Presidential Caribbean

Written by  Melanie Reffes

Caribbean Presidential
With election fever at high pitch and candidates crisscrossing the country wooing voters to their side of the aisle. The eyes of the world are on the 2016 race to the White House. Front page news and fodder for water cooler conversation in all fifty states. Our political history has a Caribbean connection. From a hit show on Broadway and a villa owned by a billionaire candiate to a plantation house once slept in by the first president.

Barbados
The only place outside North America where you can say “George Washington slept here” is in an 18th-century plantation house in Bush Hill. Simply called George Washington House (www.georgewashingtonbarbados.org), the restored building includes a bathhouse from 1719 and a stable that was added in the 1800’s.

As the story goes, 19 year old George Washington and his older brother Lawrence, who was seeking treatment for tuberculosis, rented the house for two months in 1751. In the centuries since, the house overlooking Carlisle Bay was used as a base for French prisoners, part of the British military and commercial offices in the 1940’s. Open to the public, the elegant home echoes its original splendor with a mosquito-netted four poster bed and curious collection of medical devices, from pharmaceutical bottles and thumb lancets to cupping glasses which were heated to suction blood to the skin’s surface. Local legend has it that young George contracted smallpox while living in the house and was treated by Dr. Lanaham, a third-generation Barbadian. Historians note that the course of US presidential history might have been different had this doctor been less skillful in treating the deadly disease. Tours of the interactive museum are offered Monday to Friday between 9:00 am to 4:30 pm with an admission price of $10 for adults and $2.50 for kids.
www.visitbarbados.com

Nevis
A Broadway smash with tickets sold out months in advance, Hamilton is the hip-hop, pop and rap musical taking the theater world by storm. Based on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton; the Nevis-born and St. Croix- raised chief adviser to George Washington and America’s first Treasury Secretary, the theatrical history lesson was inspired by the book written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also wrote the music and lyrics. At New York’s Richard Rodgers Theater, the high-octane story of the Caribbean-born political prodigy is the hottest ticket in town and winner of the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. www.hamiltonbroadway.com
Celebrating the islands most famous son, Relais & Chateaux Montpelier Plantation (www.montpeliernevis.com) at the foothills of Mount Nevis is offering a four-night “Alexander Hamilton Package” that includes a tour of Hamilton House; the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton and pours of the “Brandy Alexander Hamilton” nightcap in the former 18th-century sugar plantation.
www.nevisisland.com

Antigua
Renamed on September 3, 2009, Boggy Peak is now known as Mount Obama. Soaring 1,300 feet above the sea, the presidential peak is the highest on the island and part of the scenic Shekerley Mountain range. Carpeted in emerald green with pineapple and mango farms at its base, the mountain commands soaring views of Montserrat and its active volcano. Impressive on the south coast, the dedication plaque that is inscribed “Mount Obama, named in honor of the historical election on Nov. 4, 2008, of Barack Hussein Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, as a symbol of excellence, triumph, hope and dignity for all people” is a popular spot for history buffs and photo-takers.
www.visitantiguabarbuda.com

Martinique
It’s a presidential affair in the town of Sainte Luce on the south side of the French island. Restaurant La Baraqu’ Obama on Rue Boulevard Kennedy opened its doors after the 2008 election. With photos of the 44th president hanging proudly on the walls, the seafood grill is a hit with patriotic American tourists who come for the buttery lobster and shrimp fritters gussied up with chilies and garlic. Sunset watchers stay for a tall glass of the house Coco Punch and views of the colorful boats on parade in the Caribbean Sea. http://us.martinique.org

US Virgin Islands
A vacation favorite of Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, the White House couple rang in the New Year in St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgins sitting pretty south of St. Thomas in the Charlotte Amalie Harbor. Arriving in style aboard Air Force Two, the VP practiced his putting at the Carambola Resort and taste-tested an ice cream cone from a local scooper. No strangers to the US territory, the Washington twosome have also been spotted on Water Island; home to Fort Segarra that was built by the US during World War II. www.visitusvi.com

St. Martin
Republican real estate mogul Donald Trump owns an opulent villa on the French side of the dual nation island. Although listed for $19.7 million, the billionaire turned politician kept the purchase price for his Le Chateau des Palmiers (www.chateaudespalmiers.com) under wraps. Ten miles from Princess Juliana International Airport and fronting Plum Bay Beach, the 18,000 square foot super-sized estate is spread out in two villas; five-bedroom ‘Oceanside Villa’ and adjacent four-bedroom ‘Gardenside Villa,’ both with a butler and chef. One-upping the neighbors, the chic chateau welcomes tourists with a letter written by the presidential contender on its homepage and is spaciously outfitted with ten bathrooms, volleyball and tennis courts, putting green, billiards table, formal living room with gold-trimmed furniture and ginormous heated pool with views of the ocean. If you have the cash, add-ons include fireworks displays, massages in beachside gazebos, private jets and parties for up to 250 insiders. Presidential extras include security personnel, surveillance cameras and an outside wall with electronic gates. Large enough to sleep twenty of your closest advisers, nightly rates start at $6,000 and spike to $20,000 (yes, that’s for one night) during high season.
www.stmartinisland.org

 

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