For many years, Grenada has been known…
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Alive and authentic, Belmont Estate is the ultimate Caribbean agro-tourism adventure. This restored estate produces organic cocoa, operates an organic goat dairy, and has its own museum, gardens, restaurant and catering services.
Grand Etang Lake
Considered the crown of Grenada, this mysterious crater lake sits silently in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve 1,742 feet/ 531 metres above sea level and is a fitting rest stop for hikers and other visitors to the Grand Etang National Park.
Fort George, the oldest structure in the country was completed in1705. There are old tunnels and narrow stair cases and the ramparts evoke a feeling of the past. It provides a stunning view of the capital, the Carenage and the harbour, which is Ideal for photography.
River Antoine Rum Distillery
No other distillery in the entire Caribbean has been in operation as long as River Antoine, and very few have so carefully maintained traditional methods of rum preparation. Visitors can watch as rum is made in much the same manner that it was in the 18th century, when it fired the throats of the real buccaneers.
HistoryWhether your arrival is via ferry or small plane, the moment you touch the soil of this seven mile/ eleven kilometer long island that is home to some 8,000 Grenadians, your Spice Experience embraces a new perspective on time. It is here and on Petite Martinique that a chat with a master boat builder is not unusual. Traditional customs are cherished here, as evidenced by the Carriacou Museum. Housed in a restored cotton gin mill, the Museum contains artifacts dating back to the Amerindians sourced from archeological sites on Carriacou, as well as relics from the time of British and French control.
From the many discoveries on Carriacou of pottery and tools, it is known that around 1000 AD. Arawaks, followed by Caribs, both from South America, settled on the island. The earliest written records go back to 1656 when the name was spelt Kayryouacou, originating, it is believed, from the Carib meaning "land surrounded by reef".
Carriacou was settled by the French, but in 1763 was ceded with Grenada to the British. The majority of the inhabitants today are of African descent, with the influence in the island mainly British, such as driving on the left, though French names are still noticed, especially in the L'Esterre area. The village of Windward was home to a group of Scottish boatbuilders who settled here in the 19th century. The Scottish names and boatbuilding skills have been passed down through the generations. Many locally built boats from small fishing sloops to large trading schooners are seen in the Carriacou waters. Boat building is still carried out in the traditional way on the beaches but fewer have been built in recent years.
In former times Carriacou produced mostly cotton with some sugar, limes, coffee and cocoa. Today the inhabitants grow corn and pigeon peas for their own consumption and subsistence farming, live stock rearing, fishing and seafaring form the main occupations.
Rich in tradition, Carriacou has many unique customs handed down from African and European ancestors. These include Traditional Weddings, Traditional Boat Launching, Tombstone Feast "Saraca" Libations, Big Drum Nation Dance, Village Maroons, Shakespeare Mas, All Saint Candle Lighting "Pass Play", Cemetery Cleaning and Fishermen Birthday Celebrations.
In the village of Windward, sailing boats are built using the traditional methods passed down by the Scottish settlers. Recent initiatives are encouraging younger persons to learn to art of boat building and to produce model boats. The annual Carriacou Regatta held in July/ August seeks to rekindle this art.
Patois (Broken French) is still been used in villages throughout the island. In the past when someone dies, young men would go out on donkeys echoing the news "Sake Tan Pale Lot" "Who hear tell the others, Mr. so and so dead". At the "wake" which is about one to seven days before the burial, hymns are sung and bush tea been served there is also ""third night", "nine night", "forty night" which is normally celebrated with a tea mass. In recent time the term "Happy Hour" is been used. Alcoholic and canned beverages are served instead of the traditional tea and black coffee. A stone feast is an occasion when three years after someone dies, A tombstone bearing information of the name, date of birth and death inscribed on it. It is then installed when relatives would come from overseas to be part of Saraca feast.
The music and dances of Carriacou are handed down from generations. The people of Carriacou remember the African tribes they came from-IBO, CONGO, TEMNE, MANDINKA, CHAMBA, KROMATI. The "Big Drum" or "Nation Dance" of Carriacou is very famous, some of the better known ones are the Kalenda, Juba, Belair, Granbelair, Hallecud and Bongo. These are danced at weddings, boat launchings, tombstone feast and Maroons. The "Big Drums" are really three drums. They are made from small wooden rum kegs painted mostly red, with goatskin lashed over the mouth. The treble drum, which is the largest, is the center drum, and on each side is a small bass drum. These are all played with open palms. Women with Shac Shac (noise makers) sing in the back. A group of people dance to the rhymic sounds of the drum.
Another dance that is been handed down is the Quadrille Dance, which is only been done in the village of L'Esterre. The world renowned Canute Calliste, Artist, violinist plays the music along with three other persons playing a triangle, a tambourine and a drum. This dance was performed by the English with four couples and they would dance six figures or sets. The first two are pretty slow and mild. The third, fourth and fifth are at an up-tempo beat and much quicker while the sixth is a casian (Polkadouk).
At boat launchings goats and sheep are killed and their blood sprinkled on the boat. Later a priest sprinkle holy water to bless and reveal the name of the boat. A large number of children all dressed up in bright colors would line the deck. They are considered as Godchildren for the Boat. After the ceremony everyone gets off and the actual launching starts. The cutting down of the shoals, to the music of the drums and then hanging on to ropes, manually everyone pulls to get the boat into the water.
The Maroon festival is also an important aspect of life on Carriacou. Villagers would come together and cook traditional foods and partake in the big drum dance. The annual Maroon music festival is a three day activity that showcases display of local food, crafts and music in a park. The entire island comes together to make it great as it is deemed a major tourist attraction.
In Carriacou we still have an old fashioned Carnival. The main feature is on Tuesday morning, the players give their recitations of Shakespeare speeches and woe to the one who doesn't do it well - whop! Each man is dressed in long socks, a laced petticoat, and a brightly colored shirt with longs sleeves. He has a cloak lined with cement bags a crown on his head and wears a mask. This gives the effect of knight's armor, he carries a bullwhip.