Spice it up St. John Style

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Caribbean cooking is known for it’s delicious use of spices – Jerk and blackened seasonings being the most common. The locally famous drink The Painkiller even uses fresh ground nutmeg on top.

Guests often ask us about how they can take home the flavor of the islands and our answer is: SPICES!

We are lucky to have an amazing shop on St. John, conveniently located in Cruz Bay by the St.Thomas/St.John Ferry Dock called St. John Spice. This great store has everything from homemade curated spice blends to cutely packaged nutmegs and grater sets.  Spice blends are mixed in house, meaning they are fresh and authentic! Their Cruz Bay Grill Rub is a best-seller and a great gift item, or something to cook with when you return home to remind you of your time in St. John.  We also love this shop’s curated locally made hot sauces, including Valley Doll and Blind Betty’s.

We also love locally made Kitchen Creole spice blends. The Bordeaux Mountain and Condado Adobo have become go-tos in our kitchen, but you truly can’t go wrong with any of them. Pick these up as a gift for someone at home, or to cook with at your Destination St. John rental villa!  News of St. John even shared a fun, easy recipe here. You can purchase them online or at Shipwreck Landing or Pickles in Paradise in Coral Bay or Pink Papaya or Sugarbirds in Cruz Bay. 

Do you love cooking with spices? What is your favorite local seasoning? Share photos with us by tagging #DestinationSTJ on Instagram!

The Lime Inn

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There are so many incredible restaurants on St. John, you could stay for a week and never hit them all. A local favorite, and long-time St. John establishment (for 33 years!) is The Lime Inn.

This wonderful restaurant is located right in Cruz Bay on the one way street loping around town across from da Livio’s Pizza. Walk into a garden oasis with beautiful plants, a front bar (called “The Ficus Bar”) and the old island charm that makes St. John so special. Run by a husband and wife team Richard and Chelsea (daughter of the original owners), this family restaurant is delicious, inviting and holds that personal touch that we just love!

The Lime Inn is open for lunch (11:30-3) and dinner (5:30-9:30) with happy hour specials all day (11:30-5:30). We love the Fresh Local Snapper Sandwich for lunch and the Cracked Conch (local conch pounded thin and tender, lightly battered and flash fried) is a favorite. For dinner this season, The Lime Inn started making fresh pasta in-house, as well as adding some new items to the menu. You can’t go wrong with their Fresh Grilled Local Tuna (in an amazing tamarind glaze) or the Fresh Grilled Caribbean Lobster, caught locally in our waters.

The drink menu doesn’t disappoint, either. We love “The Danger,” named after their first son, a delicious conception of house thai chile infused tequila, fresh watermelon juice, lime juice and pineapple simple syrup! The Limin the coconut is also a delightful frozen drink that will cool you down after a day in the sun!

Lastly, don’t miss their “All You Can Eat Shrimp” night every Wednesday and Oyster Night every Thursday! We know visitors that come back yearly and look forward to it each trip!

Have you eaten at Lime Inn? Enjoyed their happy hour? Share photos by tagging #DestinationSTJ.

The Spots + Specials

Happy Hour is a great way to celebrate vacation and slide onto island time! St. John has no shortage of fun bars and hangouts, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Cruz Bay Happy Hour locales to share with you:

Joe’s Rum Hut

Located on Cruz Bay beach looking at the ferry dock and entire bay and beyond, this Happy Hour is one that can get you in trouble. Their famous “$3 You-Call-It” means any drink is $3 from 4-6pm, be it a Frozen Bushwhacker or shot of Patron, Rum Punch or anything in between. You can’t beat the view either! Take your drink down to the charts on the beach and sip to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.

The Longboard

If a frozen treat is what you’re looking for, Longboard is the spot, and you can enjoy surf videos and a coastal vibe while you cool down. Their frozen drinks are on special during the 3-6pm Happy Hour – the must-have Frozen Painkiller is $5 and the Passionfruit Frosй is $10. Craft specialty cocktails range from $6-7 during Happy Hour. 

Lime Inn

With the slogan “Happy Hour Should Start in The Morning,” this long-time island restaurant offers up Happy Hour from 11:30am-5:30pm, making it the longest Happy Hour on island. It features $4 craft cocktails, $4 prosecco and $2 Presidente beers.  The cool garden atmosphere is an added bonus.

Woody’s

Everyday from 3-6pm, Woody’s rolls out their World Famous (it’s true, Woody’s Happy Hour is legendary) drink specials including $1 Coors Light, $3 Well Drinks, $1 Off Other Drinks. Get there early to grab one of the 3 outdoor tables and watch the Cruz Bay scene.

Umami 

Located across the street from Woody’s, this spot wins for the best food + drink deals during Happy Hour. Umami offers 2 for 1 house cocktails and 2 sushi rolls for $12 during their 3-6pm Happy Hour. There are a slew of other food options too, all complete with cool air conditioning for a late afternoon outing.

The Tap Room

This local brewery has amazing housemade beers, as well as a slew of other great beers on draft. Enjoy the A/C and draft beers at $1 off, and 1/2 price flat bread pizzas during their 4-6pm Happy Hour.

What was your favorite Happy Hour on St. John? Snap a shot and share it by tagging #DestinationSTJ

St. John from the Sea

One of the best parts about vacationing to a lovely island like St. John is that it’s just that – an island – and surrounded by water! The turquoise, sparking waters arounds St. John are absolutely stunning and a must see.  A great way to explore the island and take advantage of the beautiful surroundings is by renting a dinghy and and taking a self-navigated tour of the coast and beaches! It’s a beautiful new perspective and great way to view the island.

A dinghy rental day allows you to check out multiple beaches and snorkel stops at your own leisure, by boat, and experience an exciting adventure.  The rentals stay in the USVI, meaning no hassle of clearing customs and no need for a passport. It’s an affordable way to enjoy a private, fun boat day in the Virgin Islands.

There are a few options for dingy and boat rentals in St. John:

Cruz Bay Watersports (book online and save 10%!)

Bad Kitty / Calypso

Noah’s Little Arks

A few of our favorite spots to visit by boat in St. John include:

  • snorkeling the starfish beds at Waterlemon Cay
  • a snorkel and swim at Honeymoon Beach followed by a yummy smoothie at the concession stand ashore
  • a lounge on the beach at pristine Cinnamon Bay

We highly suggest renting snorkel gear at St. John Beach Bum or Arawak Expeditions to make the most of your day and explore the beauty below the waves as well! While we know it’s hard to leave your beautiful Destination St. John villa, you won’t want to miss this sunny activity!