Although the name may be misleading this is not a religious site but a plantation and rum distillery located in St. Peter. We were invited to this historic site by Samora’s high school classmates.
The ground floor of the manor is kept, as it would have been with the added function of being a museum. On every tabletop and shelf there are little curiosities. There are stuffed birds, some of which, since they have not been recognized must be extinct now, as well as sailor’s valentines. Yes, those are all seashells.
The most interesting piece of furniture is the Gentleman’s chair, which includes a contraption to hold your book or newspaper and mark your page, in case you fall asleep. There are also many portraits which tell the story of all the people who owned the plantation at one point.
About the history though
During the tour I expected to hear a lot about the history. Many details were given about the owners of the plantation (one of them even an ancestor of Benedict Cumberbatch) and about how and why it had been handed from one owner to the next. However, with all the pride about the plantation and the rum it produced, I was very surprised by the thorough omission of who did the hard work in the fields. Never once was the word slavery even hinted at. We saw all the splendour of the owner’s house but not a word was mentioned about how the slaves and employees of the plantations lived, what their stories were.
As part of the tour, you of course get to try the rum. First there is rum punch, which surprised me by not being as sweet as I thought it would be thanks to the Angostura bitters it contains. This makes it perfect if you’re in need of cooling down. For the second taste you get to choose between 5 and 12 year old rum. If you don’t have anyone to share with, so that you can try both, I recommend the 12-year-old since it is much smoother.
Explore the plantation
The tour guide also shows you the distillery and where the bottles are engraved. After the tour you can explore the grounds of the plantation. There is a ruin of a windmill, old tools and wheels. You also can visit the two cockatoos Lance and Baby and with a bit of luck get them to talk to you. There is also a path into a small gully.
Don’t miss Cherry Tree Hill
If you’re already in the area, don’t miss the beautiful view from Cherry Tree Hill, which is only a short drive away from the abbey. You’ll recognize it by tables functioning as market stalls for souvenirs and quite possibly tourists taking selfies.
The gorgeous view allows you to take a picture of the lush fields of the West coast’s countryside, with the beach and high waves of the Atlantic in the background.
How to get there: Most easily by car
Why go: to see fascinating furniture and seashell art in the museum and of course to taste different rums
Price: BDS$ 40 Adults