Zickie and I weren't sure what to expect on our recent Caribbean getaway to Grenada. Yes, we thought there would be pretty beaches and I'd been told the people were very friendly, but beyond that, this tropical island was something of a mystery. So, we read guidebooks and blog posts in preparation. One thing I (Laura) took note of? In or nearby the capital city, St. George's, you'll find impressive forts. According to source, Fort Frederick has been the best preserved and was well worth a visit. So we drove up some winding Grenadian roads (getting lost a time or two) to Richmond Hill, and reached the fort's parking lot. A friendly lady at the ticket office greeted us, and charged a very modest entrance fee. We climbed up some steep steps, and looked out on this:
(The view from Ft. Frederick, Grenada. Photo by Zickie Allgrove.)
"Ahhhh," we sighed. So this is why people visit the fort! Down below we spotted St. George's with its historic Georgian buildings and beautiful harbor, where we'd just eaten lunch. Further out at sea, we saw ships sailing close to the horizon.
(Information on the fort. Photo by Laura Albritton.)
We read a bit of information about this massive stone structure. It turns out that Fort Frederick was "one of the few forts in the world which has never fired a shot in anger." Another curious fact? This fort, like certain others, was built by the French, not the English. In 1779 the French won possession of Grenada from the English, and to secure their dominance of this once-British corner of the West Indies, they began constructing massive forts. At one time there were a total of four forts on Richmond Hill, Ft. Frederick, where we were, Ft. Lucas, Ft. Mathew, and Ft. Adolphus. It's hard to believe that the French would build that many fortresses on a single hill on a rather small island. This just shows how high the stakes were in the European battle for territory in the Caribbean. Yet, as the sign above informed us, a mere four years later the French were out, and the British back in.
Up high on Richmond Hill, the wind blew as we strolled the grounds. From every side, the views looked stunning.
(The surrounding hills. Photo by Laura Albritton.)
This huge structure, built for the purpose of defending the French claim, felt so peaceful. Only two other travelers wandered around and took in the sights of the thick stone walls. Another interesting thing we discovered, from reading an informational plaque? Fort Frederick is a backward facing fort! Yes, the gun ports faced inland, instead of toward the sea. The French designed Fort Frederick that way, because they themselves used an inland attack strategy to wrest Grenada away from the British. Their situation high on Richmond Hill gave the French an astounding 360 view that stretched all the way to the shore and far inland, across the island.
(The impressive thick walls. Photo by Zickie Allgrove.)
That afternoon, clouds rolled by quickly overhead, leaving the sun to come out and warm our faces. From this height you could truly appreciate how beautiful and how vibrantly green Grenada is.
(Another gorgeous view. Photo by Laura Albritton.)
We had a seat and took a moment to absorb the beauty of the sea and appreciate the refreshing breezes. Finally, it was time to go. But the Island Runaways team felt so glad we'd taken time off from the beach to explore a few of Grenada's sights, from St. George's Carenage to the vistas from Fort Frederick. While we love the ocean and enjoy lounging on the sand, once again, we were reminded of the cultural and historical riches you can find in the Caribbean.
(So long, Ft. Frederick. Photo by Laura Albritton.)