Last updated by at .

Wheel-Chair Accessible Hotels in Jamaica

Jamaica is undoubtedly the jewel of the Caribbean for most visitors from around the world. It is a haven for delicious food, friendly people and relaxing hotels perched upon some of the most amazing white-sand beaches.

If you’re a physically-challenged vacationer, it can be a bit challenging finding a hotel that accommodates your special needs. The following are some of the best wheel-chair accessible hotels in Jamaica for a fun-filled Caribbean holiday. Be sure to check the full list of hotels for other options too.

Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club

Starting off the list is Beaches, a resort renowned for its warm hospitality and beauty.

Guests here can enjoy a host of activities and bite into some mouth-watering, tasty dishes. The all-inclusive package means you not only get access to gourmet dishes and unlimited beverage, but facilities built specially to accommodate you if you’re disabled.

For example, in specific rooms, the doorways are built large enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Also, there are handrails, raised toilets and adjusted faucets for the convenience of disabled guests.

Beaches, Jamaica

Getting around the property is also relatively easy, and the staff is always available should you need a helping hand.

For full relaxation, the resort has a full-service spa for facials, body massages, and treatments. There are also five outdoor pools to cool down when the weather becomes too hot. All in all, this is one of the best hotels for any vacationer who wants to have a good time.

Sandals Royal Caribbean

The well-manicured gardens of Sandals and the allure of a relaxing tropical vacation should be enough reason for you to decide on this resort.

Sandals Royal Caribbean is located in the parish of St. James and provides all its guests with a mix of sunshine and a good time. You can enjoy premium wines while lounging on the beach or take a dip in one of the many warm pools they have on the property.

Sandals, Ja

There are four designated rooms built specifically for disabled persons. If you plan to stay here, it is essential that you call ahead and ensure one of the rooms are available for your specific travel date. Like Beaches Resort, the doorways here are large enough to accommodate wheelchairs. In the shower, there are grab rails and extendable shower heads for your convenience.

You’ll be happy to know that Sandals Royal Caribbean also has six restaurants that can be accessed via wheelchair. Getting around is also quite easy as there aren’t much-elevated slopes that would provide a challenge. For this reason, using your wheelchair or mobility scooter will be quite easy.

Coyaba Beach Resort

The Coyaba Beach Resort is another great option to consider. It sits right next to the Umbrellas Beach Bar, the best eating and drinking location in the area. Though it’s not an all-inclusive hotel like the other options above, it qualifies for this list.

To ensure easy accessibility for people with disabilities, the hotel has ground floor rooms adapted for wheelchairs. If you’re thinking about booking your stay here, the reservation department requires that you call ahead of time and let them know you will need one of their mobility-friendly rooms.

The resort also has friendly staff that’s always ready to help whenever you need. There is a small pool on property as well.

Iberostar Rose Hall Suites

Iberostar features a relaxed and serene atmosphere that anyone would find appealing. The all-inclusive wheelchair-friendly resort boasts lush surroundings, landscaped with indigenous plants and gorgeous flowers.

It has a top of the range buffet and four specialty restaurants. There are also six bars available if you’re looking to enjoy some of the fantastic liquor while staying there.

When it comes to the rooms, you’ll be happy to know that there are wheelchair-friendly options, allowing you to roll on in with ease. Like other places on the list, there are grab rails, and the restaurants on the property can easily be accessed as well.

The resort may not have a large spa, but it offers a wide range of wellness treatments and massages.

Seastar Whistling Bird Resort

If you’re considering a price-friendly option, you may want to explore the Seastar Whistling Bird Resort. You can find the seaside property in an exotic setting right on Negril’s seven-mile beach.

There’s only one wheel-chair accessible room here, and a ramp allows you to access the room quickly. Inside you’ll be happy to know there are all the amenities of a standard room including a flat screen TV, twin beds and a balcony to look out. Unfortunately, you won’t find handrails in the bathroom, and so you may need assistance getting in and out of the shower.

Other stand-out features include a business center, 24-hour front desk, a concierge desk, a restaurant that offers local and international cuisines and a safe deposit box. There’s also a picnic area where you can bask in the sun and enjoy the gorgeous sea views while you sip on your favorite drink.

By Michael Rainford of Michael is a passionate traveler who enjoys exploring the amazing hotels and attractions on the beautiful paradise island of Jamaica. Through his website, he shares his experiences and tips on the best spots to check out when you visit.

