I’ve now put over fifty posts on “The Last Great, Great House Blog. I got to thinking that a new comer to this blog might find it a bit overwhelming if they wanted to see a few great houses while they were visiting the island of Jamaica so the purpose of this post is to make a few suggestions. All of the great houses mentioned are covered in the blog.
If you’re staying in the Montego Bay area: My overwhelming suggestion is the Greenwood Great House (in Saint James Parish). The place where most tourists end up is the Rose Hall Great House but unlike the Greenwood Great House, the house has been totally reconstructed from ruins, none of the furnishings are original, you feel “herded” through the house and the storyline by the tour guides is highly suspect. On the other hand, the Greenwood Great House has been lived in continuously since it was built and all the furnishings are original even down to the 18th century library. The tour is historically accurate and moves along at a leisurely pace. You will not be disappointed in the Greenwood Great House unless you prefer a Disney World feel to your tour.
If you are staying in the Runaway Bay area: My suggestion would be to head over to Saint Ann’s Bay and have lunch at the Liberty Hill Great House (in Saint Ann Parish). Or better yet, if you’re not staying in an all-inclusive, spend the night there. You’ll get a great tour of the house and grounds, be served some delicious meals and get to spend an interesting night in the mountains of Jamaica. Another option is to visit the Seville Great House which is run by the Government of Jamaica.
If you are staying in the Ocho Rios area: There are a lot of great options close to Ocho Rios. My favorite would have to be a tour of the Brimmer Great House (Saint Mary Parish). Not only do you get to tour the great house, but also the working plantation. If you are not in an all-inclusive and you are looking for a place to stay overnight, my suggestion would have to be the Tamarind Great House (Saint Mary Parish). The original great house burned down a few years ago but the owners have rebuilt it in a grand great house style. Additionally, you can visit several other great houses in the area featured in my Saint Mary posts. A neat great house to have a delicious lunch, a short distance from Ocho Rios, is the Harmony Hall Great House (Saint Mary Parish). You can also visit the art gallery on the second floor. Additionally, the houses mentioned in the “If you are staying in the Runaway Bay area” portion above are close to Ocho Rios.
If you are staying in the Negril area: My favorite would have to be the Kenilworth Sugar Mill (Hanover Parish) between Montego Bay and Negril. This was certainly a magnificent building in its day. You will also drive right past the Tryall Sugar Mill. Be sure to stop and visit it as it is right along the side of the A-1 Highway.
If you are staying in Whitehouse: If you are staying at the Whitehouse Sandals, just across the A-1 Highway is both the Ackendown Castle and the Ackendown Great House (Westmoreland Parish), both owned by the Government of Jamaica. The castle is certainly a magnificent ruin and well worth visiting.
If you somehow end up in Kingston: Head up into the mountains to the Creighton Coffee Estate for tour of a working coffee plantation and a free US$25 cup of coffee.