Tue | Nov 13, 2018

Conservation meets lifestyle at Heritage Gardens

Published:Sunday | September 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie

Located in the foothills of the Blue Mountain, nestled within lush vegetation enhanced by crisp fragrances of peppermint and pine, is where lifestyle meets environmental conservation, a stone's throw below Catherine's Peak.

Heritage Gardens Cottage, which harbours the rich Jamaican history and remnants of the 18th-century coffee plantation Cold Spring Estate, is a beauty to behold.

For owner Eleanor Jones, managing director and CEO of Environmental Solutions, this was an exciting way for her to apply her passion for the environment and create a cosy getaway from the metropolis.

"This was a natural for me because the environment is not only the natural, but also the built," said Jones as she gave Outlook a tour of the property. The breathtaking view of Kingston, framed by the undulating topography of the hillside, is seen from the well-preserved coffee barbeque, located in front of the three-bedroom cottage.

"This is just one of the places on the property where all the harvested coffee was left to dry and then stored in the cubbyholes for transport," explained Jones.

Heritage Gardens contains an enchanting landscape composed of the ruins of the old coffee works, which also includes floating ponds, channels, and remnants of the pumping house.

Being an award-winning geologist, Jones is aware that we live in a world filled with infinite possibilities which are dependent on finite resources. Over the years, mankind has developed an antagonistic relationship with the earth and its inhabitants, which can be seen in the degradation of the environment with the increase in urbanisation. Being an advocate for the cohesive existence between man and his environs, Heritage Gardens Cottage is a prime example of coexisting in harmony.

"While I was a lecturer in the Geology Department at the University of the West Indies, we did a lot of field study and focused on disaster-prone areas," she explained. From her observations over the years, she noted that buildings and houses were being built in flood-prone areas, sinkholes, and on unstable land surfaces, just to name a few.

"This is why we have disasters," said Jones.

She later retired from teaching and started her own company, Environmental Solutions, which focuses on providing practical solutions required to ensure harmony between development and the environment. However, Heritage Gardens was a special project dear to her heart and her family.

One of the key features of Heritage Gardens is its forested therapy trail along the coffee ruins. This offers a space which focuses on health and wellness and provides a centre for healing in the mountains among the botanical gardens, made up of several exotic fruit trees and oriental plants.

"This is ideal for persons who want to get away and take a break from the city. You can have a cup of coffee while taking in the view, or even be inspired to create a painting or even read a book," said Jones.

Heritage Gardens is part of the Tourist Board's Gastronomy Trail and is highlighted as a place of interest for bird watching, hiking, garden mountainside walking and plantation tours. The venue can facilitate special events such as weddings, festivals and retreats on the large barbeques and wide, open lawns. The cottage itself is a rustic oasis, decorated with historic art pieces garnered from across the world. Debris from past hurricanes are recycled and used as ornaments to highlight the harmony of the cottage with the environment.

The tranquillity of the cottage in the forest is the ideal place to reset and refocus within the Blue Mountains.

For more information or reservation, visit www.heritagegardensjamaica.com, or email: heritagegardensbbq@gmail.com, or call 876-978-6297 or 876-978-9519.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com