Photos used with permission.

Turn Your Phone into a Personal Tour Guide with GPS-Guided Travel Articles

Like most people, I make a list of places I want to visit when I travel and bookmark articles about interesting sites I’d like to see or restaurants I’d like to try. But the lists are just that and since my cell phone plan doesn’t include international travel, I can’t read the articles I’ve bookmarked without incurring fees to access them.

All isn’t lost, however. GPSMyCity is a new service that created a city walk app that embeds GPS navigation into travel articles. It also maps the route described in the article to show you the best attractions in over 750 cities around the world.

GPS-Related Travel Articles
The Holy Trinity article as it looks on my phone

All you need to use the GPSMyCity city walk app as a guide is to download it to your phone – you won’t need an internet or a WiFi connection. Once you navigate to the city you’d like to visit, the app will show you where you are on the map and guide you to the next location. You can read any article from GPSMyCity however, if you decide you’d like to use a GPS-guided feature, you’ll need to pay $1.99 to upgrade. That’s less than a cup of coffee! 

As a way of introducing you to this lovely concept, beginning today, January 30, 2017, I’ll be offering free upgrades to two of my article apps, The Awesome Splendor of Kingston’s Holy Trinity Cathedral and A Visit to the Bob Marley Museum.

To access these and other GPS-guided article apps or to browse by city for available article apps, click this link. Articles are free to download to your Apple device. Once you’ve downloaded the article, choose UPGRADE and pay $1.99. You will be linked automatically to an offline map and GPS navigation that will guide you through your tour. You only pay for the offline GPS-guided use.

Announced today, GPSMyCity announced today the addition of two new features to the iOS app: Audio and Custom Walk.

Audio. The audio function offers the option of having the article read to you as you walk rather than reading it yourself. 

Custom Walk. This new Walk function allows you to select some or all the sights featured in the article and create your own self-guided walking tour to these sights.

The GPSMyCity app is available for download at the App Store. 

The giveaway lasts until February 7, 2017.




Here are a few more articles that I have on GPSMyCity:

Note: If you choose to upgrade to one of my downloaded travel articles, GPSMyCity will send me a few cents to help me defray some of the costs of operating my travel blog.

Seeing Jamaica on Television

Jamaica had a fantastic few weeks on American television when two reality shows, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and The Bachelor, filmed some of their episodes there. Although neither show appeals to me, I swallowed my distaste and allowed the storyline to take a backseat to the view unfolding on my television screen. I ended up catching more of The Bachelor than of the Housewives. Here are some of the places they featured (not in oder):

YS Falls, St. Elizabeth

The show centers around a young man who’s trying to find a marriage bride. In the episodes that were filmed in Jamaica, the prospective groom travels with one of the two female finalists to YS Falls. Located on a 2,00-acre spread in southwestern Jamaica, YS Estate and Falls is a former sugarcane and logwood tree (a natural dye) farm and privately owned stud farm. YS has its own waterfall – seven, to be exact – that reach to 120 meters with several natural pools.  

Seeing Jamaica
YS Falls

The area surrounding the falls is lush and green. Visitors can swim, do canopy rides or just relax. There are also activities for children.

YS Falls, Jamaica
YS Falls, Jamaica
#TPThursday: Falling for YS Falls
Falling for YS Falls

Good Hope Great House

I saw only a part of the episode that was shot at Good Hope Great House. When I tuned in, the couple was standing outside the house. Although the grounds are beautiful, I think the interior is even more stunning.

Good Hope Great House
Good Hope Great House
A Photo Review of 2013
Good Hope
Counting House, Good Hope Great House
The Counting House

The Blue Lagoon

When they showed the couple at the Blue Lagoon, also called the Blue Hole, the popular local destination was unusually devoid of people but still recognizable. Located between the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary, the Blue Lagoon, was not quite ready for international visitors when I visited a few years ago. It’s possible that the show could have rented it for filming. 

Blue Lagoon

It was great to see the Blue Lagoon on television. I was a little sad though as it’s one of those places that, given the choice, I’d keep for local use.

Blue Lagoon,

Do you ever go out of your way to watch a show that featured your country?

Linking this week with Travel Photo Thursday that Nancie of Budget Travelers Sandbox, Jan at Budget Travel Talk, Ruth at Tanama Tales, and Rachel at Rachel’s Ruminations


Budget Travelers Sandbox

Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Priestess

She is the only woman among Jamaica’s seven national heroes. Her bravery and skill as a military strategist are unparalleled.

