Montserrat is a relatively undiscovered isle in the midst of the Eastern Caribbean neighboring Nevis, Martinique, St. Kitts and Antigua. Actually it’s its not quite undiscovered—back in the 1960s the island became a trendy place for discerning, and wealthy families such as the Mars candy bar and JC Penny heirs who established hideaway villas discretely tucked on lush tropical hillsides.
And it was Sir George Martin, a London based music producer, dubbed the fifth Beatle, who established his Air Studios recording facility on the flanks of a mountainside in 1977. In short order, it was a common site on the island to spot rock legends such as Paul McCartney, Luther Van Dross, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Sting, Michael Jackson, The Police, Dire Straits, and many more who came to record, and hang out in Montserrat pubs, walk the beaches and just hang out undisturbed.
The Studios were the initial draw, but the musicians fell in love with the unfettered isle as Montserrat was a rare and refreshing experience for the rockers as the locals never made a fuss over them. Hurricane Hugo destroyed Air Studios in 1989, but today, fortunately those same, rarely found qualities remain intact.
Around the world, its often a destination’s drop dead gorgeous lush tropical scenery that’s the initial draw But it’s inevitably the people who etch the fondest memories and the temptation to return, sooner than later for reprise visit.
Come along and join me on Montserrat as we meet and visit with three of the many most charming and hospitable residents. Cedric Osborne, a seventh generation Montserratian, along with his wife Carol, are proprietors of the historic Olveston House Restaurant and inn. Picture the Manor house in the movie Out of Africa and you’ll have a fitting visual image of Olveston. Intriguingly, Olveston House is owned by the legendary Sir George Martin of Air Studios/Beatles fame.
We’ll then stop in at Watermelon Cottage bed & breakfast and restaurant, owned by consummate world-traveler, Trevor Stevens. Trevor spent decades working for Seabourn cruise lines and during his tenure made more than 12 around the world cruises—already established on the island of Bali, Stevens made an unplanned visit to Montserrat more than 35 years ago—and it was not only love at first sight—he immediately purchased a villa and he’s called the island home ever since.
Listen to the show on the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. A weekly featured Podcast on NPR.ORG Check out this episode