Romanticized plantation history comes into its own at ROSE HALL, site of the infamous Rose Hall Great House, the inspiration for Jamaica’s best-loved piece of folklore. Built between 1770 and 1780 by planter and parish custos (mayor) John Palmer, the dazzling white stone structure, surrounded by gardens and a swan-filled pond, is difficult to miss. The mechanical 45-minute tours (by candlelight after 6pm) make much of the embellished legend of Annie Palmer, the “White Witch of Rose Hall”; starting in the gift shop, you gasp at blurred photos sent in by previous visitors that supposedly show the face of an unknown woman in the mirror or a bat in a chandelier, and gawp at Annie’s bedroom, symbolically redecorated in shades of red, and the terrace from which she allegedly pushed a maid to her death. As the house was unoccupied and widely looted during the nineteenth century, almost all of its current contents have been transported from other great houses or from overseas. The silk wallpaper and magnificent mahogany staircase are attractive (if not from the right period), and the fake food laid out on the dining table adds a touch of kitsch.

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