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April 27, 2017

48 Hours on Saint John Island, USVI

US Virgin Islands

Note: This article was written prior to the devastating hurricane Irma in September 2017

St. John is great. For a long time I had inaccurate assumptions of the island being a very posh place with a heavy commercial footprint but it’s very much the opposite; it’s one big beautiful natural park. You can find an eco-lodge treehouse made for adults, sushi, and star gaze. Some of the most picturesque, beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen are here, and nothing beats passing the day on the beach of your choice (there are plenty) or cruising around the island in one of the open air shared taxis.

My boyfriend (at the time) Vaughan I decided to go for the Easter holiday weekend, opting to stay at a place called Corcorida Eco-Lodge which is one of the more interesting eco-lodge accommodations I’ve ever experienced. It’s an eco-friendly camp, with about 30 “tents” which are really treehouses that have accumulated over the past 20 years, sitting on the southeastern most part of the island far away from the main port. Each eco-lodge tent has it’s own solar panel (very cool) and a little kitchen so you can cook your bacon and eggs in the morning. It’s a collection of tree houses for adults and families, and its glorious. The views are beautiful, and with no outlets in the units you are encouraged to put the phone down, play board games (they offer a plentiful selection), enjoy the company of your travel companions, and soak up the nature. It’s so peaceful there that even a tiny lizard rusting in the leaves made me jump, several times.

The eco-lodge accommodations are truly one of a kind, and you feel like a little kid again being there. One morning Vaughan and I were just laying in our beds (we had two singles) nibbling at some strawberries and enjoying the luscious breeze passing through the tented zip-down windows. He looked at me and said “Isn’t this great?” and I just nodded with a big smile calmly thinking, YEAHHH!!!

Before we arrived we stopped at a little convenience shop and I was blown away by the inventory. Mostly, their wine selection 🙂 We picked up some champers because we were feeling fancy and when we got to our place, got settled and popped the bottle for a little sunset sip. On Easter morning, we had a crazy impressive brunch for a treehouse – I made a little Easter surprise with some chocolate treats I brought from NYC (was so happy they didn’t completely melt in the midst of my travels) that we had after our hike to Ram’s Head, which was also pretty cool.

Bonus points, the Concordia Eco-Lodge is far from the main town, so you have hardly any ‘city’ light to disturb the night sky, and you can gaze at the incredible stars as you shut your eyes. I didn’t want to close my eyes one night because they were so beautiful, and I swear the moon was so big and bright one night it looked like a giant spotlight shining down on the sea.

A few suggestions on what to do when you have 48 hours on St. John island:

  • Ferry travel is $40 from Tortola plus $20 tax (each way). They have funny little BVI to US Virgin Island customs station that you must pass to enter the territory. Easy breezy but if you ferry stay close to the door when you land so you’re not stuck on a line.
  • Caneel Bay is a great spot to stay if treehouses aren’t your thing. I like the place for the ridiculous sushi – one of the best I’ve had – and I eat sushi a good amount. If you make it to St. John and you like sushi you must go to Caneel Bay Resort. Also to note is Zozo’s, their Italian restaurant. It looks like a place the Flintstone’s would go on date night (in a good way). The pastas are great, some seafood dishes I’ve had better, but a nice wine list and A+ ambiance. I like the name too.
  • Montauk Long Island’s infamous Surf Lodge has a cousin – and it’s called The Longboard. Located in the main town, it’s great spot for drinks and some tacos, tasty seafood dishes, or other healthy options including a variety of grain bowls. Oh yea, frozen Painkillers and Frosé! Go 🙂
  • Grab a fresh coconut for $5 ($9 with rum) when you get off the ferry. Can’t miss it.

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