Back to the Island – St. John 2015

October 22 – 31, 2015
My husband and I were returning to St. John making it our 12th time back and staying at the villa Wings Over Water for the 3rd time. We didn’t have too much planned for the trip besides going over to Jost Van Dyke for the day and having Chef Ted cook for us. We were just excited to go back and relax on the beautiful beaches of St. John.

Thursday, October 22nd – Arrival Day

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We woke up around 5am to get picked up to go to the airport. Being it was a week day there were no direct flights to St. Thomas so we had to take a flight to Puerto Rico. We boarded the 9am flight and had a 2 hour layover in San Juan. Once everyone boarded, the captain came over the intercom and told us that there would be a slight delay with the flight due to the handle on the main cabin door was not closing properly. I knew this was more then just a minor problem when I saw one of the techs outside below the plane on his cell phone. After about 15 min. the captain got back on the intercom and told us we had to change planes. Well I figured that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue since we had the long layover.

Once we all got off the plane we were told a new plane will be taking us to Puerto Rico at Gate 126. Meanwhile, we were at Gate 83. It was a long walk, but everyone hussled to get to the gate. Everyone was so quick that we made it before the flight crew. day1_newark3The flight was now scheduled to board at 10:30 and leave at 11am. Our 2 hour window in Puerto Rico was getting smaller.

By the time we boarded and had all the luggage changed over, we didn’t leave until 11:30. We were then scheduled to land at 2:53 and our connecting Cape Air flight was supposed to leave by 2:56. I know they never leave on time so I figured that there was a slight chance but wasn’t too confident at that point.

Our flight was a bit bumpy with a lot of turbulence on the way to Puerto Rico. We landed just before 3pm and I immediately got on the phone with Cape Air. They said the next flight wasn’t until 5:30 and it was full. At this point I thought we were going to have to spend the night in San Juan, but just as I was put on hold with Cape Air, the airline stewardess called out all passengers having connecting flights to St. Thomas and Vieques. We were able to deplane before everyone else. One of the airport gate agents escorted us through the airport to the Cape Air ticket counter. This time the construction at the airport seemed to be nearing completion so we didn’t have to take a van to the other side of the airport. day1_puertoricoWe got to the counter and the plane had not left yet. Another couple on our flight was also on the plane to St. Thomas so they were relieved as well. We wound up not even taking off until 3:30 or so. It didn’t matter however, we were getting ever so closer to get to St. John.

Our flight was about 30 min. and we landed in St. Thomas around 4:15. I got in touch with Jackie at Vacation Vistas and she said we probably won’t make the 5 o’clock ferry but would meet us for the 6 o’clock ferry. We found a taxi that would take us to Red Hook. The airport was quiet and we were the only ones in the cab which was great since we could go straight to Red Hook. We couldn’t believe it but when we pulled up to the ferry terminal it was exactly 5 o’clock and the ferry was still there. My husband ran out of the cab and asked if they could hold the ferry. They said they would and we grabbed our stuff, paid for the tickets and we were on our way. It was a beautiful evening. I texted Jackie to let her know we made the 5 o’clock ferry. I was getting so exciting as all the surround BVI islands came into view as we get closer to St. John. day1_stjohnAnd then there was Cruz Bay. It was so beautiful to see once again. day1_stjohn2Once we got to Cruz Bay we met up with Jackie. Our first stop was Connections to get the two boxes I had shipped out a week prior. Then it was off to Bougainvillea Leasing to get our 4 door jeep wrangler. We then followed Jackie to the villa. Being we were already at the villa 2 times before it was a quick tour of the place. day1_stjohnvilla1It looked exactly the same besides a few hurricane curtains that now line the outside porch area.

Exhausted and relieved at the same time we both grabbed a beer and toasted to the fact that everything that happened, we still made it to St. John the same time we were supposed to. It was crazy. Luckily I had ordered provisions through St. John Catering, http://villafoodvi.com so we had a nice welcoming platter from Sam and Jack’s deli. It was a perfect meal to have as we took in the lights of St. Thomas. day1_welcomeplatterIt was a long travel day and we headed to bed.

Friday, October 23rd – Trunk Bay day2_awake

We woke up to a beautiful morning and which beach to visit first was on both of our minds. I know its the most popular beach, but we decided to go back to Trunk Bay. We hadn’t been to Trunk in a few years and I also saw that no cruise ships were in so I figured it wouldn’t be too crowded.

