Tropical eco-cottage;If you loved Maho Bay,you'll love this!On hiking trail!
About Allison Smith
26 year resident of St. John, Allison offers her eco-home to fellow nature-lover guests as a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. She built the home herself (with a little help from her friends!) over a period of 15 years during a time of minimal access to basic construction services; ie she took materials up the rigorous Johnny Horn Trail in her jeep! She's created a natural home, complete with birds that land in your hand and hopes that you'll find the same serenity as you watch the sunrise from your bed! She lives on a nearby smaller island and is readily available to help in any way. She grew up in Florida and sailed to the Virgin Islands in her own sailboat, spending six months at sea en route. She has devoted her life to that of service, first as a school counselor, then as the 'island shrink' and founder and director of the islands first non-profit organization, the People Moving Forward Foundation. Guided to create spiritual growth opportunities, she created Rejuvenation Vacations, specializing in retreats for relaxation, yoga and spiritual growth. She has taught workshops and classes on A Course in Miracles, prosperity consciousness, living an optimum life experience and is currently studying to be a Licensed Unity Teacher through Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute. She leads weekly community meditation gatherings on Peace Hill and teaches Wednesday classes under the gri gri tree in Pickles Deli's backyard. She has a beautiful daughter, Angie, and five fabulous grandchildren, three of whom are on St. John.
Allison Smith purchased this Cottage in 2000
Why Allison Smith chose Estate Emmaus
The Coral Bay Eco Retreat offers an opportunity to experience off-the-grid living in a tropical setting. The energy of the area, overlooking the VI National Park as well as bordering it provides a serene and peaceful setting with an awesome view and silence, a rare commodity in these times! At one point, it was a haven for 'rescue goats' who had been injured or abandoned, as an adjunct to the island's animal care center, hosting as many as 15 little goats in a stable built by her and her grandson. This house is like no other, unique and sweet, simple and close to nature.
What makes this Cottage unique
* Location! Located on the historic Johnny Horn Trail, on the border of the Virgin Islands National Park, you're only a half mile jeep ride or hike from the heart of Coral Bay with its shops, bars and restaurants and a mile from the beaches of the VI National Park including the famous snorkeling of Waterlemon Cay. Peaceful and quiet! * Unique home: open air, solar-powered, gathered rain water, trees growing through the decks, birds that land in your hand!Totally sustainable. * Massage table on site for home-based massage visits
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 9:00 AM
Children not allowed
Max guests:2 (sleeps up to 2 adults)
Relax! The vibe is all about relaxing...in the hammock, in the love seat, on the couch, in the meditation chairs.
Rejuvenate! You have a busy life and hectic schedule, so it's essential to get your mojo back!
Re-energize! Resting and relaxing are essential to great health and spiritual peace. This is the place!
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
A piece of paradise in the trees
We loved our stay at the Eco Retreat! The views of the islands are breathtaking and waking up with the sunrise was incredible. We enjoyed getting on the park trail right next to the house and accessing beaches on the north coast that way. Allison was a perfect host, very responsive to our questions and full of great advice. It is a steep and exciting drive up to the retreat and having 4WD was a must! Well worth it to access this beautiful, peaceful and private piece of paradise!
Best in St John!
A wonderful stay! Best view on east side of St John, from decks to bedroom! A secluded, private retreat, but easily accessible to beaches, restaurants and other services. I will gladly stay again!
A uniquely charming and secluded open-air cottage with breathtaking views!
Allison’s Coral Bay ecoretreat cottage was an absolute dream. My husband and I stayed there on our honeymoon in April 2017. I had a vision of a private cottage somewhere tropical, which was surprisingly hard to find! We stumbled across this cottage while searching all of central America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean for something, and I couldn’t have been happier with out choice. Allison warned us that it would be a rough 4x4 road to the house with a nice steep set of stairs. We felt pretty comfortable with that situation - we’re active, work in natural resources and have to drive bad roads for work a lot of the time - so we signed up. She is not lying about the road or the stairs! It was doable, but definitely an adventure :P It made us plan our days ahead of time so we minimized the number of trips up and down that road per day, which I ended up really enjoying. The cottage is adorable and it’s obvious that a lot of love went into the design. There are personal touches everywhere, and the open-air bedroom is so dreamy. It’s definitely the type of place you could be just sitting in the hammock, reading a book and letting the day pass by. We were never in a rush to leave the cottage :) I loved feeling like I was part of nature - the little bananaquit birds do come right up to you as if they’re asking for sugar, little anole lizards skitter around in the evenings, and we even saw a hermit crab crawling around outside. The kitchen frog didn’t show up until our last day when we accidentally left the kettle lid open :-o and found him in there the next morning!
We really enjoyed off-the-grid living. It ended up just feeling like a REALLY luxurious camping trip and we loved being on that natural camping sleep schedule: wake with the sunrise (absolutely stunning view out of the Love Nest), fall asleep shortly after sunset. This worked out most nights except for the one where we partied hard in Coral Bay and didn’t get back until 11pm - no worries, there are solar lamps to light your way up the stairs! I seriously would love to come back to this cottage. St. John was lovely, too. We made no plans other than “get on plane, get rental car to cottage” and it was still a magical vacation. We spent our days snorkeling in all the little bays that are easily accessible by jeep or on foot, we hiked the Johnny Horn Trail to Waterlemon Cay (do it! We saw 4 sea turtles up close in the water!), and successfully visited (I think) every bar and restaurant in Coral Bay.
Perfect treehouse for us!
