The turnoff coming from Cane Garden Bay will appear with the stunning view to
Brewer's Bay itself on the other side of the ridge. From Ridge Road, the turnoff is at the
Cool Breeze Bar, which has sodas, beer and mixed drinks.
The steep roads into Brewer's Bay call for the use
of four-wheel drive vehicles. If using a car, gear down and use the motor as a brake to
aid the "brakes."
The waterfront drive is very compact, dominated by
the campground with beach bars on each side.
This work of art is inspired by the traditional
wooden boat at the Bamboo Beach Bar.
Stop at the Bamboo Beach Bar (where there are public restrooms on a
trailer). Walk the beach to the other beach bar. Circle back by the shady road.
A longer beach stroll is possible in the other direction.
|A tropical bower engulfs the road leading down off the mountain, the overgrowth
wildly intertwined into a shady enclave.
Brewer's Bay exudes a closeness to nature
not far removed from the old ways of life on Tortola, where only a
generation ago cane fields were harvested to give the bay its name.
Local farmers still grow
"ground provisions" on terraced hillside gardens.
steep-descent experience to reach by land, Brewer's Bay is often off limits to
bareboat charters, suitable only as a non-winter day anchorage due to the ground seas and
the extensive coral reefs. But the sailor's loss is the land
|The surge from the ocean comes around the point and breaks on its rocky cliffs.
swimming, as well as snorkeling on both
sides and a semi-circle in the center, waits off its beautiful beach,
lined with coconut palms (photo: Dan Burch).
|Bamboo Beach Bar
& Restaurant (494-3463), right at the campground,
serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (homemade sandwiches only offseason). Barbequed,
boiled and fried local fresh fish, such as yellowtail, bonito, and blue runners,
are served for dinner (reservations please), with rice and vegetables such as sweet potatoes and green
bananas, and locally grown herbs and spices (called
"seasonings" in the islands). Cold sodas, beer and mixed drinks (the rum
punch is especially popular) are available with burgers, including vegetable
and fish burgers as well as beef. Barbecues are held on Sunday evenings.
Traditional Life. Where the road jogs in the flat area, there is a stone ruin of a
old rum distillery in operation until 1956. At the Bamboo Beach Bar sits the
remains of a wooden boat built on the island in the traditional
way with ribs out of White Cedar and planks from Pitch
Pine. Carl Parsons, who partly owns and runs the campground and beach bar, is
very knowledgeable about the old ways on Tortola, not far removed in
time. See Traditional Life in the BVI.
Nicole's Beach Bar (lunch only) has palm and almond trees growing right up through its deck that
overlooks the surf. Nicole's offers sodas, beer, mixed drinks, beef, cheese and fish
burgers, fries, hot dogs and ice cream. An unbeatable combination is a cheeseburger
accompanied by one of the great Pina Coladas.
Cap's Place Bar &
Restaurant. Above Nicole's about 75 yards off the beach at Icis Villas, Cap's
Place (494-6979) offers local Caribbean food, Continental breakfast, and an assortment of
American and West Indian specials (dinner by reservation).
Coconut Branch is a
beach bar at the other end of the beach.
Icis Villas Commissary.
The commissary (494-6979) carries canned food, sodas and beer and other non-perishable
Bay Pinnacles. An advanced dive site
just off the western point of the bay, the Brewer's Bay Pinnacles, while one of the rare
BVI dive sites accessible from the shore, is reached by boat due to the danger
to swimmers of strong currents and large winter swells as well as being so far
from the beach. These massive pinnacles rise from 100 feet to within 30 feet of the
surface, rock mazes covered with fire coral and sea fans,
habitat for turtles, large jacks and lobsters.
and a Campground on Tortola's Ocean Coast for more information on the Brewer's
Bay Campground, Ronneville Cottages and ICIS Villas. See
Tortola Villas for villas in this area
Mt. Healthy Windmill.
Within walking distance to the northeast are the ruins of
Tortola's only remaining windmill powered sugar mill, a large,
tapering circular structure built from local rock as well as coral and red bricks
used as ballast in ships (photo: Eriksmom album).
Catching the steady tradewinds
on its "sails" to turn a shaft (like a propeller), the shaft then used cogs on
its end to turn a cogwheel. This then rotated the central shaft which turned
rollers that crushed the cane. The cogs and shafts for transferring forces in
wind, and water, mills were important antecedents to the invention of the
steam engine itself that began the Industrial Revolution.
Now preserved as a National Park,
the Mt. Healthy plantation has other ruins, such as a cistern and stables, as well as its boiling
house where the cane's juice was run through a series of kettles
before the concentrated and purified juice was poured into flat wooden panels to cool and crystallize
into sugar (or molasses), then scraped into barrels for shipment.
An undisturbed location conducive
to relaxation, Mt. Healthy has benches and a picnic table as well as a short
trail with interesting plants and wildlife.