This week’s dream
Exploring Nevis, a quiet corner of the Caribbean
The pier at Pinney’s Beach, just outside the island’s capital
“Nevis makes a seductive first impression,” said Mike Grudowski in Garden & Gun. A dormant volcano rises from the center of the small Caribbean island, its peak draped in clouds and its forested flanks giving way to drowsy pastel villages and pastures where sugarcane once grew. Nevis also has beautiful golden beaches, all lapped by sun-warmed shallows. But the main reason that island connoisseurs are drawn to Nevis (pronounced Nee-vis) has to do with what the 36-square-mile island lacks. There are, for starters, no cruise ships, shopping centers, or even traffic lights. No matter the season, “free-grazing goats outnumber tourists,” and “the nightlife leans toward congenial barstool chitchat.”
But Nevis does have a rich history, remnants of which “endure in plain sight.” Huge fortunes were made from the cane fields that once covered the former British colony, and beginning in the 1600s, “cannon fire often thundered through its ravines” as European powers fought for control of the island. Slavery’s legacy is unmissable, too, but several grand plantation houses have been converted to hotels, including the must-see Golden Rock Inn, its stone buildings sitting 1,000 feet above the sea and its gardens “a tropical fantasy run amok.” Order a lobster salad sandwich and soak in the glorious surroundings at the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant. “It’s impossible to ask for dining advice on Nevis without hearing about it.”
If you decide one trip to Nevis isn’t enough, “you probably come back because of the people.” Nevisians are warm and welcoming—and that’s before they get to know you. At Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, the breakfast hosts call my wife and me by our first names on our second morning, and as we eat, “we watch returning guests hug staff members like old friends.” The hotel’s British manager tells me that he fell in love with Nevis when he first arrived in 1990, and that even when his career drew him away, he knew he would return someday. Why, exactly? “The people,” he says without hesitation. “It’s all about the Nevisians.”
At Nisbet Plantation Beach Club (nisbetplantation.com), doubles start at $455 in high season.