By: Christy Oldham @demigoddesspictures
West Indies, Grenada, December 11, 2015- With Miami and the Greater Antilles a few hours behind me, my commercial aircraft flew deeper into the Lesser Antilles, eventually making contact at the Maurice Bishop International Airport in the town of Point Salines. It was my first time ever to visit the largest island in the Grenadine archipeligo- the beautiful island of Grenada, an Independent nation within the British Commonwealth, is actually a Tri island state consisting of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Volcanic in origin and dominated by lush rainforests, Grenada is known for its indigenous spices, and I was eager to taste all of them.
When I stepped out into the bright Caribbean sunshine, tropical pea doves, Grenada’s National Bird, welcomed me with soft coo’s from their perches in the nutmeg trees.
Grenada’s Nutmeg Industry began in 1843 when an English merchant ship hauling a few nutmeg trees left some on the island which then lead to Grenada becoming a major nutmeg supplier to the Western world. In 2004 however, Hurricane Ivan wrecked havoc on the Island; the devastation caused significant losses to the agricultural industry. Grenada is on the southern edge of the hurricane belt, and luckily, Grenadians have only suffered through three hurricanes in the last 5 decades and thus the Nutmeg industry is now thriving. The Grand Anse Craft & Spice Market on Grand Anse Beach offers a bountiful
source of the islands spices and crafts, hand-made woodcarvings, leather goods, Artesian coffee, Guava jams & jellies, and locally made nutmeg syrup and liqueurs. The Market Square at the foot of Market Hill in the island’s capital of St. George is the best place to be on Saturdays to stock up on fresh fruit and purchase island-grown spices to take home. One of my favorite outings was touring the Belmont Estate, a cocoa fermentry and Bonbon Chocolate shop set in the lush rolling hills north of the island in the parish of St. Patrick, where I tasted the exquisite high quality, organic chocolate bars from the Grenada Chocolate Company. On the west side of the island is Grenada’s main fishing town, Gouyave, known for its weekly, outdoor culinary festive event affectionately called “ Fish Friday”, where local seafood delicacies are available from multiple vendors cooking over open fires.
Cruisers, or as the locals call them, “Yachties”, have a firm grasp on weather windows in the temperamental Caribbean and I met a few during my brief stay near the peregrine tropical grounds off Mount Hartman Bay.
Just around the bend is Hog Island, a miniature beach area with a well stocked “rum shack” accessible only by boat. On weekend’s, locals and cruisers converge on its tiny beach to listen to the Carib beats from local musicians, eat, snorkel and partake in libations like Rum Punch, often sprinkled with Nutmeg of course.
Hiring a guide to take you into the interior of the island, known as “trekking”, to the magical hidden treasures like the Seven Sisters Waterfalls or into Sulphur Springs for a soak in the natural healing baths, is a luxury well worth experiencing.
There are plenty of options for lodging in Grenada. One of the very best options is the True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, which offers sea side suites and villas, a popular waterfront restaurant and lounge bar, yacht charters, a dive center, spa, yoga, mermaid swimming tails, kayak and Hobie-cat rentals and even a West Indies Beer Company microbrewery. I highly recommend taking the mini-tour and beer sampling on Friday evenings. If you are looking for an even slower pace though, consider traveling to their sister island of Carriacou, about 18 miles north of Grenada, where first-rate accommodation can readily be found in many charming boutique hotels that dot Carriacou’s emerald green coast line.
Grenada has it all. From sailing festivals like the Carriacou Regatta to the annual Spicemas Corporation Carnival, or the tranquil aqua blue waters for diving and snorkeling, there is
something for everyone. Look for the soon to be launched Caribbean Web Series Festival, founded by CARICOM citizen Clinton H. Wallace. The Web Series Festival will provide opportunities to Grenadian youth for growth in the arts and technology sectors as well as the island’s emerging digital entertainment industry.
For more info, please visit Discover Grenada
Photo Credit: @grenadadive via twitter