Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Lovers' Leap gets new lease on life

Published:Tuesday | January 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh (right) and Dave-Ann Moses take in the breath taking view at the newly reopened Lover's Leap located in St Elizabeth January 27. – Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Quanetta McNeal (left), of Red Stripe, congratulates Jason Henzell on his new venture at the Lover's Leap reopening in St Elizabeth. – Gladstone Taylor/Photographer
Musicians entertain the audience at the Lover's Leap reopening in St Elizabeth. – Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Lover's Leap resounds folkloric in the eardrums of many Jamaicans; the story of a couple plunging into certain death, or as tells the tale, into an eternal life together. Over many years, management of the physical location of the centuries-old tale changed from hand to hand, but now lies in the hands of Jakes Treasure Beach entrepreneur Jason Henzell.

"We are going to make it that model of community tourism. Both governments have helped me to secure this lease, and I appreciate all the efforts made," Jason Henzell said during the reopening ceremony held last Saturday afternoon.

In partnership with Red Stripe, through Jakes Holdings, Henzell received a 10-year licence from Tourism Product Development Company, which allows Henzell to operate and upgrade the facilities. "Somebody said I should put a zip line down the bottom. I'm gonna need more than a 10-year lease to do that," he joked.

From a paved walkway lined by lush green lawns, the building sports a dark-wood interior with a fully-stocked bar offering draught beer. Patrons had the options of a full Jamaican-style menu, including steamed fish, curried goat, and jerk chicken. There was even the option of freshly blended fruit smoothies or an ice-cold jelly coconut.

Inside the dark-wood interior space, the restaurant also holds a stage, which was occupied by The Stepwise Band. As they played inside for patrons of the bar and restaurant, a disc jockey spun tunes outside. The acoustics were such that no music interrupted the other.

One St Elizabethan told The Gleaner that he recalled when the attraction only offered chicken and chips. He remembers a time when management offered no refreshments at all. According to another in attendance, the historic piece of land once served a Bible camp's treasure-hunt grounds. As a child decades ago, she recalls moving through a foot-beaten path. She pointed surely, just in between the refurbished Lover's Leap restaurant (with double-level veranda) and the lighthouse.

"Everyone who comes here asks, 'can we go in the lighthouse?'" Henzell remarked.