Summer Vacation: Nevis, Part Two

I'll begin Part Two with our tour of Nevis churches.  Old churches and cemeteries are always fascinating and you can learn so much about the history of an area by visiting them. I've always thought a wonderful photo-essay could be written just on tombstones and the tales they tell. We so enjoyed visiting these three churches and were fortunate to be able to go inside two that are intact and still hold services.

The first we saw was St. Thomas Anglican Church and School. It's the island's oldest church and was built in 1643. The gravestones in the old churchyard have so much information on them, are in pretty good condition and it was a learning experience wandering around. The setting of the church is high on a hill with a wonderful view. The church itself contains stone memorials (set in the floor) to Nevis's early settlers. We especially liked the stations of the cross. The artwork was wonderful and very well preserved. Don't you love the baptismal font? "Suffer Little Children" written on the base.

The second was Cottle Church, built in 1824. It states on a placard in front: "The first church in the Caribbean built for all people, regardless of colour, to worship together."

The last church we visited was St. James Anglican Church, built in 1750. A placard here states: "This is one of only three churches in the Caribbean to have a black crucifix." You can see a photo of it below. There was an exquisitely carved lectern in the shape of an eagle. I took one close up of the top and you can see it in the distance in another photo.
And that's our wonderful driver, Dale, in the last photo. He was an amazing font of knowledge about the island, its history and even its flora and fauna. We spent an entire day with him touring the island.

Now that we've toured the churches, I hope you're feeling hungry, 'cause I'm going to move on to restaurants and I'll start with the hotel,  Four Seasons. They had several restaurants. 

Coral Grill was their most elegant (and expensive) restaurant, featuring fresh seafood and exquisite cuts of meat. We had relaxing dinners there a couple times.

Mango, a less formal restaurant, sits on a jut of land that overlooks the ocean towards St. Kitts. Located right on the beach, it's a charming and rather romantic place to dine at night.

There is an Italian restaurant, Neve, also open only at night. We didn't eat there, but this is where breakfast is served in the morning (And where the sous chef gave me their recipe for coconut yogurt... I posted it a while back. Recently, they were nice enough to email me the Caribbean Muesli recipe which I will post soon.) and when there was bad weather, the beach restaurant would close and a bountiful buffet lunch was served at Neve.

 The final photo was the Cabana restaurant near the beach. Very casual. We either had lunch there or ordered lunch down on the beach under our umbrella.

We most often chose to eat away from the hotel because the island's restaurants are varied and fun to visit.
Let me start with two on Pinney's Beach, both a short walk down the beach from the hotel.....Sunshine's and Double Deuce. Both funky. We went to Sunshine's years ago when it was in a different location. It really swings at night. Great bbq!

Double Deuce is the other on the beach and has the best burgers you'll ever taste. I know, it looks pretty beat up from the beach, but the food is excellent.

And two of our dinner favorites. First, Bananas.
Bananas was lovingly built by owner Gillian Suiter-Lowe in the style of the old Caribbean Chattel houses. (She lives in the back.) Walaba shingles, wooden shutters, Island stone floors and a wrap around rustic galvanized porch, together with chandeliers and old iron day beds lend a “shabby Chic” atmosphere to the restaurant. Great fun, Gillian is a super friendly owner and the food was excellent.

The second, Gallipot. Fab seafood here!

Another wonderful restaurant, a touch more elegant, was Golden Rock Plantation Inn. We had been there years ago and we were astounded at the refit.  
Pam Barry's great-great-great-grandfather built this estate in the early years of the 19th century; Pam and co-owners artist Brice Marden and his wife redid it completely. Pam is an avid environmentalist so there are nature trails throughout the mountainous 96 acre property. We wandered around and found the property splashed with reds and greens, looking quite like a contemporary art installation which played off the historic elements. A truly beautiful setting, good food and so unusual. Brice Marden happened to be there that night, Tracy knows him so they had a lovely chat. (That's me in the red dress. I match the decor!) I might mention here that most of these restaurants are also hotels or inns, so I added links if you're interested.

One night, Tracy and I went to Montpelier Plantation, set in a sixty-acre estate 750 feet up in the hills of Nevis. We we were fortunate to get reservations in the sugar mill;  I enjoyed this dinner the most, the setting was unusual and charming and the food excellent and well presented, but Tracy is not much of a meat eater and did not enjoy the main course of filet of beef. It was a set menu the evening we were there.

Another old favorite we remembered from our last trip was The Hermitage. It is one of the oldest Nevis Hotels in operation. The great house was built around 1700 from the rare Nevis hardwood Lignum Vitae. The house has always been in use, as a hotel, as an artist studio, as the head quarters for the Minister of Agriculture, as a rich planter’s home, and as a poor planter’s home. I didn't get a photo of the dining room, which was out on the screened-in patio, but you can see the period furnishings, like antique china and oriental rugs, that decorate the main house. Food was excellent here as well.

One we missed this summer was Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. It closes mid August.  A lot of restaurants and hotels in the Caribbean close down mid August and September. So I hope you won't miss it if you go as we remembered it well. It has a lovely history:

This resort is where British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson met Frances “Fanny” Nisbet, niece of the President of Nevis and widow of Dr. Nisbet, owner of Nisbet Plantation. Nelson and Fanny quickly fell in love and were married on March 11, 1787 at Fig Tree Church on Nevis. A key stone found in the ruined windmill bears the family initials and the date 1778. It was first a sugar plantation and later a coconut plantation.
In 1950 Mary Pomeroy bought the plantation and eventually made it into a resort. Nisbet Plantation and Golden Rock became the first Nevis hotels. Ownership has changed several times and it is now owned by David Dodwell. The photo below is of their dining room: The Great Room.

