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One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

Pennsylvania
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One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

We will be staying at the Ritz in STT for a long weekend early May. I noticed they have a catamaran that can take you directly from the Ritz to St. John. Love this idea as we really want to check out St John for a future visit. So, given that we will only have the one day on the island, which is the best beach, restaurant (s), shops/town area for us to check out to give us a feel for the island? Obviously, if all three were in somewhat close proximity, that would be ideal. As for the restuarant, it can be a anything from a "can't miss" beach hut to a nice sit down affair that has a great reputation. We are flexible!

Thanks in advance.

Florida
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1. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

That's a very tough question to answer tla! I'd recommend two beaches because they have facilities (restrooms, showers, snack bars and beach chair/snorkel gear rental). Those would be Trunk and Cinnamon Bays. Trunk is probably one of the most photographed beach in the Caribbean. I was there yesterday early (8:00 AM) before it got crowded and it is beautiful. But it can get very crowded. May isn't as bad as it was this week but if you were going to try Trunk, I'd do it as early as possible or later in the day (after 3:00). Cinnamon is great because it's a great walking beach. It also has awesome views and the amenities I mentioned above. Because it's bigger, Cinnamon spreads the crowds out better when they get crowded. It may not be a problem in May (I'm sure one of the St. John residents that frequent this board can advise better).

There is lots of great shopping in Cruz Bay. Mongoose Junction (relatively close to the two beaches mentioned above) have a wide variety of shops and restaurants. One of my favorite jewelry stores is here (Caravan Gallery). There are also a nice variety of shops and restaurants along the beach just off the public ferry dock (I'm not sure where the Ritz cat drops off). Cruz Bay is small enough that you could spend a few hours and walk all of it and check out all the little shops.

Restaurants are very subjective. We had dinner this week at Zozo's (restaurant at Gallows Point) who had come over from the Ritz for dinner. They said it's their favorite place to dine when they come to St. Thomas. The Terrace, just across the street from the beach that is to the right of the public ferry dock is getting great reviews and Ocean Grill, Rhumblines, Fatty Crab, Morgan's Mango and Waterfront Bistro all get good reviews here on this board. i'd put most of these in a higher end category. Sun Dog Cafe (in Mongoose Junction), The Beach Bar, High Tide, and a variety of BBQ places are highly rated for less expensive food. Nothing is too formal on St. John so check out some the restaurants above for the types of food they serve and go with something you like.

But keep in mind that seeing the beaches and Cruz Bay are just the tip of seeing St. John. Heading out east to Bordeaux mountain & Coral Bay offers some spectacular view and additional good restaurants. Consider taking one of the many safari taxis for an island tour that gets you to the east end of the island and then drops you back off at the beach. Taxis are readily available at Trunk and Cinnamon Bays throughout the day.

Enjoy your day on St. John. It's a magical place.

Spencerport, New...
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2. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

One day, assuming you are on foot, this would be my plan.

Walk down to Mongoose junction and get a sandwich and treats at the Deli Grotto, window shop if it is early, and then flag down a taxi to begin your adventure.

Head out via taxi to Trunk and snorkle, lounge and enjoy. Rinse off and catch a taxi back to Peace Hill asking the driver to come back and get you in an hour or so. Short hike here up to see the windmill ruins and a great view of the North coast of St John. Another trail about halfway up to the windmill on your right takes you down to Dennis Bay, it is a cool hike with twists and turns, and the end when you drop onto the beach it is the best.

Catch a taxi back to town, and wander around. Apps at the Beach Bar with a bushwacher is highly recommended. Check out the items in St John Spice (right next to the ferry dock). Head up to Woody's for happy hour and then end your evening with dinner at Zozo's or The Terrace.

Perfect day in paradise.

St Thomas
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3. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

tla306: I think you're a bit confused about the Ritz's "Lady Lynsey" catamaran trips. She takes you on a snorkeling/beach tour of St John by sea but isn't any sort of a ferry service to drop you off to explore the island on land. For that you'll have to take the ferry from Red Hook which is only a five minute drive away from the Ritz.

Pennsylvania
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4. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

STT resident - thanks for the clarification. I think (and could be wrong), that at least on Friday nights they take you to St John for dinner/shopping. I'll have to double check that. I guess to do my "beach day experience", I'll have to take the ferry from Red Hook. Sounds like I'm going to need a longer trip!! :)

Thanks everyone for their feedback.

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

You can certainly do what you are looking to do. Before we started staying on St. John we stayed many times on St. Thomas and traveled for the day over to St. John. My formula for day trips from St. Thomas to St. John is:

- Call ahead and see if you can rent a jeep for the day.

- Call ahead to make dinner reservations for about 6 at some place in cruz bay.

- Take the ferry over

- Walk to the the rental car place in Cruz Bay

- Go drive down N Shore Rd. stopping at each beach along the way spending as much time as you like.

- About 4 Stop by Cinnamon or Trunk to take a shower and change. (We have also paid to use the spa at the Westin to take showers there.)

- Head back in to town and drop off the car

- Walk around for a bit and grab a drink then head to your dinner reservation. (Our favorites being La Tapa and Zozo's)

You'll have a great time no matter. We also had a great time on the way back stopping by Duffy's Love Shack once back in Red Hook.

6. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

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Boston...
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7. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

Hawksnest, Beach Bar, Bamboo Studio for a STJ bracelet

Pennsylvania
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8. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

Thanks everyone for your responses. Does this make sense: The ferry will bring me to Cruz Bay. From there, I hop in a cab to Trunk? How far away is Trunk and what will cab fare cost? Sounds like Trunk has chairs/bathrooms,etc? Then from Trunk back into Cruz bay where I can do some shopping either in town or at Mongoose Junction. Then dinner at either ZoZo's or The Terrace. Drinks somewhere around here as well (can't remember what was recommended as I type this). Does this sound about right? Is there a beach we can walk to from Cruz just to see another? I keep reading about a trail to Honeymoon but not sure where you pick this up. Also, would a Friday or Saturday be a a better day to visit for any particular reason? Thanks again.

Austin, Texas
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9. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

That makes sense and sounds great. Trunk won't take much time to get to at all. There aren't any chairs to rent though but there are bathrooms where you can get cleaned up before heading in to town. I can't remember the cost but it was cheap last time we took the taxi. On the way back in to town you could get off at the trail head to Salomon and Honeymoon. It up at the top of the hill by the park residences. If you walk at a fast pace it can take 15 minutes to get down to Honeymoon. Once you are back in Cruz Bay I don't think you would want to walk to another beach.

Ohio
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10. Re: One day: Beach, Restaurant, shops?

Hmmmm, wait. If they exit the taxi and walk down to Honeymoon, then walk back up to the road (and it's not really a walk, it's a climb, especially if it's wet) then how will they get back to Cruz Bay? Wait for a taxi? Walk? I don't really like this idea.

If you want to rent chairs at the beach, you'll need to ferry to Cruz Bay, walk to Honeymoon where you can rent a chair, then walk back to Cruz Bay. You won't have access to a shower this way, but you can rent a chair. Alternatively, ferry to Cruz Bay, taxi to Cinnamon Bay which rents chairs and has showers, then taxi back to Cruz Bay.

If you decide to walk, PM me an email address, and I'll send you a photo of the beginning of the trail to Solomon.