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Daily Destination: Grenada

Christy Karras
October 25, 2013

Grenada is a country both small and (mostly) sweet. Many Americans vaguely remember it as the site of an American invasion on Oct. 25, 1983, to quell a Marxist coup d’etat, but things have settled down considerably since then. In this tiny Caribbean nation, Amerindian, African and European traditions blend to produce a culture as rich and complex as its signature export: nutmeg.

Not many things are a big deal in this country of just 110,000 people, but nutmeg is so important to islanders that it’s represented on the national flag. Hurricane Ivan destroyed 82 percent of Grenada's nutmeg trees in 2004, but by 2012 production had bounced back enough to prompt the first-ever Grenada Nutmeg Festival.

Nutmeg is not all Grenada has going for it. You can take a walk along streets flanked by bright pastel houses in the capital city, St. Georges. Or lounge on white sands and sip rum under lemon and almond trees at cozy family-run hotels, like the freshly renovated Spice Island Beach Resort, while staring at the peacock-colored Caribbean. Beyond the beach, bicycle tires whirl underwater at the Caribbean’s first underwater sculpture park. Installations like 2012’s ‘Vicissitudes’ – a circle of 28 children – divert crowds from natural dive sites and create vital artificial reefs.

If nutmeg isn’t sweet enough for you, there’s the Grenada Chocolate Factory, taking advantage of locally grown cocoa. And if your tastes run more to the spicy, try the River Antoine Estate distillery, which uses sustainable 17th-century methods (and the Western Hemisphere's oldest working water wheel) to produce throat-scorching 150-proof cachaça-style rum.