Last, but certainly not least is Miss June's.
Miss June is an institution on Nevis AND an experience. She has an outlandish collection of hats....all over her bedroom. And when I pulled out my fan (it was really a hot rainy night and restaurants are not air conditioned on this island), Miss June grabbed my arm and led me over to a drawer which, when she opened it, contained 50 fans at least. An amazing assortment.
Dinner at Miss June's is rather like a house party. G
uests assemble around 7:30 p.m. for cocktails, and dine at 8:30 p.m. at a formal table set with crystal and fine linen.  Drinks are in the living room, appetizers served at the table (whatever it was, it was nearly inedible) and then a buffet is set up along a wall. Miss June proceeds to describe every single dish and believe me, it takes a while. You name it, it was there.  Caribbean, Asian, and European  dishes (even mac and cheese) all accompanied by wine followed by coffee, liqueurs, port and brandy and of course, a dessert...as I recall, strawberry ice cream. 
 Years ago, with our British friends, we giggled our way through the evening. The guests at Miss June's make or break the experience. This particular night, the guests were not fun nor very interesting. Unfortunately. Because if you're not laughing, you're thinking about the food, which is not fabulous. You have to go with a sense of humor, that's certain. That's Miss June in the pink and blue check dress and my daughter behind her in white. I wish my photos of the line-up of food had turned out better because it was something to behold.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed wading through this lengthy tour of Nevis. We had lots of fun. And I regret not posting photos of food we loved, but every single food photo I took was terrible.  :(
Stay tuned, because the very next post will be the Four Seasons recipe for Caribbean Muesli!


  1. Lovely! Thanks for sharing.



  2. Wow, what an amazing experience Barbara. First of all how nice that we share a love of old churches and cemetaries. I could lose myself in them for hours and think you'd be a good companion for exploring them. Your desciriptions of the places to eat are fabulous but my favourite is Miss June's, although I'd certainly have a hard time keeping a straight face. Thanks for sharing your great holiday pics too.

  3. What a wonderful post! I love old churches, and I would be eating at that Cabana restaurant, and I would be eating at Miss June's - giggling of course!

  4. Great travelogue! I think you just convinced many of your readers to hop a plane for Nevis. I can't wait for the Caribbean Muesli.

  5. Wonderful travelogue. I've never seen a black crucifix or been in an island church as old as those.

    What upscale restaurants. In the "out island" of the Bahamas, it's mostly beach bars and a few more trendy restaurants in the nice marinas. Thanks for taking us along Barbara. Great job.

  6. What a wonderful travelogue Barbara. I enjoyed both the churches and the restaurants. Will file this away for a future trip.

  7. This is definitely the next best thing to being there Barbara! You are blessed to be able to see so many amazing things in person.
    I loved hearing about your time spent at Miss June's. What a great experience.
    I also love visiting old cemeteries and read the tombstones. So interesting!
    Thank you for sharing this trip, it has been wonderful seeing so much of what you saw.
    hugs from here...

  8. What a wonderful trip...love the old churches and cemetaries!

  9. I love reading your travel blogs! What a thorough write-up about an amazing trip. I really enjoyed seeing your photos and reading about your adventures. The churches are awesome!

  10. Barbara

    YOu must have been in Nevis for a while to eat so well and in so many places. I was drooling with your pic of the grilled lobster? I think that was what it was. Reminded me fondly of Baja California and little Mexican restaurants along the Pacific coast that grill it and serve it with rice beans avocado and lime. Yum!

    Too bad that Miss June's was a bust. Perhaps if you go again you could arrange a private party of 20 guests? I would meet you there, just to see the hat collection if nothing else.

  11. I enjoyed your pictures, too bad about Miss June's, sounds like it would have been fun with the right group, but the rest of your vacation sounds fantastic!

  12. It sounds like an adventure!

  13. Your photos look fine to me! What beautiful and interesting places your visited. The Hermitage looks lovely!

  14. I love old churches and graveyards. If ever you're up this way...

    Montpelier Plantation. Really?! I love seeing "significant place names" turn up in other parts of the world. Montpelier is a big deal here; the Madisons made their home there (James and Dolley) and now, it is also home of my local fiber festival.

  15. Oh Barbara...what a fantastic post...I enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures...thank you so much for sharing such a great trip...
    Hope you have a great week ahead :-)

  16. What a beautiful post, Barbara! I really appreciate the time that you must have put into it. I love how varied the different restaurants are...so much fun! Golden Rock is gorgeous, and so elegant!

  17. so much fun, i love the pictures!

  18. I would love to visit one day! You have been to many interesting places.

  19. Hi Barbara,

    Great to see where you went on holiday and I enjoyed reading and seeing your photographs.
    Cocktails and food in all the Restaurants you have shown would be a superb way to spend your time.
    Old churches and cemeteries are neat to visit too.
    I look forward to your muesli recipe.

    Happy week

  20. Like you, I have been drawn to old cemeteries in other lands--and learned so much about the people, their culture and times.

    Glad that you enjoyed so much wonderful food on Nevis, and got to experience some real characters! Such fun.



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