An Update From Marilyn & Rich After A Visit
Updated: Jun 5
Rich and I just returned from 5 weeks in St. John. We had a lot of work to do, so sadly, we didn’t get to the beach, but we are planning to visit many of our favorite beaches when we return in August. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We were told that it was the season of Sahara dust blowing up from Africa, but we wouldn’t have been aware of it except for some allergic symptoms (Marilyn) and maybe some haziness. However, News of St. John ran an article about the Sahara dust and its effect on the atmosphere. It is the reason for some of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen.
We did make time though to check out a couple of restaurants. Zozo’s, one of our most favorite restaurants opened at the beginning of the year. Zozo’s had been closed since Caneel Bay Resort, where they were located, was destroyed in the hurricanes in 2017. We were so excited and made reservations on Open Table well in advance of our arrival. We arrived to find that I had gotten my dates mixed up. The concierge couldn’t have been nicer, cancelled our reservation for the next night, so we wouldn’t be charged and urged us to sit, have a drink and watch the sunset, while he looked for a possible cancellation. Everyone was wonderful and all the waiters stopped by with fingers crossed. He had us seated within 45 minutes, and by that time, we were well oiled with their wonderful and unusual cocktails. Neither the sunset nor the wonderful meal disappointed! While eating, I got on the Open Table app to find another reservation and found just one opening one and a half weeks later. We ended up going 3 times total! The food was fantastic each time. Their menu is a prix fix, $100 per person for a 5 course meal. As there is only one seating, once you are at the table you can stay as long as you like and enjoy your dinner. You arrive and park at the Caneel bay site, and then take a jitney ($3 added to your bill) to the restaurant on the beach. On our last night, we took pictures of one of those incredible sunsets and later found out that it was so spectacular due to the Sahara dust We also took pictures after sundown of the beautiful horizon view from ZoZo’s.
The other new restaurant we tried is Shaibu’s Garden Oasis. This is also open air, in the courtyard of the Meade Plaza. The entrance is in the rear of the park across from the Passenger Ferry Dock. No View, but really lovely ambience. We went with 2 of our closest friends on the island. First we had the most unusual cocktails. If you are getting the idea I drink a lot, I really don’t, but I do enjoy a well crafted cocktail or good wine when we eat out. I am not a martini person at all. But I have to tell you that they have a Sorrell-based (hibiscus flower) Martini to die for! It was called “A Dance” I am trying to get the recipe. I admit to having 2. Shaibus has a variety of dishes from around the world, (including sushi) all locally sourced. Our friends had vegetarian meals and we both gave in to our less healthy instincts and had these very big, very tender steaks. Check out their website.
A while ago, our housekeeper and friend, Ann Mary took pictures of a flower she found at Andante. She called me about it and described it, and it sounded as if it was growing out of a schefflera (umbrella plant) that she had planted as a small plant when the pool was first built. I didn’t believe her and thought it must have come from another plant. I had no idea that Scheffleras produce flowers. Well, they do and there you go!
Ann Mary also captured a lovely picture of a hummingbird in our front garden.
Though Caneel bay has not been rebuilt, there is now free parking so that beachgoers have an alternative to hiking down to Solomon and Honeymoon beach. The catch is that you pay $10 for a shuttle to the beach. There is also a small beach bar, Bikinis at the beach.
Several years ago, one of our guests remarked that she and her husband would go out on the master bedroom deck , drink coffee and watch the sunrise every morning. Rich remarked to me that we really had to learn how to enjoy our own house from our guests. While the sunrises were what made Rich fall in love with Andante on our first morning there, we would just watch them from the bed. With the pandemic, I had a chance to really practice daily meditation in earnest. It kept me sane. That deck, with the sun coming over the horizon and the sounds of the surf below is the ultimate setting for contemplation. I use it liberally when we are down in St. John.
I forgot to take a picture of this, but I want to share this wonderful news. Anyone who has traveled through the St. Thomas airport (STT) and needed to charge something electronic prior to getting on a plane, knows that there was only one column with 2 working outlets in the entire airport. The picture here shows that one loan column. You can see folks sitting on the floor in order to snag an outlet. Often I would walk through, testing and wishfully hoping that one of the many other outlets had been repaired since I was last there, to no avail. I would bring a powerstrip/surge protector and ask if I could share the outlet with whomever had already taken possession. When we went through on our way back to Boston in late April, we were very pleasantly surprised. At least where we were sitting, (close to the loan column with working outlets), they now have rows of seats with electrical outlets under the seats!
Speaking of the Airport, the Hibiscus Café is now fully open after the 2017 hurricanes destroyed much of the Airport. Not only does it have a grill, sandwiches, salads, but it has local food (king fish, pate’s, johnny cakes, and more) and the absolute best Rum Punches I have ever tasted. All of that kind of softens the sadness of having to leave the virgin islands and helps to while away the long wait since you are supposed to be there 3 hours before your flight.
We keep promising Angela, our webmaster, that we will send pictures and narratives when we go to St. John, but then we get busy and time runs away with us. We promise to be better in the future!