Welcome to a new ATBA series: Discovering Antigua. Since I live in Antigua, this series will revolve around my adventures here but if I ever get an opportunity to visit Barbuda, that will be in a separate post. The first post of this series will be centred around a heritage landmark: Betty’s Hope Historic Sugar Plantation. After being prompted by a post on Instagram and coupled with the fact that I haven’t been here in years, I decided to visit one Saturday afternoon with a fellow blogger/friend and my sister.
What is the Discovering Antigua Series?
This is as plain and simple as it gets: Discovering Antigua will be all about my attempts to discover my home island of Antigua and sharing with you guys all the exciting things I find. Although Antigua is just 108 square miles, there’s way more than what meets the eyes. While our 365 beaches may be the beginning, I’m on a quest to discover the rest. These posts can take the form of visits to national landmarks/sites, restaurants, exciting things to do, events or any other adventure I find myself immersed in. Hopefully this series piques your interest enough to visit and explore for yourself. It may just be worth it!
The Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation is located in Pares Village which is an estimated 25 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from the city of St. John’s. Taking a right off of Pare’s main road, there’s about a five minute drive on a dirt road that takes you right into the plantation which sits on a quiet hill. Evident is a huge cistern complex, and the twin windmills.
Betty’s Hope was founded about 300 years ago by Governor Keynell but after the British reoccupied Antigua after a brief period of French rule, ownership was granted to the Codrington family of Barbados. The plantation was an agricultural and industrial enterprise which also housed many people. It was one of the most efficient, large-scale sugar estates in Antigua at that time. After enduring years of hardship cultivating and processing sugar, the slaves who worked this estate developed great craftsmanship, boiler and distiller skills which gave Betty Hope its reputation for its excellence. [antiguahistory.net]
THINGS TO DO
I would say we need to do a better job at preserving our history, but I don’t actually know what is currently being done. When we arrived, there was a sign at the gate stating the opening hours and an entrance fee, however there wasn’t anyone at the gate. Therefore, I’m not sure if this is valid or not (p.s. we went on a Saturday and arrived 30 minutes before “closing”). We also stayed a good hour to two without seeing anyone coming to tell us anything. There is a museum and interpretation centre which is a converted cotton house storeroom, the entire plantation is currently under restoration and they plan to plant trees and crops of former times (according to their online site).
So what’s at Betty’s Hope to do? I believe you can explore the grounds (we didn’t) and learn a bit of history. As mentioned earlier one of the sugar mills was restored however you couldn’t actually go inside. There’s a chained gate as well as a sign of no public entry due to bees. If you’re not into the historical part of the venue, other things you can do:
- Have a photoshoot
- Have a picnic (don’t leave your trash though)
- Enjoy being outdoors
The area is pretty open and have several shaded areas. You get a 360 view of the surrounding villages and even a peak of the ocean. This makes it quite breezy and a chill quiet spot for relaxing. I particularly liked how it wasn’t busy, we met some tourist when we arrived and since being there only one other couple came.
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Hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for more discoveries 🙂
– Skirt was locally made
– Top: Boohoo
– Shoes: Lulus
– Earrings: H&M
Featured image was taken and edited by Lynma B. Other shots were taken by my sister or by me (selfie with timer).