My mother lives in a Pink House, the house that we built for her mother, my grandmother, who we called Muzzy. It’s one of the first cottages we built at Hermitage, in the gingerbread style of local Nevis chattel houses, celebrating Caribbean life. Over the years other buildings and chocolate box style houses sprung up, as our home grew into a hotel, built with careful planning and happy accidents.
The names of our cottages are the titles of stories that the houses tell. The Blue House was built as an exact replica of a colonial West Indian house that has given way to time and weather and now exists only in the example we have preserved. The Pasture House once lived in a pasture nearby and was relocated on the back of Bedford flatbed truck. The Goosepen was in fact where we once kept geese, and the White House became the White House because my parents could not agree on a colour.
“The World comes to our door,” my mother always said, over the years she met so many people of note and of fame and the guest list grew. So too did the gardens she planted, the menus she planned and the family she started. Now we are three generations in what is less like a business and more like a way of life. And life is a celebration when new friends come by for afternoon tea or garden parties, some with a fiddle, some with a fife, some with just a smile; all with an open heart. There is something about the Hermitage that calls out to people. Of course it is not for everybody, but the right people keep on finding us.
My mother does not leave the Pink House anymore, she is not well. In the advanced stages of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, her eyes have dimmed and she stays in her bed. While the world comes to us, sometimes sadness comes to, but still she is remembered when musicians come to play for her in the colorful little house, built for my grandmother.