Saint Kitts & Nevis
The Caribbean, and Mexico for that matter, scare me and I’ve never really had any desire to visit either one. I just picture cruise ships end-to-end blocking the ocean’s horizon, monster resorts dotting every inch of beach, ex-frat bros enjoying a long weekend away from Wall Street, and fat people (sorry… “weigh challenged…”) in floral Tommy Bahama shirts sipping jumbo Margaritas everywhere. A straight-up resort world more reminiscent of Disneyland than any sort of real culture. Basically Wall-E, but in the tropics and not outer space.
I had never heard of the Federation of Saint Kitts & Nevis, a two-island country in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. It’s the smallest sovereign state in the Americans, in both area and population, and was one of the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by the Europeans, earning it the title of “The Mother Colony of the West Indies.” Roughly conical in shape and anchored by a single volcanic mountain (Nevis Peak, 3,232ft), Nevis is the smaller island of the two, lying about 2 miles west of Saint Kitts across the shallow ‘Narrows.’ Its 36 square miles (93 sq km) is fringed with sandy beaches, the interior consists of jungled-draped slopes rising up the potentially active volcano, the people are friendly, life seems mellow, and the rich history abundant with the legacy of the sugar industry surviving in pleasant plantation inns. Nevis is of particular historical significance to Americans because it was the birthplace and early childhood home of Alexander Hamilton*.
And these islands proved to me that I’m an idiot for having such a predisposed disposition towards traveling the Caribbean.** And staying at the Four Seasons wasn’t too shabby either…
*Alexander Hamilton was born circa January 11, 1755 or 1757 (the exact date is unknown), on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. In 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s assistant. In 1788, he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the U.S Constitution. He then served as the nation’s first secretary of the treasury, from 1789 to 1795. On July 12, 1804, in New York City, Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that he sustained during a duel with Aaron Burr.
**I’m actually only partially an idiot – We had a long layover in Saint Martin and in going to a beach there, I experienced the Disneyland Caribbean as I always pictured it…