Since we had breakfast items already delivered, I was able to cook ourselves a nice breakfast before heading out for the morning. day2_breakfast

I wound up bringing our snorkel masks but couldn’t fit fins. So we stopped in Mongoose Junction to rent fins for the week at a place called Just Beach. I also forgot our beach bag so we were able to get one there as well. It was a really nice new store.
http://www.justbeach.shoppingstjohn.com

day2_cruzbayoverlookWe got to Trunk and noticed there was a caution sign up. The North Shore Beaches were experiencing swells so the snorkeling trail was closed. I wasn’t too disappointed since I mainly just wanted to go in the water. We walked on to the beach and there were a few people already on the beach. day2_trunk7The sand was so soft and the water was beautiful. It didn’t take us long before we both went in the water. There was a little bit of a pull so I could see why they didn’t want anyone snorkeling the trail. It was a nice morning to spend on Trunk. The longer we stayed more and more people kept piling in. It was kind of strange to see so many people this time of year on the beach. I guess the secret is out, traveling St. John in October isn’t so quiet anymore. day2_trunk2
It was time to go back to the villa to relax by the pool for a bit. IMG_2935

We wanted to try and hit a few happy hours this time instead of just going out to dinner. At around 3:00 we freshened up and headed to town. day2_xhh1Our first stop was Joe’s Rum Hut. I had a mango mojito while my husband ordered a regular mojito. It was early enough that it was pretty empty. We enjoyed our first drinks for the afternoon and made our to Cruz Bay landing for a rum punch. day2_xhh2The staff was very friendly and their rum punches are quite good. Again it was early so it wasn’t too crowded yet. day2_xhh4

The next stop on the list was High Tide. The food they were cooking smelled really good, but we figured we would hold off until we get to Virgin Fire since they have 1/2 off any appetizer. day2_xhh6

day2_xhh7Being that we were both getting hungry, we walked down to Virgin Fire. It was around 5pm so it was the perfect time to grab a few apps. We ordered a bunch of different appetizers and they were all delicious. It is a great value to go there and do this because you wind up filling up and not spend too much money. We first shared the coconut shrimp skewers, which were my husband’s favorite. day2_xhh13

Next we tried the broken artichoke hearts and the cajun crab cake. day2_xhh12day2_xhh16

Our last small plate we had were the grilled ahi tuna tacos. http://tinyurl.com/pkovmwvday2_xhh17

Our next stop was Longboard below Cafe Roma. I remember reading about this new little place and I wanted to check it out. Everyone else apparently wanted to too, because when we got there, the place was hopping. We managed to find 2 seats at the bar where we each had a beer. I did take a peak at their menu and looked very reasonable and had a lot of options. I was too full to eat anything else, but figured we would be back. day2_xhh20day2_xhh22

It was about that time to head back to the villa. We had to get up early to catch the ferry over to Jost the next morning so we called it an early night. day2_xhh23

Saturday, October 24th – Jost Van Dyke day2_breakfast5

We woke up to another beautiful morning. It was going to be a perfect day. Since we didn’t have too much time, we went into town for breakfast. Unfortunately the Bougainvillea parking area was full, but we were able to find a spot near the ferry dock.

We walked over to Cruz Bay Landing for quick and hot breakfast. day3_breakfast3http://tinyurl.com/ovrflmd

Everything was delicious and we walked down to catch the ferry. day3_ferrytojost

The ferry was a few minutes late, but luckily it was going straight to Jost Van Dyke.

We got to the ferry dock to go through customs in Jost but we were not allowed off the boat. We were just standing there and noticed other people waiting at the dock. Turned out the custom agents were late. We had to wait for the to show up. Finally after about 20 min. a boat shows up with the agents. day3_jost2

We were the first ones on the ferry but the last ones off. (Note to self: sit close to the exit side of the boat). We were the last ones to get through customs and the last ones to get a taxi. Then to top things off, the taxi we got on to (it was one of those open air taxi’s), kept stalling. I looked at my husband and thought we are never going to get to Soggy Dollar! 3 tries later, the taxi started and we barely made it to Soggy Dollar Bar. We told the driver to pick up around 2pm so we had time to stop at Foxy’s before heading back to catch the ferry. day3_jost3

There’s nothing like walking on to White Bay and taking in that view. It was beautiful. My husband ordered a round a painkillers and we settled in. We spent the day on the beach relaxing and swimming. day3_jost8day3_jost9 The weather took a slight turn that I thought that it may rain. We moved our things under a large table and palapa. I thought if it started to rain we would probably make friends since it was such a large table. The skies got dark and it started to drizzle. A nice couple came over and asked if they could join us. They were actually all the way from Alberta, Canada. day3_jost12

They were very nice and we chatted for a bit. They were chartering a boat in the BVIs and they were on their way to Anguilla after the charter. Not a bad way to spend a vacation!

