Grenada Long Weekend

Spice Things Up on the Island of Grenada

Photo by shaggyshoo

Few Caribbean islands remain as undiscovered as Grenada, which last made headlines in 1983, when Ronald Reagan invaded the place to put down a Marxist military coup. Today, this southern Caribbean island is on the rise thanks to a slew of top-notch resort spas, dozens of uncrowded beaches, a gorgeous capital city, and a real sense of culture, besides. Its tag line is "Spice Island" for good reason, too: More spices are grown here than anywhere else in the region, and you'll find them packaged in markets, adapted into spa treatments, and lacing fiery rum punches. Discover this under-the-radar gem before everyone else does on a spicy beach weekend getaway from New York.

What to Do

Photo by shaggyshoo

Spice Market

Market Square, St George's, Grenada

Mingle with locals at this colorful market in Grenada’s gorgeous capital, St George's, and haggle over homegrown nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, and jams from dozens of spice mongers at the back of the square (tip: the outdoor tables have better prices). The market is open every day but Sunday, but try and go on Saturday to truly immerse yourself in the local scene.

Photo by David & Cheryl M

Dougaldston Estate

Gouyave, St John's Parish, Grenada

Head up island to hear elderly Grenadian women explain the spice-production process from branch to jar on the atmospheric grounds of a dilapidated former spice plantation. The women's weathered faces speak to a bygone era in the Caribbean, making them perhaps even more compelling than the sight of nutmeg, cocoa, and cinnamon fresh on the vine.

Photo by Alex Hopkins

Concord Falls

Gouyave, St John's Parish, Grenada

Bring your bathing suit and forge past the lowest of the three impressive waterfalls that chute down due east of Gouyave (near the Dougaldston Estate). While the first is usually overrun by cruise-ship passengers, a second 40-foot cascade ends in a gorgeous (and quieter) pool on the outskirts of a lush nutmeg plantation about 20 minutes upriver.

Photo by CalabashHotel

Heaven and Earth Spa

Calabash Hotel, L'Anse Aux Épines, St George Parish, Grenada; (866) 978-6194; www.calabashhotel.com

While most high-end Grenada resorts do boast spas of their own, the new Heaven and Earth at the Calabash Hotel is the only one to combine a superb alfresco setting—on a raised wooden terrace with glorious sea views—with signature massages based on Grenadian clove, ginger, and nutmeg. Time your treatment around a yacht-spotting lunch at the resort's waterfront Jefferson Beach Bar to create a great afternoon out.

Where to Eat and Drink

Photo by Dylan York

Deyna's Tasty Foods

Melville Street, St George's; (473) 440-6795

Ask a local where to sample the national Grenadian dish known as Oil Down (a stew of fish, meat, coconut oil, and breadfruit) and they'll point you to this no-frills local favorite in downtown St. George's. It'll make a hearty lunch, especially if you pair it with an another "tasty" Dayna specialty: manicou (a gamey, local opossum).

Photo by breakawayguy

Nutmeg

The Carenage, St George's; (473) 440-2539

For lunch with prime views of St. George's stunning harbor (pictured), head to this no-fuss terrace restaurant on the Carenage. It's an excellent spot to try local lambi (conch) roti and creamy callaloo soup and its unhurried atmosphere and wafting sea breezes may tempt you to stay all afternoon.

Photo by Pigsterz

Boots Cuisine

Grand Anse Valley Road, Woodlands; (473) 444-2151; www.bootscuisine.com

This casual eatery is as close as it gets to homespun Caribbean dining, given it's set on Boots and Ruby McSween's own residential veranda. The effect lends itself to convivial at-home dining, albeit with a chalkboard menu that changes daily, based on what's fresh. Start the evening with a Big Daddy—the McSween's white-rum punch mixed with lime and bitters—and save room for an only-in-Grenada dessert of nutmeg ice cream. Low-key atmosphere notwithstanding, you do need to reserve ahead; consider it an RSVP to a friend's dinner party.

Photo by sandpiper38

River Antoine Rum Distillery

River Antoine, St Patrick's Parish; (473) 442-7109; $2

The Caribbean's oldest continuously operating distillery lies in Grenada's northeastern reaches and still makes rum using 18th-century techniques. It's a rustic outfit with daily tours that include visions of sugar cane being crushed by a traditional water-wheel-powered mill. The namesake Rivers brand is a total knockout that, at 150-proof alcohol, is too flammable to bring home by plane. Stick a bottle of the estate's similarly boozy 138-proof version into your suitcase instead.

Photo by P&H

Gouyave Fish Fridays

Gouyave, St John's Parish

Possibly the best local fare is served up on Friday nights from a clutch of barbecue shacks that take over the main drag of the fishing village of Gouyave, midway up the Caribbean side of the island. The result is a festive atmosphere, with jerked marlin, fry jacks, lobster, conch, and snapper on offer; tons of cheap beer and rum punch to wash it all down; and great live music to boot. It's one street party you won't want to miss.

Where to Stay

Photo by kugelfish

Laluna

Morne Rouge Bay, St George's; (866) 452-5862; www.laluna.com; From $775/night in high-season

A rare find in the Caribbean, this boho-chic beach resort was designed by one of Georgio Armani's architects, sports exotic fertility statues throughout, and boasts past guests like Jerry Hall and Kate Moss. Its 16 colorful cottages come with private plunge pools, large decks with teak daybeds, and outdoor showers, plus access to daily beachfront yoga classes and a superb new Balinese spa.

Photo by a truong

LaSource

Pink Gin Beach, St George's; (888) 527-0044; www.theamazingholiday.com; All-inclusive rates from $450 per person/night in high season

This luxury all-inclusive beach resort features above-average perks like short daily spa treatments, one-tank dives, archery and fencing lessons, and even top-shelf liquor in its rates. Its 100 West Indian–styled rooms are done up with four-poster beds, cantilevered wooden shutters, and private garden or seaview balconies but, interestingly, no TVs whatsoever.

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