Some of the best views we experienced in St. Kitts were here. The steep hills provided a great lookout point for some of the beaches and water below. This area is also under some major construction; as new roads are being built as well as new housing.
Romney Manor Gardens
One of our stops on our local tour of the area was Romney Manor and its gardens. The gardens at Romney Manor were absolutely beautiful. The gardens were quite lush with a colorful and interesting mix of different flora and fauna.
In particular; we enjoyed the 400 year old Saman tree and Traveller's Palm. There were several benches for sitting back and enjoying the gardens as well as a look out point in which to see the old stone furnance from the sugar cane processing days.
Romney Manor: Firing Tunnel
On the grounds of Romney Manor were the ruins of a 17th century rum distillery. The ruins were surprisingly in good condition for its age; in particular the old firing tunnel. The firing tunnel itself is rather tall and could be seen from a look out platform on the garden grounds of Romney Manor. I could only imagine how labor intensive the product of Rum was back at that time without the current technology we so take for granted.
Bloody Point is a spot we stoppedat along the way to Brimstone Hill Fortress. This spot is known as Bloody Point due to a massacre in 1626 of over 2,000 Carib Indians by the Brittish and French. It is said that the river here ran red with the blood of the dead for three days.
Caribelle Batik Demonstration at Romney Manor
When my wife and I visited Romney Manor we were able to watch a demonstration of Batik. Batik is a process where wax is painted onto fabric and then dyed to create color patterns and designs. We watched the beginning of this labor intensive process and were able to see different stages of the dying process as well as the finished product. If the product is truly Batik the reverse of the fabric will have the same mirror image print on it; nice fun fact we found out during the demo.
After the demonstration we were able to peruse the shop offering numerous product of Batik from pillows, wall hangings, bags, and clothing.
Enjoy the Incredible Views
During our tour of the island we were able to see some incredible views of the island and of the water. There were several stops along our tour that had some breathtaking views of the hilly terrain and the crystal blue waters which made quite a sight.
Duty Free Shopping
As with any cruise port; there is plenty of duty free shopping to be had. Porte Zante is the big shopping area with jewelry stores, liquor shops and souvenir shops all in one large area. Prices here were quite good in comparison to other islands we have visited; in particular the liquor prices.
Green Vervet Monkeys
Before we came to visit St. Kitts we were told there would be monkeys; small ones. My wife was excited by this as she loves animals and couldn't wait to see them. While we were on a local tour we saw a few of these monkeys out in the wild as well as a large group in a containment area in front of a residence. They are small creatures; size of a small baby.
My wife and I got to experience the monkeys up close and personal when back in Bassaterre. There are swarms of people carrying around monkeys on leashes and with diapers (thankfully) for tourists to pose with and touch (for a price; we paid $20 for the experience). We had a fun time posing with a monkey and petting him. My wife wasn't happy though that he took a seat on her head but was glad again he had a diaper on.
Most of the monkeys we saw looked well cared food, clean and well fed..hopefully that is the case all around.
If you arriving in Basseterre via cruise ship; you will arrive in Port Zante. Port Zante is the main shopping area for tourists with a large variety of shops; in oparticular duty free shops. You will find many stores carrying souvenirs, jewelry and duty free liquor. There are also several restaurants in this area as well as a local market. My wife and I enjoyed wandering around here and doing some shopping before we boarded the ship later in the afternoon after our local tour. We were able to find all of our souvenir items here and for good prices.
Port Zante is also where cruise ship passengers can meet up for their shore excursions or hop in a Taxi. Taxi fares are at a fixed rate so there is no worries about negotiating a price.
Realize this is the big "tourist" area so there will be tons of taxi drivers and merchants selling their wares. Be prepared to get alot of attention.
One of the stops along our tour of St. Kitts was Romney Manor. This is a 17th century estate which boats a large ten acres of property and had a large sugar cane crop. Romney Manor was once owned by the great Grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson (Sam Jefferson II). It was later owned by the Earl of Romney; hence the name Romney Manor. The grounds of the Manor were once the village of Carib indians.
During our visit we explored the beautiful gardens of the property; watched a Caribelle Batik demonstration; explored the ruins of the sugar cane processing area and saw the 400-year-old Saman tree on the property. We had an excellent time watching the Batik demonstration and perusing the merchandise. The garden were very nice; lush with interesting flora and fauna.
Brimstone Hill Fortress
My wife and I had the pleasure of touring the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park during our visit to St. Kitts. The Fortress itself was a highlight of the tour and is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Fortress is also called the "The Gibraltar of the West Indies", meaning it is supposedly invulnerable. The Fortress is set high up the hill giving it some incredible views that also means a military advantage of seeing the enemy coming.