The sun came back out and we went back to a table in the sun. We took a bunch of photos before it was time to get back on the taxi. day3_jost22

Around 2pm I walked in the back and saw a taxi. We thought it was ours but it wound up being Foxy’s son we met a few years back. He said he would take us to Foxy’s. It was kind of a relief since the other cab driver’s taxi barely got us there in the first place! day3_jost25

He dropped us off and we went and grabbed two beers at the bar. At this point we definitely had enough painkillers. The bartender was very friendly and took our picture. If you are able to stop in at Foxy’s be sure to say hi to Leon. day3_jost28

Since the ferry was not at the dock yet, l we wanted to stop in the Sugar and Spice restaurant to see if Joan was working. We walked in and her daughter was managing the restaurant. We met Joan a few years ago an I actually did some design work for her. We never got the shirts done because we ran into some issues with shipping them from the states to the BVIs. Her daughter recognized us and then we walked outside. She called up to the building above the restaurant where Joan was. She told her i was the one that designed the shirts. She gave a big wave and made her way down. It was great to see her again.

Joan made a homemade chicken roti for my husband. day3_jost32We talked for a bit before going back on the ferry. Her daughter mentioned that if I could ship the shirts to Tampa, Florida there was a way they could get them. So I told her I would be in touch once we got back to the states and we would try the shirt designs again.

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We got back to Cruz Bay and walked over to Margarita Phil’s. We wanted to get a to go order but unfortunately he was closed. We walked back towards Longboard. Again the place was busy, but we were able to find two bar seats.

We sat down and ordered a few tacos to go. We didn’t wait too long which was good because we were getting tired. We made it back to the villa where we enjoyed the homemade tacos. They were really tasty. After dinner we were exhausted. It was a long day.

Sunday, October 25th – Hawksnest Beach

day4_hawksnest1We woke up to more clouds then sun. It was still halfway nice out so after breakfast we drove to Hawksnest. It was probably one of the earliest times we had ever made it to the beach. It was just after 9am and only a couple of people were on the beach. It was nice having it practically all to ourselves. It wasn’t too hot out, but I wanted get in the water. I grabbed my snorkeling gear and was on my way. I always enjoyed Hawksnest for snorkeling. You don’t have to go out very far before seeing a nice range of fish.

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We spent the morning relaxing before more people came to the beach. I noticed that it was getting cloudy and that it looked like it was going to rain. We wanted to be back in time for the Giants game later on that afternoon anyway so we got back in the jeep and drove to town. We stopped at the beach bar for a drink and I was craving a bushwacker. day4_lunchThen we stopped back at High Tide for another rum punch. day4_lunch2

We figured that once we got back to the villa we would most likely stay in for dinner. So we made our way to the Starfish Market to get something to grill later on. We saw they had mahi mahi, but the line to get food wasn’t moving (island time). So plan “b” was to make chicken tacos. I took one look at the chicken and passed. I saw a package of ground pork that looked pretty decent and figured that I could make regular tacos. We picked out all of the ingredients and we were on our way back to the villa.

We spent the afternoon watching football. The weather wasn’t great so I didn’t feel like we missing much. Then it was time to watch the Giants game. It was a great game to watch if you are a NY Giants fan, and to see them beat Dallas. We enjoyed the evening and had our tacos for dinner.

day4_nygiants2We watched more football before calling it a night. During the night we woke up a few times because of the thunder. I had a feeling the next day the weather wasn’t going to be so good.

Monday, October 26th – Overcast Day

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We woke up to overcast skies. I made us breakfast as we talked about what to do for the day. It wasn’t sunny enough to go to the beaches so we figured that we would drive out to Mongoose Junction and do a little shopping.

Most of the shops don’t open until 10am and it was just before 10 so we had to wait until they opened up. We browsed a few stores but nothing really caught our eye. We made it down to the Wharfside to do some more shopping. I then remembered how we usually stop at St. John Spice. http://www.stjohnspice.com We walked up the stairs and into the shop. There were a few people shopping as well. We picked out a nice variety of hot sauces. Our favorite now is the Valley Day Hot Sauce which is made locally on St. John. https://www.valleydollhotsauce.com. We asked if we could have the order shipped back home and it was no problem – this way we don’t have to worry about anything breaking and also being the fact that we just do carry-on now, we couldn’t bring it with us anyway.

day5_morningshopping2We were getting thirsty so we went back to High Tide for a rum punch. For some reason the rum punch tastes a little different this year. I wasn’t sure if they changed their recipe a bit.

Not wanting to stay too long at one spot we then made our way up to Woody’s. It started to drizzle so but we were able to get the large table out front. Its a great spot just to people watch.

