A tourist train runs over old sugar plantation rails around the island. Definitely a must for history buffs as well as a great way to see the land and villages. The English landed in 1673 and the French showed up 2 years later with an emergency landing. (Sound familiar? They made a similar arrival sans boat on the shores of Providenciales in Turks & Caicos where I was in October). The two nationalities divvied up the island and the thousands of Amerindians caught in between? Look for the historical marker at Bloody River where it is said the waters flowed red for several days.
Toward the north point of the island is the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. It took over 100 years of slave labor to put this massive stone fort together. Views on clear days extend to St Eustacia, St Martin, and Saba. A short video provides the story and a simple museum within the fort walls gives you an idea of life within a powder keg. (Lightning did strike twice in the same place and blew up the powder magazine both times.)
Lunch should not be missed at the Rawlins Plantation Inn. Rooms are cleverly built into the remains of the sugar plantation. The restaurant is open to non-guests and showcases some excellent home cooking with local recipes and produce either grown on site or nearby.
I had a little time to hang around the beach at the Marriott. It is one of the finer stretches of sand on the island and the hotel has 99 (why not 100?) simple cabanas along the shore of the Atlantic. Don’t like the breeze off the sea? A 10-15 minute walk will take you to the other side of this narrow bit of the island to the Caribbean. And this is the place to be on a Friday night. They call it The Strip, a line of beach bars serving drinks and often great local food, and providing tunes and in many cases a dance floor under the stars.
Dinner was divine at the Marriott’s seafood restaurant Blu. The crab dip is heavenly and I had coconut chili soup served in the shell of its donor. Can’t go wrong with surf and turf and be sure to try a Tamarandtini. (Tropical tree pod with a tangy pulp used to flavor drinks, then just add vodka.)
My evening ended with a stroll through the hotel’s casino. A good Vegas-style facility, if gambling’s your thing. Tomorrow, you can bet on another fine day. This time in Nevis!