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Saint Kitts and Nevis: Nevis Plantations

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Nevis Plantations | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Americas

[Visited: September 2011]

Driving on the narrow roads on the southern part of the island of Nevis, we were looking for old plantations for which the island is famous. Nevis once was a major producer of sugar, and the island was therefore full of sugar cane plantations. The sugar was processed on the spot, in large estates, and earned Nevis the nickname Queen of the Caribees; the sugar industry brought her wealth and prosperity. When the soil was exhausted from intensive usage, sugar production moved to other islands in the Caribbean, and the industry on Nevis declined. In the mid-20th century, the last sugar plantation closed doors.

Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Ruins of an old sugar mill at the Golden Rock estate in the south of Nevis island

The first estate we encountered, was the Hermitage estate which, like several other estates, has been turned into a comfortable accommodation where one can sleep and eat in old colonial buildings, relax on the extensive grounds or in the swimming pool, and enjoy views of the landscape - with the near perfect volcanic shape of Nevis Peak looming over the surroundings. Hermitage Inn proved to be well kept; we wandered around the grounds, and found exotic flowers, old rusty machines, a big stone oven, and more. Even though it was low season, we did see other people at the estate; it had a pleasant, laid back atmosphere. The next plantation we saw was the Old Manor, which seemed abandoned. It gave us a better idea how it might have looked like in its glory days; we came across a chimney, and some machinery made in the UK which once had processed sugar cane.

Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Golden Rock estate chimney

From here, we drove further east on the island, until we reached the New River estate, close to the east coast of Nevis. A cluster of buildings, most in ruins, with old equipment scattered around the premises, and a vast estate where we hiked to the cliffs with some great, abandoned ruins of sugar mills. We were alone here, and the setting, with the late afternoon sunlight casting a beautiful soft light on the ruins and surrounding vegetation and flowers with a wild sea close by, gave the New River estate the most rugged feeling. The next day, we visited the Golden Rock estate, much better kept and probably better visited during the high season, with the remains of a beautiful sugar mill and chimney. The plantations had offered us an insight in the historic plantations and estates, where sugar was once processed, and where slaves once worked for their masters. Times have changed - the estates are now like small open-air museums for the visitor.

Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Traditional building with wide veranda at the Old Manor estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Rusty machines and a chimney at the Old Manor estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Ruins of a building of the early 19th century Old Manor estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Reflection of tree and chimney at the New River estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Old house and chimney on the vast New River estate on the east coast of Nevis island
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Ruins of old sugar mill surrounded by vegetation and flowers at the New River estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Big stone oven on the Hermitage estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Reminder of the past: rusty sewing machine on the Hermitage estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Old stone building on the New River estate on the east coast of Nevis island
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Partially restored ruins of the Old Manor estate
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Quiet corner in the extensive Nisbet Plantation
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): Rusty parts of sugar processing machines in the New River estate plantation
Picture of Nevis Plantations (Saint Kitts and Nevis): The extensive lawn at Nisbet Plantation where many small trees were planted by newly weds

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