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The skies weren’t getting any lighter so we figured we would drive back to the villa and relax for a bit. On our way back we decided to stop at the Westin for a drink. We used to stay at the Westin years back and wanted to see how the renovations went. day5_morningshopping6

There is now a gate at the front, but they said we were welcome to come in, but we just had to park by the tennis courts. It was strange to walk around since we hadn’t been there in a while. It definitely brought back memories of when we stayed there with our friends, seeing them get married there, waited out Hurricane Omar there, etc. day5_morningshopping7The pool area had new tiles surrounding it with new lounging chairs. We noticed that it looked like they made the area around the pool a lot larger. The pool bar was open so we walked over and had a rum punch. It was nice to see the improvements they made but we prefer to stay at a villa now. day5_morningshopping10

It was getting later in the afternoon and it was time to go back to the villa to have a snack and freshen up. day5_villasnacks

While we were shopping we heard some people talking about the Lime Inn. I knew that they weren’t fully open but they do have a happy hour. We drove back to down and walked down to the Lime Inn. day5_xhh1I was hoping to try their fish dip, however they were out of it. Instead we shared the oysters rockefellar and scallops wrapped in bacon. The apps were small but quite tasty. We knew that we were still going to be hungry so we walked back to High Tide to share a few more apps. day5_xhh4day5_xhh5

We decided to go with the coconut shrimp and fried callamari. Both were good, but the callamari had too many tentacles instead of rings. It wasn’t bad but prefer the rings to the tentacles.

day5_xhh7Before going back to the villa we wanted to check out Drink, the old Motu Bar at Grande Bay. We made our way down and it was jumping with live steel pan music and appetizers out. day5_xhh8I guess they were having a welcoming party for the timeshare people at Grande Bay.  We ordered a couple of mojitos and the glasses were slanted so it definitely messed with your mind a bit…day5_xhh6I was always curious about if its worth doing something like a timeshare in St. John since we always come down around the same time every year. I think I would missing having an entire house to rent ourselves. day5_xhh9

It was fun to listen to the music but we were getting tired. It was time to go back to the villa and get some sleep.

Tuesday, October 27th – Francis Bay

We woke up to cloudy skies but it was definitely brighter then the day before. While we were having our breakfast we noticed the skies started to clear and the sun came out. It was going to be a beach day.

Now which beach to go to. We grabbed our things and made our way back towards the North Shore Beaches. We noticed a lot of taxis taking people up to the beaches. A lot more then we normally would see. Trunk was already quite full even though it was before 10am. Low season in October is becoming not so much anymore. On our way my husband suggested Francis Bay so we drove all the way out past Cinnamon and Maho. The weather was clearing and it we were glad we made the call.

The road to Francis was really beaten up. We managed to find a spot close to the beach and walked down to find a spot to set up for a while. While we were walking, an older couple were on the waters edge and said there was a shark. day6_first_francisSure enough there was a nurse shark swimming along the shore. He was so close that I was able to take a picture of him. I have never seen a shark snorkeling on St. John so this was really neat to see.

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We spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon just relaxing on Francis. I did snorkel for a bit but only saw a nice variety of fish. No sharks – in a way I was a bit nervous even though those type of sharks won’t bother you. Unfortunately there was a group of people that had to play their music the entire time for all of us to hear. It was a bit annoying but we made the best of it. I prefer to just listen to the waves roll in, but instead I had to listen to my iPod. All well. We were still glad to see the weather hold up and it was a beautiful day. day6_francis5day6_francis6

We had a share of the sun so we left and made our way back to the villa. Along the way we noticed a jeep come down the road near before Maho and he was way over the orange line. My husband tried to move over but there was no where for us to go. Luckily his mirror just hit ours and it just moved back. I don’t know what this person was thinking, and if they were drinking but clearly it was scary. Thankfully there was no damage or even worse – him running us off the road!

Before making it back to the villa, we stopped at the market right before the Westin to grab some snacks and more eggs for breakfast. We also were out of floss and needed to grab that as well. Well no such luck on the floss. They had toothpaste and few toothbrushes, but that was about it. We figured we would be going back to down later and maybe try in hit the Dolphin Market and/or Starfish. day6_lunch

We came back to the villa to spend the later afternoon by our pool with a few snacks and sangria.

We were thinking about where to go to dinner. We hadn’t been to Morgan’s Mango in a while and wanted to show their support being they just opened up from a bad fire earlier this year. I gave them a call and they were able to get us a table for 6 o’clock. Then I also realized it was Tuesday and Morgan’s Mango has a lobster special on Tuesday’s. We thought perfect!

