NEVIS, May 3, 2015 – Nisbet Plantation on the island of Nevis is the sort of place where Valium goes to relax.
“On the island time forgot is a hotel you will remember forever,” is the way the Caribbean’s only historic plantation on the beach describes itself.
If it is true that first impressions are lasting ones, then visitors are immediately impressed by Nisbet Plantation’s signature gateway to the Caribbean Sea known as “Palm Tree Alley.” The 30-acre tropical beachfront property uniquely combines a storied history with casual elegance.
Travelers may take a while to adjust to the serene rhythms of island life, but once immersed in the contagious ambience of Nevis, they soon wonder what all the fuss was about back home. Nevis’ sister island of St. Kitts, just two miles across the shallow channel called “The Narrows,” seems like Mardi Gras by comparison.
On Nevis the biggest event of the day will likely be a dominoes match between some of the locals in the capital city of Charlestown. Or it could be the spotting of a green vervet monkey roaming through town.
Meanwhile, at Nisbet Plantation, the toughest decision a guest may make all day is which rope hammock to choose at the beach.
Interlaced within its tranquil setting, Nisbet’s history hearkens to the romantic past of a more genteel era. Nevis is a gumdrop-shaped island encompassing just 36 square miles. In the center rises Nevis Peak, the island’s dominant geographical feature. At 3,232 feet, the extinct volcano is almost always surrounded by clouds.
Little wonder that the island’s 18th-century plantation life embraced a legacy of cultured gentility and charm. That ambience still lives at Nisbet Plantation, and it’s part of the magic.
Remnants of the sugar cane industry that once made Nevis “Queen of the Caribees” can be found everywhere on the island, and Nisbet Plantation was one of the richest. When Admiral Nelson, the famed British naval hero, visited Nevis, he met Frances Nisbet, the wealthy widowed wife of Dr. Nisbet, who had owned the plantation.
Fanny, as she was affectionately known, quickly fell in love with the captain and they were married at Saint John Figtree Parish Anglican Church in 1787.
Just 32 years earlier, in 1755, Alexander Hamilton, was born on Nevis. Hamilton spent much of his childhood there before becoming a founding father of the United States. Even today the Nevis Island Assembly Chambers are located in the place of Hamilton’s birth.
When Christopher Columbus sighted Nevis in 1493, he called it “Our Lady of the Snows,” referring to the perpetual cloud cover around Nevis Peak.
More than a century later, in 1607, Captain John Smith visited Nevis during the voyage that eventually led to the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
Electricity came to Nevis in 1954, but it was not available throughout the island until 1971. Even today, one will not see traffic lights or buildings constructed taller than a coconut palm tree.
For travelers enjoying the luxurious rustic ambiance of Nisbet Plantation, Nevis’ quiet history whets the appetite for island exploration or lively dinner conversation following a hard day of croquet and lounging on the beach.
In 1950, Mary Pomeroy purchased the property and attempted, without success, to turn it into a coconut plantation among other ventures. Eventually Pomeroy refurbished some guest rooms and later added bungalow-style cottages leading down to the beach.
Following several ownership changes, current owner David Dodwell purchased Nisbet in 1989 and since has received international attention for the property.
Nisbet Plantation features 36 rooms, of which 14 are superior rooms and 22 are suites in three categories. All rooms are elegantly appointed with a regional motif and soft Caribbean pastels.
Rates, which include full breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea, vary according to season. Currently, special offers are booked only via phone or by email. Among the amenities are free wi-fi and 110-volt electrical current sockets, the same as the United States.
Resort facilities include a spa, tennis, fitness center and croquet lawn, plus three restaurants offering a light fare menu up to fine dining.
A favorite gathering spot is the great house with its trademark setting that faces the rows of palm trees that somehow manage to lure visitors away from the beach.
The Tea Patio overlooking Palm Tree Alley is especially enticing in late afternoon when the day eases into the amber glow of twilight and sea breezes caress the grounds.
On the tiny hump-shaped paradise of Nevis, Nisbet Plantation is one of the few properties with direct access to the beach — reason enough to saunter down Palm Tree Alley to locate that perfect hammock for the surge of serenity that awaits.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award- winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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