ST KITTS & NEVIS
Continued (page 4 of 4)
The island is just littered with once-grand estate houses in various states of picturesque decay. The three most notable are: Hamilton Estate, on Government Road, with a volcanic-stone windmill tower and a steam engine; New River Estate, with a great house, chimney, machinery, and sugar-boiling wall, it's the most complete; Eden Brown Great House, built in the late 1700s, with views of Antigua and Montserrat from the Gallery on a clear day.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON HOUSE
Low St., Charlestown Nevis
The old stone mansion where the father of the U.S. National Bank was born is now, weirdly enough, the Nevis Museum of Natural History, with small but interesting exhibits and a charming gift shop.
Nevis Equestrian Centre
The islands' wonderfully scenic landscape is best explored on horseback. The Californian proprietors of the Nevis stables used to raise Arabian show horses and now lead thrilling trail rides.
The same northeasterly trade winds that powered all those sugar mills now make Nevis one of the windsurfing meccas of the entire world—thanks also to Winston Crooke, the British-born Kittitian/Nevisian who first put the sport on the map. The more experienced prefer to ride the two miles between the two islands; beginners can just take lessons at Crooke's Oualie Beach operation.
For an easy afternoon hike, we recommend the eccentric eight-acre gardens complete with Mayan waterfalls and stone monkeys, as well as the more traditional orchid, rose, cactus, and vine gardens. Drop in at Martha's Tea House for an English Ploughman's Lunch or a cream tea. Sadly, the place closes at around 4:30 p.m., so no sunsets here.
ST. KITTS MUSIC FESTIVAL
Normally held over the last full weekend of June, the 2006 St. Kitts Festival has been moved to make way for an all-important international cricket match. Current and past headliners at what's becoming one of the top Caribbean music events include Wyclef Jean, Hugh Masakela, Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men, Ashanti, Dionne Warwick, and Shaggy.
THE SUGAR EXPRESS
You have time to burn, right? So board the anything-but-express for a scenic, four-hour chug in a double-decker train, which travels via the sugarcane delivery tracks that encircle the island. Villages, rain forests, mountains, ruins, schoolyards—you pass it all; rum punch and a visit by local gospel singers enliven the journey. Schedules are based on cruise-ship passenger bookings; call ahead.