Born in the 18th century in Ghana, Queen Nanny became the spiritual leader of the Winward Maroons, the enslaved Africans who fled to the rugged mountains of Jamaica’s eastern parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, and St. Mary. It is from this her stronghold that she led her people in several decisive battles against the British army, bringing them to heel.

However, unlike her male counterparts, very little was written about Queen Nanny. The recently released documentary, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainness, will change that.

Conceived by veteran stuntman and award-winning filmmaker (Akwantu, the Journey 2012), Roy T. Anderson, and Professor of History, Dr. Harcourt T. Fuller, both Maroon descendants, and filmed in Jamaica, Ghana, Canada and the United States, Queen Nanny shines a light on the indomitable spirit of this larger-than-life woman. It tells her story through songs, performances and reenactments, interviews with Maroons, and scholars who are experts in Caribbean history and the study of slavery.

The documentary also examines the legacy Queen Nanny has bequeathed to contemporary Jamaican women.

Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainness had its World Premier at the United Nations on October 19th, the day that is celebrated in Jamaica as National Heroes Day.

The screening was part of the UN’s 2015 Remember Slavery Programme of Activities, which included a solemn commemorative meeting of the UN General Assembly, film screenings, roundtable discussion and an exhibit. The events also draw attention to the International Decade for People of African Descent.

This year’s theme of Women and Slavery pays tribute to the many enslaved women who endured unbearable hardships, including sexual exploitation, as well as those who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition.

Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. This historic day in 2015 marked the unveiling of a Permanent Memorial to Slavery at the UN Headquarters in New York. Titled the Ark of Return, it was designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent.


Pepper Shrimp – The Taste of Middle Quarters in Hackensack NJ

I’ve been eating pepper shrimps (or ‘swimps,’ as some of us call it), since I was in high school and I can still remember my first time (it’s the same every time).

Biting into one of these Scotch-bonnet-infused on-the-go morsels, my tongue is instantly in flames, my eyes watering, heat passing from my throat and warming my stomach.

I involuntarily pull in air, slapping my tongue against my lips and the roof of my mouth, to try to cool it. That doesn’t work; nothing does. Now, even my lips are on fire.

I take a few seconds then, my mouth still reeling, I bite into another shrimp – head and all – continue the delicious torture, which, by now, is causing my nose to run.

Pepper Shrimps, crawfish really, typically come from the Black River, the longest in parish of St. Elizabeth, one of the longest in the island.

The shrimps are cooked in a mixture of Scotch bonnet and spices and sold in little paper or plastic bags of about 6 or so by roadside vendors in Middle Quarters, Jamaica’s “Shrimp Country.”

The shrimps are small, no more than an inch or an inch and half so we eat head and all. Some people peel them skin off, other people (I’m one) don’t.

Most visitors to Jamaica stay on the northwest for the spectacular beaches. But those who make it to the south coast usually discover an entirely different side the island, one that is rustic as well as charming.

Here, small cook shops abound and vendors sell typical Jamaican fare, using fresh ingredients grown locally in St. Elizabeth, the island’s “Bread Basket.”

On my way to visit a friend in New Jersey few weeks ago, I stopped at Mac West Indian Restaurant in Hackensack to get some escoveitch fish. While waiting, I noticed they had peppered shrimps and asked the server to add a couple packets to my bill.

I was surprised to see pepper shrimp on the menu at any of the restaurants I frequent. Seeing them brought back memories of some pepper shrimps I bought in the Bronx in the 80s.

I remember Michael driving us back to Manhattan where we were staying and the two of us eating shrimp after shrimp, our mouths ablaze because Ting, the carbonated grapefruit soft drink that someone at the restaurant had recommended, didn’t calm the fire in our mouths. (Apparently, milk is better but I hate milk.)

Michael was swearing like a sailor while I laughed and called him a wimp for not being able to handle “a little pepper.” I still smile at the memory.

Though they weren’t crawfish, the pepper shrimp I bought in Hackensack took me back to Middle Quarters. I could almost feel the sun on my face as I bit into my first one.

