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Yesterday – And Today – At American Yacht Harbor

boats tied up at the dock at american yacht harbor with the sun setting in the background

Written by Coconut Post

Whether you’re in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands as a visitor, a local — or always in spirit — Coconut Post keeps you posted on fun-filled news ’n views. Published monthly by Flamboyan On The Bay Resort & Villas, we’re focused on sharing our people, places, and fun things happening in paradise.

July, 2022

A stylish sign high above American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook on the East End of St. Thomas reads, “Eat Shop Play Fish.”  

Whether you are interested in renting a bareboat, booking a luxury day charter, or reserving space on a group adventure tour, American Yacht Harbor is home to many of the most popular seagoing vessels on St. Thomas. 

In addition to hosting an impressive array of sport fishing vessels, pleasure boats, and mega-yachts, American Yacht Harbor — an IGY marina — also is the place to check out everything from upscale restaurants and casual gathering spots to a varied array of retail shops. If you are under the impression you can enjoy a full day of fun at this one sprawling dockside location, you’ve got the right idea.

the sign for american yacht harbor with a photo of a sword fish hooked on a fishing line and splashing out fo the water. the sign has a tagline eat. shop. play. fish

Above: A stylish sign high atop American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook says it all.

Top of the page: Early morning at American Yacht Harbor offers a peaceful nautical scene with St. John in the distance.

the entrance to bernies bar and grill at american yacht harbor. each letter of the sign is in a different bright color

Above: Two of the many popular gathering spots at American Yacht Harbor include Bernie’s Bar & Grill and Lattes In Paradise.

inside a coffee shop two men make their coffees and talk

Above: Lattes In Paradise, located on the main deck of American Yacht Harbor, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As is the case with many tropical destinations, American Yacht Harbor has a colorful past. In the late 1950s, a lone dirt road was the only way to reach the East End of the island by land. It was a drive best taken with at least one sturdy spare tire in the trunk. By the ‘60s, the area was developing as a decidedly sleepy fishing village. Johnny Harms’ Lagoon Marina — now American Yacht Harbor — was the main draw. 

Proprietor, Johnny Harms had served in the Navy during World War II and began his career in game fishing after the war. Early on, as a pioneer V.I. fishing captain, Harms scored a doubleheader for blue marlin, a first in the territory.

Harms and other local visionary anglers were responsible for promoting the “North Drop” off St. Thomas for its spectacular Blue Marlin fishing. Word spread globally and the Virgin Islands became known as the Blue Marlin Capital with Johnny Harms’ Lagoon Marina the closest facility to the drop.

Simultaneously, Harms worked with philanthropist Laurance S. Rockefeller to develop the Virgin Islands as a major fishing center. As the story goes, Harms was responsible for renaming the East End of St. Thomas — originally know as Shark Bay — to Red Hook, “… so it wouldn’t scare off the tourists.”

Above: Lounge and enjoy Balcony Tuesdays featuring wine and spirit tastings at 3 Palms Bistro – Bar – Balcony.

Above: KJ Terry of Neptune Fishing Supplies holds up a prize-winning catch!

Above: Rhainnon’s offers unique gift items including crystals, tarot decks, incense, candles, artwork, and jewelry.

Johnny Harms’ marina was filled with rustic charm — and a number of island characters who would join the proprietor at the “Liars Long Table” to swap salty tales. 

Popular gathering spots at the marina were little more than plywood shacks. One such enterprise, Horsefeathers, was a haven for carefree Caribbean residents and visitors who appreciated really good pizza — a rare culinary “find” at the time.

Today, that spirit of timeless island camaraderie lives on at ITP — Island Time Pub — on the upper level of American Yacht Harbor. It’s a great spot to enjoy tasty food and an amazing view.  

Other appealing places to check out at American Yacht Harbor include Easterly, Pesce, Agave, Caribbean Saloon Steak House and Bar, The Tap & Still, Hook’d, Bernie’s, and 3 Palms. If you are looking for a coffee shop with island charm, don’t miss Lattes In Paradise. It offers a variety of coffee drinks, lattes, and teas. The menu includes grab ’n go breakfast and lunch items such as bagel sandwiches, pastries, fruit cups, chicken salad, snacks and daily specials.


For more information on everything American Yacht Harbor has to offer, click HERE to visit their website or learn more about the shops by clicking HERE.


a round photo of a half of a coconut wearing yellow sunglasses shaped like flowers

COCO BITS

A BIT ABOUT ST. THOMAS’ FIRST COLONIZATION

The first successful colonization of St. Thomas was in 1666 when Denmark took official possession of the island. Initially, early settlers focused on agriculture but in less than a decade, the ever-increasing importance of port-related activities redirected interest to the burgeoning downtown settlement of Taphus — which translates to “beer hall” — where taverns reigned supreme. The irreverent name remained in place until 1691 when the town was renamed Charlotte Amalie (pornounced Ah-MAHL-yah) in honor of the wife of King Christian V.

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1 Comment

  1. Lee & Jim Duncan

    Coconut Post,

    As always, your latest issue brings us a huge smile and new reasons to get back to Flamboyan and STT. We are so proud of all the work that goes into each issue and the information provided is just amazing.

    The article on Red Hook is especially great as it’s one of our favorite “haunts”. We still remember ITP as Sop Choppy’s pizza and still go there for our pizza fix. And Bernie’s is legendary as having helped so many people out during Irma & Maria – and they have a damn fine burger!

    It’s always good to hear from the great folks at Flamboyan. Lori is a true powerhouse and we’d be lost without her! Viola keeps doing an amazing job keeping us owners aware of what’s happening and is always available to help. The office ladies are wonderful and Tracey keeps us laughing.

    Many THANKS to Teddi and all involved at Coconut Post. We miss and love all the great folks at Flamboyan, RooT 42, Northside Grind and OnePub – we count them as extended family.

    Take care and we hope to see ya’ll soon.

    Lee & Jim Duncan

    Reply

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