Habitation Clément, Martinique

Habitation Clément, Martiniquea guest post by author Laura Albritton

If you like rum – no, make that love rum – and lush, green Caribbean islands with soft sand beaches, it’s worth sailing or flying into the French Antillean paradise of Martinique. Connoisseurs know that Martinican rum ranks among the best; one of my favorites, the award-winning Rhum Clément, will make your taste buds sing.

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Clément Rhum Agricole

Photo Credit: Zickie Allgrove

My husband, daughter, and I recently made the pilgrimage to the historic Habitation Clément estate, in Le François on the eastern side of this gorgeous tropical island. Fortunately, they offer a self-guided audio tour in English.

This isn’t just a little rum factory: you’ve got a veritable Garden of Eden with scarlet, purple, and hot pink flowers and beautiful trees to wander through. (The audio tells you what you’re seeing.)

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A vista of the estate grounds

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A distillery tank at Habitation Clément

Photo Credits: Zickie Allgrove

Then there’s the “maison de maître” or the master’s house, where the land-owning family once dwelled. Although full of West Indian antiques, hand-crafted in the islands, the house itself is endearingly homey rather than grand.

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The maison de maître or master’s house

Photo Credit: Zickie Allgrove

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An antique West Indian bed inside the maison de maître

Photo Credit: Laura Albritton

My mechanically-minded husband really dug the vintage factory with its steam powered equipment, while I oohed and ahhed in their two art galleries, including Fondation Clément, with world-class paintings and sculpture.

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Clement Wheel – antique distillery equipment

Photo Credit: Zickie Allgrove

But the real Rum Therapy reward was saved ‘til last – the tasting room. Here the staff wasn’t stingy with samples – even of the expensive stuff. We had to try the 10 year-old Rhum Agricole, a beautifully golden sipping rum.

Unlike most rum, which is produced from molasses, rhum agricole is made using freshly-pressed sugarcane juice. The result: sublimely delicious. During our tour I discovered that Homère Clément, the Martinican gentleman who bought the property in 1887, is credited with developing this unusually fine type of tipple.

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Vintage rum barrels inside a storeroom

Photo Credit: Zickie Allgrove

In the tasting room, there’s also fiery white rum to a make ‘Ti Punch (the traditional cocktail with squeezed lime and sugar). And finally, flavored punches that you can drink without mixing: Punch Coco with coconut, Punch Passion with passion fruit, and even Punch Café with a hint of coffee.

After tasting these delicious elixirs, of course I bought a few bottles. Although we weren’t lounging on the beach with the Caribbean lapping at our toes, Habitation Clément was definitely one of our favorite stops on enchanting Martinique.

A special thanks to Laura Albritton for sharing some of her wonderful Martinique travel experiences with us. Laura writes about travel, books, and art for publications like The Miami Herald, Sculpture magazine, Harvard Review, and The Florida Keys Weekly. Check out her new guidebook Miami for Families on her website and her new blog, Island Runaways.

Appleton Rum Factory Tour, Jamaica

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Deep within the beautiful Jamaican countryside lies Appleton Estate, home of the family of wonderful Appleton rums
. During our recent trip to Jamaica, we made the long trip from Negril through the lush fields of Nassau Valley, to take a tour and learn more about Appleton rums.

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During the drive to Appleton, we passed by fields and fields of sugarcane, as well as mangoes, bananas, breadfruit and peanuts.

The estate itself sits on a beautiful site in lush Nassau Valley, close to the Black River.

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We arrived at Appleton, were greeted by the friendly staff, paid our tour fee ($25 per person) and ushered into the bar, where we were offered a rum punch.

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While sipping the tasty punch, we watched a brief video on the history of Appleton Estate and it’s rum.

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Our tour guide then led us outside then to the estate grounds, where we were shown how donkeys were used to help squeeze the sugar cane and many other historical artifacts that have now been replaced with modern technology and processes.

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We climbed the lookout tower to get a great view of the surrounding estate, countryside and limestone hills that protect the estate.

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The tour moved on to the area where the distilling and aging take place.

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Photography was not permitted in the actual distilling area, but we were able to snap some pictures in the aging area, where the rum is aged and rests for for many years in oak barrels.

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copyright Rum Therapy
After learning about the different distillation processes and examining the aging areas, we had the chance to press our own sugarcane and sample “wet sugar” (molasses) out of a copper pot.

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A few more pictures of the grounds and we headed in to the best part (in our opinion) of the tour – the rum tasting.

