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Melissa Corbin
Why I Fell In Love With Nevis

Sipping, Sampling, and Otherwise Savoring The Island of Nevis

The day had been a long one. I was tired, hot, and desperately needed to wash the day’s worth of travel away. But, when the sea taxi’s first mate handed me a Carib from the cooler, my maiden voyage where the Caribbean and Atlantic converge from St. Kitts to Nevis forecasted more than a spirited sip. 

Just short of 40 miles in circumference, a little over 11,000 people call Nevis home, and they like to keep life simple here without even a sniff of tourist traps.  But, humans aren’t the island’s only inhabitants. Monkeys, donkeys, goats and sheep roam the island along with a host of other characters. There’s really no such thing as rush hour when you’re on island time. Well, maybe an occasional herd or two might stop you in your tracks.

Take it from me, you’re going to want to come camera-ready. I hear there’s a goat named Bianca, but you’ll have to ask Ms. Jade and Adventure Girl about that.  

It was July. Mangos were in season. While no one can agree on the number of varieties, its surmised nearly 500 varieties thrive here. The island’s top mango expert, Bankie, told me that it’s probably more like 44. And, let me tell you. I believe I ate all 44 and then some while in Nevis, leaving me forever spoiled. Really, there’s no comparison in these fragrant beauties and those sad excuses in the grocery back home. I’m holding space for them when it’s safe to resume travel so that I may indulge in my favorite way to eat them-- straight from the trees dripping with mangos.

During the uncertain times we are currently living, some of you may have streamed the Broadway sensation, Hamilton, that Disney released for free. What a show stopper!  But, the real deal stole the show as I spent hours at Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace with Charlestown harbor right across the road. A staunch advocate for the emancipation of slavery, Hamilton also played a pivotal role in drafting the U.S. Constitution. Oh, if only the walls of this 16th century home could talk. 

Just around the corner or so, the island’s hub bustled. Charlestown’s cobblestoned streets banked by art galleries, shops and restaurants proved quite the treasure trove where I did my fair share of sampling. Nevisians love the sweet stuff. I’m talking sugar cane fresh pressed, often from the back of a cane farmer’s truck. 

But, my preferred way to sample the juice was by sipping on a snifter of Clifton Estate Rum. Authorities allow no more than 2 liters of alcohol when flying back to the states. So, you better believe I took some of this precious spirit home with me. It sits top shelf back at the Corbin camp now. Though, I’m running a little low and suppose I’ll have to coast on fumes until we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

There’s a long history of sugar cane mills here. And, the best way to check out some of its most important relics is with Funky Monkey Tours. These folks aren’t playing around. My guide showed me the island in an all-terrain 4x4, up and down and all around Nevis Peak.

Of course, you can’t go to Nevis and not sink your toes into some sand. With 16 beaches and a slew of private clubs and resorts, there’s an experience just right for any occasion. And, in all honesty, some of the finest meals I ate were with sand between my toes. The same goes for cocktails. Everyone kept insisting I throw back a few Killer Bees from Sunshine’s over on Pinney Beach. It’s a cool concoction of rum, passion fruit and a few secret ingredients. You’ll have to ask Sunshine for yourself, but something tells me it was whatever was in that skeleton jar that put the sting on me. 

Let’s just say I spent some time in the sea that day. 

To gain proper perspective of Nevis Peak. I along with my new friends chartered a catamaran with Leeward Charters for a sunset sail. Nevis loosely translates from Spanish to mean snow. I’m told that Columbus named it after he thought its foggy summit was snow. I’m not sure he was the brightest, but nevertheless, Nevis Peak is a stunning backdrop for savoring the golden hour.

To get up close and personal with that gorgeous mountain, I made the trek up to my 4-star retreat for the week which would’ve even put Goldilocks out of a job. Golden Rock Inn was indeed just right. Now, I’m not going to lie. Upon entering my room to discover there was no air conditioning caused instant panic in this 40-something mind. If you carry around a fan at this season of life, I’m sure you can relate. I can promise you not once did I reach for mine. The cool mountain breeze coupled with the refreshing pool a short walk from my private cottage gave me pause for ever leaving such paradise.

It was at my resort’s restaurant, The Rocks, where Chef Ricky Finch left me speechless, and I’m never at a loss for words. Fresh caught Conch and Wahoo fueled most every day, especially his Smoked Wahoo Carpaccio. Although, Helen’s Moraccan Chicken proved a much needed palate cleanser when I finally had my fill of seafood on my last night. It’s the owner’s recipe with cracked olives, house preserved lemons on a bed of couscous. 

Soon, I’d have to get back to the real world, and I was none too happy about the situation.   

Even before dawn’s early light, boarding a sea taxi to catch a plane home, I could barely make out the gracious lines of Nevis Peak. By golly, I’ll know right where she is upon my next visit. As I share these memories, I suppose those grocery store mangos will simply have to do ...for now. And, when it’s time for wheels up yet again, I’ll let a big ol’ exhale without a face mask in sight in Nevis naturally.  

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