Step back in time at St Nicholas Abbey
There are so many places to visit on the beautiful island of Barbados but if you only allow yourself one or two trips out from your holiday villa then St. Nicholas Abbey should be one of them. With a rich and colourful history St. Nicholas Abbey remains, to this day, one of only three Jacobean houses left in the western hemisphere. Situated at Cherry Tree Hill, an ancient natural passageway connecting the east and west coasts of the island, the plantation greets you with a magnificent avenue lined with mahogany trees planted in the mid 18th century, the first of their kind on the island.
The plantation house, as you approach, is possibly a little smaller than you might expect but as you enter, you are quickly transported back to life in the 17th and 18th centuries. The great house displays many antiques and artefacts spanning the home’s 350-year history. The lovely Barbadian ladies who welcome you and guide you around the house, provide a wealth of information and give you an insight into life at the plantation house. Today, the house has been restored by the present owners the Warren family who have returned the plantation to its original splendour as an operating sugar plantation.
You are free to wander around the great estate, which can be one of the most enchanting things and is one of the main reasons I keep going back to visit. Behind the great house is the rum and sugar museum. Your complimentary rum punch or tropical fruit juice awaits as you enter the museum. Here you are invited to watch the most charming home movie that was made around 1935 and provides a fascinating glimpse of life on the island of Barbados during this period. St. Nicholas Abbey has a lovely terrace café overlooking the plantation’s tropical flora and here you can easily lose track of time simply taking it all in.
North of the great house is the steam mill and rum distillery. The steam mill runs several days a week during the season. The annual crop season runs from February to May but the plantation starts grinding in December to allow more visitors to see this historic process. You will also be able to sample the special aged rum that is produced at the plantation and you are more than likely to be leaving with a bottle of 5, 10 or even 15 year old rum, which has been aged in bourbon barrels. You can even have your name engraved for free on the bottle if you wish!
One more thing before you leave, please say “hello” to Lance and Baby for me; the most enchanting pair of Moluccan Cockatoos. With a life span of over 100 years, Lance and Baby will likely outlive most of us and you may even catch Lance saying ‘Hello, Baby’. A most memorable way of spending some time on the island and realising there is certainly more to Barbados than Sun, Sea and Sand.