We relaxed for a little bit and both got ready for dinner. We made our way back to Mongoose Junction and stopped at the Ocean Grill for a cocktail. We immediately recognized the bartender from the previous year. He also recognized us and my husband and him joked about the Raiders helmet that used to be behind the bar.day6_moceangrillday6_moceangrill4I had a glass of sauvignon blanc and my husband had a Virgin Islands IPA. It was nice to just sit at the bar and enjoy the atmosphere. Soon it was time to make our way over to Morgan’s Mango. day6_morgansmango

It was about 5:30 and our reservations weren’t until 6pm. They had the bar open so we walked in for a cocktail. It looked exactly the same. You would have never guessed that they had that fire earlier in the year. We enjoyed a round a piece and noticed more and more people started to roll in.day6_morgansmango4

It was close  to 6pm and our bartender said we would be seated shortly. A nice hostess told us our table was ready out front and we sat down. It was a beautiful sunset that night and I realized that means most likely a beautiful beach day tomorrow. Excited and hungry we looked over the menu. I saw they had 3 options for ceviche which I really have become to love a lot after having it several times in Key West. Our server came over and went over the specials, including their lobster specials. We jumped on the lobster special that also had a complimentary glass of white wine. We weren’t too ambitious to try their stuffed lobster but both decided on the regular grilled style. They first started at $35 for the first lb. Being from NJ and knowing that wasn’t enough to fill us we ordered a 1 lb. and a 1/2 which was an extra $8 per quarter pound. A little pricey we thought why not? day6_morgansmango6day6_morgansmango7The apps came out quite prompt and I had the ceviche and my husband ordered the rare tuna topped with fresh watermelon. We both enjoyed our apps but the tuna with watermelon was a bit too sweet after a while. I tried it and agreed. My ceviche however was excellent. It was really fresh and the mangos mixed in was a nice refreshing surprising.

Once we finished our apps we noticed more and more people coming in. Including an older couple that had a case. The elder man pulled out a few bottles of champagne to give to the owner and staff to help celebrate the reopening of Morgan’s Mango – which we both thought was a wonderful thing to do.day6_morgansmango8 Soon after both of our lobster entrees came out. We were both pretty impressed with the size of the lobster. It was delicious.

http://tinyurl.com/pupowc5

We were both quite full after. We were going to stop by Virgin Fire for a night cap but we just decided to go back to the villa.

Wednesday, October 28th – Coral Bay/Salt Pond

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After going to bed pretty early the night before, we both woke up early and noticed it was a beautiful day. I cooked us breakfast as we discussed what to do for the day. We were either going to go to Cinnamon or take a drive out to Coral Bay.

We actually didn’t decided until we started to drive. We both decided to head out onto Centerline Road and go towards Coral Bay. Along the way we passed by John Head Road which reminded us the first time we rented a villa we stayed at Island Stones in Catherinesberg. The views from that place were extraordinary but it was way too buggy for us. Since we go to St. John during the rainier season, it is better for us to stay on the south side where it is drier and less bugs.

We went by Chateau Bordeau and notice the fence built blocking the overlook view. It was kind of perplexing to see since it literally is only a few feet, but just enough to obstruct the view. Why would they do it?day7_coralbay
day7_coralbay3We drove down into Coral Bay and kept going. We had never driven past the restaurant Aqua Bistro so it was exciting to see a new part of St. John to us. We kept going along the water and views were beautiful. I noticed we passed the one villa that always intrigued me, Coral Cove. It looked spectacular, but it is really far out there. I would consider staying on the Coral Bay side if we would vacation during high season. Again we usually go the end of October so a lot of places are still closed, including Miss Lucy’s which we also saw along the way.

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We finally saw the sign for Salt Pond. We made it! We unloaded the jeep and made our way down the rocky pathway. We both thought it was going to be an interesting walk back since it would be going uphill. I thought just drink plenty of water before we leave.day7_saltpond

It was a hot day and we found a nice spot by a lonely palm tree. The water was like a pond and very calm. There was a bunch of stones and sea grass as you walked in. After you passed that area there was soft sand before more sea grass. We saw a few people snorkeling and figured why not? We grabbed our snorkel gear and went into the water. As we snorkeled over the sea grass you could see fish below. It was hard to see at first, but eventually it was easier to see. Then all of a sudden my husband called me over and I went over towards him. He was looking down at a huge tarpon. I was little nervous at first, but he just hung out. Pretty impressive to see.day7_saltpond4day7_saltpond6

Then we snorkeled along the beach and then saw a huge turtle. He was grazing on the grass down below. I think this was the largest turtle we have even seen. I almost wished that I had an underwater camera, but just watched him eat.

