Our very own Steph Schoyer and her artist father, Toby Schoyer, are featured in the December and January issues of St. Croix This Week. Steph’s pride in her father’s artistic ability is evident throughout the Island Art interview on pages 36 and 59 in the December issue. We especially enjoyed reading about how her father influenced her skill at recognizing the perfect light for her photography.
…one of my favorite memories was when he drove me to school in the morning and would point out the different ways the light changed the landscape.
Steph is such a talented photographer. Her work will be exhibited at Cafe Christine in January and February 2019. If you haven’t met her or seen her work yet, consider stopping in during Art Thursday or for lunch one day. Of course, we get to see her excellent photographer’s eye in action when she shoots our new listings.
Another favorite part of this month’s article is the moment when Steph discovered her passion for photography.
I wanted to paint like Toby and loved doing it and then one day I picked up a camera and as soon as I heard the shutter release I felt something shift and knew I had found my niche.
We’re so lucky that Steph also loves St. Croix and believes that “introducing it to new buyers is a wonderful way to spend the day!”
If you’d like to check out Steph’s handiwork beyond her masterful real estate photography, visit www.schoyer.com. And definitely be sure to pick up this month’s and next of St. Croix This Week!
Bud and Joan Woelfel have thoroughly enjoyed the St. Croix snowbird lifestyle for more than 50 years — with nearly 30 years in their spectacular home that is now for sale.
Joan and I have two sons and I was a school teacher in Massachusetts. Our vacation time was limited to 10 days, so in February 1964, we left winter in Massachusetts to briefly enjoy the warm winter temperatures in Florida. Well, it was colder than normal that year and we had to buy coats to keep warm. I decided then that we needed a more predictable vacation weather.
So the very next year, the Virgin Islands, then specifically St. Croix, became their choice vacation destination.
After teaching for 20 years, Bud launched his successful business in the construction industry. He is quick to say, “I just enjoy what I do.” Bud and Joan live in Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and have enjoyed vacations, then retirement, in winter on St. Croix. During stays on island, the couple would do home tours and Bud was particularly interested in the island construction.
One particular property in Cotton Valley caught their attention. It’s structure, having been built with conventional construction, did not survive Hurricane Hugo. But Bud and Joan had a vision to recreate the estate according to the original design, now using substantial, hurricane-resistant construction materials and techniques.
Designed by John Randal McDonald, an architect often compared to Frank Lloyd Wright, this estate embraces the importance of a natural setting. McDonald encouraged homeowners to be aware of the elegance of the natural environment. At 600 feet above sea level, the intentional design maximizes the stunning St. Croix views. Valance lighting accents the construction elegance both inside and outside. “At completion, we invited Mr. McDonald to visit and see his design return to life. He cried as he witnessed our appreciation for his creation.”
Just like he had placed the order yesterday, Bud shared, “There is 15,000 linear feet of Redwood, 300 cubic yards of concrete and 30,000 lbs. of rebar.” He does enjoy construction and is a strong believer in preventative maintenance which he personally continues to this day.
The Woelfel’s have hosted up to 80 people for dinner. Bud describes his wife as a true hostess. “She had this down to an art-form, with all that was needed from tables and chairs to dinnerware and silverware.” Dining can evolve inside and outside, and, consistent with what first brought them to St. Croix, the weather is highly predictable. “We could plan a dinner for next month and be reasonably certain the weather would be as expected.”
I remember my 50th birthday celebration. We invited 26 friends from Massachusetts and it lasted 2 weeks! Dinner parties among friends are common on St. Croix and we used to average about two dinner parties here a week.
Bud and Joan enjoy cruises and plan to continue the snowbird lifestyle, yet leave the hosting to others. We wish them well as they shift into yet another season of their lives! And we look forward to meeting the next owners who will appreciate this knoll-top masterpiece.
St. Croix’s landscape is going green thanks to some periodic rainfall. We’ve had a relatively quiet storm season so far, with only a couple of tropical storms that showered us with welcome rain. Cisterns are full and the hillsides are lush and green, with pops of yellow as the Ginger Thomas starts to bloom.
Meanwhile, community groups are coming together to help us go green with recycling. Leatherback Brewing Co. is accepting aluminum beer and soda cans for recycling. Drop-off is any time they are open: Mon-Sun 12-7pm. And Plaza West and a group of community volunteers are leading a plastic drop off and recycling project. There are drop off locations all around the island — join the Facebook group to learn more.
Speaking of green, you can now roll the dice to win some green as Divi Carina Bay Casino re-opened in September. They are featuring live music on the weekends — check out the variety of entertainment on St. Croix Calendar (which is maintained by Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty). Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Resort has announced plans to re-open in Summer 2019.
