Montserrat

The British Overseas Territory of Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean, south-east of Puerto Rico.

29 things to do

All Places Montserrat



AIR Studios Montserrat (abandoned)

Associated Independent Recording (AIR), founded 1965 by Beatles producer George Martin, relocated here in 1979. Jimmy Buffett’s 1979 album "Volcano" was recorded here, as were albums by Dire Straits, The Police, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Ultravox, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Black Sabbath and Eric Clapton. The building still stands, in ruins, abandoned after 1989's Hurricane Hugo inflicted heavy damage. The pool is empty, the restaurant and bar are closed. All recording equipment was removed and the studios returned to London.


Olveston House

Built 1950 by the manager of Montserrat Company to replace an original wooden house built in the 1800s, onetime home of ZJB radio and of the first local cinema. Currently the holiday home of Beatles manager Sir George Martin; when he is away, this private residence opens as a restaurant and six-room guest house. International and traditional English cuisine, breakfast, lunch, dinner and 'high tea' daily.



Montserrat Cultural Centre

Conference centre with 500-seat auditorium and stage, cinema and concert venue, bar and banquet facility, recording studio, souvenir shop, outdoor stage for open-air performances. Constructed 2007 with funds raised by musicians who had recorded in Montserrat in its heyday; a ‘Wall of Fame' displays bronze hand-prints of famous performers including Elton John and Paul McCartney.

SEE   —  +1 664 491-4242 —  Little Bay

Gingerbread Hill

Guest house and separate villa with mountain and ocean views. A fully equipped suite at US$125, or simpler accommodations as low as US$35. German and American radio amateurs have installed a fully-equipped station at the guest house; contact the Montserrat Amateur Radio Society well in advance to obtain an elusive VP2M local callsign.



Montserrat Volcano Observatory

MVO's observation deck and Visitors Centre are open Monday-Thursday with informative poster displays, interactive kiosks, a display of artefacts and a fabulous view of the volcano. A documentary (shown a quarter past every hour, 10:15 - 3:15) describes the history and impact of the eruption.

SEE   —  Olde Towne

Centre Hills

Bird watching: thirty-four species of resident land birds and migrant songbirds including Montserrat's rare national bird, the Montserrat Oriole. Guided tours and printed guides are available for a fee through the Montserrat National Trust or private operators.

SEE   —  Map


Grand View Bed & Breakfast

Seven room guesthouse with covered patio, occasional live music or special events. Breakfast, lunch and dinner may be ordered in advance, with authentic Caribbean cuisine and home grown produce.


St. Patrick's Festival

A week-long celebration of Irish heritage begins the previous weekend and continues through to St. Patrick's Day (in the 1700s, the island was a haven for Irish Catholics).



Hot Rock Hostel

Near Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Rates negotiable depending on how many and how long, about $25 including light breakfast (in 2008).

SLEEP   —  Salem

Essence Guest House

Guest house owned by friendly Belgian couple, beautiful rooms and apartment ($55 and $75, respectively). English, French, Dutch spoken.


Montserrat Museum

Montserrat’s history and culture, pre-Columbian to Modern day. An adjacent Little Bay Plantation site hosts an archaeological project.

SEE   —  Little Bay

Gourmet Gardens

Part of the old Olveston Estate. Sunday brunch. Eat on a patio overlooking the garden or inside the classic gingerbread house.

EAT   —  +1 664 491-7859 —  Olveston

Miles Away Villa Resort & Spa

Rooms and suites, three-bedroom villa with private pool. $10 extra for AC, $10 extra for continental breakfast.


Tina’s Restaurant

Green wooden building on main road. Licensed. Tina's, La Colage and Emerald Rose offer great local lunches.


Ziggy's

Upscale. Steak, butterfly shrimp, good wine selection. Dinner seven days/week by reservation only.


Villa "Tan Ry Doon",

Villa rental in Olveston; owner is based in Bennington, VT, USA.

SLEEP   —  +1 802-442-9236 —  Olveston

Montserrat Calabash Festival

African and Caribbean culture and music.

DO   —  Map

Montserrat Festival

Christmas and holiday carnival.

DO   —  Map

The Attic

Roti for lunch.


Misers

DRINK   —  +1 664 491-4182 —  Salem

About Montserrat

Colonisation dates to the 1600s; a gun battery was strategically placed at Carr’s Bay in 1624 to defend the island against approaching ships. Montserrat was initially an agricultural economy; plantations and sugar mills were common in the 1700s with sugar cane juice and molasses processed for local consumption and export. Later, the well-to-do built their estate houses on the island; an elaborate main house was often a landmark because of its size and numerous rooms. In 1857 Joseph Sturge established the Montserrat Company, which cultivated lime fruit for export and sold small plots of land to settlers. Various old churches date to the late 19th or early 20th century. The first air charter flights on the island began in 1956; an eleven-hole golf course (now defunct) opened in the Belham River Valley in response to growth in tourism in the 1960s. A well-equipped recording studio, established by Beatles producer George Martin in 1979, attracted a long list of popular musicians in its one decade of operation. Tiny Montserrat promoted itself as "the way the Caribbean used to be". Montserrat has been hit hard by the four elements, both from without and from within. First the ''wind'' and ''waves'' of Hurricane Hugo swept through in 1989, damaging 90% of the island's structures. Then the ''earth'' and ''fire'' welled up in 1995, with the volcano of Soufrière Hills forcing the long-term evacuation of 2/3 of the island's population, and closing the old airport and seaport in June 1997. The capital, Plymouth, is now covered by 40 feet of ash, earning its nickname "the new Pompeii", and much of the rest of the southern part of the island is now quite uninhabitable and unusable. Government offices have since been set up in Brades on the northwest shore of the island, out of harm's way. Much of the island's population has returned, with estimates ranging from 4,700 to 9,500, compared to the pre-Hugo/Soufrière high of over 12,000. A new town is being built at Little Bay and the new port there is being expanded.


Source: wikivoyage