Barbados Northern Hills Attractions
With most visitors to Barbados rushing on and off cruise ships, significant attractions on the northern hilly end of the island are often bypassed. This area can be combined with a day trip through the central hills or along the Atlantic coast.
St Nicholas Abbey
St Nicholas Abbey, with its three gables shaped like wishbones in the Jacobean style, was once the heart of a giant sugar cane plantation and a small refinery, the empty buildings of which are still adjacent to the house.Built sometime between 1650 and 1660, to plans imported from Britain, the building has inappropriate features for a tropical island such as upstairs fireplaces. It is only one of three known remaining buildings of this style in the Western Hemisphere, the others being Drax Hall also in Barbados and Bacon's castle in Virginia.The tour of the ground floor explains some unusual furniture such as a 1930s reading chair, perhaps a forerunner to the modern lazy boy lounger. Of note is a fine collection of mahogany furniture, some with cane seats in the local style to keep the sitter cooler. A few of the pieces have been in the house since 1810. Many fine porcelain and glass pieces, plus stunning fresh flower arrangements raise the house above the ordinary.The house is still in the hands of a family which has owned it for generations and the current owner still greets guests. At the end of the tour, guests are shown a holiday film the owner's father shot in the 1930's. It shows the sea voyage to Barbados from England, being rowed ashore at Bridgetown and life on the plantation around St Nicholas Abbey.The pretty gardens are well kept. The rustic ruins of the farm buildings and old windmill adjacent to the house offer a certain charm.
Morgan Lewis Mill
At one time Barbados was virtually entirely under cultivation for sugar cane and many windmills sitting on stone foundations used the constant tropical winds to crush the cane. While several of these conical stone foundations are seen on the island, the Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill, circa 1727, is the only windmill left standing. As such it is the largest and most complete working windmill in the Caribbean. Within the mill are displays of plantation artifacts and old photographs. It is the property of the Barbados National Trust.
Cherry Tree Hill
Cherry Tree Hill is actually a road lined with mature mahogany trees which ends on a pretty overlook of the Atlantic coast. The road is the main drive between St Nicholas Abbey and Bathsheba.
Animal Flower Cave
Animal Flower Cave on the northern tip of the island were once the home to countless sea urchins whose spines resemble flowers.