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Exploring Montserrat: The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean

The calm and mystery which surrounds the Caribbean Island of Montserrat makes it a serene, tropical getaway.

A series of volcanic eruptions in the 1990s has left the island with a population of fewer than 6,000 people. But as the “emerald isle” of the Caribbean, its soaring peaks and lush rainforest-covered hillsides are the most fascinating thing about Montserrat.

Proof of this is at Montserrat’s National Trust Botanical Gardens, which features a host of nature trails and indigenous flora.  While the effects of the disastrous volcanoes can still be seen in Plymouth, the island’s former capital that was destroyed, Richmond Hill and the Montserrat Observatory provide the most stunning viewpoints of the untouched isle.

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The Music of Montserrat

For more than a decade, George Martin’s AIR Montserrat studio played host to recording sessions by many well-known rock musicians, including Dire Straits, The Police, Rush, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and The Rolling Stones.

After the volcanic eruptions of 1995 through 1997, and until his death in 2016, George Martin raised funds to help the victims and families on the island.

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Many albums of note were recorded at AIR Studios, including Rush’s Power Windows, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms; Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger, The Police’s Synchronicity and Ghost in the Machine (videos for “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Spirits in the Material World” were filmed in Montserrat), and Jimmy Buffett’s Volcano (named for Soufrière Hills).

The Food in Montserrat

Montserrat’s national dish is goat water, a thick goat meat stew served with crusty bread rolls. Montserrat cuisine resembles the general British and Caribbean cuisines. The cuisine includes a wide range of light meats, including fish, seafood, and chicken, which are mostly grilled or roasted. Being a fusion of numerous cultures, such as Spanish, French, African, Indian, and Amerindian, the Caribbean cuisine is unique and complex.

More sophisticated meals include the Montserrat jerk shrimp, with rum, cinnamon bananas, and cranberry. In other more rural areas, people prefer to eat homemade food, like the traditional mahi mahi and local breads.

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