US Virgin Islands Holidays
It’s Labor Day weekend, an official holiday celebrated throughout the United States, its commonwealth’s and its territories. In actual practice, the holiday, which purports to commemorate the struggles and achievements of American workers, is celebrated as an end of summer ritual, characterized more by backyard barbecues than by marches with banners and bands.

On St. John and in the Virgin Islands, Labor Day is celebrated in much the same way. As native Virgin Islanders and long-time residents already know, the Virgin Islands seemingly enjoys more holidays than anywhere else in the world.

We have all the US holidays like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Presidents Day and Virgin Island Holidays like Three King’s Day, Transfer Day, Hurricane Supplication Day, Bull and Bread Day and Boxing Day.

As most official USVI holidays are celebrated on Mondays, it appears as if every Monday is a holiday.

Follow this link for a list of all US Virgin Islands holidays and their explanations.

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Virgin Islands Duty Free Liquor Gets More Expensive

by Gerald Singer

Many tourists take advantage of the significant savings on alcoholic beverages purchased in the Virgin Islands. But now this perk to St. Thomas travel is being undermined by the airlines and here’s how:

If you are flying back to the United States from the US Virgin Islands, you are allowed to bring 5 bottles (one liter) of liquor duty free or six bottles, if one of them is produced locally in The Virgin islands. It’s quite a saving as tax amounts for a great portion of the price of liquor bought in the United States.

But, consider this: Wines and liquors are liquids and, under new homeland security guidelines, cannot by carried onboard – they must be checked in.

Checked in items, however, now incur a fee, which means that if you had no checked in luggage at all, your package of liquor would be charged $15.

If you do have a bag already checked in, that box of duty free beverages will be charged $25 as your second bag.

If you already have two bags to be checked in, you might want to consider flushing the booze down the toilet or passing it out free to whoever wants it, because as your third bag, it will be charged $100.

And if by some chance you already have five bags checked, there will be $200 charge for you reduced-priced liquor.

High Prices and Cut Backs

In case you haven’t noticed, the price of airline tickets is on the rise. Cheap tickets and special deals are almost a thing of the past. And travel isn’t as much fun as it used to be, to say the least. You need to get to the airport two hours before the flight, be humiliated at security checkpoints, squeeze into smaller seats and pay extra for everything from sandwiches to water.

The high-priced airline seats will also be getting harder to find at all. For example, American Airlines is cutting back Virgin Islands flights.

The twice daily direct flights between Miami and St. Thomas has been cutback to once a day.

The daily direct flight between St. Thomas and JFK in New York is now once a week

American Eagle flights between St. Thomas and San Juan have been cut back from eight a day to three a day and between St. Croix and San Juan the 576 available seats will decrease to only 216.

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Lunch at the Waterfront Bistro – Cruz Bay, St. John Virgin Islands

Waterfront Bistro Wharfside Village, St. John Virgin Islands
Waterfront Bistro Wharfside Village, St. John USVI

by Gerald Singer
Habiba and I have a three-year-old boy so we don’t go out to eat that often.

From time to time, however, we do appreciate a nice lunch in a St. John restaurant.

A friend recommended the Waterfront Bistro, located at Wharfside Village where the Panini Beach restaurant used to be and we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant is right on Cruz Bay Beach a picture-perfect view of the St. John waterfront.

A light breeze of the bay and an overhead fan gave us some respite from the rather warm Virgin Islands noonday summer sun.

Chef Craig Sullivan at the Waterfront Bistro Cruz Bay St. John
Chef Craig Sullivan at the Waterfront Bistro Cruz Bay St. John

We enjoyed an excellent meal prepared by the experienced and talented chef, Craig Sullivan.

Habiba had already tried a white gazpacho made with melon and crab meat on a previous visit. She wanted to have it again, but it wasn’t available that day – no melons – ah, life on St. John. So we had fish tacos – excellent – mahi mahi in steamed corn tacos with shredded cabbage and a mango fruit salsa.

Our son, Jacob had chicken fingers like always and he liked them – finished the plate – a good sign

The important thing is: We’ll be back!

View of Cruz Bay Beach from restaurant
View of Cruz Bay Beach from restaurant

If anyone has their own restaurant reviews, we’d all love to hear from you – post a comment…

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St. John Stories – Mom’s phone call

by Gerald Singer

Stories from St. John Virgin Islands in the 1970s
I present here some short anecdotes. Little stories of my life on St. John, which I hope will serve to capture something of the feel for the island life on St. John during the 1970s, at least my take on it.

Mom’s phone call:
I was living at the top of the hill on Centerline Road just outside of Cruz Bay in a small apartment I rented from Captain Jurgins, a colorful St. John old-timer with a heart of gold.

It was late afternoon, we had finished pulling the fish pots,selling the fish and putting the boat away, when I heard, “Inside.” Then a knock on the door. Not the normal, is anyone home knock, but a authoritative knock … bap, bap, bap! kind of loud and insistent.

“Who is it?” I asked

” ‘afternoon, open up, I want to talk to you.”

It was a policeman.

My pulse quickened, “What did I do?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t think of anything, but I was nervous anyway.

I opened the door.

“Look here,” said the officer. “We just got a call down at the station and it was your momma. She’s worried about you. She wants you to call. What’s the matter with you boy? You need to respect you mother. You need to call.”

In fact, I hadn’t called in about a week. But, in my defense, I didn’t have a phone, the pay phones worked sometimes, but often were out of order. My mom had no way of getting in touch with me outside of writing me a letter, so she came up with the idea of calling the Police Station

OK officer, I’ll call today. Thanks for stopping by.

“Don’t make me come up here again,” he said and he flashed a short, friendly smile as he turned to walk up the driveway.

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