Monday, April 7, 2014

St. Nicholas Abbey {Barbados}

{Warning - These next few vacation posts are going to be chalked full of photos, hope you don't mind}

My first full day in Barbados was Monday (I arrived Sunday afternoon after taking a red-eye flight out of San Diego Saturday night). We had a rental car for the first few days, so knew we wanted to take advantage of it and go around the island.

One of the nice things about Ryan being there for a week and a half prior to me getting in (he was there on a photo shoot for work) was that he already sort of had a lay of the land. He also got the hang of driving on the opposite side of the road. (I let him do all of the driving, seeing as I was even getting confused as a passenger, especially with all the roundabouts and lack of street signs.)

I had done a little research before getting to the island and saw that St. Nicholas Abbey was a super old (approximately 350 years old) and really cool sugar cane plantation. We decided we would head over and check it out.

The camera Ryan was using allowed him to use vintage Fuji films as filters. I really liked how this one turned out. 

The Great House

A painting of The Great House - looks the same today!

When we arrived we were told that a guided tour would start in about 20 minutes, but we were free to look around on our own until then. While checking out some of the rooms on the main floor we ran into the plantation owner's son - Simon. He told us a lot of the history about the estate, their amazingly smooth rum (which is made from the sugar cane they grow on the property), and even the island as a whole (it is a pretty tiny island, so it seemed like everyone knew everyone). It was really sweet to be able to chat with him and learn more about the ins-and-outs of Barbados, rum, and sugar cane.

Current owners and their sons on the Owner Tree

We couldn't go upstairs because it wasn't safe to have too many people on the floors up there... 

We joined in with the tour and were told more about The Great House. We saw some of the original furniture, decorations, and art work. We learned about the history of the owners, the slaves that were on the plantation, and were able to watch a film that was taken back in the 1930s of the day-to-day life at St. Nicholas Abbey. We were given complimentary rum punch (you could opt for pineapple juice if you didn't want the alcohol) and also tried their white rum (which is used for mixing in cocktails), along with their 10 year old aged rum (which you drink on its own - and was beyond smooth).

The remains of the windmill are still on the property

Our sweet tour guide telling us about the past owners of the plantation

We were able to tour the grounds, watched a woman that was personalizing the rum bottles, saw the old windmill (which no longer had the blades), spoke with the man that ran the distillery, checked out the mill (it runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so we didn't see it in action), and just enjoyed the beauty of the flower and herb gardens.

Toads under toad-stools in the garden

A mustache of course!

Beautiful grounds!

This was the 15 year old aged rum

The leather cut-outs for the bottle stoppers

Each bottle has a hand etched picture of The Great House on it (and you can get a personalized message as well)

The distillery

This is where they squish the sugar cane to get the juice out of it

Ryan and I out in the sugar cane fields

Me and the remains of the windmill

Sugar cane cane?! 

Ryan wanted me to play tourist and hold the map out for a picture :)

Ryan spent at least 10 minutes talking and petting these birds

I would say we spent about 2 or 2.5 hours at the plantation. It was $35 Barbados per person (which is $17.50 USD) and for us it was well worth it. Although it is a tourist attraction, they have done their best to keep it as historically accurate as possible (not to mention it is still a functioning sugar came plantation and rum mill). We felt we walked away with a better understanding of the island, sugar cane plantations, and were able to drink rum with the owner's son - pretty cool if you ask us. 

The abbey is on Cherry Tree Hill, but we drove a little further to get a view from the top

This is looking down from the top of Cherry Tree Hill Reserve towards the coast


Unknown said...

Beautiful photos! Looks like a great time!

Unknown said...

Congratulation for a nice work,great pictures.

Love the place my self.