My family has been visiting Nevis for years. You know the sort of holidays: early morning walks to beat the heat of the day followed up by afternoons of cocktails for the adults and precious pool time for the kids. I have memories from decades ago – and the crazy thing is, the island hasn’t really changed in all that time. There are more beach bars (or maybe we just didn’t really go to the bars when we were very young) and the supermarkets have more on the shelves, but the same gorgeous old plantation hotels are still there. Golden Rock. Montpelier. I’ve seen places change hands and give some gentle nod to modernisation. But they are, in everything essential, the same.
Nevis was always our retreat. And over the years, as offices and cities and endless anonymous hotel rooms took over my life, the little island tugged at the edges of my mind. It’s unforgettable. Anyone who has been knows how it eases into your subconscious, a secret tucked away for grey and gloomy days.
So when I married, I knew Nevis had to be the place for our honeymoon. And once my husband had been, too, we couldn’t vacation anywhere else. For years we’ve been coming back, sometimes staying in hotels and sometimes in rentals. We’ve stayed all over the island, on the wild easterly side buffeted by the Tradewinds, high on the slopes of the Peak with those far-reaching views that you can still see when you close your eyes five thousand miles away. On the beach on the Caribbean side, days spent picking our way along the sand, still delighted even years on to discover a sand dollar or an unbroken sea urchin.
It made sense, at some point, to talk about getting a place on Nevis. We both loved the island so much by now, were always welcomed back with smiles by the locals, that we wanted to be here more and more. We’d thought choosing a home would be easy but the options made it almost impossible. But with the Private Home Scheme coming to a close in late 2022, we had to make a decision before then if we wanted to get the benefits of citizenship and so we dashed from one villa to the next, arguing over whether we wanted to really create our own space or find something that was already perfect.
Did we need that much garden? How many guests did we really want to have visit at a time? For a brief moment we almost convinced ourselves we didn’t need a pool, but then sense prevailed – along with images of possible future grandchildren leaping in and out for hours on end just as I had done decades before. I guess it came down to: sunrise or sunset; beach or mountain; shared space or privacy.
Our budget of US$750,000 gave us a multitude of options. The fact that most homes here come furnished made it even simpler. We’ve decided to import a car, taking advantage of the tax free period in December and renting one until then. It’s easy to get back to the States if we need to – now that the town ferries are faster, we sometimes take those instead of the water taxi and give ourselves a few hours in the bustle of Basseterre before heading to the airport.
Since we’re citizens, we may even start up a little business on the island one day. Something that will give back to the community who have been so welcoming. But for now, to be honest, we welcome the long, lazy days. Rounds of golf with friends; a gentle tennis match in the evening; visiting our favourite restaurants and celebrating all over again the fact that yes, we really do live here now. We, too, are a part of the island, as much as the vervet monkeys and the trees dripping with mangos and the freshest wahoo in the world.
And I guess we should thank Helene and Wayne from Nevis Style Realty for making this possible. For being our friendly guides who helped us navigate the process of purchasing so smoothly and easily. For making our daydreams a wonderful, magical reality.