The Barbados National Trust is dedicated to the preservation of the treasures of Barbados - historic, architectural and natural. You'll want to see all them all.
One of the oldest is St. Nicholas Abbey, built by early planters in the hills of St. Peter soon after Barbados was settled in 1627. Villa Nova, built of coral stone, is another fine example of a plantation great house. It was once the home of British prime minister Sir Anthony Eden.
Bridgetown Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western hemisphere - it should not be missed. The synagogue, a winner of the American Express Preservation Award, was built in 1654 and has recently been restored. The Barbados Museum, in a 19th century garrison, is home to a fine collection of Barbadian history.
The only complete sugar windmill in the Caribbean is the 17th century Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill. It was the recipient of a grant from the World Monuments Watch Fund, which was established to identify and help preserve the world's most important and endangered cultural landmarks. At Welchman Hall Gully, you can see how Barbados appeared to the first settlers. It boasts over 200 species of tropical plants, including clove, nutmeg, banana and fig in a cool oasis rimmed with cliffs.
Mt. Hillaby is the highest point of the island, where the air is fresh and noticeably clean. The surrounding hillsides sweep down majestically to the East Coast below. Highland Outdoor Tours is located nearby, and offers a selection of area tours including traveling on a tractor-drawn jitney, riding a horse and walking.
The St. James Parish Church above Holetown is not in The Heritage Passport but is well worth a visit. Parts of the present church date from 1660. The date of the round tower with its spiral staircase is unknown, but the baptismal font is dated 1684, and the King William III bell,1696. The recent restoration has preserved the feeling of antiquity throughout the property.
The colorful "chattel" or movable houses seen about the island were standard housing for plantation workers after emancipation. Today their historical value is recognized and many are being restored.
The Barbados National Trust opens many of their properties to you at reduced rates with the "Heritage Passport". Call 246-436-9033 for information.