Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
A scenic ride up the Jamaican mountain took us past lush native greenery to the Greenwood Great House in St. James, Jamaica. About 20 km from Montego Bay and 10 km from the Georgian town of Falmouth, this national monument is full of treasures. Once you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time to discover musical instruments, a library of books dating back to 1697, oil paintings, and precious china in this elegant nineteenth century setting.
An alternative to visiting the Rose Hall mansion Montego Bay is known for, the Greenwood Great House lacks the famed ghost sightings but boasts a history dating back over 200 years. The estate is very well preserved, noted for surviving the slave rebellion of Christmas 1831. Located in the parish of Saint James in a district called Greenwood, it is home to beautiful gardens and a breathtaking view of the ocean from the balcony.
Inside, you’ll come across nineteenth century antiques like the love seat (so legs don’t touch during courting) and a sundial (to tell time) in addition to musical instruments like polyphones, a harp, and a barrel organ which can still play familiar old-age tunes.
Historically, Falmouth was the main port for importing sugar and slaves. The land belonged to the very wealthy Hersey Barrett, cousin of English poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, who settled in Jamaica in 1655. He owned over 80,000 acres of land and 2,000 slaves. The Greenwood Great House was built from 1780 to 1800 and was used mostly for entertainment by the owners.
The house is still owned and occupied by the family. Bob and Ann Betton opened the museum to the public in 1976. Guided tours are available so you can explore the different rooms and finish your visit with a refreshment in The Level Crossing pub. The House is open from 9am-6pm daily, when the owners leave so guided tours can take place.
A visit to the Greenwood Great House makes for a great Montego Bay shore excursion or excursion from the Falmouth cruise port and surrounding hotels. There are various sightseeing tours to choose from.
The Greenwood Great House has received recognition by the National Association of Returning Residents, the Berger Paints Heritage in Architecture award, and has a Musgrave medal for excellence in heritage preservation.
This excursion is part of the Cuba Cruise itinerary. Subject to change. This may cost extra.*