The Capital, Kingstown, is a bright and bustling town, the center of activity for the nation. The town contains 12 small blocks with a variety of shopping locations and a busy dock area, center of commerce for the islands. The Bay Street and Middle Street shops are a must see on any trip to St. Vincent, offering a wide variety of products. The Cobblestone Inn, a popular hotel, is a beautiful old stone building with arches and ivy-covered walls, and is typical of many buildings in Kingstown.
Saturday morning market in Kingstown is shown above. It is comprised of many stalls piled high with morning fruit, brings everyone to town. All manner of fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices from around the country can be found here. The new Kingstown fish market will also tantalize you with its range of Kingfish, Snapper, and Grouper. The downtown area is full of shopping delights well worth an afternoon’s stroll down Bay and Middle streets. You can find merchants offering textiles, arts and crafts of all sorts, cameras, binoculars, Swiss watches, perfumes, crystal and bone china, gold and silver jewellery, Sea Island Cotton, Batik, etc.
Just west of Kingstown, the Botanical Gardens contain a display of trees, blossoms, and plants, including a breadfruit tree descended from the original one brought by Captain Bligh. This Botanical Gardens is the oldest in the western hemisphere, having been established in 1765 as a quarantine for medical plants bound for England’s Kew Gardens. Set among these 20 acres is the last curator’s home, which now houses the small, rather informal but remarkable National Museum.
In the center of Kingstown, the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral is a graceful combination of several European architectures. You can see styles displaying Romanesque arches, Gothic spires and Moorish ornamentation. There are plenty of great architecture to be seen in the churches of Kingstown, as is the case with many of the Grenadine islands as well.
Also there is the Methodist Church, St. George’s Cathedral. In 1790, the Methodist Missionaries purchased an old Roman Catholic Church and the congregation of many freed slaves helped to build the Church which stands there today.
The ruins of Ft. Charlotte overlooks a 600-foot ridge just up the Leeward coast from Kingstown. Good for strategic reasons, this location offers a magnificent view of the Grenadines. Completed in 1806, this fort houses a museum featuring paintings by Lindsay Prescott depicting Black Carib history of the island. Also at the fort you will find a bakery selling bread produced by prisoners for the hospitals, prisons, and other public institutions in St. Vincent.
Just a short walk from Central Kingstown, a wide variety of native handicraft can be seen in St. Vincent’s Craftsmen Center. At the Center you can browse through items made from straw, clays, bamboo, coconut, wood, and available metals. Unique Vincentian jewellery can be found, as well as hand-made West Indian dolls. What better place to get a souveneir?