Zetland Breeze on the island of Nevis
Nevis is a 36 square mile gem, the Queen of the Caribees. The Nevis Peak volcano rose from the sea floor about one million years ago. The earliest human settlement dates back to 2,000 BC. Europeans first set foot on Nevis in 1493, when Columbus stopped on Nevis during his second voyage to the New World. Columbus named the island St. Martin as it was first sighted on St. Martin's Day. Later the island became known as Nieves ('snows'), named after Santa Maria de las Nieves, or Our Lady of the Snows, but also because the clouds that often hover around the top of Nevis Peak resemble snow from a distance.
Nevis was first populated by Arawak and Carib Amerindians, numbering as many as 5000, followed by European settlers in 1628, who developed the richest sugar cane industry in the Caribbean using white indentured servants and African slaves. Nevis was the seat of the British Leeward Islands Colony from 1671 to 1698. The Spanish, Dutch, French, and British fought over Nevis in famous sea battles for decades in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1834, and over 8,000 slaves were freed on Nevis. Plantation owners were compensated with cash, and slaves were given land as sharecroppers. Black Nevisians quickly evolved as landowners and merchants. To this day, Nevisians are among the most independent groups in the Caribbean.
The history of Nevis is connected to the history of the United States in many ways. Notably, Alexander Hamilton was born on Nevis in 1757. And the victorious first battle of the United States Navy, between the USS Constellation and the French L'Insurgente, took place in 1799 in the waters off the southeast coast of Nevis.
Nevis and St Kitts have been an independent island nation since 1983. The population of Nevis has oscillated over the centuries from perhaps over 20,000 in the the late 1600's to 12,000 today. The capital of Nevis is Charlestown, about 10 minutes from our house. There are no traffic lights on Nevis. Everyone is literate, and jobs exist for all. The island language is English. The currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar ('EC$'), pegged at EC$ 2.67 per $US.
Our house has everything: great views, lovely breezes, privacy, large rooms, comfortable furnishings, TV & Internet, full kitchen, a great pool, not far from beaches and restaurants. It is a lovely place to relax and have fun.
We are in Gingerland, about 180 degrees around the island road from the airport. The house is on the hillside above the old Zetland Plantation, one-third of the way up Mt Nevis (also called Nevis Peak) at nearly 1100 feet. When we drive home from the beach, we marvel at the temperature change as we approach the higher elevation of Gingerland and Zetland Breeze. The evenings are cool, no air conditioning required.
The view from the front porch is directly South, with the Atlantic and Montserrat to the left and the Caribbean to the right. In the center is the saddleback (Saddle Hill) of the southern end of Nevis, the pastures of Montpelier Plantation on the right and indian Castle on Windward Beach to the left.
We built the house in 1992, probably one of the larger houses on Nevis at the time. We spend a lot of time out on the front terrace, which always has perfect breezes coming from the East....the famous trade winds. We often have breakfast on the terrace; cocktail parties always start there, spilling into the Great Room.
Much of the main floor is hand-cut native volcanic rock. The house has four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen and laundry room. On the main floor are the large entry hall, a half bath, kitchen, laundry room, dining room, large living room, a large, covered front terrace, and the master bedroom suite with a king bed. On the second floor are two bedrooms (each with two twin beds) and a full bathroom. On the lower ground floor, there is a fourth bedroom with two twin beds and its own full bathroom; this bedroom has its own outside entrance below the main steps of the front door of the house. (Because this room may miss the breezes at night, it is now air conditioned, just in case.)
Behind the house are a private walled-in swimming pool and a covered outdoor dining area. (The small jacuzzi pool has a cover for safety.) For a nice dinner venue, we dine at the long white table up the two steps to the pool level outside the kitchen window overlooking the pool. Under a star-filled sky, perhaps with some nice music playing, this is quite pleasant. There is a gas barbecue just outside the kitchen door.
The large pine cabinet in the living room houses the TV (with cable service including CNN and ESPN) and audio-visual equipment, including CD and DVD players. (There is a second TV in the master bedroom cabinet.) Speakers are in the Great Room and out at the pool. We have a growing collection of CDs and DVDs.
Games. There are puzzles, cribbage boards, playing cards in the drawer at the bottom of the liquor cabinet in the entrance hall.
Massage. Our little gray leather phone book lists many sources of massage on Nevis. The Four Seasons has a complete spa, of course.
Internet access. We have high speed DSL, with WIFI through much of the house.
Beaches and restaurants
Pinney's Beach on the Caribbean is a 15 minute drive away. Many beach restaurants and bars thrive there, as does the world famous Four Seasons Hotel & Resort, where there is a beautiful and challenging golf course. Three of the loveliest plantation inns on Nevis are each less than 10 minutes away from Zetland Breeze: Hermitage Hotel, Montpelier Plantation, and Golden Rock. Their restaurants are wonderful, each one unique. (We have a 'handout' for renters with hints and tips about all of our favorite places on Nevis.)
The house was built for airy island relaxation, and we love it. You will, too.