Photo of the Week – Two friends on St. John

SJdonkeys 01102015

While working on my recent blog entry regarding a comparison between the town of Cruz Bay and the “settlement” of Coral Bay, I had occasion to click through hundreds of St. John photos. This picture of these 2 resident donkeys caught my eye and I just think it’s a really fun picture.

All around the Virgin Islands there are many very wild areas where it is common to see a few of these guys or frequently larger groups of a half-dozen or more. On a side trip some years ago to the British Island of Virgin Gorda, I remember seeing someone’s car stopped in the road by a group of them, with one actually standing on the hood of their car!  Perhaps they were in cahoots with the local officials and this was some sort of toll-collection scheme – I don’t know. read more

100 Best Hotels vs. Villa Rental

We just received our latest issue of Town & Country magazine. T & C is a beautiful magazine that is mostly about very rich people doing very expensive things in very expensive places while wearing very expensive clothes and watches!  We have had a subscription for about a year because it is fun to browse through and was a great deal to subscribe.

town and country 100 10152015This latest issue included a special Travel magazine (pictured) that features the cover article “100 Hotels That Will Change Your Life”.  The article is basically a list of 100 mostly very fancy or exotic resorts and hotels in all corners of the world compiled by a panel of 30 or so “experts” in exotic or specialty travel. read more

St. John – Ten Little Tourists

ten little sunset

It is a somewhat common thing with rental houses for the owner to leave a blank book out on the coffee table where the various renters can record their thoughts for the benefit of subsequent visitors or just as comments to the owners. People typically write something like “Thanks for sharing your wonderful house, my family had a great time……” or “ we were so thrilled to stay here at xxxxxx house, the snorkeling was great just down the path ……” or “what a wonderful location for my family reunion, see you next year…” read more

Kismet Villa, St. John, USVI

Firstly, let me be clear that this entry is about an island rental villa that is NOT somewhere that The Working Stiff or most of his circle of friends and family would be able to stay!

St John 2009 M 284

It so happens that we were renting a house down the hill from this place a few years ago. A vastly less ritzy place to be sure, though quite nice and adequate to our needs. One morning I took a walk up the hill from our rental to take some photos of the beautiful trees and flowers all over the neighborhood. I came upon a gate with a driveway beyond leading to what was clearly some sort of gorgeous and exclusive estate but was mostly hidden from my street view. I was taking a few pictures of the landscaping outside the gate when a man yelled down and invited me up the driveway to check the place out. read more

The Lizards of Oz

The wife and I were watching an episode of Penny Dreadful on HBO the other night and there was a scene with one of our favorite characters, Mr. Lyle. My wife referred to his appearance as “The Wizard of Oz,” and I initially heard it wrong as “The Lizard of Oz.” Which reminded me of a wonderful lizard experience we had a few years back on St. John, USVI. In truth I haven’t had many lizard experiences at all, which I think is pretty much OK, but this one was something to remember!

St John 2009 B 128

We were sharing a rental villa with our regular vacation partners, my brother and his wife. It was a compact but very comfortable masonry house that was beautifully embellished with local stone in a style common to many homes on the island. Perhaps the greatest feature of the house was a long covered stone and tile porch that ran along one side and allowed lots of room for outdoor dining, relaxing with the morning coffee, or just admiring the view. Sort of a long sheltered gallery with several archways from which you could look out onto the small yard or the scenery beyond. There was in fact quite a view because the house sat near the edge of a craggy bluff with crashing surf below in a small bay formed by the spit of land that accommodated our neighborhood and a substantial peninsula across the water to the east. read more