Pepper Shrimp

Write a review


  1. 4 cups water
  2. 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  3. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  4. 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  5. 3 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved and seeded
  6. 2 tablespoons salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 10 whole allspice
  9. 1 lb large shrimp
  1. Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a 4-quart heavy pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in shrimp, making sure they are just covered by liquid, and remove pot from heat. Cool shrimp in liquid to room temperature, uncovered, about 1 hour. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and drizzle some of cooking liquid on top.


Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall Great House

One slow Friday evening in 2012, I decided to make the 15-minute drive to Rose Hall Great House for their night tour. I was excited.

Years earlier, I’d done the day tour of this great house that’s reputed to be haunted by the ghost of one of its former owners but I had no idea what to expect on the night tour. Would I see a ghost (or duppy) as we call them here in Jamaica?

My pulse quickened as we pulled through the security gate and I saw the great house sprouting out of the hill. I hurried to the ticket window but was crushed when the attendant said they were closed for a wedding reception.

Who’d want to celebrate a joyous beginning in a place rumored to be, and advertised, as haunted? I asked myself as I walked away, aching with disappointment. I didn’t realize until then how much I had been looking forward to the tour.

Disappointment still fresh in my mind, this time I called before heading out. Good thing too because I found out that I could get a $4 discount off the regular US$20 admission price by booking online.

As my friend and I passed through Rose Hall’s manned gate – day or night, it’s quite an impressive view – I stopped and took this photo of the imposing great house whose blacked out windows and muted lights give it a spooky air.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall
Entrance to Rose Hall Great House

But I was skeptical. Can this old house, with its claim to a violent past, release some of its restless spirits on command? How does a property satisfy visitors who’re looking to be scared witless?

Our group, about seven, met our tour guide at Annie’s Treasures, the gift shop on the property and started the short walk along a torch-lit path to the back of the house. Except for a few lights here and there, the grounds were pitch black.

As we got closer, someone screamed.

“A woman! A wo-wo-woman in the window!”

I looked in the direction she pointed but didn’t see a thing. Could it have been Annie? We weren’t sure.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall Great House
Approaching Rose Hall

In advertising and marketing, it’s the hook – that story or idea that draws one in or sets one product apart from the rest. In the case of Rose Hall Great House, the story of Annie Palmer, the so-called White Witch of Rose Hall, has become so entwined with the facts, so wildly successful, it’s getting to be difficult to separate fact from fiction.

One story is that Annie Patterson, an English woman, came to Jamaica at 18 in search of a husband. Following the death from yellow fever of her parents in Haiti, Annie’s nanny, a voodoo priestess cared for the girl and taught her the tricks of her trade. By the time of her arrival on the island, she was a voodoo expert.

In another story, Annie was French. (The family being French probably quieted those who wondered what a British family was doing living in Haiti, a French-speaking country.)

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall
at Rose Hall Great House

Whatever. This much is indisputable: There was an Annie who married John Rose Palmer, grandnephew of and heir to John Palmer’s 6,500-acre estate and 2,000 slaves.

The estate had passed to John Palmer from his wife, Rosa. It included Rose Hall Great House, a Georgian mansion, that was built in 1750 by Rosa’s second husband, George Ash. Rose Hall was designed as a ‘calendar’ house, with 365 windows, 52 doors and 12 bedrooms.

Entering Rose Hall’s Dungeon

We entered the house from the dungeon, or Annee’s Pub (that isn’t a typo), and Rose Hall’s photographer asked each of us to pose for a photo on the back steps of the great house. (There were “No Photography” signs posted all around the property. I don’t remember them being there when I took the day tour years ago.) We could buy the photo, if we liked, for $10 at the end of the tour.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall
The entrance to the Pub

Fortified sufficiently by Witches Brew, a rum and fruit juice concoction I bought in the Pub, our tour guide began describing Annie’s alleged 11-year reign of terror at Rose Hall. According to our guide, whose name I have totally forgotten, Annie would banish disobedient slaves to be tortured and murdered in the dungeon.

Hearing that, I expected to see a few vengeful spirits – but none appeared. Disappointed, we moved from the dungeon, and as we did, I noticed a figure dressed in white. It was a slave woman – or a contemporary woman dressed like a slave – her bonneted head lowered, she whistled as her bare feet shuffled against the wooden floor.

Our guide explained that slaves were required to whistle as they served so they couldn’t eat or spit into their masters’ food.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall

At one point, as she showed us a passage now blocked off, that led to the sea – it’s how they believe Takoo, the slave who ended Annie’s life, entered Rose Hall – a male slave bolted out, slamming the door loudly behind him. It was so absolutely unexpected I almost jumped out of my skin.

