Firefly House, Ocho Rios

Needing to escape the heat and bustle of Kingston town, we set off over the hills, to the cool green mountains of the north coast.  Not to the beach, but a place of serene calmness and spectacular views. Elevated above the coast, and commanding the most wonderful views of the sea, Firefly, the former home of Noel Coward has to be one of my favourite little places.

Noel Coward’s Jamaican Retreat

I called Miss Annette, the lovely Firefly guide, on Friday morning to check if she would be there.  ‘We’re not usually open on Friday’ she said, ‘but Victor will be checking on the property, so if you can be there before 1pm, he will wait for you and give you the tour’.  Ah sweet Jamaica; I can’t imagine getting such a response from the National Trust back home!
We disembark to the deafening sound of chirping insects and a warm welcome from Victor. The beauty of the place is unchallenged by the ongoing much needed renovations. Coward, who is buried in the grounds, had an admirable approach to living – the house is designed around liming and relaxing. Maybe he was more Jamaican than he knew?
I take a seat at Coward’s piano, his desk and armchair, and marvel at the photos of all his famous visitors.  I allow myself a moment to imagine what it must have been like to spend three months each year with friends in this amazing place.

 

Captain Morgan’s Lookout

Finally, we finish the tour at Captain Morgan’s lookout – that’s right the infamous Captain Morgan enjoyed this very spot hundreds of years before Coward acquired it. We take a seat on the shaded terrace and enjoy a drink. Souls replenished, we drive down through the local village with broad grins on our faces and Jamaica in our hearts.