March 14, 2019

Good Eats: Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant, Barbados


Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant  Skeetes Hill, Rockley, Christ Church, South Coast, 434-3463. 

water-side deck at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
water-side deck at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


Prime seating at this romantic restaurant is outside on the ocean-side deck.  Attractive original Caribbean art is found throughout.  Designed to please discerning palates, the menu features fresh local seafood and pairs well with an impressive international wine list.  My dinner started with coconut shrimp with chili sauce.  It was followed by a satisfying braised beef short rib with port reduction and garlic mash.  My dining partner started with a mushroom risotto that was bountiful enough to have been a main, but he saved room for a Parmesan-crusted barracuda mash he had been excited to sample.  Though we didn’t really need desserts, we wound up sharing warm bread pudding with Bajan rum and Champers signature coconut pie with coconut ice cream--and we managed to eat most of it. 

Caribbean art at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
Caribbean art at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


coconut shrimp at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
coconut shrimp at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


short rib and mash at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
short rib and mash at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


signature coconut pie at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
signature coconut pie at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


white chocolate cheesecake at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados
white chocolate cheesecake at Champers Wine Bar & Restaurant in Christ Church, Barbados


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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

March 12, 2019

Sights to See: Rihanna’s childhood home, Barbados


Rihanna’s childhood home  On Westbury New Road (now Rihanna Drive), in Bridgeport. 

Rihanna’s childhood home in Bridgetown, Barbados
Rihanna’s childhood home in Bridgetown, Barbados


Singer and starlet Rihanna (Robyn Rihanna Fenty) is a Bajan girl.  She lived in this modest house from age 5 until 16, when   she moved to the U.S. to pursue her music career.  Since then, her childhood home has become a tourist attraction.  Located on a street renamed in her honor to Rihanna Drive, the house is newly painted in bright colors and no one lives in it any longer.  When I visited, a neighbor lady a few doors up was relaxing on her own front porch, enjoying watching all the tourist activity.

fan at dedication sign for Rihanna’s childhood home in Bridgetown, Barbados
fan at dedication sign for Rihanna’s childhood home in Bridgetown, Barbados


Rihanna Takes Oprah on a Tour of Her Childhood Home:



Now when she returns to the island--which she does regularly--she resides ocean-side in an apartment at One Sandy Lane in St. James.  Simon Cowell also has an apartment here, and Oprah lives nearby.
More . . .

When Rihanna is on island, look for her in her favorite places:  Daphne’s restaurant, Waterfront CafĂ©, bars in St. Lawrence Gap, dining at Oistin’s Fish Market, shopping in Bridgetown, or at Sandy Lane resort relaxing at the roof terrace or enjoying tea.

According to Vanity Fair, Rihanna has sold more than 250 million records, has 14 number one singles, and has been awarded 9 Grammys.  Because she has contributed significantly to raising the island’s profile around the world, she was recently appointed by the Barbados government as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary with the specific responsibility of promoting education, tourism, and investment for the island.


Several of Rihanna's music videos, directed by Dave Meyers:

Where Have You Been




Loyalty (with Kendrick Lamar)




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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

March 7, 2019

Sights to See: Harrison’s Cave, Barbados


Harrison’s Cave  Welchman Hall, St. Thomas, (246) 417-3700.  Daily tours 8:45am-3:45pm.  US$30, children US$15.  Located in the center of the island, this massive subterranean cavern features streams, waterfalls, cascades, and deep pools.  This cave is unique in that it is not volcanic in composition but is formed instead from crystallized limestone.  Limestone caves are noted for their beautiful formations and also for being among the deepest and longest caves in the world.  Visitors have a choice of two scenic trails or a glass-front elevator to transport them from the cliff-top entrance to the valley floor, where to actual cave entrance is.  After viewing an educational film, visitors board an electric tram for a 45-minute tour.  Several stops are made to explore a plunging waterfall and a large cavern.  Throughout, lights illuminate the impressive interior’s stalactites and stalagmites.  Another tour is also available for those who want to crawl and climb and explore more closely.  The Cave Bistro offers a lunch menu, and the Cave Bar serves a particularly colorful rum punch.  Green monkeys are also often seen here.





view from entrance above Harrison’s Cave in Barbados
view from entrance above Harrison’s Cave in Barbados



lake inside Harrison’s Cave in Barbados
lake inside Harrison’s Cave in Barbados



gorgeous rum punch at Harrison’s Cave in Barbados
gorgeous rum punch at Harrison’s Cave in Barbados


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images and video ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

