Antigua Stories and Tips

The Dockyard Grounds

One of the guard houses Photo, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda

The grounds of Nelson's Dockyard appears to be an actual museum all by itself. To think that all of the buildings I pass by were standing there for hundreds of years, with only slight restoration attempts made, brings about a sense of awe. It's as if I've been mentally transported to the era which has shaped Antiguan into what it is today.

On entering the site, I walked through a narrow entryway, flanked by a large brick and mortar building on one side, and a craggy cliff face on the other. In some parts, the cliff face was covered with overhanging vegetation, brittle and dry from the ongoing drought which was taking its toll on the island.

The entrance to the Dockyard is flanked by two guardhouses which were built in 1778. A wooden gate once stood between them, and this gate now resides in the Dockyard Museum. These guardhouses once served as a form of security for the dockyard, and the enforcers were gorverned by a long list of rules, which is also being exhibited in the musuem.

After passing the guardhouses, I noticed many tall, black Victorian styled streetlamps lining the various paths throughout the grounds. These stand testament to the heavy British influence on the twin island state.

Several steel cannons, some real and others faux, are placed all about the lawn and small notice boards stand nearby, offering various tidbits of information on the cannons and other objects. A miniature imitation cannon on wheels was even parked in a large hollow within a rocky ridge, as a reminder that the entire dockyard was once a fully operational fortress manned by soldiers.

The green carpet of lawn is only interrupted by random small patches of flowers and shrubs, which are obviously pruned and cared for my a skilled gardener. All of the vegetation on display are found all around Antigua, and the flowers being in full bloom added an aesthetic quality to the property.

The gardens and pathways were formed around several buildings, which served various purposes back in the day. The red bricks used in the construction of said buildings, reminded me that they were built for withstanding attacks from foreign nations.

Throughout the dockyard, many different maritime artifacts are scattered about, but one in particular grabbed my attention. A massive black ship's anchor was laid to rest on the ground near one of the buildings, and its sheer size helped me to get a better idea of how enormous those battle ships must have been! To think how the ships were built in an age without even half of the equipment we have at hand today was mindblowing.

To get up close and personal with the history of the Caribbean Sea, all you need to do is to take a stroll about the grounds of Nelson's Dockyard. Pieces of the past lie all around for you to behold, and it's an experience I won't forget anytime soon.

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