After a while it was time to go back to hang out on the beach. Again it was a very hot day, so from time to time I would go back in the water just to cool off. I also collected a few of the stones along the water’s edge. I was also looking for sea glass but no such luck.day7_saltpond7day7_saltpond8

It was then time to make our way back towards the villa. Along the way we wanted to stop at Aqua Bistro for something cold to drink. For some reason whenever we stop there it is quite buggy. We hung out for a beer and were on our way.day7_skinnylegs

The next stop was Skinny Legs. We hadn’t been there in at least 4 or 5 years and it looked exactly the same. Again we ordered a couple of beers. We talked about how the last time we were there, I think we saw that balloon boy coverage on the tv. This time they just were playing a rebroadcast of the Colts and Saints Superbowl.day7_skinnylegs2

When we were done we stopped in the gift shop to look around and made our way back.day7_skinnylegs3

We wanted to get back to the villa to relax a bit before having Chef Ted come over to cook for us. He was scheduled to start cooking around 5:30 so we had time to just lounge by the pool. day7_villasunset

We freshened up and noticed that the sky was starting to change. The sun was setting and the skies were beautiful. day7_villasunset14We took a bunch of pictures. When Chef Ted arrived he noticed the sky. He even took a picture for us. day7_villasunset6day7_teddinner5day7_villasunset9

It was great to see him again and we were both starving. We didn’t eat since breakfast because we knew we were in for a lot of wonderful food. day7_villasunsetdinnerHe started us off with his pan fried tuna dumplings with a balsamic dipping sauce. Next he served us pan seared boat scallops with smashed fingerling potatoes in a light truffle oil.

It was also accompanied with his signature skillet roasted focaccia bread. At this point we were getting quiet full.day7_villasunsetdinner4

Next it was a lightly warmed baby spinach salad severed with crisp bacon and apple slices. It was delicious.day7_villasunsetdinner6

I had just did a load of laundry so Ted said to take our time and we bought it away while he was preparing out main dinner, which was fine because we needed time to digest all of the food.

For dinner he served us fresh grilled wahoo with a breaded eggplant, tomato and roasted red pepper tarine. day7_villasunsetdinner7day7_villasunsetdinner8

Lastly Chef Ted served us his island lime tarts with fresh berries. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful dinner. We thanked Ted for his wonderful food and he was on his way. If you have the opportunity to have Chef Ted cook for you, it is well worth. Plus you will have leftover focaccia bread that goes well with fried eggs the very next morning!

http://tedssupperclub.com/welcome.html

It was food overload at this point and we were so tired. We tried to stay up a little while and then went to bed. At least we would be up early the next day.

Thursday, October 29th – Cinnamon Bay

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We woke up to another sunny morning. We enjoyed breakfast at the villa and talked about going to Cinnamon. It was a perfect day to spend it on Cinnamon. day8_breakfast11day8_breakfast12We drove up along the north shore and stopped once again to take more pictures of the Trunk Bay overlook. The sun was in the perfect spot and no one was at the overlook so we definitely took advantage of taking more pictures.

We got to Cinnamon and realized we forgot insect spray. We figured that we would stay as long as we could. We found a nice spot on the beach where we camped out for a few hours. There was a strong breeze which helped keep the bugs away.day8_cinnamon1day8_cinnamon4

I went in the water and tried to snorkel but the clarity was a bit poor. There was a strong current making the visibility difficult and I am not a fan of snorkeling where you cannot see that well. I do not like surprises while I snorkel. I only saw one fish and was hesitant to snorkel out too far by myself. I came back in and then just would swim in the water instead. The weather was beautiful.

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Then it was time to grab our things and go back to Mongoose Junction to drop off our rental equipment (snorkel fins) at Just Beach. It was after 1 o’clock and we were a bit thirsty. We walked up to the Sun Dog Cafe and grabbed a few beers. day8_mongoose

We noticed the other day a store that said wines back near the public restrooms so we walked back to take a look. http://islandcork.com
The owner was friendly and knew a lot about wines. He had a nice selection to choose from. We were hoping for a little tasting but it was strictly wines sold by the bottle. We probably would have bought one if we were on St. John longer.

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Next we walked to the Tap Room to have a beer. The temporary location is located next to the old one. They were still working on it but it looked like they were making good progress. day8_mongoose4

The sun was out and it was time to go back to the villa and relax by the pool for a bit. The skies were just so blue and clear. It was a wonderful afternoon just spent doing absolutely nothing. day8_villa4day8_breakfast8

It was time to freshen up and go back into town to grab some appetizers and cocktails. We tried to park by Bougainvillea but there were no spots so we went back to Slim Man’s Parking lot. We wanted to try the new restaurant Extra Virgin and walked back up that way. Unfortunately when we got there they were still setting up. They said they wouldn’t be open for another 15 minutes or so.day8_xhh

Instead we went back down to Longboard for a few apps. We ordered their ceviche of the day (which was shrimp) and their fried calamari. Both apps were wonderful and hit the spot.

