Bois Cotlette Estate Heritage Tour
Duration: 3 hours
Tour Code: DOM-014
Tour a restored early 18th-century plantation with a noted anthropologist who will offer a historical and cultural explanation of estate, both past and present.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a scenic drive to nearby Bois Cotlette, one of the oldest surviving estates on Dominica. Dating to the early years of the French settlement in the 1720s, Bois Cotlette is one of the oldest surviving estates on Dominica. Nestled in a valley within the active Morne Plat Pays volcanic complex, it is the best preserved example of plantation architecture on the island, with its French colonial “Maison de Maitre” and buildings for the processing of coffee, sugar, and cocoa.
Recently, the Bois Cotlette Estate was purchased from a descendant of the family that had controlled the property since the late 1700’s. Having been overrun by over a decade of neglect, the estate lands and grounds are now being restored with a look backwards as well as a look forwards. For example, older mature cocoa trees are being pruned and saved where possible. In addition, there are newly planted sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, and high leaf crops which mirror the estate’s historical endeavors of generations past. Things, that were commonplace in the past, such as organic farming, are being brought back by the present owners who have also implemented many biodynamic farming practices as well. Today, the Bois Cotlette Estate proudly distinguishes itself further as the estate has achieved self-sufficiency status in all three key aspects of sustaining life; food, power, and water.
On the Heritige Tour you will get a chance to enjoy the Estate grounds at a relaxed pace in a pristine and tranquil setting. You will benefit and gain insight from the research and expert knowledge of Northwestern University’s Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Mark Hauser, PhD. who has led excavations on the Bois Cotlette Estate for the past 4 years. You will uncover clues to the property’s origins and learn why expert historians, too, are so enamored with Bois Cotlette.
As you delve into the plantation history, two stories emerge. One story is about the Owner / Planter class. You’ll learn about this story through the building structures, investment company documents, factory ruins, gardens, and all that you see. The second, is a story about the slave village inhabitants and is revealed by the 15 slave sites and artifacts unearthed in a recent archaeological dig.
Before leaving, you will have an opportunity to enjoy authentic creole snacks and refreshments, and stroll through the Planter’s herb garden located just south of the Maison.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing and there will be gravel and uneven natural surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight, casual clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.