From some angles
Nevis looks like a sombrero, peaked in the center and
low around the edges. Clouds usually cap Nevis Peak,
which is over 3000 feet high. On occasion they cling to
the summit and fall down the sides, looking just like
snow. Some say this is why Columbus named it "Nuestra
Senora del las Nieves" (Our Lady of the Snows), after
one of his favorite churches. Early attempts were made
to settle the island from St. Kitts in 1628. The first
town, called Jamestown, was built near Fort Ashby, but
it sank into the sea after an earthquake and tidal wave
in 1680. Various battles between the British and the
French hampered development until 1783, when Nevis
became British for an extended time. It flourished as a
plantocracy and there are many old plantations and sugar
mills on the island. The old mills are crumbling, but
the plantations have been converted into hotels where
visitors can relive those gracious old days without the
evils of slavery upon which they were built. Two
historical figures associated with Nevis are Alexander
Hamilton, who was born here, and Horatio Nelson, who
married Nevisian widow Fanny Nisbet.
with a population of around 12,000, is quiet and
peaceful, with lovely views, picturesque houses and
delightful people. Exploring the island is highly
recommended. Nevisians have been careful to preserve
their architectural heritage and many traditional
Caribbean-style buildings survive.
The mountain is clad
in dense forest and with a suitable guide you can make
it all the way to the peak. The less energetic should
visit the Golden Rock Estate, buy a trail map, and take
a stroll or hike. Going at 1530 will give the best
chance of seeing wild greenback monkeys. Return for tea
in the majestic garden setting of the estate.
Several people lead
historical, plantation tours, and forest tours.
Information on these, bird books, and trail maps are all
available at the Museum of Nevis in Hamilton House.
The anchorage at the north
of town, just off Pinney’s Beach, is fabulous. A strip
of pale ochre sand backed by beach vegetation continues
for miles. Mt. Nevis ascends into the clouds behind.
Gliding pelicans fold their wings and crash boldly in
the sea. St. Kitts lying to the north, appears to be
part of Nevis in a sweeping panorama. The Four Seasons
Hotel on Pinney’s Beach makes a conspicuous landmark.
Port authority moorings have
been laid all the way from Charlestown to Tamarind Bay.
Visiting yachts should take one of these, rather than