If the stories of Annie’s brutality are to be believed, it begs the question: what would motivate a young woman to perpetrate such unspeakable acts of cruelty? Even given the times when savagery on slave plantations was an everyday occurrence, the story of Annie’s acts are shocking and revolting.

According to the legend, Annie was a firm and sadistic owner who killed John Rose Palmer, her first husband after he beat her with his riding whip. Palmer had discovered her dalliance with one of his slaves. The unfortunate man didn’t live to see the light of the following day. Annie supposedly killed him with a potion.

She went on to marry and dispatch two more husbands – no names mentioned and no reasons given — in different rooms at Rose Hall. A similar fate befell several slave lovers, who it is said she grew tired of quickly, as well as slaves who didn’t bend to her will. According to our guide, she would order the slaves to dispose of her kills only to murder them herself.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall
Inside the Pub

The slaves were so fearful of Annie’s power, they named her the White Witch. One, however, was immune to her and that was her undoing. As the story goes, sometime in 1831, Takoo, her lover, found his way into the house under the cover of darkness and strangled Annie in retaliation for the killing of his beloved granddaughter. Takoo was himself killed by an overseer, who was another of Annie’s lovers.

Still fearful of the White Witch even after her death, the slaves burned her possessions, including her photos and buried her in the deepest hole they could dig.

I’ve always heard there were no photos of Annie but during the night tour we were shown a group portrait that included a woman our guide said could be the White Witch. (I did the day tour so long ago, I can’t remember if they showed us this particular photo of Annie – or the woman they believe could be her. It made me wonder whether it was another story designed to feed the legend.)

Annie, she explained, was known to dress in red, the same color one of the women was wearing. We were told to walk pass the portrait and watch as the eyes of the woman in the photo seem to follow us.

We saw other ‘apparitions’ – a woman dressed in red sitting casually in an armchair in one of the bedrooms, and a slave man in the dining room – but they weren’t nearly as unnerving as the canned sounds or, I’m sure, a real ghost, or duppy, would have been.

Life at Rose Hall Great House After the Palmers 

After the Palmers, Rose Hall Great House passed to three different owners. One, the Hendersons, were so terrified after their maid fell from Annie’s balcony and broke her neck that they abandoned the house and relocated to Kingston.

Rose Hall was empty for years and was falling apart when John and Michelle Rollins, from Delaware, purchased it in 1965. They spent $2.5 million restoring it with silk wallpaper, chandeliers, mahogany paneling and floors, as well as European antiques.

Rose Hall estate is a mix of properties, including three championship golf courses, residential and commercial real estate, and another great house, Cinnamon Hill, which Johnny Cash owned.

Ghost Hunting at Rose Hall Great House
Tomb said to be Annie’s, Rose Hall

Annie Palmer has been immortalized in H.G. Wells’ book, The White Witch of Rose Hall, which was published in 1928. Some say that it’s the story of this fictional Annie Palmer that has wrapped Rose Hall in intrigue.

As we walked the ink black night towards Annie’s grave, we heard the unmistakable sounds of chains. In Jamaican folklore, a particular duppy called a “rolling calf” wears a chain around its body and makes a clanging sound when it walks. I didn’t believe it was a rolling calf but I really didn’t want to find out.

Do you believe the Annie Palmer story is true?

Would you visit a place that’s haunted?

A Quick Stop at Columbus Park, St Ann

According to the history books, Columbus landed in Discovery Bay, St. Ann in 1494. Later, we learned that it wasn’t Discovery Bay but a spot a mile west, at an area known as Columbus Park, now an open-air museum located just off the north coast highway and overlooking the beautiful, expansive bay.

You’ll find several interesting artifacts including a bell from the last steam locomotive used by the Jamaica Railway Corporation, a replica of a Taino canoe, a section of an aqueduct, and a waterwheel.

Columbus Park
Aqueduct at Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park
Columbus Park – Planet locomotive
A Quick Stop at Columbus Park
Mural of Christopher Columbus
A Quick Stop at Columbus Park
View of Discovery Bay from Columbus Park

Though you can see a little of the park from the highway, I can’t count the number of times I’ve driven by it without stopping. Usually, I’d be on my way to some other destination and don’t have time. But in June, I decided it was time.

