Days of Stronger Stuff in the Caribbean

by David Webber, guest blogger (See David's photo website at Completed in 1895, the Sendall Tunnel is a shortcut through the hill separating the Carenage and the Esplanade in St. Georges, Grenada. Look closely at the cliff face as you leave the tunnel in Bruce Street. There is a sign stating Females Only. Definitely a class divide. Note not “Ladies” but “Females.” In the days of long dresses when female modesty of any class in theory precluded showing … [Read more...]

Georgian Architecture in the Caribbean

by David Webber, guest blogger (See David's photo website at There is a commonly held belief in Grenada that, after New Orleans and London, St. Georges has a higher percentage of Georgian architecture than any other city in the world. Sadly, there does not appear to be any substantiating written proof as over the centuries both man-made and natural disasters have destroyed most of those records which were available. However….. Take a walk along … [Read more...]

Building “Caribbean Cottage Style” in Bequia

This comment on my Messel post from Bequia-based architect and builder Mike Connell, which includes specifics about building homes today in Bequia, merits a post of its own: "Thanks for the link to those wonderful photos of Messel's work, they were refreshing to look at and much of it, as a Caribbean country cottage style, although with quite elegant interiors, and open planned layouts is still relevant as a solution to Bequia holiday homes. Some of the technique are simple enough to achieve, … [Read more...]

Bequia-Made, Berger-Designed, Messel-Inspired

Inspired by this photograph, interior designer Jonathan Berger channeled Oliver Messel when we redecorated the living room in Norway House. This turned out to be especially fitting because we later learned from British architect Richard Blunden that ours is the only house on Bequia designed by Arne Hasselqvist, who acted as builder of the early Messel-designed homes on Mustique. Fortunately, Bequia has skilled masons and carpenters to implement Messel-inspired designs. (See my post on design … [Read more...]

Bequia Breakfast

Are you a locavore? I try to be, but what is local? I once asked a vendor at the fruit market whether something was local, and she responded, “No, it’s from St. Vincent.” According to Wikipedia, there is indeed debate on what eating local means. The US Congress defined it as within 400 miles; some follow the “100-mile diet,” while novelist Barbara Kingsolver lived on what she and her neighbors could grow. For those of us living in Bequia, Louise Hurley recommends a breakfast that certainly … [Read more...]

Home Design Inspiration: Mustique’s Messel

Oliver Messel's ability to create elegant houses from local materials makes him a paragon for people building homes in the Grenadines. It was Princess Margaret who recommended to Colin Tennant that her husband's uncle help plan Mustique. With a wartime assignment to a camouflage unit and 30 years experience as a stage designer, Oliver Messel had just the skills needed to create beautiful homes on a remote Caribbean island with little available but wood, stone, concrete, plants and great views. … [Read more...]

What’s on Your Floor?

This weekend, Emmett and I stayed at a home in Tobago decorated with antiques and oriental rugs that was designed and owned by Arne Hasselqvist. It was interesting to me that Hasselqvist, who in the 70s worked closely with Oliver Messel and was the builder of many of the original homes in Mustique, should furnish his last home so lavishly after living for decades in the Caribbean. However, the house felt comfortable rather than fussy. My toes especially enjoyed the cushy rugs, a respite from the … [Read more...]

Fruits and Veggies and Flowers, Oh My!

I’m thrilled that some of you readers are sending in posts! My goal is to make this blog a forum for the expat community in Bequia to share resources. Please add your comments to the bottom of posts or email ideas for new ones via our contact page. Responding to Polly Philipson’s post about a St. Vincent produce source, Jana Boos wrote: “Renate Balcombe also provides flowers and produce from St Vincent. I have found the quality of her produce to be very good and very reasonably priced. She … [Read more...]