March 5, 2019

Sights to See: Clifton Hall Great House, Barbados



Clifton Hall Great House  St. John.  (246) 240-5198.  M-F 10am-3:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-1pm.  US$25.  Dating to 1656, when it belonged to Prince Ferdinando Paleologus, this grand Georgian mansion is one of the oldest and largest historical properties on Barbados.  It is constructed of coral rubble stone formed into 2-foot-thick walls and has 87 external doors that are designed to keep the sun out and let the breeze in.  The double doors can be closed up tight, and in fact the house is a designated hurricane shelter.  Originally this 13,500-square-foot house had only one toilet.  In England, every stately home has a Poor Relations Room, or sick room, to which a person was sent to die, and it sounds like most of the time it wasn’t a pleasant demise.  In Barbados only two are left, and this house has one of them.  The pool here was formerly a 16-foot cistern.  Furnished rooms are a delight to view, and visitors here see a stunning crimson dining room with a long table set with Minton china in the delicate floral Marlow pattern.  A crystal chandelier hangs above.  Owner Massimo declares that “save for the ocean and the Bajan accent, you could be in England having tea.”  The tour ends with complimentary refreshments, including cake, to enjoy while you sit and relax. 


dining room in Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados
dining room in Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados



Marlow pattern of Minton china in dining room in Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados
Marlow pattern of Minton china in dining room in Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados



owner Massimo shows coral stone shower at Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados
owner Massimo shows coral stone shower at Clifton Hall Great House in Barbados


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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


March 1, 2019

Sights to See: Barbados Museum & Historical Society, Barbados


Barbados Museum & Historical Society  (246) 427-0201.  M-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 2-6pm.  Located inside a lovely 19th-century Colonial building that once housed a British military prison, this museum opened in 1934.  It offers a look at the history and evolution of Barbados with exhibits and artifacts spanning five centuries.  The collection includes objects from the area’s original Amerindian inhabitants, furnishings from an 18th-century plantation home, and antique maps of the region.  My favorite exhibit is a temporary one I saw--“She Sells Seashells.”  Apparently the museum has more than 2,500 shells that rotate in and out.  The African Gallery is also of special interest with its displays of musical instruments and a reproduction of the world’s oldest mother and child footprints.  My favorite exhibit in that gallery is of a Shaggy Bear egun gun.  A traditional costume made in one piece, it is designed so the face cannot be seen and acts as a vessel for messages from the gods.  People donate a piece of cloth to receive a blessing.  Though it no longer has this religious significance, you’ll see Shaggy Bears in various celebrations.  The Cunard Gallery displays five interesting paintings that depict the sugar-making process.  Visitors can also enter some of the 75 old prison cells.  An interactive children’s gallery focuses on historical education.  Rare documents, historical records, and photographs, as well as hard-to-find books are achieved in the Shilstone Memorial Library.  Special events are sometimes scheduled in the cobblestone courtyard and gardens.

exterior of Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados
exterior of Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados



interior courtyard of Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados
interior courtyard of Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados



art print at Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados
art print at Barbados Museum & Historical Society in Barbados



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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


February 26, 2019

Sights to See: Bridgetown, Barbados


BRIDGETOWN  The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown is the island’s epicenter and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city center was originally where the old Indian bridge was in town, then became known as “the bridge,” then “bridge town.”

Bridgetown was the first stop in the Caribbean for the African slave trade.  Until 1807, all slaves entered the Americas here, by the trees on the bay.  They were “washed, cleaned, and shined” as cargo for sale.

lovely lady stands before the spot where all slaves once entered the Americas, in Bridgetown, Barbados
lovely lady stands before the spot where all slaves once entered the Americas, in Bridgetown, Barbados


Today the town is clean and safe and features an eclectic mix of low-end vendors hawking everything from homegrown vegetables and fruit to underwear and cleaning products.  It maintains a medieval serpentine layout depicted on High Street and Swan Street, which is historically known as “Jew Street.”

colorful building in Bridgetown, Barbados
colorful building in Bridgetown, Barbados

Parliament Buildings  Trafalgar St.  Barbados is the oldest continuing parliamentary democracy outside of England, and is the third-oldest parliament in the world after Britain and Iceland.  Bordered by National Heroes Square, the parliament buildings (also known as the "public buildings") are two spectacular neo-Gothic-style structures.  Both buildings were constructed of coral limestone between 1870 and 1874 and are now designated as UNESCO sites.

Parliament Building in Bridgetown, Barbados
Parliament Building in Bridgetown, Barbados

The building that houses the Senate and House of Assembly features beautiful stained-glass windows depicting British monarchs.

The other building bears the clock tower and houses the National Heroes Gallery and Museum of Parliament. Museum entry includes a tour of the parliament buildings (M & W-Sat 10am-4pm; closed Tu & Sun.)

