Travel Back in Time

June 12, 2014 No Comments

The Brimstone Hill Fortress was built to protect the island from invasion by foreign powers, who coveted the land for its fertile soil that proved ripe for the cultivation of sugarcane. The sugar industry served as the local economy’s mainstay for more than 300 years, although it’s rapidly being displaced by tourism and more general agricultural efforts. Abandoned plantations dot the island and indicate its former preoccupation with the trade.

For a complete tour of the island and the estates, ride The St. Kitts Scenic Railway, lauded as one of the most engaging train rides in the world. The one-of-a-kind

The narrow-gauge railway was built between 1912 and 1916 to connect the sugarcane fields with the processing factory in Basseterre. It started running its modern 30-mile, three-hour tour in 2003. The track hugs the northern coastline, offering riders glimpses of the surf and the beaches amid the cliffs and lush vegetation before rolling across tall steel bridges over deep canyons. As the double-decker train cars pass by quaint villages and small farms, a guide points out the highlights and imparts knowledge about the island’s history.

For a more in-depth plantation tour, travel off-road through fields of swaying sugarcane to the heart of the island. During tours of various plantations, naturalist guides provide insight into the evolution of the industry and its impact on the heritage of St. Kitts. At Fairview Great House & Botanical Gardens, keep an eye out for the monkeys that live off the spoils of the fruit trees.

Set in the foothills of the central mountain range, Wingfield Estate is the oldest English settlement in the Eastern Caribbean. The grounds are now home to the scenic Wingfield Forest Trail and the exciting Sky Safari zip-line adventure.

The estate is next to Romney Manor, which houses the Caribelle Batik factory, the creator of some of the most sought-after batik prints in the world.Artisans provide live demonstrations of how they turn cotton into the colorful prints using hot wax and vibrant dyes.  The property’s beautifully restored gardens are also open to the public. Be sure to note the 350-year-old samaan tree that sprawls over a half acre.

Revel in the beauty of Romney Manor, a 12-acre botanical paradise set amid meticulously maintained tropical blooms, exotic palms, flowering shrubs, and delicate orchids.

Sit down to a leisurely meal of stewed saltfish, spicy plantains, coconut dumplings, seasoned breadfruit, and more.

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