Monday, January 24, 2011

Buff Bay

Some consider the town centre of Buff Bay, a small seaside community on Jamaica's north-east coast, to be one of the best laid-out towns on the island. Within the town there are a number of modest representations of 19th century architecture including the interesting St George's parish church on the seaward side of town. The Buff Bay river and Spanish river valleys inland from the town make up one of the most fertile agricultural regions on the island, cultivated diligently by hundreds of small coffee and banana farmers. For travellers heading west, Buff Bay marks the first of a series of small picturesque bays ideal for surfing and fishing.
Local Flavour
The Anglican church in Buff Bay is called the St George's parish church, a relic from the time when Buff Bay was the capital of the similarly named parish. The parish of St George no longer exists, split into today's parishes of St Mary and Portland, but the church remains, lording it over the oceanfront with its cut-stone clock tower and belfry.
Famous For
About a mile east of Buff Bay is the small community of Blueberry Hill, perhaps named for the Fats Domino hit song of the mid-1900s! The thrills of Blueberry Hill, however, are not hard to miss - along the main north coast highway is a lone blue and white bamboo hut with spicy jerk smoke pouring from the roof. This is the famous Blueberry Hill Jerk Centre, a popular stop for travellers and a favourite local hangout. Blueberry Hill specializes in jerk pork and jerk chicken, but during the appropriate season, ask for of their delicious conch stew, some say it's the best in Jamaica!
Don't Miss
Crystal Springs, a few kilometres from the Buff Bay town centre, is a private botanical garden and recreation site. The entire site is open to the public, however, with prior reservations and for a small admission fee. Popular with Jamaicans for group events such as picnics and weddings on the rolling lawns, or amidst the acres of well-manicured gardens, Crystal Springs is also "kid-friendly", with a fish pond, a small river and marked trails running through the forest. For the keen ornithologist as well as the amateur bird watcher, there are many species of exotic tropical birds in and around the area. Look out for Jamaican Doctor birds (hummingbirds) flitting in and out of flower beds! Across from the Anglican church is the Pacesetters Cafeteria, a fixture in the Buff Bay landscape for many years. Pacesetters serves hearty Jamaican meals, natural juices and hot Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. It's the ideal place to catch up on community gossip, and to meet new and old friends as the restaurant hosts a constant stream of Portlanders.

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