St. John Real Estate
National Parks of the Virgin islands
Animals of the National Park
There are 140 species of birds, 302 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians, 22 species of mammals and 740 species of plants inhabiting the Island. In addition there are about 50 corals species and numerous gorgonians, and sponges providing St. Johnian’s and visitors with some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world.
Culture of the Virgin Islands
The first humans arrived in the Virgin Islands between 2500 to 3000 years ago.
The Taino culture developed between 500 to 1000 years ago.
Columbus discovers the islands in 1493.
Visitors from the United States began vacationing and moving to the Virgin Islands between 1920 and 1950.
The Virgin Islands National Park was established in 1956.
Nature of the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands National Park located in the tropical Atlantic, contains examples of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. These include various types of dry to moist forests, salt ponds, beaches, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs. The land is mountainous, with average slopes being 30 percent. Bordeaux mountain, 1286 feet high, plunges sharply to the sea.
Turtles of the Virgin Islands
There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, and three of these inhabit the waters of St. John. The two most common are the green and hawksbill turtles, while the leatherback is rarely seen. Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water only coming ashore to nest. Turtles travel thousands of miles a year.
For those that are not very familiar with the Virgin Islands, you might be surprised to hear that St. John is approximately 60% national park!
Quick history and facts about the St. John National Park
In 1917 the United States bought St. John from Denmark. By the 1930s, news of the beautiful American island had spread to the United States mainland and the beginning of what was to become a tourism boom on St. John was established.
Laurence Rockefeller in 1956 donated land to the Federal Government to establish a National Park. The 5000 acres became the nation’s twenty-ninth National Park. The land was presented to Fred Seaton, who was the Secretary of the Interior, he promised the government would ‘take good and proper care of these precious acres and verdant hills and valleys and miles of sunny, sandy shores’. Since then other donations have been made and presently the Virgin Islands National Park includes 7200 acres of land and 5600 acres of underwater land.
Today St. John thrives as a favored tourist destination. A construction boom in the past couple of years is changing St. John from a quiet, sleepy island to one with a little more traffic and development.
Note: The information contained in this brief history was gathered from St. John Back time Eyewitness Accounts from 1718 to 1956, compiled by Ruth Hull Low and Rafael Valls, printed in 1985, and John Lonzo Anderson’s Random Notes on the History of St. John printed in 1970. Compiled from The National Park Service.
You can also read more on the park at National Geographic by clicking here
St. John Real Estate
– Auction Canceled –
Villa Rivendell is a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom luxury home located in the prestigious neighborhood of Peter Bay on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. This property sits on 1.04 acres and offers an outdoor dining area, gym, backup generator and newly updated pool and deck.
This villa is located in Lower Peter Bay St John and is a short walk to the beach.
If you are interested in learning more about Villa Rivendell and the Peter Bay Auction please call Nick Van Assche at 340.776.666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John is abound with hiking trails through its gorgeous and expansive National Park. The Reef Bay trail is one of our favorites as it taks you through an expansive valley or “gut.” While we reference this amazing trail often, we rarely get the opportunity to talk aobut the history of the Reef Bay Valley. This month we are talking about history of the Virgin Islands and Reef Bay is a great spot to start!
One of our favorite resources for St. John history is from Gerald Singer and his incredible book, St. John Off the Beaten Track. It is a fun read with a plethora of knowledge about the history of St. John, the best beaches, trails and more. In his book, Gerald also tells us about the history of Reef Bay Valley:
“The first human inhabitants of Reef Bay were hunter-gatherers who arrived in St. John almost 3,000 years ago. These primitive peoples were conquered or replaced by a farming-oriented society who were the biological ancestors of the Tainos, the people who Columbus encountered on his voyage across the Atlantic. The farmers, like the hunter-gatherers, migrated from the South American mainland and up the island chain of the Lesser Antilles arriving in St. John about 2,000 years ago.
When Columbus sailed past St. John in 1493, he reported the island to be uninhabited. The Tainos that lived on St. John may have already fled the island in the wake of Carib raids or they may have gone into hiding at the approach of Columbus’ fleet, later to fall victim to the depredations visited upon them by the Spanish colonizers.
In the early sixteenth century, St. John was reported to be re-inhabited by Amerindians feeling Spanish persecution in St. Croix and Puerto Rico. By 1550, the island appeared to have been totally uninhabited, and it remained that way for about 100 years.
