting some of the best beers in the Virgin Islands – including a nice Tropical Mango and Island Hoppin’ IPA. If you like beer then this place is a must see while on St John.

“A great place to grab a cold beer and a bite after a day in the sun.”

Full disclosure: I’m a huge IPA fan. And the Hoppin’ IPA is one of the best. Crisp, hoppy and just enough carbonation to satisfy just about anybody that likes a good IPA. Not a fan of IPAs? Then I recommend their Tropical Mango or Island Summer Ale. Both are easy to drink – with perfectly balanced flavor – and light enough to be truly refreshing. Heresy aside – if you’re not in the mood for beer then you must try a Dark’n Stormy made with St John Brewer’s own Ginger Beer. A classic Bermuda rum drink – with a St John twist.

They have an outdoor patio and air conditioned bar – either is a great spot for an island brew and some decent pub grub.

Getting There:
Everybody arrives on St John by ferry into Cruz Bay. To get to the Tap Room – bear left from the docks and follow the street as it winds around the customs lot. About 2 blocks up on your right you’ll come to Mongoose Junction – a collection of island shops and restaurants. Located on the second level is the Tap Room.

HOURS:
Mon-Sat:
11am to Midnight  and Sunday: Noon to Midnight

St John Brewers beers

 

La Mer – 4 Bdrm Villa, Pool and Amazing Views

Villa La Mer

4 Bedrms, 4.5 Baths, 10 Max Guests, Pool, View ++++
Bordeaux Mountain, Coral Bay

One could not imagine a more glorious view than the one from the elegant perch of La Mer.  This stucco mediterranean 4 bedroom villa rises up from the hillside of Bordeaux Mountain on unspoiled St. John. From this incredible perch, you are as high as you can get without being a bird in flight. Views extend from Jost Van Dyke and Sandy Cay to the North to Virgin Gorda, all the way down the string of pearls known as the Virgin Islands.

 

This new 4 bedroom luxury home is located down a private paved road that is heavily shaded with tropical trees and fauna.  The glamorous house is tastefully appointed with original artwork and exotic elements such as bamboo stakes held in urns, African sculpture, and bronze herons.  The thoughtful design creates harmony between the indoor and outdoor space and enhances the romance of the spectacular setting.

The inviting pool is set in a sheltered courtyard between two pods.  It opens into the breathtaking views and offers a cool retreat after a day on one of St. John’s glorious beaches and is also a great place to soak and stargaze on balmy nights.

This designer decorated home offers glorious surprises at every turn. At once inviting and exotic, with a lush, rich color scheme set off by light bamboo furnishings, this home offers a king size four poster bed in the master bedroom and a gorgeous stone shower large enough for two, offering views all the way to Virgin Gorda. The other 3 bedrooms offer equally appealing furnishings and baths and all have magnificent views.

Thanks for sharing your piece of paradise with us. We’ve been coming to this island for over 25 years …and this is the 1st villa we’ve stayed in that didn’t make us long for any others.  Kathy + Scott, OH

The kitchen is a gourmet’s delight with beautiful custom ash cabinetry, granite countertops, and an island bar large enough for an indoor meal.  The room opens up with large doors onto a covered balcony with a dining table and comfortable seating.  The view is spellbinding.

The color scheme and furnishings throughout the house create a sensual aura that blends effortlessly with the tropical surroundings.  The breakfast bar invites casual meals and company around the kitchen.  It is at once elegant and comfortable.

The traditional Caribbean style great room encompasses the kitchen, sitting area and breakfast bar.  it opens, with large doors, onto a balcony with a dining table.

La Mer easily sleeps up to 10 persons but is as wonderful for a romantic escape for two as it is for a large group of friends. This is a non smoking home and is not ideal for small children. It is, however, everything that we promise and more…

Rates

In Season: Dec. 15 – April 15
Off Season: April 16 – Dec. 14
Holiday Weeks: Christmas, New Year’s, and Presidents Weeks

Availability

Please call or email to check availability

Groupa’h under the stars …

Aqua Bistro tuna plate

Let’s face it, eating is one of the top activities on any vacation. Luckily St John has some great places to eat and drink. Located on the “quiet side of the island” in Coral Bay, Aqua Bistro Seaside Bar & Restaurant serves up some of the best food on the island. Whether you are enjoying drinks under the tiki-style bar or having dinner under the stars at a courtyard table …this place is sure to impress.

Aqua Bistro is a great place to kick back, relax and enjoy a wonderful meal under the umbrellas of their outdoor courtyard. Or enjoy a cool island libation and conversation with tourists and locals beneath the tiki-hut style outdoor bar.

Chef MJ, is a long time island resident with a gift for creating some fantastic Mediterranean and Caribbean-inspired dishes.

Your On-Island Guide to St John

Cruz Bay, St john ferry dock

Welcome to the beautiful island of St John! You’re holding the ultimate on-island guide . It’s packed with as much useful information, villa reviews, rental car information, directions, restaurant and bar reviews, the ultimate guide to St John’s best beaches and helpful hints so that you can make the most of your stay here. Relax and enjoy!

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.
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Links

Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Virgin Islands National Park