Coastal development becomes more sporadic between Rose Hall and the diminutive village of GREENWOOD. Bar an enormous Iberostar complex and the odd villa development, the coast road passes scrubby mangrove swamps and opens up to a magnificent sea view. At Greenwood’s eastern edge, some enterprising locals have landscaped a pretty little slip of white sand and clear water known as Citizens Beach. It’s a lovely, breezy spot for a drink or a snack, particularly on Sundays when local families come down, and it occasionally serves as a venue for sound-system jams, too.
Greenwood Great House
Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, the classy stonework of Greenwood Great House is deservedly declared a National Heritage site and remains one of the best historical sights on the island. Surrounded by luscious gardens, it has none of the flashy allure of Rose Hall, but is of far more interest, retaining most of its original contents as well as a wonderfully listless, frozen-in-time eighteenth-century ambience. Built in 1790 by relatives of the Barrett family of Wimpole Street fame, the house contains the owners’ original library and an eclectic collection of ancient musical instruments, a court jester’s chair and custom-made Wedgwood china. The Barretts’ seventy-foot veranda commands a panorama of the sea unbroken by land, and you really can see the curvature of the earth. The tour, which ends at a bar in the original kitchen, is more enjoyable than the breakneck run around Rose Hall. Though the Barretts owned 84,000 acres hereabouts, worked by some 2000 Africans, there’s little information on the less savoury realities of the plantation era other than a cursory reference to a man-trap used to catch runaways and a leg-iron displayed like an ornament.