I (Marilyn) worked at the St. Thomas Hospital during the week of 1/22-1/26, so was very busy. Had a gratifying time meeting and working with the staff and seeing many very interesting and lovely patients. The pharmacy on St. John is not open on Sundays as yet, and I was coming down with a cold the weekend before I was scheduled to work, so I took a trip on the passenger ferry over to St. Thomas to go to the pharmacy in Red Hook and pick up some meds. As we usually use the car barge, it gave me the opportunity to see how our guests experience coming and leaving St. John.
The passenger ferry dock is right across from a little pocket park with a gazebo and bronze statue of a man with a conch shell. At the rear of the park is a lovely open-air restaurant, Cruz Bay Landing, that has been opened since the storms and really did a lot to feed the residents in the first few weeks afterwards. The restaurants all pooled their resources – those that were not badly damaged opened and those that were, transferred food and supplies to those that could help. They, along with the Longboard, which I also show, were absolutely wonderful in restoration efforts and now are fully open for business. As I came back into Cruz Bay, the afternoon sun was filtering through the re-greened trees, and a saxophonist was playing a peaceful jazz tune in the park. The restaurant was fully occupied. It was lovely and reassuring to know that St. John had come so far. Visitors are back and strolling the downtown area hand-in-hand. Cruz Bay is not as crowded as it would have been at this time of year, in any other year, but the quiet led to it’s charm.
On my last evening (since we won’t see each other until late March while Rich is there overseeing the final repairs) we decided to celebrate what we and the island has accomplished so far, and our commitment to getting back on track. Our 2 favorite restaurants Asolare and ZoZo’s were completely wrecked by the storm, so in a good way, that forced us to get out of our comfort zone and explore other restaurants. A number of them are open for business and we referred to the wonderful blog, http://www.newsofstjohn.com to find out an updated list.
We settled on The Terrace which is on Bay Road going out of Cruz Bay toward Gallows Point. We had a beautiful terrace table with an unobstructed view of Cruz Bay and Cruz Bay Beach. The evening was somewhat cloudy, but having been in that area before I can vouch for the sunset views. We haven’t been to that restaurant in at least 15 years, when it was under a different name and ownership. Dinner was lovely, very reasonably priced and we got a chance to see some old friends who we hadn’t seen since the storms. We got to “people watch” as many couples strolled hand in hand up and down Bay Road on their way to dinner, or going back to their rooms or villas. When I return, we have vowed to take some time to check out some of the other great restaurants that have opened. We urge all of our guests to check out the blog for updated reports of what is opening up. We hope that Asolare and ZoZo’s will decide to rebuild.
Right next to The Terrace is a bar/grill called “The Bar”. Across Bay Road from The Bar, they have a little sitting platform cantilevered over Cruz Bay Beach, with a couple of palm trees growing through the platform. The palm tree trunks are strung with lights and glisten at night.
Other Cruz Bay sights included the tennis courts are open and lighted and folks were playing. The basketball courts in Pine Peace were fully lighted and guys were playing pickup games. Across the street from the basketball courts is Alfredo’s Garden Center. It sustained some damage but is fully back in business. Rich checked with Veronica there about replacing our wonderful blue planters that had broken in the storm. Because we would have run late for our reservation, and wanted to make sure we got a table with a view on the terrace, we decided to park at “Slim Man’s Parking” across the street from Wharfside Village. Wharfside Village’s sidewalk is getting a face lift. Some of their restaurants have reopened. A big “Wharfside Village” lighted sign adorns their wall, and I think that is brand new. There is a bar and grill behind Slim Man’s that was open, playing music, crowded and lively, “420 To Center”.
The sign along the road into town caught my eye and reminds everyone of the resilience of the many wonderful people of St. John. I get a little teary eyed every time I see it, because I know first hand what they have all been through.