Tryall Water Wheel, Hanover

I’ve heard of the Tryall Golf Course and Beach Club in Hanover on the outskirts of Montego Bay before, but I didn’t know that the property had a gigantic waterwheel. I noticed the Jamaica Heritage Trail signs while driving through the area some weekends ago, and decided to stop. I was in for a pleasant surprise. This still functioning cast iron waterwheel was assembled in 1700 by Henry Fairchild, the first owner of the estate. It was damaged in the 1831 Sam Sharpe Christmas slave rebellion but was subsequently restored.

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Fort Charlotte, Hanover

Last weekend I had the immense privilege of visiting and staying in Hanover, Jamaica’s second smallest parish, on the northwestern coast of the island. Hanover was the last of Jamaica’s fourteen parishes for me to visit and I accomplished that feat last August with a stay at the Grand Palladium Hotel. However, I didn’t explore the parish otherwise so it was exciting to be back less than a year later. I knew I had to check out Fort Charlotte in Lucea because I love exploring historical gems. One thing about forts is that they always command an amazing view of the harbour since they were strategically built to defend the nation’s waters.

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Rose Hall Great House, Saint James

Overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea lies the imposing Rose Hall Great House and sugar plantation, a remnant of our colonial days when sugar was King. The house was built of Georgian style architecture in 1770 by John Palmer and his wife, and was eventually handed down to his grandnephew by the same name, John Rose Palmer. The house and its surrounding 6,000 acres are stunning but what makes Rose Hall alluring to its thousands of monthly visitors is the legend behind it.

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Devon House Tour, Saint Andrew

Ranked as National Geographic’s fourth best place in the world to eat ice cream in 2011, Devon House is already a favourite for residents and visitors alike. However, Devon House is so much more than stellar sweets. Sitting on 11 lush acres in Saint Andrew, the Devon House mansion was the home of Jamaica’s first coloured millionaire George Stiebel. Born to a Black Jamaican mother who was a housekeeper and a German Jewish father, Stiebel had a relatively privileged upbringing and was able to earn his fortune from investments in Venezuelan gold mines. He returned to Jamaica and purchased what was originally a 51-acre property to construct his Georgian-style mansion in 1881. Years after his passing in 1896, the house changed hands through two families then became property of the Jamaican government. Today, Devon House is a well-preserved national heritage site open to tours and its former stables, kitchen and other buildings now host some of Jamaica’s finest restaurants, confectionaries and souvenir shops.

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Seville Heritage Park, Saint Ann

Seville Heritage Park in Saint Ann’s Bay marks one of the first encounters between Old and New World. Unless you’re Jamaican or took Caribbean history classes, you’re likely hearing for the first time that English-speaking Jamaica was first colonized by the Spanish hence the town Sevilla la Nueva was named for Seville, Spain. Christopher Columbus first set foot in Jamaica in 1494 making an already well-known inhabited island first known to Europe. In 1503-4 he lived at the well-developed Taino town of Maima for over a year with his men after getting shipwrecked. However, it wasn’t until 1509 that Sevilla la Nueva was established becoming the first permanent European settlement in Jamaica and changing Jamaican, European and World History forever.

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