Appleton Estate is located in the Nassau Valley of St. Elizabeth on 11,000 acres of land on which the sugar cane is grown and harvested to make the rum. There is documented history of rum being produced at Appleton as early as 1749. We enjoyed an interesting tour during which we learned the differences between how the rum was made in the past and how it is made today. Winsome and Suzie showed their skill at operating the old press that was used to extract the sweet cane juice which was then used to make the rum – we got to drink the lovely fresh cane juice that they squeezed out. The tour ended with a visit to the tasting room where we were able to taste several of the various liquors & liquers which they produce. There are a number of excellent rums produced under the Appleton banner, including 21 & 30 year old rums. There is a rumour that Appleton is planning to release a special rum in a very limited quantity to celebrate Jamaica’s 50 years of independence in August of this year. No price has been disclosed but we understand that it will be extremely expensive!
During our tour we had learned that rum evoparates at 6% per year from the storage barrels, meaning that only 9.18L of the origional 195L would remain in a barrel stored 50 years ago!
Winsome & Suzie “jucing” the sugar cane.
After leaving Appleton, we headed to YS Falls about thirty minutes away. YS Falls are a collection of seven tiered cascading falls many of which end in natural pools suitable for swimming. In addition to swimming, YS Falls offers canopy rides, tubing and ropes from which you can swing into one of the many pools. John did the canopy rides and I photographed him gliding through the trees as proof of the event.
After we left YS, we headed to Breezes Resort in Falmouth. Breezes is an all inclusive resort where Winsome’s cousin, Richard Bourke, is the General Manager & where we had stayed before. We were happy to be returning as the resort has a great beach – we had a great stay and enjoyed many fine meals.
On the Thursday we woke up to pouring rain but it held up, mid morning, JUST long enough for us to go rafting on the Martha Brae River which was a wonderful experience. We spent a relaxing hour on the river being guided by captains Frank and John. Our captain, Frank, has been doing this for twenty eight years. If you wish you can stop to swim or buy Jamaican crafts from the vendors on the river bank. Winsome tried her hand at guiding our raft downriver and after a few minutes was doing a great job. Rafting is a truly Jamaican experience that must be experienced if you are visiting the Island. The Martha Brae River is located in Falmouth, and is one of many locations that offers river rafting in Jamaica. It is about twenty miles from Montego Bay and forty miles from Ocho Rios. The name, Martha Brae, is a corruption of the Spanish name for the river, the Rio Mateberion. An alternative history of the name is that it comes from the legend of Martha Brae, a Taino witch who was tortured by Spanish settlers until she divulged the location of a stash of gold hidden in a cave along the path of the river. After divulging the location of the gold she changed the course of the river, killing the Spanish and blocking up the cave, where the gold is hidden to this day. There are about eighty raft captains who guide their thirty foot bamboo rafts down a three mile stretch of the river. The captains make their own rafts which only lasts up to six months before they have to be replaced. Once the captains have completed a run down the river their rafts are hauled back up the river on a trailer. On other rivers in Jamaica, the rafts are pulled back up the river by youngsters hoping for a chance to be a captain one day. During the plantation era the river was used as a vital artery, connecting the sugar estates in Trelawny to the port town of Falmouth. Bamboo rafts were used to float sugar and other crops to the harbour before being loaded on to ships bound for Europe.
Thanks to Richard that evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Breezes Japanese restaurant, Munasan.
On Friday morning we went into Montego Bay & stopped off to enjoy some wonderful Jerk Pork at Scotchies before returning to the hotel.
That afternoon, after two days at Breezes, John & Suzie left to return to reality in Grand Cayman. We greatly enjoyed touring with them and missed them after they left. That night Richard’s Dad (Winsome’s, Uncle Paul) and his wife, Yvonne, joined Richard and us for dinner at Casablanca, one of the speciality restaurants at our hotel, and we had a wonderful evening.
Saturday morning was beautiful and sunny so we planned to spend the day relaxing on the beach but by early afternoon the rain came down. In the afternoon, Richard kindly took us to visit and see his Dad’s & Yvonne’s house in Duncans. That night we enjoyed a delicious Jamaican buffet dinner at the hotel – oxtail, curry goat, bammy, festival, plantain, etc. Yum, yum!
Sunday morning was again another beautiful sunny morning but once again by noon the rain came down. Although it was Richard’s day off he most generously drove all the way from Ocho Rios to Trelawny to pick us up & take us to Carol’s & his lovely home at, Jewel Dunn’s River. Carol, Richard’s wife, is General Manager of this nice hotel & they have a lovely home on the property. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and had a wonderful afternoon with family & friends. Yvonne & Uncle Paul kindly drove us back to our hotel in the evening.
The jerk chicken at the Seashell Bar & Grill by the Breezes pool was great & most days we chose to have jerk chicken & patties there for lunch.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Breezes, Trelawny & wondering what changes will occur when the new owners take over to do renovations at the end of May.
On Monday, the 30th, we sadly bid farewell to Jamaica and returned home to Markham.