Mount Vernon of the Caribbean

Aug 24,2016 - 11:08 AM
By : Greg Perrin
George Washington House Barbados
George Washington House

Mount Vernon of the Caribbean - There is a hidden treasure of American history nestled on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean. The George Washington House is located a short distance outside of the city of Bridgeport. In 1751, George Washington, the future first President of the United States of America, traveled to the island of Barbados as a 19-year-old man with his half-brother Lawrence Washington.

Lawrence was diagnosed with tuberculosis and the doctor’s suggested moving to a new area.  The Washington family immediately decided on Barbados because of its exemplary climate.  The pair sailed from Virginia and arrived on November 2, 1751. Due to complications with their original housing arrangements, the brothers ended up staying at the Bush Hill House (today called the George Washington House).

During the 18th century, the island of Barbados was heavily fortified with military due to its strategic location being one of the most eastern of all the Caribbean islands. It was during their stay that George Washington got his first experience seeing large scale military barracks and fortifications. Some historians argue that George Washington’s trip to Barbados is what sparked his interest in the military which would inspire joining the British military later in life and setting the stage to lead America’s military to independence.  Another key factor that changed history during this trip is

George Washington fell ill with small pox. During this time in history, small pox was a deadly disease but if you had the disease and survived it would result in immunity. Because George already had immunity, while many American military forces died of small pox in the Revolutionary War, he was able to continue leading the troops unaffected by the disease which helped result in eventual victory.

George would only stay on Barbados for 2 months before going back to Virginia alone. Lawrence’s illness was getting worse so he traveled to Bermuda then eventually back to Virginia where he would pass away in 1752.

The house was purchased by the Barbados Government in the 20th century because of its historical significance. The Bush Hill Tourism Trust refurbished this house and it became open to the public in 2007. A tour of the house is 10 dollars in US currency. Children ages 5 to 12 costs 2.50 and those under 5 years of age will receive free admittance. During the tour you can experience the two story home and grounds which is set up to look as it did during the time George Washington stayed there. There are artifacts and many other interesting things to learn and experience here.

During our time on the island, our staff spoke with the employees that run the house and they reported the majority of their visitors are from England rather than the United States. We believe a large reason for that fact is because most Americans are unaware of the existence of this historic treasure so we encourage everyone to help spread the word. It is really an amazing experience to see the house where the father of our country once stayed during such a pivotal time in his life as a young man.

The house is located off of Garrison Road and is only a few minutes’ walk from the Hilton Barbados Resort. If you are traveling to Barbados on a cruise, it is only approximately a 5-minute cab ride away from the cruise terminal. We advise tourists to make sure to negotiate the price of the cab ride before getting in the car. You can get a better deal doing it this way.

The next time you are in Barbados make sure to tour the George Washington House, the Mount Vernon of the Caribbean.

*Tour prices are subject to change. We have listed the prices as they stood at the time of the publication of this article.  Please make sure to check online for any changes in pricing.

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