I was quite surprised to see the park and the number of artifacts there. In speaking with a few locals they said there were plans to turn the park into a heritage site. It seems this plan has been in the works for some time, however I haven’t been able to find out what exactly is planned and when work will begin. Still, it is an interesting display. I doubt there is another similar site on the island.

In addition to Columbus Park, St. Ann can claim a strong connection to the Italian explorer. He spent a year in the parish in 1503 after a ship wreck. It was during this time that the first Spanish settlement, Sevilla la Nueva, was established. Near Seville, as it is now known, is the only statue of Columbus on the island.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, that Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes.

Jamaican-Style Mango Chutney

Following Emancipation, the colonial authorities in Jamaica looked as far as China and India for workers to replace the formerly enslaved Africans.

Between 1845 and 1917, nearly 40,000 Indians arrived in the island looking for a better life. More than a third were forced to stay after their period of indentureship as they couldn’t afford to pay their way back and the government thought it wasn’t cost effective to repatriate them.

The Indians brought not only their talent and skills, they brought their food and spices, specifically mango, tamarind, jackfruit and several plants. They also gave us curry.

Another of the culinary gifts the Indians gave Jamaica is chutney, mango chutney to be specific. Chutney, a condiment, can be either wet or dry and can contain a combination of fruits, spices, herbs and vegetables.

Jamaican-Style Mango Chutney
Jamaican-Style Mango Chutney

It’s been several years since I’ve had the kind of mango chutney we make in Jamaica and hadn’t thought about for almost as long. Then a couple of months ago, I got an unexpected treat when I attended a celebration for a longtime family friend.

They served the typical Jamaican fare – mannish water soup, curried goat, escoveitch fish, jerk chicken, rice and peas, etc., and at each table mango chutney along with salt, black and chopped Scotch bonnet peppers.

Having not seen mango chutney for so long, I wasn’t sure at first what it was. But an older cousin, who sat at our table tasted it, a smile slowly brightened his face. This tastes exactly like what my grandmother used to make, he said.

The mango chutney was equal parts sweet (from the raisins and mango), tangy (ginger and vinegar) and hot (Scotch bonnet pepper). When I added it to the curried goat, the flavors danced in my mouth.

When we were ready to leave, I noticed one of the servers packing up left over mango chutney, coconut drops, and suckling pig. I wasn’t shy about asking if I could take some of the mango chutney home.

In talking with her, I found out that her mother had made the chutney. Her mom, she said, had learned the skill from her mother. She introduced me to her mother and I thanked her for the chutney. I had it with crackers, chicken, even fish. I wished I had some now.

Jamaican-Style Mango Chutney

Write a review


  1. 6 lb. mangoes
  2. 1 1/2 bottles cane vinegar or white wine vinegar
  3. 2 pounds sugar
  4. 1 ounce Scotch bonnet peppers, minced
  5. 4 ounce ginger, diced
  6. 1 lb. dark raisins
  7. 1 lb. golden raisins
  8. 4 cloves garlic
  1. Combine cut up mango, raisins and peppers, add to vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, onions and other seasonings. Boil all ingredients together gently until chutney is thick and brown.

Have a foodie post you’d like to share? Join the #FoodieTuesday linkup and add it here  –

  • Add the link to your foodie post in the link tool below.
  • As a courtesy, please include a link back to this post.
  • To make it a fun linkup, don’t forget to leave a comment here and comment on as many posts as you can.
  • If you Tweet, G+, Facebook please use the hashtag #FoodieTuesday.


 Loading InLinkz ...

Stewart Castle, Off the Main in Trelawny Jamaica

A year or so ago, Dr. Ivor Connolley of Falmouth Heritage Renewal asked me to join them for a site visit to Stewart Castle. I was unable to go but I was curious and intrigued.

A castle – in Jamaica? Where was this Stewart Castle and why hadn’t I heard of it before?

But as happens sometimes, life got in the way and I forgot about Stewart Castle. Then on one of my trips to Kingston, I spotted its hard-to-miss yellow, black and green sign about ten miles from Falmouth, capital of Trelawny. So that’s where it is, I thought to myself. The next time, I decided to stop.

Stewart Castle is a fortified cut-stone mansion that was owned by James Stewart who came to the island from Scotland in 1754. By 1756, he owned 167 acres. The Castle was built around 1880.

