NEVIS – I think I’m in love.
I’ve only been on this Caribbean island two days but I’ve packed a ton of great experiences into my 48 hours. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
It’s a place I didn’t know a lot about, having never been to St. Kitt’s, which is a mere two miles away and is part of the same country. But it’s a stunner; tranquil, quiet and lovely, with some of the nicest people you’ll find on this planet of ours.
I’ve been to a fair number of Caribbean countries, and this has to be right up there with my favourites and, most probably, in the solid number one position.
I’m staying at the lovely Nisbet Plantation, which is on the northeast tip of the island on the Atlantic side. Because Nevis is a separate island with a small airport, and because St. Kitt’s is so close, you arrive by a combination of taxi and water taxi.
We took a 20-minute ride over the high hills of St. Kitt’s, with breathtaking views, down to Reggae Beach, where we caught a six-minute water taxi across the channel. We landed at a nice beach called Oualie, then took a three-minute taxi to Nisbet.
The water at Nisbet is a tad rough for good snorkeling, at least since I’ve been here, but it’s fairly protected from waves and offers nice swimming and beautiful sunrises.
The grounds are huge; with a massive lawn and a row of stately palm trees creating an “Avenue of Palms” leading from the Great House (part of an old sugar plantation) to the beach. It’s said to be the only plantation house still left that’s so near the ocean, and it’s a beauty painted in deep yellow with a great bar and sitting room with books and big ceiling fans and board games in a sunny spot. And the restaurant is lovely, with creamy yellow walls and local artwork and model ships.
It’s an all inclusive place where you get your breakfast in a sunny, breezy restaurant next to the pool and maybe 10 metres from the ocean. I haven’t tried them yet, but they have coconut or almond encrusted French Toast on offer, plus a ton of fresh, tropical fruits on the buffet and bacon and eggs and all the rest. Lots of exotic syrups for your pancakes or waffles, too; mango, coconut and lots more.
My dinners have been excellent; a yellowfin tuna with lemon pepper crust and thinly sliced lamb chops in a red wine sauce, plus potatoes and veggies and all that. They also have an afternoon tea on the patio and repeat vistors (of which there are a ton) get invited for rum punch on the patio at 6, just before dinner. They do a barbeque on the beach on Thursday nights, which I will sadly miss.
There’s a nice pool steps from the water and lots of seating and chaise lounges on the beach, plus a trio of very comfortable hammocks (trust me).
My unit is quite large; with a nice sitting area, a king bed and a large verandah, plus a huge bathroom/closet area with a tub and a nice shower. Lots of storage space and room to spread out, plus a mini-fridge and coffee maker.
There is, however, no TV. If you want your fix, you’ll have to find another hotel. And that’s fine by me. More than fine, actually.
There are a couple dozen sunny yellow buildings spread around several acres of green grass, with stunning red, orange and yellow flowers. Most of the buildings have a couple units but some have four; two upstairs and two below.
There’s a lot of room so you never feel crowded, and the beach is several hundred metres long so you can get some privacy. They also will plant a palm tree in the memory of you and your lover or significant other, which is quite cool, and put up a small plaque to display your names.
I had a chance to check out a good chunk of the island (well, a bit of it) the other day. We explored a great heritage village where a woman explained how four or more slaves used to live in a room I wouldn’t consider a large closet. There are ruins of an old sugar mill on site, as well as a cotton ginnery, and a very caring gardener has added a ton of beautiful croton and flowers to go with the colourful buildings in shades of pink, green and robins egg blue.
I also visited a great look out spot called Peak Heaven, an eco-spot where they show how folks used to cook their bread in communal ovens and how they made family stews in giant clay pots. You can get a massage high on the deck, which is at 1,200 feet in elevation and offers views of nearby Montserrat on a clear day. Or you can use it as the base for a short hike or a longer, two-hour hiking expedition to the top of Mt. Nevis, which rises more than 3,000 feet into a cloud-covered (most of the time) top.
I also passed by and did a brief walk around the Golden Rock Inn, which is truly stunning. It sits high on a hill on the south end of the island, with incredibly glorious bougainvillea and a stately patio with a pool filled with small fish. There are winding paths all over the hillside leading to tucked away cottages and the flowers and Norfolk pines and the blue sky and white clouds combine t paint an ethereal scene you have to see to believe. Definitely a place to stay next time I come, and there will be a next time.
We also visited a couple of the museums on the island, one dedicated to Lord Horatio Nelson, who lived here for several years and in nearby Antigua and married local Fannie Nisbet. There’s a small shrine to Fanny at the Nisbet Plantation. Alas, the marriage didn’t last. But, then again, neither did Nelson who perished in the Battle of Trafalgar in the early 1800s.
The other main museum is down on the waterfront in the main town of Charlestown and explains local history and has old Indian artefacts, plus information on the slave trade, the sugar trade and local agriculture. It’s next to the Alexander Hamilton Museum, which celebrates the life of the Ameircan statesman found on the $10 bill in the U.S. He was born in Charlestown on Nevis and overcame tremendous odds to rise to the top of American politics.
I’ll have more later this week on pretty Pinneys Beach and the famous “Killer Bee” drink at Sunshine’s, plus a round of golf at the FABULOUS Four Seasons Nevis course. And I’ll give you a taste of my time with the unbelievable Mr. Patterson Fleming, too.