Between 1671 and 1717, St. John was intermittently occupied by small groups of woodcutters, sailors, fisherman and farmers.
St. John was officially colonized and settled by the Danes in 1718. By 1726, all of the land in the Reef Bay Valley had been parceled out to form 12 plantations. At first, these estates were devoted to a variety of agricultural provisions such as cotton, cocoa, coffee, ground provisions (yams, yucca, sweet potato, taro, corn, etc.) and the raising of stock animals as well as to to the productions of sugarcane.
By the later part of the eighteenth century, the 12 plantations were consolidated into five, and sugar became the dominant crop in the valley. Only Little Reef Bay never switched to sugar, growing some cotton but primarily concentrating on ground provisions and animals that were sold to the neighboring plantations.
By the end of the eighteenth century, when sugar productions was at its peak, and the population of the valley was at its greatest (300), about half of Reef Bay Valley was classified as woodland.
In the nineteenth century, agriculture in the Reef Bay Valley began to decline. By 1915, only Par Force and Little Reef Bay in the lower valley were still active, but with only ten acres planted in sugar. Otherwise the plantations were devoted to cattle and other livestock, coconuts, fruit trees and ground provisions.” (excerpt from St. John Off the Beaten Track by Gerald Singer, Copyright 2006).
When hiking the Reef Bay Trail, one can take the quick trail to the Petroglyphs to stop and see carvings that were likely created by the Tainos prior to Columbus’ arrival. (look closely, you may see the familiar Caneel Bay logo carved in stone).
You will also see the remains of the Par Force plantation, the ruins of Josie Gut Sugar Estate, the Reef Bay Sugar Mill (which is still in great condition) and more. It’s a stunning hike through some of St. John’s rich history as well as an opportunity to learn more about the trees and plants of St. John.
We highly suggest picking up a copy of this book prior to a trip to St. John, or even as a resident, as there is so much rich history and so many incredible stories about St. John that even locals may not know! You can also learn a bit here as well!
Virgin Islands Real Estate
– Investment Opportunity –
Location: Pond Bay – St. John, United States Virgin Islands
Bidder Registration Deadline: May 15, 2015
Date of Auction: May 26, 2015
Sea Glass Properties has just announced that they are the exclusive listing agent for the Pond Bay Club, located on St. John in the United States Virgin Islands, that will be going to auction on May 26, 2015.
What is Pond Bay? Pond Bay is a 15+ acre beachfront development on St. John, United States Virgin Islands. The site is made up of 26 partially complete units (62,280 sq. ft.), of which eight are oceanfront and face Chocolate Hole. Two of the eight buildings are presidential-style oceanfront villas, which have four bedrooms and total 4,290 sq. ft. per unit. The other six oceanfront villas are three bedrooms each, and total 2,275 sq. ft. each. All other partially completed units are within very close proximity to the ocean (pictured below) and all have three bedrooms and total 40,050 sq.ft.. The project is being sold with major entitlements in place including a Coastal Zone Management permit as well as the original site plans. However, the main point of attraction for investors and hotel developers alike is the rarity of this sort of development. Pond Bay is the only partially complete development of its size on St. John. St. John is nearly 60% national park with very little additional developable land, particularly with beach frontage. This is a rare opportunity to purchase a St. John, Virgin Islands real estate project of this size.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only English speaking U.S. territory in the Caribbean, making it uniquely attractive to the US tourist market and beyond. Pond Bay presents a great way for an investor to compete with other successful resorts in the premium Caribbean market. Hotels/resorts with a similar target market in St. John are Caneel Bay Resort, Gallow Bay Resort, Grande Bay Resort, and Sirenusa Residences. Nightly rates at these resorts have a starting point of $295 for an efficiency in the “slow season” to $2,000 for a large townhouse-style unit in peak “busy season” (slow season: mid-May to mid-November, busy season: mid-November to mid-May).
If you are interested in the Pond Bay development please call Nick Van Assche at 340.776.666 or email email@example.com
We’ve talked a lot this month about the Virgin Islands National Parks – after all, it’s part of what makes our islands so special! The VI National Park not only protects and preserves our beautiful islands, beaches and coastal waters, but it also serves as a platform for learning! There are some fun ways to experience the VI National Parks!
