A Proud Nevis Ambassador | TravelPulse
In my youth, I never dreamed of becoming a travel writer, or even a journalist. Things kind of happened that way. But I’ve always been an avid reader and often wondered about distant places.
My first such thoughts probably started after my maternal grandmother, Mary Josephine Iassac Spencer, whom we called Nana, returned from a transatlantic trip to St. Kitts and Nevis with a souvenir plate. The plate featured a richly colored map of the federation of the two islands.
I remember looking at this plate and learning that St. Kitts was shaped like a chicken drumstick. I stared at the plate for long stretches, going through the different parishes, wondering what each must look like. Even then, I never imagined that years later I would have the chance to find out for myself.
I therefore could not be more thrilled and honored to have been named Nevis Tourism Ambassador for 2022 by the Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA). In this role, which is almost entirely ceremonial, I will feature Nevis visitor offerings on the cover of TravelPulse.com and through my own social media platforms.
Incredibly, I am joined in this honor by truly accomplished (and unlike me, truly famous) personalities. They include music star and former Spice Girl Mel B; model and actress Nikeva Stapleton and award-winning luxury spa and travel influencer Ava Roxanne Stritt.
Back to Nevis
I started in my new role (so to speak) at the end of February, returning to Nevis for my first visit since 2017. The trip included two nights at the Montpelier Plantation and Beach, a lush hillside resort in the shadow of 3,200 feet Nevis Peak. I also spent two nights at the Four Seasons Nevis, a sprawling luxury beachfront resort with hillside villas, luxury beachfront suites, private cabanas, and several dining options.
I spent an afternoon exploring with Greg Phillip, former CEO of NTA and now CEO of Nevis Sun Tours, through which he gives visitors an insider’s look at the island.
After breakfast at the beachfront Cafe Des Arts, Greg and I reviewed historical documents and photographs at the nearby Nevis History/Alexander Hamilton Museum. Later we walked to the Jewish Cemetery in Charlottetown, the historic capital of Nevis, then stopped to dip our feet in the healing waters of the hot springs outside the Bath Hotel.
The hotel is an imposing stone structure built in 1778 and whose notable guests included Lord Nelson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Later the tour continued as Greg’s ATV embarked on a winding, overgrown road to Cottle Church, built by Nevis planter and politician John Cottle in 1824 as a place where his family and the slaves could worship together.
The Anglican Church ostracized Cottle for its practices and refused to sanctify the structure. But his gesture of defiance was one of the first to lead to the end of slavery in the English colonies of the Caribbean.
Nevis is however more than its history. A naturally beautiful island, even by Caribbean standards, its brilliant blue waters and intimate white-sand beaches feature pristine turtle nesting sites and vibrant reefs. Visitors can opt for world-class sailing, sport fishing, diving and kayaking excursions throughout the territory.
The mountainous character of the island (Nevis Peak is in the center of the island and is visible from virtually any point) also creates ideal conditions for hiking, horseback riding and motorized excursions in the verdant tropical forests at hillside filled with ruins of colonial sugar plantations. I completed one of my favorite activities in Nevis, an ATV circumnavigation of the island with Queen City Adventure Tours, during my visit.
This year, NTA will take over some of the most popular events on its island. The Nevis – St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim, scheduled for March 27, challenges participants to complete the 2.5 miles from Nevis to St. Kitts. The event had been canceled for two consecutive years due to the pandemic, but in 2022 returns for its 20th anniversary.
I am honored to be named an ambassador for the beautiful Caribbean nation that was home to my grandmother and great uncle Joseph, who helped raise me as I grew up in New York. I often think of relatives who may still reside in our shared ancestral home. I will return to Nevis in the near future, and perhaps learn more about my history.
But even if I had no connection to this country, I’m sure I’d be truly impressed by the array of natural and man-made wonders that fill this little sister of a two-island nation. Nevis is of course something special.