I didn’t know what to expect as we turned off the main highway on to Stewart Castle Drive, a bumpy road that is overgrown, in parts, by a variety of shrubs that I didn’t recognize, and trees. We followed Stewart Castle Drive, which is no wider than one lane, as it meanders through a small community of modest homes, looking for the Castle. After about a half mile, we saw the turn off.

Situated on a small hill, its location would have given James Stewart clear views of his workers below. (If you’ve been reading my blog about plantation houses in Jamaica, you’ll notice that they were all built at higher elevations offering the owners unobstructed views of their operations.)

Though now in ruins and surrounded by a thicket of fruit and other trees, it isn’t hard to imagine how Stewart Castle might have looked back when the estate hummed with the activities of the three-story main house and a sugar works.

The amenities included a cellar, indoor water tank and a fortified outhouse. In addition, there were indoor gun ports, and a perimeter wall protected the estate and the family from attack.

By 1799, Stewart Castle had expanded to 1200 acres, including quarters for the 300 slaves who kept the sugar works in operation. With its proximity to the Caribbean Sea, there probably would have also had a jetty to load sugar for transport to ships in Falmouth harbor.

Although the castle’s stone-cut walls still look relatively solid from a distance, I didn’t get too close as I was unsure of the condition of the structure, and I might add, I’m afraid of things that creep and crawl. I didn’t do much exploring of the grounds so I’m not sure what, if anything, remains of the sugar works.

JB Kidd's Stewart Castle
J.B. Kidd’s Stewart Castle 1835

Stewart Castle remained in the Stewart family for three generations. It passed to Stewart’s son, also named James, who established Stewart Town, a community in Trelawny, and became custos of the parish in 1812.

The estate changed hands several more times before Kaiser Bauxite Company bought it in 1930 and turned over the Castle, in ruins, in 1960, to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Company.

Archeological digs on the property have unearthed a Taino site. There have been proposals to transform the property into a park.

JB Kidd’s painting of Stewart Castle from

This week, I’m linking this post to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox and  Travel Photo Monday. Be sure to check out the other photos that are posted there.


Rum Punch

The rum punch flowed freely at two events I attended last week. And as I sipped my third glass at the most recent – a birthday party for a long time family friend – I got to wondering about the history of this popular concoction.

According to Wikipedia, punch has been around for centuries. Seventeenth-century Royal Navy sailors who were used to receiving daily beer rations brought it back to England from India.

Wine or brandy was used until around 1655, when Jamaican rum became the fashionable spirit and a new flavor of punch was created. (Rum also replaced beer and the daily ration became known as the rum ration. The rum ration continued until the 1970s.)

Rum Punch
Calico Jack Rum Punch

From England, the use of punch expanded to other European countries and eventually, naturally, to the colonies.

Ask most Jamaicans how to make rum punch and you’re likely to be given the following direction: One of sour (lime juice), two of sweet (syrup), three of strong (Wray & Nephew Overproof rum), four of weak (water) – simple enough, right? You’ll also see this direction is the description of Planter’s Punch, a type of rum punch that apparently, was created in Jamaica.

A wine-glass with lemon juice fill, of sugar the same glass fill twice
Then rub them together until
The mixture looks smooth, soft, and nice.
Of rum then three wine glasses add,
And four of cold water please take. A Drink then you’ll have that’s not bad —
At least, so they say in Jamaica.
– From the September 1878 issue of the London magazine, Fun.

Just goes to show, there’s a story behind even the simplest food or drink.

Even with a recipe as simple as this, in my opinion, it takes a certain level of skill, and perhaps experience, to mix these four ingredients, to balance them so one doesn’t dominate the other.

Although it can last for several months after it’s been made (and usually tastes richer), we usually make it from scratch for each occasion, and most people I know wouldn’t even touch the prepared stuff.

I didn’t until my neighbor introduced me to Calico Jack Rum Punch. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the closest there is to the real thing. I served it at a dinner party last Christmas and even my finicky aunt (who knows a thing or two about making rum punch) agreed that it was good. Unfortunately, I have not found it outside Jamaica.

Have a foodie post you’d like to share? Join the #FoodieTuesday linkup and add it here  –

  • Add the link to your foodie post in the link tool below.
  • As a courtesy, please include a link back to this post.
  • To make it a fun linkup, don’t forget to leave a comment here and comment on as many posts as you can.
  • If you Tweet, G+, Facebook please use the hashtag #FoodieTuesday.


 Loading InLinkz ...