And if we’re going by the definition of “fresh, new,” Team Fedeles has a green logo. What do you think? Also, congratulations to GoToStCroix.com for your new web site. It’s stunning and will surely help many visitors to St. Croix plan their perfect vacation.
There are several events coming up on St. Croix. Here’s a few that you may want to plan your travels around:
- St. Croix Coral Reef Swim – November 11
- Taste of St. Croix – November 15
- Jump Up – November 23
- Beauty & The Beast Triathlon – December 2
- Christmas Boat Parade – December 8
Of course, Galloween (Halloween in Gallow’s Bay) is coming up on October 31. Please stop in to the Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty office to say hello (and Trick-or-Treat)!
As many relief workers have begun departing over the past few months, we are preparing for more new faces to join us on St. Croix. With the news that Oil Refining On St. Croix To Restart, 1,300 new jobs will be created during the construction phase and 700 jobs once the refinery is open in 2020.
New jobs and faces certainly has an affect on the real estate market. The rental market remains hot with very little turnover/availability and for sale inventory is low. It’s still a Buyer’s Market for now, but we expect to see that shift as current residents land jobs at the refinery and new workers make the choice to grow roots. If you’ve been considering buying, now is a good time to make it happen. If you’ve been considering selling, let’s discuss a strategy to maximize your investment.
Speaking of new faces, we’re looking forward to welcoming Brian, Laura, Nordie and Sugar Weller to St. Croix from Minneapolis. We worked with them to purchase land last November and they’ll be making the big move at the end of this month. Brian will be the new Hotel Manager at The Fred. Thank you to Kathy and Randy, owners of Caribbean Breeze Apartments and Vacation Homes for the referral!
Read Brian and Laura’s advice about buying land on St. Croix, then take a look at the panoramic views of this Seven Hills lot. It’s priced exceptionally well for having Christiansted Harbor and South Shore views.
While real estate inventory is relatively low right now, we have an excellent assortment of condos available, ranging from $118,000 to $1,295,000. We recently took a stroll through the Club St. Croix Condominium complex. The views were breathtaking and the breeze was fabulous. We’ll leave you with this inviting photo…
Meet Brian, Laura, Nordi and Sugar Weller. They’re moving to St. Croix from Minneapolis this month. Laura and Nordi (a beagle/shepherd mix rescue) hail from Minnesota, but Brian is originally from Alaska and Sugar (a black lab mix) was adopted in Georgia.
Like so many St. Croix transplants, the Weller’s are leaving the mainland to slow down and enjoy life. “We’re not sad about leaving traffic jams, road construction and human noise behind.” Brian doesn’t like winter, while Laura doesn’t mind it, but both are excited for the adventure.
We are really looking forward to Sunday Fundays! We currently have a GO GO GO schedule/city/life and having a day to just relax is huge. Laura would probably say feeding a pig beer is a hoot and Mamma Wanna for me is a 2 for 1, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Sandy Point Turtle hatching and simply beach lounging will become hobbies for us!
The couple visited St. Croix for the first time in November 2017, when I met them, showed them a few plots of land, and they soon-after became landowners! During their trip they fell in love with the beauty of the island and the friendly Fredriksted people.
Their plans to move to St. Croix were escalated a bit when Brian landed his dream job of 10 years — to work at a hotel on a tropical island. Upon arrival, he will officially be the new Hotel Manager at The Fred. With obvious excitement, he describes his new place of employment as, “an inclusive, community-driven, earth-conscience hotel that brings a South Beach flare and mixes it with the already wonderful Crucian vibe that surrounds the island.”
Since their timeline was moved up, Brian, Laura and their 4-legged family will rent while they build their dream home on St. Croix. They’ve got the plans drawn up and are waiting until they’re on-island at the end of August to apply for permits and start building.
In the meantime, they’ve been preparing for their move. Sorting through all of their things, they say it’s been hard deciding what to bring and what not. And as much as it stinks going through everything, they both agree it’s been very liberating getting rid of stuff. “We’re living in a nearly empty house and I don’t notice the things we truly do not need, but I didn’t want to give up,” says Brian. I think they’ll settle into island living just fine.
Thanks to a referral from Kathy and Randy Tiddark, owners of Caribbean Breeze Apartments and Vacation Homes, I met the Weller’s and knew just the place to show them based on their wishes. We had some good discussion about pros and cons between various plots and they ultimately selected the Butler Bay property. Our team is grateful to Brian for his kind words saying, “Kristi was also very helpful with the 1,000 questions we had. They both showed a great understanding of who we are as people instead of ‘clients’.”
Brian’s advice for someone considering buying land on St. Croix:
Remember why you’re buying island property. Think about what is important to you and dive in. You must trust the process too! It’s a bit different than we had experienced in the past, so taking a chill pill was needed. Don’t be afraid to offer what you WANT to spend and, obviously, use the Coldwell Banker team!