It’s no secret that Hamilton mania has swept the nation. Broadway’s hip-hop-inspired musical sells out months in advance, and a behind-the-scenes documentary recently aired on PBS. For the super fans (or regular old history buffs) who want to see how the ten-dollar founding father, Alexander Hamilton, lived as a boy, Nevis is loaded with history, charm and is still the same forgotten spot in the Caribbean referenced in the play. For Hamilton musical lovers, here are the best things to do in Nevis.
Don't Say No to This: Take the Four Seasons Resort Nevis’ private launch from St. Kitts directly to its beachfront location on the island's west coast. Snap a pic of the view from your room (of either the sea or Nevis Peak) to share on Facebook, then wash away the travel grit with a dip in one of three infinity pools.
Not Throwin' Away My Shot: Hamilton fans, time your trip to include a Wednesday for the West Indian Pig Roast at Hermitage Plantation, said to be the oldest surviving wooden structure in the Caribbean. Engage the owner, Richard Lupinacci, in Ham-talk (he’s a wealth of information about the man and the play) over rum punch dusted with fresh nutmeg. Expect a Thanksgiving-style feast of authentic West Indian cuisine prepared from secret family recipes. The dishes are served in traditional pottery made from Nevis clay.
What Comes Next: Start your day with breakfast at Montpelier Plantation, 750 feet above sea level on the side of Nevis Peak . Dine on lobster poached in butter with scrambled eggs on the courtyard terrace before your 3½-hour adventure with Funky Monkey Tours. They’ll pick you up in an ATV for a back-road tour of the entire island, including a stop at the Hamilton Estate, a sugar plantation once belonging to Alexander’s father. You’ll share the road with wildlife like goats, sheep, donkeys and vervet monkeys.
Take a Break: Lunch at The Gin Trap (boasts fresh, local ingredients, daily specials (including ravioli and risotto) and a menu of specialty gins. The modern dining room offers panoramic views of nearby St. Kitts. Or, head to the Museum of Nevis History in Charlestown, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton himself, to eat lunch in the garden of his boyhood home. Goose bumps? You bet!
History Has Its Eyes on You: The museum’s collection is housed in a stone building that has been restored exactly as it would have been when Hamilton was born in 1755 (or ’57, it’s complicated). With the Hamilton cast recording playing on a continual loop, this visit becomes a pilgrimage of epic proportions. (HamilFans might be too overwhelmed at this point to notice any of the artifacts dating back to the first indigenous people who came to the island 4,000 years ago.)
This is the only home where Hamilton presumably lived a happy life with his parents. In 1765, they moved to St. Croix, where soon after, his father split, his mother died and his cousin committed suicide. In the garden, stop by the stone and wood structure featuring the Hamilton display. There aren’t any artifacts, but his story is presented for those who are unfamiliar with the wunderkind from Nevis. Afterward, stroll Charlestown and the waterfront, appearing much as it would have when he lived there.
Satisfied: What’s a Caribbean getaway without rum? There are 101 types to sample at Four Seasons’ 101 Rums. The lounge is connected to its seaside restaurant, Mango, where you can dine directly on the water’s edge. Try the Nevisian dumplings with wilted callaloo (similar to spinach) with lentils and a carrot-ginger puree.
Ship is in the Harbor Now: Board Leeward Islands Charter’s Caona catamaran for a snorkeling trip to St. Kitts. The three-hour sail includes an open bar and anchors at a cove accessible only by boat, so you can swim with creole wrasse and parrotfish.
The best part? Hand your iPhone to the crew and they’ll play your favorite soundtrack while cruising along. The result is the ultimate singalong, with Nevis spread out before you. “What’s your name, man? Alexander Hamilton!”
Must-haves for your Hamilton-themed trip:
Seize the moment and stay in it with the perfect accompaniment to your Hamilton getaway: the original Broadway cast recording. Best played at volumes louder than the crack in the bell. Available on Amazon.
Show off your obsession, err, passion with this adorable beach-ready bag. Anyone who asks about it is giving the green light for an in-depth conversation about Hamilton and Burr’s frenemy relationship. Buy it here.
Lin-Manuel Miranda brought an 818-page biography with him on vacation, and the rest is history. Read the play’s source material, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and see how it fanned a spark into a flame. Available on Amazon.