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After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Travel discussion for St. John

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After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby Drumbiker » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:09 pm

Hey all, so happy to be back - you can't even imagine....well, maybe you can.

8 years ago Julie and I were married on Hawksnest Beach - for a quick recap (if you're interested).

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12566#.WO-78vkrKUk

We've gotten a whole bunch of traveling out of our system in the last 8 years, Mexico, Eleuthera, China, Spain, Portugal, Jamaica....I'm forgetting some - but we have always said STJ was our favorite place on Earth and vowed to come back.

We're bringing 2 couples with us, arriving May 5th, staying at Summerwind up on Bourdeux. Appreciate any feedback on the villa, info on Coral Bay attractions (didn't spend much time there 8 yrs ago), best adult things to do on JVD, and any local intel on day boat trips or fishing charters.

I've heard there's been some "big' changes since we were there last - but no specifics. I hope the charm hasn't changed after the way we've talked up this trip to the folks coming with us!
Counting down the minutes.....
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby mdcoles1 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:34 pm

I love staying in Coral Bay...

Aqua Bistro is a really great restuarant. The conch fritters and fresh fish selections are always great. I was very impressed with the Dolphin Market at that complex as well during our last visit. It has really come a long ways!

Pickles is a great place to grab a sandwich or breakfast. And also new is Indigo Girls (near or at old Donkey Diner)..never caught them open when we were there last year.

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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby 54b » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:17 pm

Congrats on the return trip and I'm anxious to hear your perspective after taking some new couples with you. My first trip to STJ, my wife and I stayed in a villa with 3 other couples that was a blast. I just hope everyone in your travel party "gets STJ" :D

We have actually stayed in Summerwind (June 2014) and I copy and pasted a review I wrote about it below. You're definitely closer to Coral Bay than Cruz, but you'll love the central location and won't hesitate to go to either way for things like dinner. You're also really close to the turn off to the back road to the North Shore Beaches.

Coral Bay Attractions: Big fans of Ponzu Tuna night at Aquabistro $$$ (Fridays) and no way you can pass up a cheeseburger at Skinnylegs. There's good pizza to go from Indigo Grill and takeout from Caribbean Oasis. Big fan of Shipwreck landing for dinner as well, great grilled fresh fish. Other great Coral Bay attractions - Salt Pond Bay - Ram Head Hike; Haulover North and South for snorkeling; and I've never been, but I bet you'd enjoy the floating bar called Angel's Rest that's usually in Haulover South bay.

Take the VI ferry over to JVD for the day (about $70 per) or hire a private power boat charter like Palm Tree Charters (about $1100 split six ways) and you can go even more places than JVD. As for JVD, definitely White Bay and Soggy Dollar Bar. You'll have a blast. It feels like Spring Break on Daytona Beach about 3pm every day.

Have fun...

REVIEW OF SUMMERWIND

Location - Perfect; Admittedly, I've always rolled my eyes a bit when people on the forum made a big deal about villa location because I always felt STJ was so small it really didn't matter. But being centrally located added immeasurably to our enjoyment. We really felt like we could be anywhere on island within about 15 to 20 minutes, which is huge when trying to make dinner reservations or you "forget" something at the villa and need to go back during the day

Privacy - Even though Casa Bueno villa is right above Summerwind, you don't know it's there with all the walls and fauna separating the two. You have total privacy and you feel very safe as the only real way into the villa is the narrow entrance at the top of the stairs next to the driveway...it's not far from the main road, but there's no reason for someone to be near your villa unless they're working on it or staying at Casa Bueno.

View - Spectacular; It is an East facing down island view, so it would be better suited for fans of sunrises vs sunsets; I really enjoyed getting up before first light and watching the sun come up; It was also neat to be able to see the rain move across the island; being so high up was also great as the winds kept the temperatures down and the mosquitos to a minimum; the pool can be pretty cold at night

Layout (4BR/4-1/2 BTH)- Very vertical; We thought it was terrific, but full disclosure, you will do a lot of climbing up and down stairs and I would not recommend this villa for people with hip or knee issues; It's basically a four story condo - you park your jeep above the villa and descend one story to the main deck where the kitchen/common area (separate unit), porch, pool and hot tub are located; then down to the next story where you'll find a very large master bedroom suite with indoor and outdoor showers (separate unit); three stories down you'll find another bedroom/bathroom/laundry room (separate unit); and then the 4th story down, you'll find the final two bedrooms contained in one unit, but fully separated by a wall with their own bathrooms.

