Wednesday, August 31, 2016
If you are on Nevis for even a few hours, you will hear about Sunshine's. Sunshine's Bar is the island's most famous hangout, where every visitor whether celebrity or beach bum, is required to make an appearance. Named for the gregarious owner, a burly man who will greet you with a smile as wide as the Caribbean Sea, Sunshine's is the ultimate beach bar, sprawled out on Pinney's Beach, with a thatched roof, rainbow-colored benches and communal tables.
The interior is lined with international flags and photos of famous guests. I saw Beyonce and Jay Z, Oprah and Britney Spears smiling back at me but I knew the draw wasn't to spot stars or to taste the BBQ menu, which is very good. No, the real attraction is a cocktail called the Killer Bee. Every island has their own rum drink but this Bee elixir is more famous than Nevis itself. I had heard about Sunshine's Killer Bee from rum connoisseurs who sip bottles daily and they deemed the drink lethal. I don't know what exactly goes into the concoction, its such a secret that the bartenders mix it out of view but I do know that it knocks out professional drinkers, which I am not. Suffice it to say, I was totally skerd. So much so that Sunshine took one look at my face and decided that he would make me a Baby Bee, with half the rum in a tiny cup. I sipped the sweet cocktail and as I watched some guests stumble around, I was thankful that I didn't succumb to the legendary Killer Bee.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Nevis is a tiny island but it packs a lot of history in its small space. I saw historic ruins and landmarks on every other road but for me, the most moving was Cottle Church. Hidden in the woods north of the capital of Charlestown, the ruins of Cottle Church stand as a reminder of a time when slavery was rampant but glimmers of hope still existed. That hope was demonstrated when Thomas Cottle built the Anglican church in 1824 so that his family could worship along side the enslaved inhabitants of the plantation.
It was actually illegal for the enslaved to worship so Thomas was bucking the system on many levels. The church was never consecrated but this monument to religious freedom exists as a special landmark. Walking through the archways of the church, I felt the spirits of the dozens of enslaved people who worked all day, every day, and then prayed for freedom in this church.
The names and ages of all the enslaved plantation workers are listed on a wall of the church. It's fascinating to see the people who are highlighted for being born in Africa. This means that they survived the Middle Passage of being chained in a ship on the West African coast and sailing for months to the Caribbean. It's especially heartbreaking to see the number of children listed. Emancipation was granted in Nevis and other British colonies in 1834, so they would work and hopefully survive the brutal conditions for ten more years.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Nevis is a multi-faceted island. It might measure only 36 square miles but there are a lot of layers crammed into such a small area. I spent a lot of time whipping my head back and forth, trying to capture the natural beauty, the historic monuments and the people. With every scene, I spotted the tip of Nevis Peak beckoning in the background. Nevis Peak is a mostly dormant volcano that rises 3,232 feet high and serves as the island's main landmark. It's the highest point on Nevis and as I journeyed further up the island's hilly landscape, the volcano emerged clearer and clearer. Fog and clouds often obscure parts of the peak but I was lucky to view the entire volcano from a distance at the historic Montpelier Plantation Inn. Gazing fully at the peak surrounded by a lush meadow, I felt like I was finally meeting up with a hard to catch new friend.