First, some quick background and demographics: DH and I are in our forties travelling with our sons, ages 12 and 9. This is our second trip to STJ, the first having been completed two years ago. We were looking forward to our week in paradise after weathering the long winter in Maine.
We flew into STT on Friday afternoon. It was Good Friday and the welcome Rum Hut was closed. I decided we would try the walk to the Best Western Emerald Beach after reading about how easy it was on the STT forum. We all had carry-on sized rolling luggage and managed the walk very easily. It was worthwhile to save the cab fare. We were checked in to our room, changed for the beach, and enjoying our first beverage at the Tiki bar within an hour of the plane landing at the airport. Sweet! The Emerald Beach hotel was a good economical option for a one night stay before heading over to STJ. The hotel restaurant does serve a buffet on Friday nights but they let us order off the menu after we asked. They were hesitant but eventually gave in probably because we had children with us.
On Saturday we had a leisurely morning at the hotel beach then packed up and caught a taxi to Red Hook to catch the 11:00am ferry. We arrived at the ferry terminal in time for a quick painkiller before the ferry ride. It was raining for the ferry ride but thankfully it stopped by the time we arrived on STJ. The rep from Sunshine’s Jeep Rental was waiting for us with our Jeep right at the terminal. The Jeep was new with only 5K miles on it. We drove up the hill to check into our condo Tropical Breeze at Battery Hill. (see VRBO review for listing 115882) After depositing our luggage, we headed over to Sam & Jacks deli for a tasty lunch. It rained through lunch and all afternoon so we went back to the condo until the weather cleared just in time for happy hour.
We happily headed down for our first of many happy hours at the Beach Bar. The Beach Bar is a favorite spot of ours to hit every night before dinner. It’s a favorite of the kids as well since they can get smoothies while we enjoy a painkiller (or two). My younger son also likes to climb the tree just outside of the bar.
For dinner we initially tried Fatty Crab but due to a power outage they weren’t taking customers that didn’t have reservations already. We ended up back at the Beach Bar and I remember the fish tacos being really good. After dinner we returned to the condo for the night. All in all, a first good day on St John!
We began by heading back into town for breakfast at what is now Café Livin. We ate there most mornings during our trip two years ago but we found it had changed since our last visit. It was more “formal” with table service and full breakfast rather than the quick counter service breakfast spot we remembered it to be. It was good but we ended up eating breakfast at the condo for the remainder of the week.
The first beach we chose to visit was Maho and we found it to be extremely crowded, even by STJ standards. We had a great snorkel around the point to the right towards Francis. For lunch we went over to Skinny Legs. Skinny Legs bills itself as a “pretty OK place” and we had a “pretty OK” lunch. After lunch we made a quick stop at the Love City Mini Mart. Please indulge me for a moment regarding the LCMM. The LCMM doesn’t look like much on the outside and not much more on the inside but truly it is a diamond in the rough. The same sunscreen is priced lower than in Cruz Bay, the beer is cold, and they have the right assortment of snacks. I don’t know what more you would need from a mini mart when you are on vacation. Don’t hesitate to stop there if you are in need of anything while in the Coral Bay area.
Our afternoon beach choice was Hawksnest. This was our first visit to this beach since we had not made it there during our last trip. Like most beaches on St John, it was beautiful and we had a pleasant afternoon there. We rounded out the day with Happy Hour at the Beach Bar and dinner at Rhumb Lines.
More to come in future installments!