If there’s one thing which can help cure the gloomy mood of an overly long and cold winter, it’s a trip to an island with plenty of sun, rum, and beaches. We tried to go to Antigua back over Valentine’s Day but a snowstorm knocked out the east coast and our flight was canceled. Thanks winter. We got the last laugh though as this weekend we finally made it out of Chicago to Antigua, and have spent the week melting off the winter blues.
Where’s Antigua? It’s a small island in the leeward islands of the Caribbean which is part of Antigua and Barbuda, about a 4 hour flight from Newark. Known mostly for sailing, it was part of the British Commonwealth but is now an independent nation, although there are plenty of Englishmen running around here which I think helps it retain a colonial atmosphere. At least where we were staying.
We picked a hotel called the Copper and Lumber Store situated inside Nelson’s Dockyard at English Harbour, which is a cultural heritage site and I believe part of a national park. Yes, that Nelson, hero of Trafalgar. Apparently this was one of his first posts and it’s a great location for monitoring the French over on Guadeloupe. I’ll say this about the English they really knew how to pick and set up a harbor/dockyard. There are big hills on either side of the entrance and cliffs running along the coast. No one was sneaking up on them or going overland to drop in on them unannounced!
Most of the buildings have been restored and now house a couple hotels, bars, boutiques, grocery, sailmaker, and coffee shop. The hotel we stayed in is really cool, all the rooms are named for Nelson’s ships and we ended up in the Agamemnon, a very spacious suite with an upstairs sleeping loft overlooking the street below and the harbor. It’s pretty neat to be sitting here typing this, look up out the window and see water and masts. English Harbour is foremost a Caribbean sailing center and apparently is the site of a huge sailing week at the end of April. There are some impressive boats docked here.
We’ve eaten just fine here, plenty of good jerk chicken as you may imagine and plenty of seafood. We came mostly for the sun though and we’ve definitely gotten our fill of that. The bakery right behind our hotel has been great for the very late breakfasts we’ve been taking. Fresh pastries and really tasty meat patties for nibbling on while waiting for many the boat taxi operator to take us across the harbor to the beach. Really rough vacation. Anyway, been sifting through some photos so without further ado, here are some. Don’t hate us too much.