The Friends of the VI National Park (which we talk more about, here), offers a slew of seminars, hikes, coastal cleanups and events where you can get involved and learn more about the history, ecology, archaeology and more of our islands. Whether it’s a snorkel tour, a guided hike or a tropical ecology lecture and tour, there is something interesting and exciting for everyone. Through the Friends of the VI National Park seminar series, you can even learn how to make hot pepper sauce or shoot underwater photography! A few of our favorite upcoming activities can be found below, or check here for the full schedule of events.
The Beach to Beach Power Swim is also coming up in May, so sign up and find more information on the Friends website here. Get involved, learn something new and experience more of the VI!
The Virgin Islands National Park is a United States National Park covering approximately 60% of the island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources of Virgin Islands National Park and promotes the responsible enjoyment of this unique national treasure. The organizations main goals are to Preserve, Protect and Educate.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is only as strong as its members and donors make it. Your support is essential to ensure the protection and preservation of the Park for future generations CLICK HERE to donate! Or you can visit our online store and support our efforts by purchasing your own Friends of Virgin Islands National Park apparel and gifts.
The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park website explains “Virgin Islands National Park, renowned throughout the world for its breathtaking beauty, covers approximately 3/5 of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for over 800 species of plants. To these amazing natural resources, add relics from the Pre-Colombian Amerindian Civilization, remains of the Danish Colonial Sugar Plantations, and reminders of African Slavery and the Subsistence Culture that followed during the 100 years after Emancipation – all part of the rich cultural history of the Park and its island home.”
Help us keep our island beautiful by protecting our National Park CLICK HERE to stay updated and read The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park news letter.
Reasons to Come to the Virgin Islands – Community!
This month we are sharing some of our top reasons to come to the Virgin Islands. The perfect white sand beaches, warm tropical breezes, beautiful views and crystal clear ocean waters are obviously at the top of the list! That said, there is so much more to these islands than being a tropical paradise. One of our favorite parts of living here is the sense of community that the Virgin Islands offers. Long-time residents, “snow birds,” new residents and even tourists see these islands as home and a place where one can make a difference, give back and get involved. The Virgin Islands are so small and we depend on community involvement for a slew of events, charities and organizations to function and operate. At Sea Glass, we understand the importance of giving back and being a part of the community and help in many ways with our Sea Glass Cares organization.
As a visitor or new resident of the Virgin Islands, there are so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of the community that allows our islands to thrive! Whether it is volunteering with the Friends of the National Park, helping to walk dogs at the St. John Animal Care Center or St. Thomas Humane Society, pitching in for a beach cleanup or donating your time to help St. John Cancer Fund, there are countless ways to get involved!
Sea Glass recently donated a 3-night stay at Sirenusa for a 3 bedroom villa to St. John Animal Care Center for their online auction. Have a look now and bid on this incredible villa, along with restaurant gift certificates, boat trips and more! If you are on island Saturday January 24, attend the winter gala fundraiser, The Buccaneer Ball at Eden’s Whim from 6-9pm.
As you can see, the Virgin Islands community really comes together to give back, get involved and make these islands a special place to live and visit. What more reason do you need to come to the VI?
Renting in St. John – Finding the perfect place to rent on St. John can be a tad more challenging than renting on St. Thomas only because St. John is a smaller Island and since 2/3 of it is a protected national park.
St. John definitely has a mystical small town feel to it, where you can finally feel away from all the hustle and bustle of state side living. You will not find a huge shopping mall or retail store here! You will, however, be surrounded lush green valleys and hills most of which overlook dazzling turquoise water.
Tip & Info – Renting on St. John
- I highly recommend purchasing The VI Settlers Handbook. This book is full of useful information and everything you need to know about what to expect!
- The VI Moving Center is a website fully dedicated to those moving to the Virgin Islands. It has information on finding employment, housing, and message boards so you can connect with locals who have the inside scoop.
- Be sure to check out your local newspapers if you are searching for a long term or short term rental in the classifieds, like the St. John Tradewinds newspaper
- For long term housing rentals get in touch with your local real estate companies! Here at Sea Glass Properties you can depend on us to find the perfect rental for you.
- For short term, high end rentals check out the luxurious Residence at Sirenusa
Please contact us here at Sea Glass Properties with any questions you may have.
Happy Renting – Sarah