03 May 2012 | Charlestown Harbour
We arrived in Nevis after an overnight sail from Antigua. We had pleasant winds for the trip, and as we arrived, we decided we would sail onto one of the moorings provided by the Nevis Port Authority at Charlestown harbor, completing the trip without turning the engine on again after leaving Antigua. Both Eric and I were looking forward to this stop, as it is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, whose biography we had both read on the trip.
As we stepped ashore in Charlestown, it was clear this town was a different than most of the other Caribbean towns we’d been visiting. Instead of the colorful frame houses, most of the buildings were stone and were of 1700’s and 1800’s architecture, if not actual age. It had an English country town feel that was somewhat like what we experienced on St. Helena, that small British territory in the middle of the Atlantic.
After clearing customs and getting our bearings, we made for the Nevis museum and the Alexander Hamilton museum. The Hamilton museum is on the site of the house that he was born in, although the house itself is not the original. Not much of the house if available to view, and the museum displays consist largely of a series of panels on which drawings, photographs, copies of letters, and descriptions of Hamilton’s life and accomplishments are displayed. While not as impressive as we expected, the displays did take us back to the times that Hamilton spent in Charlestown as a child, and working as a clerk in an import and export business.
Sugar figured prominently in the islands in those early days, and as a result some large sugar plantations were assembled. Some of the plantations have been turned into resorts or restaurants or both, and we were lucky enough to have lunch at one of them, called Golden Rock. We took a bus to the plantation, which provides insights into the island residents. Various families and single riders got on an off at different points—we were the last ones and toward the end of the route.
Golden Rock was a climb up a fairly long road but once we arrived it was clearly worth it, plus we worked up an appetite for lunch. The plantation was turned into a resort and restaurant, with views across the ocean. The grounds have been beautifully landscaped. Lunch turned out to be great fun in a beautiful setting.
A short sail to St. Kitts brought us to White House Bay, and beautiful cove with sparkling clear waters. There was great snorkeling over a wreck of what looked like a fishing trawler. We had dinner at The Beach House Restaurant, which is part of a resort that’s being developed in the area.
The next day we went to Basseterre, the main town of St. Kitts for a day visit and clearing out. The architecture in the old town is similar to Charlestown in Nevis, but a new cruise ship dock and greeting area was created on landfill in front of the old town. Although new and full of shopping, it takes away from the character of the original town. That evening, we headed off to St. Maarten.