More than 15 additional important landmarks are in the immediate area, including The James Blackwood Screw Dock, the only one of its kind remaining in the world.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll witness a special parade through the town.  Look for the colorful women dressed as Mudda Sallies and the agile men dancing as Shaggy Bears.

Mudda Sallies dance in parade in Bridgetown, Barbados
Mudda Sallies dance in parade in Bridgetown, Barbados


Shaggy Bear dances in parade in Bridgetown, Barbados
Shaggy Bear dances in parade in Bridgetown, Barbados






Bethel Methodist Church  Bay St./Probyn St.  Built in 1844, this historic church has a small graveyard in the back.

exterior of Bethel Methodist Church in Bridgetown, Barbados
exterior of Bethel Methodist Church in Bridgetown, Barbados


small graveyard in back of Bethel Methodist Church in Bridgetown, Barbados
small graveyard in back of Bethel Methodist Church in Bridgetown, Barbados


Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum  246-436-6869.  Museum:   M-F 9am-4pm.  US$12.50/BDS$25.  Built in 1654 by Dutch Jewish settlers, this Sephardic Jewish temple is the earliest (or oldest, depending on your point of view) Jewish synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.  These early Jewish settlers introduced windmills to the island in the 17th- and 18th-centuries, when more than 500 dotted the island. Jewish visitors can research family histories.  A full mikvah (a ritual bath house) has been restored, and a large cemetery is adjacent.  This major archaeological site remains under excavation.

exterior of Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
exterior of Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


interior of Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
interior of Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


mikvah bath at Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
mikvah bath at Nidhe Israel Synagogue and Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


The Characters of Town--Historic Walking Tours  (246) 826-4002.  Colorfully costumed character-guides provide historic stories as they lead visitors through the town.

The Characters of Town walking tour in Bridgetown, Barbados
The Characters of Town walking tour in Bridgetown, Barbados






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images and videos ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


February 20, 2019

Introduction: Barbados


BARBADOS


High Street at Swan Street in Bridgetown, Barbados
High Street at Swan Street in Bridgetown, Barbados


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ISLAND
          Located 1,600 miles southeast of Miami (about 62 miles east of its nearest neighbors, the Windward Islands), Barbados is the easternmost Caribbean island.  Measuring just 17 miles long and 14 miles wide (166 square miles total), it is a tiny island.
          In the 15th century, the indigenous Kalinago people were conquered by the Spanish.  In 1627 the British took over.  They colonized the island and brought African slaves to work the land and build up the island’s sugar cane industry.  The sugar revolution made Barbados wealthy and also the heaviest populated place in the world.  It was a center of agriculture and trade, and at one time became the second-largest shipping port after Boston.  Barbados was strategically the best place in the Caribbean for a garrison, and St. Anne's Garrison defended England’s power in the West Indies.
          It is interesting to know that the term “Barbados’d” is used to note that a person was kidnapped and forced into slave labor in Barbados.  But many slaves managed to escape and turned to piracy.
          Slavery was abolished in Barbados in the 1830s, but the island remained under British rule until 1966, when black islanders were given the rights to own property.
          The earliest settlements were in Holetown, Speigeltown, and Bridgetown

colorful building on main artery through Barbados
colorful building on main artery through Barbados


CONNECTION WITH SOUTH CAROLINA
          There are strong ties between Barbados and South Carolina.  Indeed, Barbados is the only country to found a U.S. colony (South Carolina), and 7 of South Carolina’s first 21 governors were Barbadian.  And that is just a bit of that story.  Learn more about the connection at the Barbados and Carolinas Legacy Foundation.


CURRENT ISLAND


character guide in Bridgetown, Barbados
character guide in Bridgetown, Barbados

          The African influence dominates the island’s cultural expression in art, music, dance, and food.  But Barbados is also affectionately known as “Little England” because nearly half of its tourists come from the U.K.  Thus British cricket and high tea are popular activities.  And everyone speaks English.

art in Champers restaurant in Barbados
art in Champers restaurant in Barbados

          Barbados is located below the hurricane belt and therefore not often impacted by hurricanes, which usually stay about 200 miles north of the island.  The last one that hit the island was in 1955.  However, it affected by tropical storms, including Kirk in 2018.

vegetable stand in Bridgetown, Barbados
vegetable stand in Bridgetown, Barbados

          A haven for nature lovers, Barbados offers a big and mountainous interior.  Considering it is such a small island, there's a broad range of things to do here. The capital city of Bridgetown holds impressive colonial buildings, and both it and the historic garrison are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Island sights include sprawling sugar plantations, historic museums, beautiful botanical gardens, and deep caverns.  The island's tropical beauty includes white and pink coral-sand beaches, and warm ocean waters welcome swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and diving.

