Friday, March 2, 2018

St. Kitts delivers -- lovely scenery, musical hosts, glittering bays, galleries, golf and the Caribbean's oldest railroad

All aboard for a fabulous time aboard the charming St. Kitts Scenic Railway -- into the lush tropical Caribbean environment.


ALL ABOARD FOR A FINE TIME AT THE BEACH, TRAIN, ECO PARK, BAYS AND BUCOLIC BASSETERRE


Sit back, take in the fantastic scenery aboard the historic St. Kitts Scenic
Railway, the Caribbean's oldest. You can sail one way to the ride,
and take the train back to your ship.  Tropical cocktails hit the spot.
STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

ST. KITTS IS the kind of place that encourages a cocktail.
It also invites exploration.
We combined those two pursuits on the charming St. Kitts Scenic Railway.  Over a century old, it is a link with the island's once thriving sugar industry.  A few plantations sprinkle the landscape, but the railway is far more interesting.  It is alive, moving and fun.
Artists abound on St. Kitts, attracted by the lovely breezes and sea views.
The island's batik artists have an international reputation. 
WE BELLIED UP to a generous train bar.  Because the day was early -- not yet noon -- we opted for virgin guava and strawberry drinks.  Our fellow travelers, however, deemed it to be cocktail hour, as our pleasant Kittsian bartender served up dozens of daiquiris, rum punches, pina coladas and other custom beverages.  She cheerfully satisfied three dozen of us, with help from a large blender, plenty of ice, her two-fisted magic and our own able passing of glasses to the appropriate customers.
THE PLEASANT land-and-sea day began aboard a smooth catamaran ride from beautiful Basseterre.
We strolled the town, one of the oldest in the eastern Caribbean with bucolic touches accented by many green-black-red flags.  They symbolize the rich land, the slaves' contributions and the struggles.  Through several rules, St. Kitts was a French colony, then declared the capital of the island by the British in 1727.
St. Kitts offers beautiful beaches and several famous bays: 
Frigate, Friar's, and Banana and Cockleshell, "the twins."
Sugar's siren song captivated the world around that time and St. Kitts had the perfect tropical climate and rich volcanic soil to supply the booming demand.  The island's sugar industry was one of the Caribbean's most successful, with 68 plantations dotting 68 square miles in the glory days.
New friends spent a day hiking through abandoned fortresses and the remnants of once glorious plantations, rich in architectural details in the midst of swaying sugar cane fields and farm critters.
The town of Basseterre retains much of its Colonial charm, plus natural beauty.
THEY RAVED about their day of touring, which included a challenging mountain hike and a view of a dormant volcano. We
were happy with our town stroll, boat ride and railway selection which featured a lively discourse embracing the sugar history, local folklore and the island's stunning ocean vistas.  We saw grazing  pigs and goats, learned where to get the best grouper and jerk, enjoyed a strolling vocal trio and heard tips on snorkeling for which St. Kitts is famous. 
We didn't get to Nevis this time, but photographed it from our catamaran.
We admired in the distance, the lovely peaks of Nevis, the West Indian Island that shaped Alexander Hamilton.  The two islands constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Years ago, I spent a week on quiet Nevis -- awakened by the call of the monkeys -- relaxing in plush digs of a converted sugar mill.  Nevis is also known for its pristine beaches including the famous Pinney's. I experienced crystal clear snorkeling water at Oualie there.                          A VISIT TO St. Kitts should include two more stops: the historic Brimstone Hill Fortress for its stunning views and ambiance, and a unique state-of-the-art Eco Park with a demonstration farm and plantation style visitors center. If you golf, St. Kitts has some of the world's most attractive courses. And its batik art is world famous.
    As we sailed out of St. Kitts, we wondered why Columbus bypassed it on his search for the New World.  How he missed landing on its lovely pink sand beaches, we'll never know.

Bruce Keller enjoys a brisk winter visit to Paris, where here he pauses across
the Seine from Notre Dame Cathedral surrounded by prints of the city's famed sights.







UP NEXT:  Off to Paris, for night life, architecture, lights, fountains, fashion, history and of course, fabulous food. Is there a city that combines these elements in such alluring fashion? We think not. And off season, there are more benefits -- crowds are gone and museums and restaurants aren't crowded. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays when we post for each week -- a new twist on travel, the arts, nature and romance. Mais oui. Et s'il vous plait, tell your friends about us and consider leaving a comment.  We are over a million hits now, thanks to you!















4 comments:

  1. We lived in St. Kitts for many years and heard that train every day. Miss the sounds and sights of this gorgeous island. Lovely piece.

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  2. Tennessee TraveleraMarch 4, 2018 at 6:27 PM

    Great job on an island that has survived many ups and downs...so delightful to see the train tribute, too.

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  3. Atlanta AdventurersMarch 5, 2018 at 9:02 PM

    Always enjoy touring with Cookie and Keller. Thanks for this fun piece on a favorite get-away for us.

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  4. Martinique Island HoppersMarch 9, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    St. KITTS is dear to our hearts....here in Martinique we visit often for a very different Caribbean flavor. Thanks for pointing out the subtle but distinct variations in our beautiful islands!

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