36 hours in Nevis

Lovers Beach on Nevis, in the West Indies. (Photos: NYTimes)
Nevis, a six-minute water taxi ride from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, has a slo-mo vibe (together, the two islands form a small country). Goats and sheep graze everywhere, even beside the airport’s single runway; and in Charlestown, the sleepy capital that is dotted with Georgian-style stone buildings, many shops close around 5pm on weekdays and stay closed on weekends. اضافة اعلان

With its unspoiled beaches, Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace is the less developed and serene Caribbean many visitors crave. The Museum of Nevis is a good place to learn about the island’s slave past. Remnants of sugar and cotton plantations that exploited slave labor until the late 1830s are throughout Nevis; some are now accommodations or restaurants, a complicated reality on this tiny island.

Colorful houses on the windward side of Nevis, in the West Indies.

These days, Nevis is looking to a sustainable future. It plans to start tapping into its font of geothermal energy in June, with a goal to make the island 100 percent fossil-fuel-free for electricity generation, hopefully within two years, according to the island’s premier, Mark Brantley.

Friday2:30pm: Pedal through history. Cycle the undulating Island Main Road on the east side, where chickens, donkeys, and vervet monkeys may cross your path. You can rent a bike for 95 Eastern Caribbean dollars, or about $35 a day, from Nevis Adventure Tours. Or, for a historical perspective, join the company’s Windward Discovery cycling tour, guided by owner and triathlete Reggie Douglas. Over the two-and-a-half-hour round trip, he will point out 19th- and early 20th-century chattel houses that were some of the first properties owned by newly freed slaves; the St. James Anglican Church with its rare black crucifix (one of the few remaining in Caribbean churches), made by formerly enslaved people to commemorate emancipation; and the remnants of machinery at the New River Estate, an expansive former sugar-processing estate with lots of ruins to explore.

5:30pm: Chill over cocktails. Drift, a casual and shabby-chic eatery and bar on the north coast, opened just before the pandemic. The interior of this al fresco beach shanty is gloriously whitewashed, with straw “chandeliers” over the bar and an informal art gallery with dreamy paintings of monkeys and island landscapes by Vikki Fuller, who runs Drift with her husband, Mark.
Savor one of their signature cocktails, like the refreshing Booby Island Breeze that is sweet and tangy with citrus, melon liqueur and rum, as you sit on the water’s edge and gaze at St. Kitts and Booby Island, which lies between Nevis and St. Kitts. Do not be surprised to see a sea turtle or two swim by.

7:30pm: Garden setting. In 1998, Gillian Smith started Bananas Bistro in 1998 as a shack with a two-burner stove. It has since evolved into a relaxed restaurant in a magical setting. Driving there involves navigating a sometimes bumpy road east of Charlestown above the ruins of the Hamilton Estate, a former sugar plantation.

A cyclist rides past a home along the main eastern coastal road on Nevis, in the West Indies.

The restaurant’s property includes a sprawling tropical garden with a path wending through the palms, ferns, and vines. Snag a table on the porch close to the greenery, where you can hear the chirping of tree frogs. Try the crispy fritters with yam-like tannia, or the Thai-style shrimp cooked in a made-from-scratch red-curry paste. Also, visit the Totally Bananas Boutique in a cottage on the property for one-of-a-kind jewelry from designers in Turkey, Greece, India, and Spain.

Saturday9:30am: A bounty of blooms. Horticulturists and fans of Asian art will enjoy the Botanical Gardens of Nevis, a perfect venue for a meditative stroll. The 6.5-acre expanse is dotted with Buddhist and Hindu sculptures from the owners’ private collections.

Meander down the main path flanked with royal palms and notice a pair of Chinese guardian lions. Numerous wooden benches beckon, including along a languid spot where you can contemplate a waterlily lagoon. Cross slim footbridges and continue along curvy paths that slice through a landscape divided into numerous themed gardens. The Vine Garden drips with bougainvillea and unusual species like glowvine, with its almost iridescent flowers that can bloom year-round.

11am: US founding father link. Facing Charlestown’s waterfront, two museums stand a short stroll apart on an expansive property that may be the site of Alexander Hamilton’s birth home. Roam to the Alexander Hamilton Museum, a wood-shingled building, to learn about this founding father. The unpretentious interior includes panels documenting his life holds a few original ephemera (a decorative plate, candleholders) donated by Hamilton’s great-great grandson.

Across the lawn — past the life-size Hamilton bronze — is the Museum of Nevis History, set in a restored, green-shuttered stone building. Along with insights into Nevis’ history of slavery and sugar production, the displays include pre-colonial stone beads and other artifacts from the Amerindians, the island’s native people. The gift shop has locally made goods, including whistles hand-carved from mahogany and tamarind trees.