pink hibiscus in Barbados
pink hibiscus in Barbados

  And many unusual animals are found here.  One of the few Caribbean islands with monkeys, Barbados is home to the green monkey--which arrived here from Senegal and the Gambia in West Africa around 350 years ago.  It has flourished through 75 generations, and there are now are around 7,000 on the island.  The unusual black belly sheep has no wool and looks like a goat.  Giant snails are sometimes spotted slithering along the sidewalks, and whistling frogs can make quite a clatter.
          Traditional Bajan cuisine is a melange of African, Indian, Irish, Creole, and British influences.  The island has plenty of fancy fine-dining restaurants with gourmet menus and is the only island in the Caribbean to have its own Zagat guide.  Popular everyday fare includes exotic flying-fish sandwiches, macaroni pie, and a vast assortment of pepper sauces.  And this island is where the grapefruit originated.  Barbados claims to be the birthplace of rum.  Derived from sugar-cane, rum is amazingly made with just molasses, yeast, and water.  This tasty drink is served throughout the island.  Corner rum shops are perhaps the most popular places to imbibe, and the island has somewhere between 1,500 and 18,000--depending on who you’re talking to.  Similar to English pubs, these shops are uniquely Barbadian and are hubs of Bajan social life.  Backs beer--a light crisp pilsner style--is the local favorite.

colorful rum drinks at Harrison's Cave in Barbados
colorful rum drinks at Harrison's Cave in Barbados


More things to do in Barbados.

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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

February 12, 2019

Good Eats: Taco la Gardenia, San Antonio, Texas


Taco la Gardenia  1805 N Pine St., Government Hill, (210) 229-9702.  Prices here are rock bottom, and most everything is very good.  Favorites are the enchiladas verde, the sope, and the locally popular “puffy tacos.”  I hear the chilaquiles is also a don’t miss.  However, the day I chose to dine here for the first time, our order took FOREVER.  One blind customer complained loudly to the server when his meal finally arrived, “What did you do?  Go home and cook it from scratch?”  Our wait had approached an hour, but I remained mostly content noshing on the delicious salsa and chips.  Our waitress finally explained to us that a cook had quit and one of the servers had been pulled in to help in the kitchen.  I will return because I adored my sope.  Next time I’ll order two.
          In a little nook off the main dining room, a bakery purveys pan dulce items.

interior of Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
interior of Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


breakfast menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
breakfast menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


taco menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
taco menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
menu at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


sope at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
sope at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


enchilada verde at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
enchilada verde at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas


pan dulce bakery at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas
pan dulce bakery at Taco la Gardenia in San Antonio, Texas

Taco la Gardenia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
See a painting of Taco la Gardenia at Cinnabar art gallery.



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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

January 10, 2019

Sights to See: George Washington House Museum; Bridgetown, Barbados


George Washington House Museum  Bush Hill, Garrison, St. Michael, (246) 228 5461.  M-Sat 9am-4:30pm.

exterior of George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
exterior of George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados

George Washington slept here.  George was 19 years old when he and his half-brother, Lawrence, who was sick with TB, sailed to Barbados in 1751 on the Success.  They stayed in this historic plantation house, known as Bush Hill House, for two months.  Washington’s political value system was shaped here, where he ate, slept, ate went to the beach.

This restored Georgian-style house is furnished in the style of a typical plantation residence of the mid-18th century.  A museum on the upper floor focuses on the story of Barbados in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere.  Bridgetown then was one of the world’s three biggest cities--along with Boston and London.  The only country to found a U.S. colony (South Carolina), Barbados was said to be at the time “the wealthiest spot on earth.”

Start a visit by viewing a film about George Washington in Barbados, then join a guided tour of the main floor of the house where you’ll see the bed in which Washington slept, and conclude upstairs with a tour the museum.  You might also be given the opportunity to see the only garrison tunnel open to the public--it stretches under the house for 2/3 of a mile and dates to 1820, when it allowed 3,000 soldiers to escape.  Visitors can additionally explore the grounds and gardens, and a cafe offers refreshment.

George Washington character beside the bed George slept in at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
George Washington character beside the bed George slept in at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


Dinner with George  Mondays at 7pm; BB$240.  This unique, intimate theater and dining experience allows guests to step back in time.  Flaming torches light the courtyard, the dining room is illuminated with candles, and a live violin and cello duo provide soothing music.  A period-correct five-course dinner accompanied by fine old world wines is served at a very long table in this historical setting--in the very dining room where young George dined for 6 weeks in 1751, and where now seemingly he himself regales guests with his exciting life story that includes his visit to Barbados in the 18th century.

musicians at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
musicians at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


long dining table at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
long dining table at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


place setting at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
place setting at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


lamb stew at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
lamb stew at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


characters at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados
characters at the George Washington House Museum in Bridgetown, Barbados


More things to do in Barbados.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers