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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day three: Happy Anniversay in Paradise

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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day three: Happy Anniversay in Paradise

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(@ccasebolt)
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I woke up around 6:00 AM - early again. Isn’t this supposed to be vacation? Well I certainly don’t want to miss any of it. And today we have coffee, so I’ll go downstairs and make some. Did I mention that today is our anniversary? That's one of the reasons we like to visit St. John in mid-July. The other reason is the off-season prices 🙂

I sat on the deck a cup of coffee (ahhhh), took a few notes, and then read for awhile. There was a lovely breeze coming from the SW and it looked to be the beginning of a glorious day. I waited for the others to get up so we could decide on a game plan for the day.

Unfortunately we would have to check out of Concordia this morning and make our way to the other side of the island - I feel as though we just got here! Given that, we decided a morning snorkel at Salt Pond Bay was in order, so we headed out. The beach was completely empty. I love the way the Allamanda (I think) vines have spread across the sand - very pretty. There was a bit more surf than usual, and unfortunately, the snorkeling wasn't as good as we've experienced there before - visibility just wasn't great. We did manage to see a huge spotted eagle ray with a wing span of about 3'; and length of about 8' from tip to tail - beautiful! We usually see turtles in the grassy sea beds, but didn't today - they may have been there, but due to the poor visibility, we may have missed them.

We didn't stay long, as we had to check out by 11:00. We went back, cleaned up, packed our stuff, and loaded the car. Ah yes, the car; the small 2-door Suzuki Vitara. Hmmmm, so how are we going to fit four adults and all of our stuff into the poor thing? Well, let me just say that where there's a will, there's a way. Somehow we managed 4 fairly good-sized suitcases, 1 large bag of snorkel equipment, and four adults - Okay, nobody breathe. Needless to say, it was a bit cozy.

Checkin at both the Westin and Cruz Views was not until mid-afternoon, so we thought we'd grab lunch first. Since it was still a bit early, we decided to drive out to the east end first, them hit Skinny Legs on the way back. The the car didn't have a say about this, however it let us know that it was NOT happy with our plan. As we scaled the hills along eastern portion of Rt 10, we did our best to encourage it with rounds of "I think I can" echoed by "I thought I coulds". We passed Vie's, which unfortunately was closed - too bad - I could have gone for some pre-lunch fritters. Oh well, we'll have to stop back later in the week. We finally made it to the end of 10, stopped for the photo op, turned around and headed back to Coral Bay.

We browsed the gift shop at Skinny's before going in to be seated. FYI - they have an excellent assortment of shirts, hats, and items of clothing, as well as other souvenirs; definitely worth checking out. After making our purchases, we went inside and sat down. Tourist that I am, I just HAD to get a few pictures of us in front of the "St. John, USVI Red Sox Nation" poster. After we placed our order, the resident egret who was making the rounds stopped by our table - sorry buddy, I've seen what happens when people feed birds.

Our food (Mahi sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwich, & turkey & swiss on rye) was good; the price right, and the ambience fantastic as always. Reluctantly we shoe-horned ourselves back into "the poor car" (as it would come to be known over the course of the week) and moved on.

We chose the north shore route again this time as Amy was had not yet been along that stretch. I heard quite a few wows as we drove - I so love experiencing St. John through the eyes of a newbie. Course we had to stop at the scenic overlooks for a few pictures - how many of these shots do I have already? You can never have too many.

We dropped Rod & Amy at Varlack to pick up their Jeep (we knew the poor car would appreciate this), and met back up with them at Caribbean Villas. We then followed the villa lady to Cruz Views (unit 6) to check out Rod & Amy's digs for the week.

There has been some discussion on the boards about construction noise at Cruz Views and other villas in the vicinity of Sirenusa. My first-hand experience was standing outside on the balcony at about 1:30 in the afternoon - IMHO the noise was not bad at all. Yes, you can hear it, but it isn't loud or terribly distracting; it is more like distant noise that you can hear and tune out. I suppose the noise can vary depending on the specific activities - I didn't hear any jackhammers that afternoon - and I can see where that could make a difference. (After spending the whole week there, Rod and Amy reported that weren't bothered by it the noise at all). Honestly, I thought the giant scar on the opposite hillside was more of a distraction than the noise - hopefully the view will improve as they approach completion.