The fort was abandoned by the British in 1853, until 1973 when it was restored and later declared a National Park in 1987. In 1999 it became a World Heritage Site. The fortress was constructed during a hundred year period from 1690-1790; using slave labor for construction. The fortress is constructed mostly of limestone and mortar which must have been quite the undertaking without modern construction equipment and the steepness of the hill.
My wife and I began our tour by walking up the Alphabet Steps ( a series of 26 steps) leading up to the fortress itself. Our tour allowed us to explore the Citadel, Western Place of Arms, Eastern Place of Arms, Magazine Bastion, Orillon Bastion, the quarters and Fort George Museum. My wife and I are military history buffs and thoroughly enjoyed our explorations.
The best part of this tour are the amazing panoramic views of the area. We had a bit of a cloudy day so the view was not as perfect as it can be; but the views were still specatcular to us. This was a highlight of the visit for both of us. If we visit the island again; I will definitely return here.
**There is an admission fee: Residents - $6.00 E.C ; Visitors - $10.00 U.S and Children - Half Price. Our admission fee was included in the tour price. If you would like an audio guide; they are available for rent at $5 a set. There is also a small girft shop, cafe selling drinks and food items and restrooms available by the carpark.**
Sugar Cane Genius
Nevis is smaller and cuter than its bigger brother – St. Kitts. It has almost perfect conical shape with elevation high enough to collect clouds on permanent basis. Moreover, it possesses some very special soil features that make sugar cane go “bananas” and in the process enrich its owners to the tilt. Gradually though, with the development of new sources of sugar in Europe, its sugar production became less profitable just as in any other Caribbean island or even useful altogether but the populace did not despair. Nowadays the local government with the blessing of its big brother, St. Kitts, has moved into financials, a business that is way less dependent on weather or soils, and allows saving for a rainy day in case its little-big ambition of independence realises itself one day.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Adventure Travel
Dieppe Bay goose bumps
Curious exposure to some unexpected undercurrents of St. Kitts’ social life can be obtained through a visit to some of the old plantations that have converted to inns and in this capacity show off the glory of the past through the practicality of the present. There are couple that are well advertised - Rawlins Plantation and the Golden Lemon. Well, the rumor that they are not operational started oozing down the pores of the 15 seat minibus but for non-believers this is not enough – they have to have a very hands-on cognitive approach. The sad truth of the matter (as dicovered so painfully) is that both are not in working order; the Golden Lemon has lost its proprietor to intrigue and the garden to a hurricane. The Rawlings Plantation has even juicier story to report going along the lines of the owner being indefinitely suspended till results of a murder case are figured out! Boy, who would believe that such horrific things might happen in Paradise!?!Related to:
- Historical Travel
Black Rocks that make you wonder
Black rocks area is touted by the now well entrenched into tourism marketing business literature which previously could claim that was independent with the aspirations of the independent traveler at heart. Well – no more. The result is another stop on the St. Kitts’ circular road well equipped with stalls to entertain and feed the masses. The rocks are not “jaw dropping” and might not be disappointing if there were no hyped up expectations. They are on the more exposed Atlantic side of the island and thus present a rougher picture of this idyll called St. Kitts compared to the placid waters at Basseterre for example. But there is not much more to it unless one counts the presence of the cutest little donkey, apparently just recently introduced to life on this planet. So rush down there to see it before it has lost its appeal to over exploitation on the plantations that are no more!Related to:
- National/State Park
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Romney Manor is one of the few plantation houses left on the island of St. Kitts in particular and the Caribbean in general. The sugar cane production, once a mainstay of the colonial existence is in total shambles nowadays as the Europeans have embraced beats as raw material for sugar. Even worse, they have developed artificial sweeteners which are many times sweeter than the natural product thus practically eliminating the need for cultivating sugar cane altogether. In this situation Romney Manor is a beacon of bygone times and as such attracts the attention. Moreover, this property was at certain point in the hands of a man who had the honor to be the great-grand father of the American president Jefferson, a fact having the power of a 1000 volt magnet to the cruise ship clientele, naturally mostly American. The modern marketing conveniences aside, this shows the amount of money and prestige the islanders had and their ability to venture into poorer colonies, namely New England, and make a name and position for themselves to such an extend that to be able to bid for the highest office in a land. Of course, in order to reach such a point the pioneers had to kill the local inhabitants (poor souls they should have succumbed to civilization through slavery and everything would have been alright), assume ownership of their property (which was, of course, a God-given right to teach the heathens a lesson) and fend off French interests (very ambitious these French, eh). On the grounds a splendid tree towers over the estate. It has seen it all – from misery to fortune but luckily can’t talk.
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