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Good Hope Great House and Plantation, Jamaica

Good Hope Great House is as stately and unique as any of Jamaica’s great houses. It sits atop a slight elevation which offers it sweeping views of the surrounding Queen of Spain Valley clear out to where the imposing Cockpit Mountains rise majestically in the distance.

Good Hope Great House

Current owner, Blaise Hart leading a tour of Good Hope

This view is unparalleled as the 2,000-acre estate, which is located about 8 miles from Falmouth, the capital of the parish of Trelawny, has remained unmarred by encroaching development. Good Hope is almost the same as it would have been when Col. Thomas Williams built it in 1755 for his wife, Elizabeth.

View from Good Hope

View from Good Hope

Unfortunately, Elizabeth would not live long in the house. She died seven years later at 24 years old and was buried beneath the ground floor. A simple stone marker indicates the spot where she was laid to rest.

In 1767, Good Hope Great House was sold to John Tharp. Tharp, who was only 23 at the time of the purchase, bought several of the neighboring estates, which increased the size of his holdings to 9,000 acres, and approximately 2,500 slaves. He seems to have been a benevolent plantation owner who treated his slaves well. Good Hope had its own church, a 300-bed hospital, and a Free School that taught those who showed promise how to read and write. The plantation prospered even after the abolition of slavery.

Counting House, Good Hope Jamaica

Good Hope Counting House

Tharp’s operation was one of the largest on the island. Besides the hospital, church and school, there was a sugar factory, Carriage House, Coach House, waterwheel, boiling house, kiln and other buildings. As it was considered bad form to do business at home, Tharp also built a stand-alone office, called the Counting House, behind the main house. He also built Tharp House, a shipping office that still can be seen near what is now Falmouth Pier.

Good House looking from back of Counting House

View of the Counting House looking towards the back of the main house

Following Tharp’s death, his nephew managed the estate and it remained profitable. Good Hope Great House & Plantation changed hands several times but the sugar factory continued operating until 1902.

Despite the many changes in ownership and having undergone several expansions and renovations, its owners have maintained the original Georgian style and the house appears seamless in its construction.

Good Hope front porch with tray ceiling and orangewood floor

Good Hope showing the typical ‘tray’ ceiling and original orangewood floor

Good Hope Great House has the first hot water bath in the Caribbean (Falmouth had running water before New York City), period furniture and original orange wood floor. It has 10 rooms and has been a hotel, a dude ranch, and a yoga retreat. Much of the original buildings remain and are still in use.

Good Hope's copper bath

Good Hope’s copper bath

Good Hope Blue Room

Good Hope

View of sitting room and verandah at Good Hope

Good Hope view of sitting room and verandah

Now a working citrus farm with ugli (derived its name from its dimply skin, a result of the hybridization of orange, tangerine and grapefruit), and ortaniques (orange and tangerine) that are exported. There is also a lily pond, swimming pool, tennis court, stables, pottery barn and a beach. The Martha Brae River, the largest in Trelawny, winds its way lazily through the property.

Good Hope Carriage House

Good Hope Carriage House

Good Hope Great House pool

Good Hope pool

Good Hope waterwheel

Good Hope waterwheel

Chukka Caribbean also operates Good Hope Great House & Plantation as an adventure center offering ziplining, river tubing, horse and buggy, dune buggy rides, etc., or more relaxing activities like high tea.

Good Hope Great House is located 20 minutes from Falmouth and approximately 50 minutes from Montego Bay. Call Chukka Caribbean at 877-424-8552 or info@chukkacaribbean.com to arrange a tour.

Comments

  1. Oh my, that view is so beautiful, Marcia! What a place to have a picnic or a romantic dinner.
    Salika Jay recently posted..Is Iceland A Destination Worth Saving Up For?My Profile

  2. It is, Salika. Or tea or yoga. It’s very peaceful there.

  3. Marlys
    Twitter:
    says:

    My goodness, that is so gorgeous in there. I would want a house like that, but then again, I would need at least 5 people to keep it clean. hahahaha

  4. That architecture is beautiful! I especially loved the hard wood floors although I’d need someone to keep them looking so good 🙂
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Impressive Augustiner MuseumMy Profile

  5. What a stunning piece of property. I’d never heard of orange wood floors and am impressed at how beautiful they are – and that tray ceiling is unique too.
    So sad that Elizabeth died at such a tender age. I hope she has a ghost that can still enjoy the place.
    Leigh recently posted..A Stop at The Columbia Icefield on the Icefields ParkwayMy Profile

  6. What a beautiful place and an interesting history. It looks like a wonderful place to spend the day. It’s great that they added the adventure center too. Love that view! Thanks for introducing us to another hidden gem, Marcia!
    Mary recently posted..5 Fun and Free Things to do in Penang Malaysia with KidsMy Profile

  7. Hahaha, so true, Marlys. It is definitely a beautiful house but you would need to some help.

  8. The floors are definitely attractive, Debbie. Thing is, if you owned a house like this, you’d probably be able to afford help.

  9. It is, Leigh. I’d never heard of orange wood either, at least not used for flooring. It isn’t used much anymore.
    A number of our Georgian houses have tray ceiling, it’s quite beautiful.

  10. You’re welcome, Mary. There’s quite a bit to see and do but it’d be even better to spend a night. Mornings must be spectacular.

  11. Really gorgeous. And great to get to hear about the history of a place too!
    Arianwen recently posted..Dona Marta favela: is it safe?My Profile

  12. It sure is a beautiful place, Arianwen, with an interesting history.

  13. I don’t know how I missed this post.

    2500 slaves?! That’s a lot of people to be responsible for. That would be an interesting community to time travel back to, especially as they were treated well and lived on such a nice estate. Are the dwellings for the slaves still on the property?
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  14. Yes, it was a lot of people, for sure. I didn’t see any of the dwellings, I’m sure those are gone but the hospital is still there. The rains came and cut our visit short but I hope to return and see it.