Seeking adventurous, good natured people! If you enjoy solitude, unbelievable views, a refreshing breeze, geckos on the spice rack, birds all around, hermit crabs traveling through your shower, driving your jeep like they do in TV commercials, plus you're willing to wash your own dishes, conserve resources (water and electricity are precious commodities here!), and grab a broom to sweep off the deck after a rainy or windy night, then this place is for you! If you crave a busy, sterile all-inclusive resort with drinks by the pool, maids and turn-down service, then keep looking.
Allison is a super host and the place is so lovely that it's hard to know where to begin. She responded to our texts and mini-emergencies promptly -such as referring a chiropractor when one of our group had a back issue flare up (she always adds, "tell him you're staying at my place, he's a good friend" with any referral).
I read another review suggesting not to use the kitchen. Au contraire! We cooked nearly all our meals here and packed lunches. Love this kitchen! Except one basket over the stove hangs too low for tall people;) so we used it on the counter to thwart bird attacks on our food. Bonus: the kitchen is in the shady part of the house so you can cook whenever and not get baked by the sun. If you're a serious cook, you will appreciate the well-seasoned cast iron pans in a variety of sizes. Two items to add- a mixing bowl and a cheese grater (so we improvised), but otherwise the kitchen has everything you need- including a coffee grinder (we brought our fav fair trade, shade grown, organic roasted beans from home). Word of caution: don't leave that banana you started eating and set down for a sec on the counter and walk away- not even for a minute! Those thieving pearly-eyed thrashers (birds sized like a jay) will help themselves!! Toss a dish towel, plate, or upside down basket over your precious food and all will be well, lol.
You really have to be the right sort of people to enjoy this quiet, out of the way treehouse for grown ups. We thought about camping but didn't want to schlep our gear here. This was more like glamping- you feel nestled in mother natures lap, but with a comfy bed and amenities like wifi and a charging dock whenever you want it. It was the perfect spot for us!
Peaceful tree-house living
Warning- if you don't like camping and nature, this is not the place for you! Now that that's out of the way, the Coral Bay eco retreat was freaking awesome!!! This peaceful, secluded, off the grid tree-house lands you 'far from the maddening crowd'. In staying, one experiences true off the grid living with solar power, a propane stove, indoor plumbing fed by captured rain water, and discharged into a septic. There is an indoor and outdoor shower that isn't heated, so be prepared for a cool shower... but in the hot sun it can be refreshing. If it's too cold for you, just heat some water on the stove to bathe with. Be prepared for critters to scurry about and bring bug spray.... again just like camping (or perhaps eco-glamping in this case). You also want to stock up on drinking water because it's too risky to drink rain water stored in unsealed containers. This tree house was relaxing and helped me reset my circadian rhythm that was so interrupted from my busy and hectic job a software engineer. My hubby is an env. scientist, so needless to say, we both were in heaven. We experienced multiple engagements with the bananaquints you can hand feed, humming birds, geckos, lizards, hawks, finches, millipedes, and even found a tarantula in its hole! Sleeping outside, under the stars in the mosquito net, and being naturally woke up with the sunrise was awesome. Thank you, Allison, for sharing your retreat with us!!
We had a wonderful trip. Allison was very thoughtful in checking up with us throughout the week. My daughter (16) and I loved being off the grid and so close to so much natural beauty. It was a cathartic trip for me. I needed it. Maybe metamorphic for her which is what I was hoping for. She has always loved animals and nature and this was a perfect place for her to experience the islands at as close as possible to its natural state. It was her first time in the islands and I am sure she will never forget it. I loved the hiking and the snorkeling...even though I had been to many of the trails and bays before...it was almost like the first time all over again when you get to show it to someone for their first time. I would love to come back again and stay here again. Maybe bring the wife next time. It was an adventure.
Thanks so much for the review and your kind words. It's such a joy to share something new and wonderful and natural with those we love, especially a teenager who appreciates it! That's how I feel about sharing the retreat with my guests...such a joy!
I'm glad you had a great time and I'd love to have you back any time...with wife, daughter or as a solo Rejuvenation Vacation!
All the best,
The Coral Bay Eco Retreat is located in Coral Bay, St. John on the border of the Virgin Islands National Park, off the historic and challenging Johnny Horn trail, about half a mile from the beautiful Emmaus Moravian Church, a mile from the beach, a few miles from an organic farm. The Trail requires an adventurous spirit and is traveled only by 4 wheel drive vehicle, horseback or hiking. Hiking up the trail takes you to the historic Annaberg Sugar ruins, the Brown Bay Trail, Leinster Bay and the snorkeling gem, Waterlemon Cay.
Hiking or driving down the trail leads to the “heart of Coral Bay” with its popular restaurants and bars that often have live entertainment and where you can hang out with friendly “locals” such as Skinny Legs, Pickles, Island Blues, Aqua Bistro and Donkey Diner. There are two Coral Bay island markets with ATM’s and two mail services and shops including the CocoLobo complex. The Vitran bus stop is at the end of the Trail and offers an opportunity to travel west to the Reef Bay Trail and on to Cruz Bay or east to Shipwreck Landing, Miss Lucy’s, yoga classes at Concordia and beautiful Salt Pond Bay…and it only cost a buck! Beware, taking that bus sometimes involves long waits as it runs on island time. If you have a jeep or are a hitch-hiker (it’s generally safe on St. John), you can also access nearby Josephine’s organic farm or the world-famous northshore beaches of St. John, less than a mile-hike away.