Why Grenada? Since JetBlue added daily direct flights from New York last year, getting to the island (it’s the tiny island northeast of Venezuela; Granada is the Andalusian city. Gren-eh-dah, Gren-ah-dah; it’s the former) is beyond simple. (There are also directs from London, Toronto, and Miami.) It’s spectacularly, naturally beautiful, with white-sand beaches and stunning waterfalls and—befitting a place known as the Spice Isle of the Caribbean—an abundance of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. And the recent hurricanes, which decimated much of the Caribbean, somehow spared the island entirely.
My main reasons for heading there, though? The freezing season of the Northeast U.S. was quickly approaching, and my family and I needed a warm-weather stoke to preserve what already seemed like long, long-ago summer vibes. My kids screamed for a pool and a beach, in that order. And nobody else I knew had ever been.
Having spent some decent time in Jamaica—a place the whole family has grown to love—we wanted something similar, yet different. We found it at Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club, nestled in the cliffs above the island’s best beach, Grand Anse, and a short drive from the island’s capital and largest city, St. George (don’t worry—only about 30,000 people live in St. George, and it feels like far fewer). Mount Cinnamon has a lively restaurant specializing in Caribbean cuisine, most of it the freshly caught kind; the aforementioned pool is perfect for a sort of aqua aperitif before a five-minute tree-lined stroll down to the cabana club and the Grand Anse beach. There’s tennis, yoga, a spa, sailing, paddleboarding, fishing, and more if you want it—and an excellent casual restaurant with an array of tropical drinks if you don’t.
Our days were spent enjoying al fresco breakfasts on the restaurant’s balcony (which like most of Mount Cinnamon’s guest rooms and villas, overlooks the beach and St. George beyond it) with a varying array of brightly colored tropical songbirds often joining us, followed by a quick dip in the pool before the stroll down to Grand Anse for lunch, maybe a nap on the enormous chaises, and a lot of beach time. Dinners at Mount Cinnamon, sometimes accompanied by just the right kind of local-vibe entertainment, again focus on local seafood and include some rotating local favorites like callaloo soup. Once a week, there’s a rousing and raging after-dinner bonfire back down on the beach, with live music, which is a must.
A Two Bed Garden Suite
The other musts: A day trip to Annandale Falls, an hour or so drive through St. George and beyond, where, after a very short hike, you’re left largely alone to swim in the (very welcome) cold water and, if you’re brave, take a medium-sized plunge from a cliff or—if you’re crazy—take a giant leap for mankind off a much taller ledge. And, by my reckoning, no visit to the area is complete without a trip aboard Wally’s glass-bottomed boat. Who is Wally? What’s his last name? No idea. But ask the folks at Mount Cinnamon—or probably anybody in town—to line you up. Wally can take you out into St. George’s bay for an hour or two, show you an abundance of tropical fish, eels, coral formations, and the like through the glass bottom of his boat, and regale you with wild tales of the island’s wooly history. He can anchor in a picturesque cove while you snorkel or swim for as long as you like. All of which is quite wonderful. But Wally can also reach into the cooler he keeps under a bench and pull out an unmarked bottle of brightly colored something or other and serve you up a rum punch that puts the emphasis on “punch.” My wife demanded that he spill the secret recipe, and so voila:
Wally’s Rum Punch
1½ cups grapefruit juice, preferably pink
1½ cups pineapple juice
1¾ cups dark rum (the Holy Grail on this is River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum—but it’s so powerful that it’s classified as a combustible liquid and is not allowed on planes, so just do your best)
⅓ cup grenadine (which, no, has nothing to do with Grenada)
Infuse with lemongrass and dry bay leaf and a handful of cloves overnight.
To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses and—this is key—grate fresh nutmeg on top.
Say hi to Wally for me.