Take Your Pick
Cudjoehead, Montserrat
National Museum
National Museum - The Montserrat National Museum moved to this new building in 2012 after the old one was effectively destroyed by the volcano eruption in 1995. The National Trust conserves the island's cultural heritage through permanent and rotating exhibits that include historic photographs, island artwork, Arawak canoe building displays, and sugar and lime production material. The museum is located within walking distance of the ferry terminal and is an excellent first stop when visiting the island. And soon to come, a Volcano Interpretation Centre is expected to open right next door.
Cudjoehead, Montserrat
The Cannons Don't Thunder
Carr's Bay - Knowing that Jimmy Buffett recorded several of his songs here on Montserrat, I had to wonder if he looked at this site as an inspiration for his "A Pirate Looks at 40" song. In it he sings, "The cannons don't thunder there's nothin' to plunder, I'm an over forty victim of fate. Arriving too late, arriving too late." Well, these cannons no longer thunder, but they still stand guard over the Emerald Island of the Caribbean. They overlook Carr's Bay and are remnants of the island's colonial times.
Plymouth, Montserrat
Exclusion Zone
Exclusion Zone - Often described as a "modern-day Pompeii" the southern two-thirds of Montserrat is uninhabitable due to the Soufriere Hills volcano eruption. In 1995 and again in 1997 the long dormant volcano erupted and buried the capital city of Plymouth under as much as 40 feet of volcanic ash. Let us not forget, this was after the 1989 Hurricane Hugo swept over the island leaving roughly 90% of the island's structures damaged. These disasters forced as many as two-thirds of the 12,000 residents to pack their bags and leave the island. Today you can visit the Exclusion Zone (and I highly recommend you do it because it is eerily beautiful) by car and by helicopter. You will find houses, stores, the airport and the port all abandoned and covered with ash, rock and dust. I would love to spend a week or two just wandering through this sci-fi like landscape and be in awe of the power of the earth.
Plymouth, Montserrat
A Fossilized Museum
National Trust Museum (Old) - The original National Trust Museum located in Plymouth was evacuated in 1995 after the volcanic activity made it too dangerous to visit and is now located in the "Exclusion Zone". The museum was set up in a historic sugar mill and run by the Montserrat National Trust. On the bright side, Trust volunteers assisted by several overseas and regional organizations, including the Museum Association of the Caribbean saved many of the historic items and moved them to the new museum. You can still visit the old museum and pose for photos.
Saint Georges, Montserrat
Montserrat Volcano Observatory
Montserrat Volcano Observatory - Located in the northern part of the island (in the safe zone), the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) monitors the Soufriere Hills Volcano and uses the information for research, education and advising. The observatory monitors for seismic activity and the deformation of the surrounding topography. The MVO was established after the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano on July 18th 1995 and is staffed by scientists from a variety of organizations working with local personnel. Visitors are welcome and as well as offering a panoramic view of the volcano, they have a great film detailing the devastation of the eruption.
St Peter Parish, Montserrat
Drink and Return
Runaway Ghaut - Montserrat has thousands of deep ravines that bring fresh rainwater down from the mountain tops, that zigzag through the lush tropical jungle and eventually flow to the surrounding ocean. One of the most popular of these streams or ghauts is the Runaway Ghaut. Legend says, "If you drink the waters from this burn, to Montserrat you will return." And who wouldn't want to return? Personally I drank a few drinks from it in an attempt to come back multiple times. Runaway Ghaut received its name because it was used as escape route by the French in 1712, who were fleeing from the attacking English.
St Peter Parish, Montserrat
AIR Studios
AIR Studios - This abandoned structure is the former AIR Records recording studio on Montserrat. Built in 1977, many top acts of the 70s and 80s recorded here, including Elton John, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, Rush, The Police, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Little River Band, Sheena Easton, Luther Vandross, and Supertramp. Jimmy Buffet even recorded the song "Volcano" here which finds him wondering where he'd go when the volcano blows. Well, it blew in 1995 and nearly 70% of the island's inhabitants evacuated the island. But that isn't the event that closed the studio. The studio was abandoned in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo ripped through the island destroying 90% of the buildings.