In the days when sugar was the engine that drove the economy of the West Indies, Nevis was known as the “Queen of the Caribbees.” That was a tribute in part to the island’s natural beauty, and also to the glittering social life in the plantation houses – a time epitomized by the courtship of a dashing young British naval officer, Horatio Nelson, and his soon-to-be-bride, Fanny Nisbet. What’s remarkable about Nevis is that it has lost neither its natural heritage nor its sense of history.
Until recently those plantation houses, transformed into stylish, intimate country inns, set the mood for visitors to this small, laid-back island which is joined with neighboring St. Kitts to form the region’s smallest country. Then a few years ago, with the opening of a major resort (complete with a championship golf course that ranks among the most scenic in the Caribbean), tourism got a jump-start on this largely agricultural island. But away from the resort, Nevis remains much as it was – a place where the eco-tourist can explore some of the best hiking in the West Indies, a history buff can take a walking tour of Charlestown, an equestrian can choose from nearly a dozen trail rides, and a place where a day at the horse races (and a downhill course from start to finish) is a Caribbean day to remember.