Nisbett Plantation Inn on the northern coast of Nevis was built in the late 1700s as a sugar plantation. It belonged to Dr Josiah Nisbett whose widow, Frances (also known as Fanny), was niece of the President of Nevis, John Herbert. Fanny went on to marry British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson in a lavish wedding near Montpelier Plantation. (The wedding celebrations went on for days, legend has it, with events even occurring here at Hermitage.) Montpelier Plantation, our nearest neighbor, dates back to 1687, when Sir Hans Sloane, Secretary of the Royal Society of England and a doctor, visited Nevis and discovered its location. Golden Rock Inn, another Plantation in the village of Gingerland, is the most recent of plantations, built in the early 1800s by planter Edward Huggins. A beautiful place with lovely old stone work, it belies a bitter history as Mr Huggins was a brutal slave owner.
Hermitage, the oldest Plantation, dates back to the late 1600s and boasts - as is well known - the oldest wooden Great House extant in the Caribbean.
What these old properties have been witness to throughout the centuries bewitches. Work was hard, tiresome, often in very unfavorable weather conditions. Yet life existed, there was great weather, religion, politics and frivolity. Nevis enjoyed a heyday. It boasted the first golf course outside of Scotland, near the Bath Hotel, on the grounds of what is now Charlestown Secondary School.
When the sugar industry declined in the early 1800s, Nevis went into a century long slumber until the mid to late 19th century when intrepid travelers from the United States, Canada and England rediscovered Nevis as an unspoiled and beautiful vacation destination. The Plantation Inns were turned into guest houses and hotels, each with their own unique personality and distinction but all of them honoring the rich history and culture of Nevis.
Nowadays, these old properties are lovingly tended and cared for by our fellow hoteliers, and act as host to visitors from around the world. My colleagues from the other inns are also good friends and we enjoy collaboration, when an ice machine is broken, our lobster delivery didn't arrive prior to buffet night or we have a surplus of morel mushrooms, for instance we help each other and the favors are always kindly repaid. We work closely to promote the destination of Nevis and support each other.
When you visit Nevis, we encourage you to visit our friends at the other Inns, go for a meal or two, and by all means, taste test their rum punches. The only way they can try to improve to our standard is if given the chance to try … ; )
A Taste of History. Produced by Multi Media Productions, Inc. Thomas Daley, Producer.