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We were given the opportunity, and encouraged, to try all of the rums that are somehow connected in the Appleton Rum Family including Wray & Nephew Overproof and Rum Cream, Coruba, Jamaican Blue Mountain Mist Coffee Liqueur and several Appleton Rums such as V/X and Genesis (white).

Unfortunately,  the wonderful aged rums, Appleton Estate, Appleton 30 and Appleton 50 were not available for sampling. We though about bringing some of the Appleton 50 home and probably would have it we had more room in our suitcase… ;)

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Is the Appleton Rum Factory Tour right for you? The cost of the tour is $25.00 per person (which includes a small complimentary bottle of rum to take with you). We paired the Rum Factory Tour with YS Falls and Floyd’s Pelican Bar, which made it an affordable experience for us. The cost of getting to Appleton can be high from Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril, but if you enjoy rum and would like to learn more about a premium rum manufacturer, the estate it’s produced on and have the opportunity to sample different rums in their portfolio, you will probably really enjoy this tour. We did.

Find Appleton Rum Estate on our Jamaica Map


To see more posts on Jamaica and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Bob Marley Nine Mile Tour, Jamaica

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
Bob Marley


If you’re in Jamaica and you’re a big fan of Bob Marley, you might find it well worth the long, rather expensive trek to Nine Mile, Jamaica to visit the birthplace and resting place of the legendary reggae musician.

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While staying in Runaway Bay during our recent Jamaica trip, we hired a driver to take us to Scotchies to sample what we heard was some of the best jerk on the island. While driving to Scotchies, our driver Rodney asked if we were going to make the trek up to Nine Mile. He proceeded to tell us about the tour and then said for an extra $100, he’d take us up himself.

We’d already looked into taking a tour through our hotel or renting a car and driving up ourselves, and honestly, $100 seemed like a pretty good deal for a private ride there and back so we agreed. It turned out to be a great decision.

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From Scotchies (close to Ocho Rios) it was a little more than an hour and a half drive to Nine Mile. The drive was scenic, passing through several small towns and incredibly lush Jamaican mountainside – a stark contrast from the busy tourist areas and a part of Jamaica that many people don’t get the chance to see.

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Rodney was a good tour guide – full of information about his country, and stopped whenever we wanted to take a picture or just check out the view. We were so glad we didn’t rent a car and try to find Nine Mile on our own. There weren’t many signs and the roads were quite windy and bumpy.

Shortly after arriving in the town of Nine Mile, we pulled up to two massive gates which opened up to let us in and then quickly shut behind us.

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From the parking lot, we walked up to the gift shop to pay our entrance fee (about $19 pp) and made our way up to meet our tour guide.

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Before the tour, we were given the opportunity to enjoy some food or a beverage in the bar and we opted for a specialty Bob Marley shot (we got to keep the shot glasses). Our bartender masterfully layered our glasses with red, yellow and green and then lit them on fire!

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We were instructed to stick a straw in the glass and suck it right down, which we did, and thankfully the flame extinguished itself before ingested!

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Shortly thereafter, we met our tour guide who led us and two others to our first stop – a room containing many of Bob’s awards, including gold and platinum albums, paintings of Bob and a piano he used to play.

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From there, we moved to a stage where we enjoyed some music from local musicians.

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And then through another gate and up to the house where Bob Marley lived…

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It’s requested that shoes are removed prior to entering the house and mausoleum.

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Entrance to Bob’s childhood home

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The room mentioned in Bob’s song “Is This Love”

We’ll be together, with a roof right over our heads,
We’ll share the shelter, of my single bed.

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Mt. Zion Rock or Pillow Rock – a place Bob would sit to read his Bible and get inspiration for his songs. Pillow Rock is mentioned in his song “Talkin’ Blues”.

Cold ground was my bed last night
And rock was my pillow, too.

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Bob was laid to rest inside one of the mausoleums on property along with his guitar. At the request of his mother, his half-brother was laid to rest with Bob.

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All in all, we spent about $172 to drive to Nine Mile and take the tour – which is less than we would have spent on a larger tour. ($100 taxi, $36 entry fee, $26 for two specialty shots, $5 tip for musicians, $5 tip for tour guide)

Although the Nine Mile experience is a bit expensive, we felt the opportunity to see the places  that influenced the reggae legend and learn more about the man who stood for peace, respect and freedom was… priceless.