12:30pm: Bring your appetite. On the verdant grounds of the luxe Montpelier Plantation and Beach (a hotel 15 minutes east of Charlestown in the foothills of Nevis Peak), Indigo is a sun-splashed restaurant that is aptly named: Myriad shades of blue hues accent the contemporary pavilion space that’s beside a cerulean-tiled pool.

For lunch, settle into any of several inviting indoor spots, including comfy lounge sofas where you can eye areca palms glowing in the sunlight. Later, amble through Montpelier’s public spaces for the latest works by Kirk Mechar, a Canadian artist residing on Nevis who creates intricate and textured line paintings that have a sculptural quality. His exhibitions change once or twice a year.

A thin-crust pizza at Yachtsman Grill on Nevis.

2:30pm: Tan on a wild stretch. If your idea of an idyllic afternoon means sun, sand, and nothing else, then spread your blanket on Lovers Beach on the north coast of the island. This curve of sand is not visible from the road, Cottle Long Path. Park a short distance from Oualie Beach Resort, beside two sea turtle signs, including one describing their life cycle.

The shore is a three-minute ramble from the parking lot, along a sun-dappled dirt path hemmed in by thick tangles of foliage. Once there, you will not find much to distract you, except maybe monkeys skittering on rocky outcrops. Be aware: There are no lifeguards; the water can be rough and is not safe for swimming.

5pm: Sip cocktails at sunset. One of a handful of easygoing bars near or along the almost 6.5-km-long Pinney’s Beach, Lime Beach Bar has a friendly vibe and a bright-green hue enlivening everything from the bar and table tops to the columns and banisters.

Following recent renovations, the venue now has a new seafront option with a stand-alone bar and 20 thatch-roofed dining cabanas, some separated by clusters of sea grape bushes, that face the Caribbean. Relish the stellar sunset from your cabana sofa as you savor a Beach Bellini that blends strawberry lemonade with prosecco.

7:30pm: Open-air dining. Passion Bar and Grill, an unassuming, open-air roadside structure — with its wood panels and corrugated aluminum roof — is easy to miss. That would be a shame. Owner and chef Karen Belle pours her heart into this restaurant in Cox Village, southeast of Charlestown, where she often adapts her mom’s and grandmother’s recipes. Her gastronomic chops came via the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, where she rose from server to cook.

Settle at one of the simple wooden tables (or a brightly painted one in the bar area) positioned atop the gravel, and enjoy the Nevisian night, alive with barking dogs, braying donkeys, and chirping crickets. The menu is petite with daily specials, such as pan-seared grouper in a Creole sauce served with christophine au gratin and other sides.

Sunday8:30am: The pull of nature. Summiting the 985-meter-tall Nevis Peak in hopes of postcard-perfect views is a tempting activity — but it is an arduous two-hour climb that is steep and likely slippery and muddy, and often cloaked by impenetrable clouds.

A Buddha on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens of Nevis. 

Instead, schedule a mellow, privately guided nature trek with Sunrise Tours. Owner Lynnell Liburd’s love for Nevisian flora and fauna stemmed from his great-grandfather, a mountain ranger. These days his son, Devito, can share his botanical knowledge with you on your hike. Starting at the Golden Rock Inn’s property, the two-hour loop that wanders through forests and villages at the base of Nevis Peak immerses you in native plants and their uses.

11am: Take in the waters. Waters with supposed healing powers can be found at the Bath Hot Springs, south of Charlestown. Therapeutic use of the thermal waters has a history going back to the British colonial period and maybe to the island’s native people before that.

No wonder so many locals soak in the rustic outdoor pools that come in a range of ultra-steamy temperatures: In the main area, which has several pools in a deep, wide channel, the “coolest” one is toasty, around 43 degrees Celsius. There is no charge to use the pools. Bring a towel, as well, and a washcloth to dip into the water to test the intense heat before committing. There is no changing facility, so come wearing your bathing attire.

12:30pm: Lunch by the sea. The whitewashed, airy interior of the Yachtsman Grill, on the island’s west coast, gives center stage to the sea and sand just steps away. Dine inside or at one of several shaded outdoor tables. Thin-crust pizzas are a specialty, as is fresh-from-the-fisherman seafood. Order a dish that combines both: Their signature pizza is topped with lobster, shrimp, and grouper along with an unusual white sauce made with cayenne pepper and lemon zest.

Given the owner’s passion for fine wines — it is a diverse cellar, with mostly American wines, and bottles from vineyards as far away as New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina — oenophiles should sample one of the 120 varieties by the bottle, or one of 17 by the glass.

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