St. John
A visit to Mongoose Junction
By island hopper
Mar 19, 2004, 16:30

I was born to shop, and, if you consider my present age, by now I am quite experienced. (And addicted!) So you can imagine that wherever in the world I go, I must seek out the best of what the local shops have to offer. Since my husband and I travel to St. John quite often, I have had a lot of time to find the best shopping on St. John. For me, this can only be found at Mongoose Junction, located in Cruz Bay, near the National Park Visitor's Center. The complex is made up of a beautiful collection of Caribbean style buildings, featuring a combination of finely crafted stonewalls and exquisite woodwork. The entire center of this shopping area is a tranquil, lush, shaded garden, perfect to enjoy with an afternoon tropical drink. Unique shops, restaurants and galleries make up almost all of the thirty or so businesses located there.

One of my favorite shops is the Caravan Gallery. This place features a worldwide selection of cultural crafts and jewelry. If you are in the market for something truly unusual for yourself, or to bring back for someone else, this is the shop to visit. There are items from all over, including exotic places like Russia, Kenya and Tibet. I just love visiting this place each time we come to St. John, just to see what new things these far away places in the world have to offer.

Also located in Mongoose Junction is R & I Patton Goldsmithing, a shop featuring a selection of very fine jewelry designed and made on the island. They also carry a charming selection of unusual pieces, worth a look while you are at this shopping area.

Right around the corner from R & I Patton Goldsmithing is a shop you definitely should not miss seeing, especially if you are partial to wonderful handmade ceramics and glass items. The Donald Schnell Studio features a wonderful selection of the artist's handcrafted ceramic light fixtures, signs, wind chimes and fountains, which surround you with the soothing sounds of cascading water, as you wander through this lovely place. In addition, the shop offers a special selection of glass and ceramic pieces from other local artists, as well as artists from far away places. We have made several purchases from this shop down through the years, all of which are very special to us as a beautiful reminder of our stays on St. John.

In addition, there are several other wonderful gift, jewelry and clothing shops, a dive shop, some interesting galleries, and shops where you can actually see the artisans at work.

If you work up an appetite while exploring all there is to see, you can stop for some informal dining at the Sun Dog Café or the Mongoose Restaurant, have a drink at the Gecko Gazebo, or plan for a more formal dining experience at the Paradiso Restaurant. The Paradiso specializes in Continental American Cuisine and offers dining in an air-conditioned dining room, and on an outside balcony.

And, if you are completely taken by the serene beauty of the island of St. John, Mongoose Junction also offers a few real estate offices where you can arrange to rent a villa, or buy one of your very own.

My review for Mongoose Junction, St. John is two thumbs up!

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