After a short time at Cruz Views, hubby and I headed to the Westin to see about our villa. We arrived at 2:00 - a bit early for check-in, but the villa was ready. What luck! The Westin villas are VERY nice. Most have been remodeled recently and are top-notch in terms of amenities. Unit 3227 is a 1 BR loft with a kitchen, living room w/balcony, full bath, and laundry downstairs, and a bedroom and full bath upstairs. The Westin offers daily housekeeping and provides Starbuck's coffee, laundry detergent, and cleaning products (for those so inclined ;)). Our unit had a bit of a water view from the balcony and lush foliage immediately below. Yup - I think it'll do 🙂

There is a very nice pool area between the two villa buildings (which for some reason always seemed to be empty) equipped with two large built-in Kitchen Aid stainless steel grills. We decided we had to try out the pool, so we went for a quick swim. After swimming, we cleaned up and headed to Starfish for some groceries.

We poked around the Market Place shopping center to see what had changed since last trip. Upstairs is the Happy Fish sushi restaurant which opens at 5:00 - well, sort of; island time ya know. We waited for the doors to open (~5:10), and went in for an appetizer. The sushi was excellent - as good as any I've here had at home - and prices were surprisingly reasonable, so the appetizer turned into our anniversary dinner. As it turns out, much of the sushi-grade fish they serve comes from Boston - guess that explains it. If you have a yen for sushi (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), I heartily recommend Happy Fish.

After dinner we grabbed some groceries at Starfish, went back to the villa to put them away, then walked around the ground of the Westin for a bit. The grounds are very well manicured; there always seemed to be people grooming one thing or another. We swung by Nauti Nymph to check on availability of a boat for later in the week.
After about an hour of puttering, we headed back into town. The Red Sox/A's game (Schilling pitching) was on at Quiet Mon - so we had a couple of beers there. When the Red Sox had things under control, we moved over to Woody's where the game we also being shown - hey this is just like being at home! We watched the Red Sox win (7 - 0), stayed for a little while longer, then headed back to the villa. Another Happy Anniversary in paradise - I can't think of a place I'd rather be.

 
Posted : August 8, 2006 6:01 am
(@coden)
Posts: 112
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Thank you for another wonderful report....can't wait to try the sushi bar. Yum!!!

 
Posted : August 8, 2006 6:27 am
(@california-girl)
Posts: 117
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I'm loving your trip report 🙂

How was the Suzuki Vitara? I have one reserved for next May thru Conrad Sutton. It's only going to be my hubby and me, but I'm curious as to how it drives on the St. John roads and hills.

 
Posted : August 8, 2006 12:40 pm
(@ccasebolt)
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The Vitara (AKA poor car) was actually fine. It wasn't the most powerful vehicle going, but normally power isn't much of an issue on St. John - that is unless you overload the poor thing and force it to scale steep hills while the AC is on full blast 🙂 Under normal conditions it did just fine.

 
Posted : August 8, 2006 2:51 pm
(@mike-from-newport)
Posts: 44
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I was at Fenway for that Schilling game against the A's. Kenny Chesney threw out the first pitch. The Boston-St. John connections are endless...

 
Posted : August 9, 2006 11:06 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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So true! - we heard all about KC throwing out the pitch. One of the owners of Woody's was at that game too (we chatted with the other owner - they're brothers- while watching @ Woody's). Mike Timlin had vacationed on St John a few months before, hung out at Woody's (signed the huge Red Sox poster inside), enjoyed himself, then later on got tickets for the owner of Woody's for the weekend KC played at Foxborough. That's the reason the game was on at Woody's that night. Thanks Buffett Guy for reminding me - that detail should have made my trip report.

BTW - did you manage tickets to see Jimmy this coming weekend? Didn't this time, but have in the past - always a good time!

 
Posted : August 10, 2006 5:22 am
(@mike-from-newport)
Posts: 44
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ccasebolt - I saw the Thursday show at the Tweeter Center. There were torrential rains, so the folks in the lawn seats were absolutely drenched! But, the rains did not stop the tail-gating, and the performance was vintage Buffett. My favorite moment - Buffett has added a virtuoso ukelele player to the band, who did a Hendrix-like rendition of the National Anthem. It was a great show.

For a good laugh, you may want to check out this unusual website:

http://indianajames.com/

The video is a Jimmy Buffett take on the Indiana Jones saga. Buffett has been playing it during the intermission at his shows. Enjoy!

 
Posted : August 20, 2006 11:38 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Buffet Guy - Thanks for the link - awesome! Too funny! Typical JB - gotta love it.

Would have loved to see that show - sounds like it was a great time. The tail gate parties alone are always a blast. I'll have to try for tickets again one of these years; succeeding in that is a feat in and of itself (but well worth it).

 
Posted : August 21, 2006 5:13 am

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