Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Martinique, Rum!

Martinique was just begging to be explored!
We have never ventured into the interior of the island, always sticking to the anchorages along the west coast or Fort Du France Bay so we were looking forward to renting a car for a drive north along the east-coast of the island.  Our friends John and Linda (S/V Kool Kat) joined us for our adventure.  Driving on Martinique is wonderful!  The roads are beautifully maintained, they drive on the right and there are frequent informational and directional signs to guide you.

 Our destination was Habitation Clement, a 16 acre historical site on the grounds of the original Clement Rum Distillery.  Clement rum is currently made a few kilometers from here at a new facility.

 The drive through the palms at the entrance to Habitation Clement.

 Fields of sugar cane backed by a banana grove.

 The old distillery houses the Rhums Clement interpretation center.  Here you can see how rum was made throughout the centuries. 

 Barrel scale.

Barrel room.

 Workers checking the barrels.

In this small building called the Bursar's House, you can view a video commemorating the meeting of U.S. President George Bush and French President Francois Mitterrand on March 14, 1991.  They met at Habitation Clement after the first Gulf War.  There are pictures of the presidential helicopters landing in the cane field we showed you previously, all the cane cleared away to create a landing pad.

 The 18th century home of the Clement family, Creole House.
Linda and Wendy fell in love with the house and would have moved in right away.  There are large windows to let in the breeze, beautiful antique furnishings and an airy, tropical feel that was captivating.  It made you want to make a Ti Punch and retire to the veranda!

 Within the grounds are several buildings that the Clement Foundation uses to showcase art.  The exhibitions change and charitable fundraising events are held on the grounds.

Linda, Wendy and John taking a cool break in the gazebo.

 Tour over.  It's time to taste!

 Now that's a happy man!

The final selection for purchase was a bottle of Clement Rhum Vieux X.O.
It is a blend of some of the more prestigious aged rums from
1952 (the year Jim was born),
1970 (the year Jim graduated from high school) and
1976 (the year Jim and Wendy met).
How could we not take a bottle with us!

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