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Still hungry we wanted to go and grab another bite to eat. day8_xhh6

I suggested Cruz Bay Landing and we walked down to sit at the bar. It was funny because a couple sitting there recognized me from my travel blog, etc. Small world! We chatted a bit while we waited for our food. My husband ordered the cheeseburger, and I opted for their fish tacos. As usual their food did not disappoint and we were very happy – and as an added bonus they had live entertainment that evening. day8_xhh10

Feeling quite full (again), we walked back towards the parking lot to pick up our jeep. Before we did, we stopped at High Tide for a nightcap. It was pretty quiet, but I guess since it was a Thursday night, not too many people were out. day8_xhh13

I couldn’t finish my rum punch, so we grabbed a to-go cup and we were on our way. We got back to the villa to watch part of the Thursday Night Football game. As we watched the Patriots just walk all over the Dolphins it was time for bed.

Friday, October 30th – Last Full Day

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Our last full day on the island always comes so quick and it definitely puts you in a different mood. We enjoyed another breakfast at the villa. It was another gorgeous day and we went back and forth what do and where to go. I noticed on the weather report online there was an advisory for strong rip currents so I thought that wherever we would wind up I was probably not going to snorkel. Also since we returned our snorkel fins it would make a bit harder to snorkel as well if the currents were indeed strong.

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We grabbed our things and headed back out to the north shore beaches. We stopped at the Virgin Islands National Park sign and saw the hiking trail to Solomon and Honeymoon Beach. We figured we would walk down and check it out. However, I was not wearing my regular hiking sandals and rather flip flops so I was having a difficult time walking down the rocky trail. About halfway down we realized this was going to be even more of a challenge coming back with wet and sandy feet. So we turned around and made it back to the jeep. day9_hawksnest

Since it was an easy walk and close by we just decided to go back to Hawksnest. We walked down the beach to find a spot and noticed that the waves were a bit stronger. It was still a gorgeous day and we both tried to take it in knowing it was our last day on the beach. I did go in the water several times and there was definitely a pull. I didn’t go in too far but saw other people go in the water. A few people ventured out to snorkel, but mostly everyone just went in the water to swim and hang out. day9_hawksnest15day9_hawksnest12day9_hawksnest3

A couple of hours passed by and I was getting a bit anxious of our departure the next day and wanted to pack up some things. We took a last look at the beach and made our way back to the villa. We cleaned out the fridge of things that were not going to last and I packed most of our things so we didn’t have too much to do the next morning. day9_hawksnest19We opened a few of our last remaining beers and sat by the pool for the afternoon. Its amazing how when you first start your vacation the days seem to  last and last, but as you near your departure date, the days go by quicker and quicker.

We wanted to have an early dinner so we freshened up after a few hours. We made our way back to Cruz Bay. We parked our jeep at Slim Man’s parking and walked down to Joe’s Rum Hut for a few mojitos. day9_hh3

I especially enjoy their mango mojito. Its very refreshing without being too sweet. day9_hhcruzbay1day9_hhcruzbay2

Then our next stop was High Tide. I also felt like another mojito but didn’t see any on the menu so I decided to go with a margarita on the rocks with salt. The bartendar made an excellent version I must say. It was quite good. We also noticed that the local kids were walking around and stopping at the restaurants for halloween. I heard they wanted to have the trick or treating a day early so the kids could trick or treat right after school. day9_hightide

Not wanting to get too comfortable there we walked towards Rhumblines to see about having a few small plates. It was only 5:30 so when we walked in they were still setting up. They weren’t ready for us so we walked down towards Mongoose Junction hoping to see if Margarita Phil’s was back open. Sure enough when we got down there it was. There were a bunch of kids as well trick or treating but we managed to find a spot at the bar. day9_margaritaphils4

The bartender mentioned how they just opened and she was getting things settled. We said that was fine and we just were going to have a few drinks and order a to go order. We both ordered the regular size margarita, but the bartender was very generous and gave us the mega size versions for the same price! I had the mango margarita and my husband had the jalapeno margarita. While we waited for our to go ordered we ordered some chips and dip. It was quite good. Once our order came out we thanked the bartender and were on our way back to the villa.

After we enjoyed our dinner from Margarita Phils we just sat outside and gazed at the stars. day6_nightIt was a beautiful and clear night. We didn’t stay up too late, knowing are trip back home was looming the next day.

