As my husband of two days, James, and I boarded the flight to Nevis, I noticed a woman holding a large envelope labeled "Honeymoon Info" standing close to her man. Another young couple in line turned to ask if we had just gotten married. So had they. On the plane, I noticed all the other paired-off people: the 50-ish couple holding hands, the 30-somethings in the first row resting their heads together, another middle-aged duo across the aisle and couples in front of and behind them. I began to wonder if there was some kind of magnetic force pulling people to Nevis two by two.
James had never heard of Nevis before I suggested it. I'd been attracted by its small size (36 square miles) and reputation for being less touristy than some of the more popular Caribbean honeymoon spots. I suggested we book the Romance in Paradise package at the Four Seasons, and in what I took as a good portent for our future life together, James agreed.
The 10-minute drive from the airport offered charming views. More goats and sheep than cars were on the road, and beyond tidy homes and lush fields we caught tantalizing glimpses of sparkling beaches and blue water. The inspiring sight of Nevis Peak was a constant presence; the road, which makes a wide circle around the central mountain, made it seem like we were satellites orbiting a green planet. As we pulled up to the resort, I gave James' hand a squeeze; the "I can't believe we're staying here" look on his face said that I -- I mean we -- had made the right decision.
Our oceanside room was ready with champagne and truffles as perks of the package, and we toasted to wedded bliss. A passing afternoon rain shower sealed the deal -- we figured there was no point in leaving the room ... and didn't emerge until dinnertime.
The next morning at breakfast in the Four Seasons' Neve restaurant, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation taking place close by. One couple was telling another about how they were there to get married on the beach. The second couple offered congratulations and said that they were celebrating their 25th anniversary. James and I looked at each other and joked that maybe there was a Nevisian law that allowed only lovebirds to migrate to the island.
After breakfast we explored the resort -- a little. When I spotted a hammock strung between two palm trees, I grabbed James' hand and made a beeline for it. We climbed in and curled up close. Exploration over.
We found out that it's easy to settle into a perfectly languorous island pace when your days consist of waking up "whenever," drinking Nevisian Smiles by the pool and walking hand in hand on the glorious golden sand of Pinneys Beach. Whatever stress we had left over from all the wedding-and-reception hoopla dissolved after our couples massage, an hour-long session of neck-rubbing, back-kneading and foot-pressing, all while lying next to each other.
The Four Seasons weekly sunset champagne toast for its newlyweds-in-residence gave us the chance to mingle with other honeymooners. The group ranged from a Boston cop and his wife to a pair of dermatologists from North Carolina. And whether the couples chose Nevis because of advice from a travel agent, a Web search or a magazine story, they all agreed that it was a wonderfully romantic place to begin their new life together.
Afterward, James and I went out to the beach for a private dinner at a table on the sand. Candlelight, tropical bouquets and a gourmet meal all presented next to the gentle shhhh of the sea was the dreamiest setting we could imagine. When we returned to our room, the staff had arranged a surprise: Candles lit the way to our bed, which was covered in rose petals.
It wasn't until our fourth day that we even managed to leave the resort. On a tour of the island, we first strolled the quaint historic capital, Charlestown, and then stopped at one of the magnificent inns the island is so famous for. Montpelier Plantation was the childhood home of Nevis' favorite daughter, Fanny Nisbet. In the island's most celebrated romance, Fanny was swept off her feet by the dashing naval officer Horatio Nelson. The future admiral and English lord wed Fanny beneath a tree on the plantation in 1787.
During a candlelit dinner at Montpelier, I was reminded of a quote I'd read at the island's Horatio Nelson museum: "Indeed, until I married her I never knew happiness. And I am morally certain she will continue to make me a happy man for the rest of my days."
Toward the end of our week, we went to The Hermitage, a traditional West Indian cottage-style inn, for lunch. We were met by manager Sean Campbell, who led us to a table on the veranda.
The peripatetic Scotsman chatted with us after we ordered our sandwiches, entertaining us with stories of how different life on Nevis is from all the other places he's called home. He loves living there, he said, but has had an unusually hard time meeting single women. "This is definitely a couples island," he laughed.
The seven-night Romance in Paradise package includes daily breakfast and dinner, a massage for two, unlimited golf and tennis, a snorkeling trip and airport transfers. Rates start at $4,662 in low season ($7,105 high). Contact: 800-332-3442; fourseasons.com
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