South America travel blog

George Washington Home


GW Reading

St. Nicholas Abby


Uninvited Guest

Green Monkey looks on

Gentleman's Chair

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We made the complete circle! The last time we were at Barbados was on January 4th and explored the wilder side, with rides on jeeps through sugar cane fields and hiking through gulches. Today it was less strenuous, I think it did our tired bodies good.

Our first stop was to the George Washington House,

which really was a preview of American History as Barbados is linked with our First President, who stayed in the house we visited. We viewed an excellent film about 19-year old George Washington and his half-brother Lawrence who contracted tuberculosis. Barbados was suggested as a good climate for a cure so George accompanied Lawrence. George did not have the advantages as Lawrence with formal education, but applied himself to study.

He was very interested in farming and gardening which later transferred to his career as a surveyor. He was fascinated with the forts and military installations in Barbados, which seemed to prepare him for the military. While on Barbados he became ill with smallpox, a deadly disease that kills three out of ten who become infected. Fortunately, he was cured and because he had the disease, was immunized for life. It would have been very likely for him to be exposed to smallpox again when he returned to Mount Vernon. George kept a diary while in Barbados that is preserved in the Library of Congress.

The home had many period pieces that would have been used at the time and a small museum on the upper level.

Our next stop was to St. Nicholas Abby,

a mansion that was built in 1658, one of only three existing in the Western Hemisphere. A guide took us through the rooms fill with many authentic pieces. We were amused by a “gentleman’s chair”

that provided for all of his comforts during the day: he could read, write, take his meals, nap, and even be rolled out to his bedroom. The furnishings were very lovely as was the garden, where we sat under huge mahogany trees enjoying rum punches.

Our schedule was adjusted because of a festival at the Abby where we were supposed to eat; instead we ate at the Museum, which I think was a much better arrangement. Unfortunately, we just about reversed direction and ended where we started. We sat under a large tent and had a very nice buffet that included soup, rice, salad, cole slaw, cooked mixed vegetables, chicken and fish (rather hot) with bread and butter pudding with ice cream for dessert.

While we ate the head of the museum, a professor who would like to get on the cruise ship circuit, told us about Barbados’ history from being one of the richest countries in the world because of the world’s craving for sugar. How the wealth spread to America and the necessity of importing slaves to work on the labor-intensive sugar plantations. The plantations needed to be very large in order to be profitable and many slaves were needed to work on them. The professor (I did not hear his name) would be an excellent presenter on a cruise ship, and I told him so. He kept our interest and he didn‘t even have to use PowerPoint.

A guide led us through the small, but very interesting museum and pointed out the many plants, animals, and sea life that are or were found on Barbados and their importance in the ecosystem.. A light shower cooled us off a bit.

We did not hear from the cricket player that was on our schedule; he was in India for the cricket tournament. We have two Brits in our group, John and Richard, who really are the only ones interested in the game. One of our guides kept us posted on the score of England vs. .Indonesia and we cheered appropriately.

We have to bide our time until we depart the ship at 3:15 AM. Does it pay to go to bed?


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