This picturesque city, wrapped around the perimeter
of the island's finest natural harbour, is perhaps the most appealing
capital city in the entire Caribbean. Founded in the early 18th century
by the French, St. George's still possesses something of the character
of a French town, particularly in the red tile roofs and pastel colors
of its traditional architecture. St. George's contains a number of
sites worth exploring, and the Board of Tourism (at Burns Point)
provides a handy guide for walking tours.
St. George's ideally-formed inner harbour is--as it
has been for the last three centuries--the centre of marine activity
on the island. The Carenage serves as an anchorage for every sort
of vessel imaginable, from small fishing boats and elegant yachts
to great white cruise ships. A walk along the encircling Wharf Road
allows a lovely view of the harbour and its bounty of colorful ships.
St. George's Roman Catholic Cathedral
The Gothic tower of St. George's, though
modest enough, is the most visible landmark in the city. Built in 1818,
the tower lends Grenada's capital a distinctively European character.
House of Parliament
Across Church Street from the cathedral are two of
St. George's most venerable buildings. York House, purchased in 1801,
houses the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme
Court. Along with the neighbouring Registry, which was built in 1780,
York house is a graceful example of early Georgian architecture.
Bustling, noisy, and colourful, the market is the
centre of the capital's civic life, as it has been for the last two
hundred years. It is the main site for the purchase and sale of local
produce, as well as the focal point for parades, political speeches,
and religious activities. More recently, it has become the starting
point for minibuses to the outer areas of the island. No visitor
to Grenada should miss the Saturday morning market.
Just down Granby Street from Market Square is the
Esplanade, which looks out to the west across the Caribbean. A fine locale
for an evening promenade.
Grenada National Museum
Although the National Museum is not large, it houses
a fascinating collection of artifacts from Grenada's cultural history.
Its collection extends from ancient times to the present, including
material and exhibits on everything from the Caribs to the political
events of the 1980s.
This 340-foot tunnel, still the most convenient connection
from the Carenage to the Esplanade, was rightly considered a technological
triumph when completed the early 18th century. It is named for the
island's governor at the time.
Fort George is situated on an elevated peninsula
that commands the harbour entrance, a position that has given the fort
enormous strategic importance since the French constructed it in the
first decade of the 18th century. Although it continues to serve as the
police headquarters, Fort George is most appreciated today for the views
that it offers to sightseers. Much of its elaborate colonial structure
remains intact, and part of the pleasure of a visit is rambling around
among the passages and stairs of the ancient stone fortifications. Fort
George still maintains a battery of old cannons, which are used on special
occasions to fire off a resounding salute.
In the 1980s, Fort George once again played
a prominent role in Grenadian history as the site of the assassination
of Maurice Bishop, along with several members of his cabinet. In 1983,
the fort was bombed by American troops.
Perched atop Richmond Hill at the center of St. George's,
Fort Frederick is a smaller and more recent complement to the imposing
Fort George. Built by the British, it was completed in 1791, during the
Around St. George
Situated just five minutes drive to the southeast
of St. George, these pristine, tranquil gardens offer an enchanting
introduction to the natural plants and flowers of Grenada and of
the Caribbean generally.
The Bay Gardens, with their winding paths and careful
cultivation, offer a fine example of the European impulse to tame and
order the paradisical vegetation of the tropics. With over 3,000 species
of plants, the Bay Gardens provide a lifetime's introduction to the flora
of Grenada--indeed, of the entire Caribbean. The gardens are located
behind St. George's, in the suburb of St. Paul's.
Carib's Leap, or Leapers Hill
Directly north of the town of Sauteurs is a steep
cliff face that descends vertically into the sea for more than 100
feet. It was from the top of the cliff that Grenada's last remaining
Carib Indians hurled themselves in 1651, preferring suicide to domination
by the French.
The drive along Grenada's western coast from St. George's
passes through some of the island's most picturesque areas. Along
the coast a scattered small fishing villages, set at the entrance
of mountain valleys that abound with papaya and breadfruit trees.
Gouyave itself is the major site of Fisherman's Birthday celebrations
Located just outside of Gouyave, this historic estate
is still the primary producer of the island's spices and the place
where they are first processed after harvest. Tours provide a fascinating
glimpse of the traditional preparation of spices as well as offering
visitors a chance to sample many of the spices and products in their
fresh, unprocessed form.
Lake and Forest Reserve
The volcanic mountains of Grenada's Central Range rise
to over 2000 feet in some places. Some of the mountains contain ancient
crater basins, one of which holds a large crater lake, Grand Etang.
The lake is over 1700 feet above sea level, and is surrounded with
some of the island's most beautiful rainforest. Close to the lake is
the visitors' center of the Grand Etang Forest Reserve, Grenada's premier
naturalist park. The visitors' center provides visitors with a fascinating
introduction to the island's indigenous wildlife, vegetation, forestry,
history, and culture. It is also the starting point for many of the
walks, hikes, and treks that can be taken through this stunningly beautiful
Grenville, situated about halfway up Grenada's windward
eastern shore, is the island's second largest city. Grenville is
also home to Grenada's largest nutmeg processing factory, which offers
visitors extensive tours of the entire process of nutmeg preparation.
Grenville's colorful Saturday market is also worth a visit, as local
farmers, fishermen, and merchants gather to sell all sorts of fresh
produce, as well as local handicrafts.
About six miles north of Grenville lies Lake Antoine,
This recently established nature centre holds a wide
variety of different attractions, from the prolific birdlife of its
salt pond and mangrove estuary to the peaceful isolation of its three
fine beaches. La Sagesse also maintains a small guesthouse and restaurant.
The coastal area of this popular park is one of the
most dramatically beautiful areas on Grenada, including a superb beach.
Levera's marine areas are equally esteemed, with outstanding coral
reefs and sea grass beds that shelter lobsters and beautiful reef fishes.
Mt. Carmel Waterfall
This is the highest of the island's several lovely
waterfalls. It actually consists of two different falls, which together
tumble over 70 feet to the crystal clear waters below.
Mt. Rich Amerindian Remains
The petroglyphs at this site are unmatched for their
detailed depiction of the daily life of Grenada's earliest inhabitants.
Numerous artifacts have been recovered from the site, indicating
its extended use as an early settlement.
River Sallee Boiling Springs
These well-known springs are located in the island's
northeast, about one and a half miles north of Lake Antoine. The
springs are noted not only for their unique geology, but as a natural
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. Although the distillery
is privately owned, it does permit guided tours. 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.