Places like Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbor, Fort George on Monk's Hill, Shirley Heights, Fort Barrington, and Betty's Hope are all worth a visit. The capital of St. John's dates back to the 17th Century and is one of the Caribbean's oldest trading ports.
Antigua was claimed for the British Crown in 1632 when a landing party came from nearby St. Kitts. It remained a colony of Great Britain until 1967 when it, along with sister island, Barbuda, became an Associate State. Complete independence from England came for Antiqua and Barbuda on November 1, 1981.
To begin your visit with history, go into St. John's where you can see the Old Court House that was constructed in 1747. This stone edifice houses the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda which is where I met Desmond Nicholson, the man who inspired my novel Secrets by the Sea.
Using many of Nicholson's findings and artifacts, the museum depicts island history beginning 10,000 years ago. The museum is located on Long and Market Streets, near where cruise ships dock at Heritage and Redcliffe Quay.
So, if you are ever on a cruise ship that docks in Antigua, try to visit this very special museum. You'll be happy to discover an island that is much more than beaches.
Mary Montague Sikes