Saturday, October 31st – Departure Day

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We woke just before 7am to have our last breakfast at the villa and enjoy the views at Wings Over Water one last time. It of course was another beautiful day. I think every time since we have been coming to St. John, our departure day is always perfect weather. day10_morning

We were planning on taking the 10am ferry over to Red Hook. We had some time to have another cup of coffee and I was looking at the ferry schedule on my phone and noticed the one to Charlotte Amalie was at 8:45am and it was 8:15. We weren’t going to make that one, but was feeling a bit antsy about waiting until the 10am ferry – thinking it would be really crowded. So we decided to leave and try to make the 9am ferry.

We packed up our things and grabbed the trash. We made sure we turned off the AC and let Jackie at Vacation Vistas we were leaving. We said our goodbyes to the villa and made the drive back to town. Since it was before 10am on a Saturday, the roads were pretty quiet. We got to Bougainvillea to drop off our jeep and walked down to the ferry. When we went to purchase the tickets, the lady asked us which ferry we wanted to take. We then thought we will take the ferry to Charlotte Amalie instead of Red Hook to avoid the long taxi ride through St. Thomas. We realized it was only 8:35am and we were going to make the ferry! day10_morning4day10_morning6

We enjoyed the ride as we eventually watched St. John fade into the distance.

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It was great to take the ferry over to Charlotte Amalie. Its a longer ferry ride but you wind up only being around 10 min. away from the airport. Once we docked, one of the taxi’s offered to hold our luggage and asked us what time our flight was. We told him it was at 1:50pm and he said if we left by 11am it would be plenty of time. Perfect.

day10_stthomas4We walked around St. Thomas and it was extremely hot. The only stores that were open were jewelry stores. Nothing really interested us and every where we went the shop owners were outside the trying to get us to come in. It was a bit annoying but we made the best of it. day10_stthomas2

It was just after 10am and saw a bar down one alley way called Rum Island Pub. They were just setting up but the bartender said to come on in (Ed). He was quite friendly.

day10_stthomas6There was also another younger guy sitting down and started talking to us. He was a pretty funny character named Calvin. They were discussing their night before and it seemed that it was quite an eventful evening. We ordered up couple of drinks and they said they would start their morning with breakfast.

I thought okay that makes sense, but then I noticed a line of shots down the bar. It was basically a shot of Jim Bean Maple and another shot of orange juice. They told us to have some “breakfast” as well and that it would taste like pancakes and orange juice. I was really skeptical but figured it was our last day. Well I did the shot and to me it tasted like french toast. It really was pretty good. The only thing that probably would have made it better would have been if the orange juice was cold.

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The half hour we had there went by so fast just hanging there. Good thing we had a short time because I could easily see getting pretty buzzed if you stayed there long enough. It was a really good time. We said goodbye to Ed and Calvin and said we would see them next year.

We walked back to our taxi and also noticed the other couple that did the same thing walking as well. We jumped on in and told them about our “experience” at the bar Rum Island Bar down the alley way called “Drake’s”. They said they just had breakfast but saw it. We told them they should have stopped in. We then just talked about where we stayed on St. John and our vacation stories. http://tinyurl.com/nhxhzfv

We got to the airport in about 10 min. and checked in for our flight. Customs was pretty easy especially not needing a form. They just ask you a few questions and you are on your way. day10_stthomas10Our flight was on time and even landed earlier then expected. Soon we were on our way home and our St. John trip was already becoming a distant memory.

Once again St. John didn’t disappoint and made it hard to leave. Jackie at Vacation Vistas was great and highly recommend using them http://www.vacationvistas.com  as well as Bougainvillea Leasing for a jeep rental http://stjohnjeeps.com. Carry-on is the way to go and if you can, ship any toiletry items ahead of time to Connections (be sure to contact them ahead of time before you do so). http://www.connectionsstjohn.com

Provisioning for us has always been the way to go and I will continue to do so. This time we used St. John Provisioning and they delivered everything that I ordered and nothing was missed. http://tinyurl.com/qyqnldb

I also pack way to much and for the ladies, if you have just a coverup to wear each day to the beach pack one, it saves a lot more room in your suitcase then several shorts and tops.

I really enjoyed going in to town early for a few happy hour specials and a light dinner. I would also suggest going to Morgan’s Mango on a Tuesday for their lobster night. We did notice a few people walking around Cruz Bay later at night that made us a little on guard, but overall we never felt threatened or not safe.

St. John continues to be one of my happy places that holds so many memories for my husband and myself. I hope we are fortunate enough to continue on making more memories next year.

Thanks again for taking the time to check out my blog….day7_teddinner1
until next time!

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