Amenities Worth Mentioning -

- The Ice Maker - I consider this the ultimate luxury on STJ and it worked beautifully, crushed or cubed; So as not to overload it, we used the ice trays when putting ice in our cooler each morning.

- Hurricane Doors/Windows - Really high tone; they open horizontally and vertically; and except for the Master Bedroom, that has a high ceiling, they basically made the other 3 bedrooms sound proof.

- A/C - Each room has a motel style wall unit (kitchen/main area has two); I know they aren't as aesthetically pleasing as central air, but they WORK really, really well and they are the way I'd go if I owned a villa; they are also extremely uncomplicated to use (we have stayed in villas where the remote control for the A/C unit was more complicated than the TV/VCR remote)

- Hot Tub/Pool - Both were very clean, comfortable and spacious; the adults liked being able to get in the hot tub while overlooking/monitoring the kids in the pool

- W/D - Both front loading, very modern units; a big plus to have when you don't want to have to pack a lot

Overall - Great, great villa; Very good value for the dollar; The verticality didn't bother us in the least. In fact it felt like a tree fort to the kids. I'd say the only drawback for us was simply the disparity between the master bedroom and other bedrooms. It wasn't a big deal and we certainly knew about it before we booked, but when you have two or more couples, I think it's easier if two of the bedrooms are more equal. So I'd say this villa is probably best suited for the single family with kids of any ages who prefer their own bedrooms. That said, it really was a great villa. Very clean, very modern, very up to date. It only added to our enjoyment of STJ.
It’s not about yesterday or tomorrow...It’s about today, for come what may – Sun, rain, or hurricane – we've only time for a smile, and none for sorrow
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby hoosierdaddy » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:40 pm

Welcome Home. Things have changed, but they always do. We were on island 2 weeks ago and we still get the same feeling we had on our first trip 10 years ago. There are new buildings and the restaurants change, there are more people on the beach if you are counting, but who's counting. We still love St. John and plan on returning.
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby Drumbiker » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:51 pm

Thanks for replies - and the review. The anticipation grows every day!
Counting down the minutes.....
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby 54b » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:46 pm

Two other things I thought of...

1) The master bedroom at Summerwind is significantly better than the other bedrooms in the villa. So you may want to have that conversation with your fellow travelers before you get there about divvying up rooms and whether the couple that gets the master pays a little more than the other two couples.

2) One of the bedrooms has the W/D in it and that would be the one that I wouldn't have any of the couples staying in.
It’s not about yesterday or tomorrow...It’s about today, for come what may – Sun, rain, or hurricane – we've only time for a smile, and none for sorrow
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby Drumbiker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:22 pm

Thanks 54b - We have an individual with sleep apnea and a laundry fetish that already has dibs on that bedroom....that's my wife so I'm going to have another of the rooms to myself. We're going to let the other two couples toss a coin, arm wrestle or draw straws for the master suite!
Counting down the minutes.....
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby Drumbiker » Wed May 03, 2017 8:17 am

Two days away! Feeling extremely stressed out - too much to do before we leave.

Looking at the 10 day weather forecast and kinda bummed. Looks like temps will be a little cooler than normal and quite a bit of rain projected. :( Hopefully the weather forecasters for STJ are as reliable as those in Cleveland....
Counting down the minutes.....
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby hoosierdaddy » Wed May 03, 2017 9:29 am

Don't stress! As long as you make your flight every thing else will be alright. Soon you will be on St. John!
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby RicksFormula » Thu May 04, 2017 1:06 pm

don't sweat the weather forecast, we just got back from a week there in April. On our first day there, the forecast had 5 of 7 days with 50%-70% chance of rain and estimated over an 1" of rain for the week. We ended up seeing rain for 1 hour the first day there and only ended up getting .06 hundredths of an inch for the week.
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Re: After 8 long years....Drumbiker's coming "Home"

Postby pswlrw » Thu May 04, 2017 2:09 pm

Drumbiker,

My group of 7 will be on island this Saturday as well!! Maybe we will bump into you on a beach or a watering hole, although we are Cruz Bay people.
Paula

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