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Steve Simonsen 2018 St. John CalendarSteve Simonsen 2018 St. John Calendar

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virgin islands on line : st. john : hotel & villa reviews

Villa Serenity 12/03/02
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
The four outstanding features of Villa Serenity are its location, its

location, its location, and Terry Witham.The first location advantage of Villa Serenity is its proximity to theFrancis Beach. On our first three visits to St. John, we had stayedin villas on Gifft Hill, overlooking Cruz Bay. This is a nicelocation for first-timers, since it is close to town, centrallylocated, and provides a great view of St. Thomas. However, wheneverwe wanted to go to the beach, we always had a 20 minute jeep ride.(This year during the week we stayed at Cloud Nine on Gifft Hill, mostmornings we'd get up, watch the cruise ships come in, eat breakfast,and drive to Francis Bay by 8:00 am.) Prior to our fourth visit wediscovered Villa Serenity, which is located at Mary Point which is atthe end of the North Shore Road, and is about a 5 minute/ 1/4 milewalk to the beach at Francis Bay, which had become one of our favoritebeaches - it is large (about 1/2 mile long) , uncrowded (since itsthe farthest beach on the North Shore - about a 30 minute ride fromCruz Bay) and offers beautiful snorkeling along its northern edge. Weoften walked to Francis Bay at 8:00 am and would be the only onesthere for an hour or two. At most there would be a dozen people thereall day. Villa Serenity is also about a 1 mile walk to the AnnanbergRuins and about a 1 1/2 mi walk to Waterlemon Cay, another greatsnorkeling spot.The second location advantage of Villa Serenity is that it is locatedin a cluster of three houses on a little driveway above the road toFrancis Bay. However, because of the vegetation, you can not seeeither the road nor the other houses from the deck that extends thefull length of Villa Serenity. The nearest houses you can see lookingeastward are on Tortola, BVI, looking westward, on St. Thomas, andthere are no houses to the north on Mary Point. Since no one can seeyou, the only things you need wear on the deck at Villa Serenity are asmile, suntan lotion, and a hat (unless you're bald its really toughto rub suntan lotion onto your scalp!) There's a neat hammock on thedeck, ideal for sunning yourself, but I suggest you first cover theropes with a cushion. The third location advantage of Villa Serenity is that it isabout a 15 - 20 minute walk to the Maho Bay Campground. TheCampground offers its own little store, restaurant, and activitiescenter, and, most importantly, it offers a shuttle into town every twohours from 8 AM to 8 PM for $6. On our first three trips to St. John,we had rented a jeep for about $400 /week including gas. Theproximity of Villa Serenity meant that we could do without a rentalcar. Now if you haven't been to St. John before, a rental car is adefinite must, cause it can take you to beaches you might otherwisemiss. However, if you use the rental car funds for sailboat ridesinstead (as we did), you'll go to beaches that are inaccessible bycar. The Maho Bay Shuttle will drop you off at any beach on the NorthShore, and pick you up on any return trip. In addition, Maho Bayactivities has scheduled group taxi rides to other St. Johnactivities, such as Salt Pond beach, the National Park Service ReefBay Trail hike, and various restaurants.We rented Villa Serenity from Terry Witham. We found renting fromTerry (who lives on St. John) to be a big advantage over renting froma realty company. Since we first strayed there in May 2000, Terry hasmade some very substantial improvements to Villa Serenity,particularly in outfitting the kitchen. Furthermore, Terry must knowevery resident of St. John, so if you have any questions aboutsnorkeling, or beaches, or what boats to rent, Terry either knows orcan find out. Villa Serenity itself is a four bed-room, three bath house, withan enormous deck, from which you can see the sunrise over the BVI andthe sunset over St. Thomas. (It is a lot more house than the two of usneed, but the rental price depends on the number of occupants.) Ithas a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a gas-grill on the deck,great for grilling steaks, and a gazebo for dining outdoors.

San & Dave Dudich

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