Find the Bob Marley Mausoleum on our Jamaica Map

To see more posts on Jamaica and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

A Tropical Music Escape with Joe Moorhead

I received an email recently from a lady named Karla with a link to a video  she thought we might be interested in. The fresh island sound caught my attention and I quickly started singing along with the catchy lyrics “It’s a bad day in the islands”, bad day in the islands today, bad day in islands….today.” What the heck? A bad day in the islands? I began to wonder where this musician was going with the lyrics as the video played on and and as I watched, I began to spot some familiar places – Ivan’s, Foxy’s, White Bay and Saba Rock…

I emailed Karla to find out more about the band, the music and the video locations and found out a lot more. Joe Moorhead, who hails from the decidedly un-tropical city of Cleveland, has been around for a while and has amassed some serious fun loving music fans through his very busy tour schedule, his unique – but a bit Jack Johnson-ish sound and his original tropically flavored songs. Sounded like a great story for our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession”  Series, so we sent him some more interview questions.

Check out the video for Bad Day yourself and see what locations you can spot – then read more about Joe Moorhead and his band in our interview below.

1. Can you give us a little background about yourself such as where are you from and when started getting interested in music?
I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  Music has been a part of my life since I can remember.  Listening to music started as a hobby with my Dad sharing the music of his days.  That hobby has followed me all my life.

2. What is your musical background and are there other musicians that have been an inspiration to you? 

Growing up, I took guitar lessons as a teen.  I never looked at the guitar as something I would pursue professionally until I was in my early twenties.  I had written some songs and friends started to push me to record a demo.  After playing a few gigs and recording a demo, I fell in love with the business of music.  I have never looked back since.

Joe

3. Coming from Ohio, where does your island vibe come from? Where do you get the inspiration for your music?

Most people laugh when I tell them I grew up around Cleveland, Ohio as my music portrays “island living”.  I have spent a lot of time in the Caribbean islands and have traveled to island destinations across the world.  There is no place I have found as beautiful as the USVI and BVI.  That is were I truly get inspired and where I write most of the my music.

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4. I love the video for both Bad Day and Ukalayme and see that some of the footage was shot on Jost Van Dyke and possibly Saba Rock?? Can you tell us more about the shoot locations and why you picked them?

Ukalayme was made from footage and pictures I had from years of traveling around the islands.  The “Bad Day” video was a more produced video.  After meeting the film director, Marcus Morelli, we talked about where we would travel to capture the story of the song “Bad Day”.  There was no question that we had to get down to the islands where the story had taken place.  We spent a week traveling the islands on my friend Brian’s boat.  We filmed on St. Thomas, St. John, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, etc.  Everytime we thought it was a “wrap” we found another location that we had to capture.  We really had no plan on exactly where we wanted to film, it all just came together as we bounced around the islands.

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5. Is this a full time gig or do you do something else as well?
I feel very fortunate to say music is my only job.  The old saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is very true for me.  As music pays the bills, it also makes me happier then doing anything else.

6. Can you tell us about the rest of the band?

The band is more then just a group of musicians.  They are all family.  Jonny Morrow, lead guitar, has been my best friend since we were 10 years old.  Tyler Lovell, bass player, has been in the band since it’s start.  Justin Banks, drummer, is the newest member to the band but it feels like he has always been with us.  There is no hierarchy in this band.  Everyone has a voice and we make decisions as a whole on what are next steps are.  On top of that, there isn’t a group of people I would rather live in a bus with.

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7. It looks like you’ve got a pretty extensive tour schedule. How many night a year are you on the road?
Our goal is to tour and spread the music.  We prefer to stay on the road as much as possible.  I couldn’t tell you how many dates we play a year because our tour schedule is always growing.  If we can get a gig we stay on the road.

8. Hopes for the future?
The only thing I can hope for the future is that we have the opportunity to still be playing music together as a band.  My dreams come true everyday I get to wake up and play music.  There isn’t much more I want than that.

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9. What’s your favorite tropical destination and rum drink, or rum?
If I could be anywhere on this planet, it is Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, BVI, drinking a “pain killer” made with Pusser’s Rum.

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10. What islands are on your must see list?
There is a group of British islands called Tristan Da Cunha.  They are considered the most remote islands in the world.  I would love to sail to them someday.  I guess the thought of that type of adventure is what intrigues me so much.

11. Is there anything else you’d like to let us know about you or your music?
We (the band) would just like to thank all our fans, friends, family, and Rum Therapy for the support. We all feel very lucky to have the opportunity to play music for a living.  We hope everyone enjoys our new album, Tides Are Rising, and the videos that we will be releasing this year.  Make sure to check out www.JoeMoorhead.com to see when we will be in a town near you.


Pictures courtesy of joemoorhead.com

Free download link for “Sunshine Driving”

Follow Joe on Facebook

Check out the tour schedule here

 

The video for Ukalayme by Joe Moorhead- recognize any of these spots?

Check out other posts in our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” series