Trip Reports

Who Says You Can’t See Kingston Jamaica like a Tourist – Day 2: Country side tour and Blue Mountain walk

Written by Xavier Murphy

We asked for a wakeup call after a long day yesterday. It was early in the morning. Our host is  Maureen Wright –Evans the owner of Jamaica Adventure Secrets and Smokey Manor, a bed & breakfast in Smokeyvale.  Maureen is a Jamaican gem. She is passionate about Jamaica and very energetic.  The energy is infectious especially early in the morning.

Maureen had fruits ready for us to eat before we started the country walk. We would have breakfast when we got back from our country walk. Before we started the walk Maureen had us do stretches for 10 minutes.

The view from the balcony was amazing. We watched the sun rise.

We walked around Smokeyvale at a brisk pace. The fresh air was great and the view was amazing. We had a prime view of the sun rising. Along the way Maureen talked about the fruits and flowers. She was friendly with everyone in the neighborhood and introduced us to many of the people we met along the way. She made the mundane exciting.  She made the things we never noticed important as she spoke about them in detail. Her infectious energy helped us walk up and down the hill. She stopped at a few locations as we climbed the hill. The most breathtaking was the view of Kingston and Portmore.

On the way back Maureen stopped by a neighbor who turned out to be my wife’s high school Biology teacher. She was an American who married a Jamaican and moved to Jamaica. It was a great reunion for them.

We returned to the villa to breakfast waiting. There was ackee &  saltfish, callaloo, breadfruit,  green bananas, yam and dumpling. There was freshly brewed Blue Mountain coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and banana porridge made from scratch.  It was a feast. Next we toured the rooms in the villas. It is a great cozy place to stay if you are looking for the real Jamaican experience.  You get to interact with Maureen and her family while staying there. The rooms are in a building that is attached by stairs to the main building so you can still maintain your privacy.

After breakfast and a long chat it was time to get ready for our Blue Mountain tour. Maureen’s husband would be our tour guide for the rest of the day. The drive up to Blue Mountain was an adventure. The roads are small and winding as they hug  the mountain side .

The smell of the country was great.  I also enjoyed the little villages we saw along the way up the mountain. It reminded me of how simple life can be from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Our first stop was Strawberry Hill. We only stayed for a little while as we would stop on the way back to eat.

Next we were off to the Blue Mountain Coffee tour at the Craighton Estate, which was just a miles up the road from Strawberry Hill.  At the entrance of the coffee factory and the Blue Mountain Craighton Estate we were greeted by the statue of a Japanese man. We later learned he was the owner of the factory. He died and passed it on to his son.

We were the only ones there that day for the tour. There were men working on the great house on the premises of the factory.  We paid for the tour and a guide was assigned to take us up the hill. It was a little windy as we started to walk up the hill. The guide explained the types of coffee they grow. We saw how the harvest the coffee.  He gave us the different raw coffee beans from the tree to taste the differences. At the end of the trail there was an elevated look-out pavilion. It gave us a great view of the coffee plantation. We could see the workers picking coffee beans.

We walked back down the hill to the Great House. We were given a tour of the Great House which contained many items from the 1800’s.  After the Great House tour we were taken to the ballroom, now a sitting area, where we were served Blue Mountain Coffee. Our tour guide talked about the different roasted beans.

After the Blue Mountain tour we went back to Strawberry Hill and ate a late lunch. Before we ate we took a tour of the property. I now realize why it is so popular for weddings. It is lush and green. It is well kept. It is beautiful. If you are a nature lover this is the place for you. The view of Kingston from Strawberry Hill is the best I have ever seen. Where the pool is located you can swim to the edge and see the view of Kingston. The restaurant also has the same view. You feel on top of the world when you are there. Lunch was delicious.

We did not want to leave but had to. We were going to dinner with my wife’s family. We got back down and got ready for dinner. We were going to one of the Chinese restaurants at Matilda’s corner across from the newly build American embassy. Jamaican Chinese food is authentically different from “Americanized” Chinese food. There is a restaurant I used to frequent in South Florida that served great Jamaican Chinese food. It closed 3 years ago and I yet to find a replacement. Visiting Jamaica is my only “fix”.

Special Discount Offer For Jamaicans.com site visitors

Maureen and her team have offered a discount to Jamaicans.com visitors.

Use the code earlybird to get 10% off Jamaica Volunteer Adventure Getaway package. This is a 10% discount for the period May 7 – August 31st

Use the code culturalbird to get 10% off  Jamaica’s Cultural Explosion:Emancipation And Independence Celebration. This is a 10% discount for the period May 7 – August 31st

About the author

Xavier Murphy