A Birthday Celebration in Dominica’s Beautiful Interior

River Stone Bar 'n' Grill is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon in Dominica's interior.

River Stone Bar ‘n’ Grill is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon in Dominica’s interior.  It’s located on the Airport Road, about a mile east of Pond Casse in the centre of the island.

It's  a pretty drive into Dominica's interior from Springfield, which is situated on the edge of the rainforest at about 1,200 feet above sea level.

It’s a pretty drive into Dominica’s interior.

It was Nancy who suggested  that some friends should celebrate their birthdays, which are actually a few days apart at River Stone Bar ‘n’ Grill in Dominica’s mountainous interior. The proprietress, Maxine Alleyne-Esprit was acknowledging her own big day a little in advance – on Sunday August 25th, and was offering good food, smooth tunes and a chance to ‘lime’ (West Indian for hanging out and having a good time) at her establishment along the Laurent River near the village of Bells.  I had been there once before –  in May, after Hike Fest’s foray along  and through(!) the Layou River to experience the Jacko Steps and Jacko Flats.  I had so much fun dining, dancing and bathing in the river post-hike that day. I looked forward to a repeat performance as part of this birthday bash.

The only initial drawback was the weather: heavy rain was in the forecast.  It is not advisable to drive in Dominica’s interior on that kind of day, as landslides of rocks and mud and flash floods on the rivers are always possible.  We all chose to err on the side of caution and waited throughout that morning with hopes that the clouds would lift.  Miraculously (well, I think so), by midday, the sun started to shine, so we were a ‘go’!

Four of us met at Springfield Plantation in the early afternoon, where Nancy (the manager) offered us a celebratory drink before we piled into her vehicle for the half hour ride further into the rainforest for our birthday get-together.  As the skies continued to brighten, I admired the silhouettes of significant massifs as we headed  in an easterly direction.  When we approached the Pond Cassé round-about (traffic circle) in the middle of the island, I gazed in awe at Morne Trois Pitons, Dominica’s second highest peak,  which dominates the area with its multitudinous shades of green.

Our conversation was lively and chatty, as we caught up on each other’s news and plans.  In no time,  we approached the Laurent River Bridge and turned into the lane way that lead to our destination.  It was about 3 p.m., and at that time, we had the place to ourselves.  I think the earlier inclement weather prediction was holding people back from making the inland trip.  We did not mind, as we were there to have a good time, no matter who else was there!  We selected a table which was situated almost directly over the river.  It was close enough  to a sheltered overhang, if it actually did start to rain.

The birthday gals were in fine form as we relaxed on the lovely deck over the Laurent River.

The birthday gals were in fine form as we relaxed on the lovely deck over the Laurent River.

Liz and I professed to being very hungry so we ordered and subsequently tucked in to a huge lunch right away.  It was a feast that perfectly complemented the celebratory day.  Liz really enjoyed well prepared pork with a BBQ sauce, breadfruit, tasty ‘rice and peas’ (beans) and a hearty green salad . I devoured the ‘mahi-mahi’ fish, which was slathered  in a delicious herbal seasoning, along with the same delectable accompaniments.  It was a substantial meal, and we both  made short work of it!

As we were deep in the mountains, the sun quickly disappeared  as the afternoon wore on.  Liz was keen for a swim and wondered if I would partake of a ‘river bath’ too.  I was

When I look at a topographical map, it seems to me that the Laurent River originates from Morne Trois Pitons, which is over 4,500' high. No wonder it is so cold!

When I look at a topographical map, it seems to me that the powerful Laurent River originates from Morne Trois Pitons, which is over 4,500′ high. No wonder it is so cold!

tempted, and had even brought my suit along.  I declined but she went in, while I took off my sandals and sat by the riverside.  When I put my feet in, I quickly pulled them out: too cold for

Liz didn't seem to mind the chilly waters of the mighty Laurent, which passes close to River Stone Bar 'n' Grill near Bells Dominica.

Liz didn’t seem to mind the chilly waters of the mighty Laurent, which passes close to River Stone Bar ‘n’ Grill near Bells Dominica. A rock-slide from a previous storm is seen in the background.

me!  Yes, those mountain rivers can be chilly, as is the case with the Laurent.   Liz toughed it out, and it seems to me that she had fun! (She said it wasn’t so cold once in the water for a while, but I was content to stay mostly dry).

By the time we arrived back at our table, people with whom we were acquainted happened along. Soon it became common knowledge that there was a group of birthday girls in the house!

This fact was reinforced by Maxine, proprietress of the property, who made a general announcement over the D.J.’s sound system.  Seeing as the “secret” was out, D.J. David Sorhaindo played some appropriate birthday tunes, including Kool and the Gang‘s “Celebration” (1980).  Liz and I got up to move to the beat and stayed for a while on the floor while D.J. David played a sequence of favourite ‘Oldie Goldies’ from the 70’s and 80’s.  I was in my element – but I

D.J. David Sorhaindo knew how to members of the '50+" Club' on the dance floor. I had fun groovin' to the oldie goldie tunes.  Thanks David!

D.J. David Sorhaindo knew how to get a few members of the ’50+ Club’ on the dance floor. I had fun groovin’ to the oldie goldie tunes. Thanks David! (Note: his birthday was a few days earlier.  It was definitely a festive atmosphere!).

won’t say anything more about that – you had  to have been be there…

The birthday girls enjoyed their 'lime' at River Stone Bar 'n' Grill.  From left: Gwendominica;Sarah;Nancy; Maxine (proprietress); and Liz.

The birthday girls  enjoyed their ‘lime’ at River Stone Bar ‘n’ Grill. From left: Gwen;Sarah;Nancy; Maxine (proprietress); and Liz.

Of course, what would a birthday be without cake.  It certainly was my lucky day, because I savoured a sensational slice of  the homemade sweet prepared by Maxine’s mother.  I have to honestly say – it was one of the most delicious I have eaten in recent memory – it was so moist, flavourful and light.  Thanks, Mrs. Alleyne! I hope I will have the good fortune to order a slice or more when I return to River Stone next time.  Maxine, take note!  While another cake was making the rounds, I did sample it but I was more desirous of having an extra piece of the first one. And now you know why!

We lingered a little longer even though darkness set in all too quickly.  Then the rain did start, which signalled us to depart and   come back  to the relaxing River Stone Bar ‘n’ Grill another day.

Thanks Maxine, for hosting a very sweet birthday ‘lime’ which we enjoyed immensely.  It was a memorable afternoon in a super natural setting within Dominica’s beautiful interior. See you on another Sunday sometime soon. And Happy Birthday to you!

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2 comments on “A Birthday Celebration in Dominica’s Beautiful Interior

  1. lizziemad says:

    It was a great day! Thanks for writing it up so we can all remember the special day, because at my age I would forget all of the details!

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    • gwendominica says:

      Ha! It’s my pleasure to document what we did for fun on this particular birthday. We can look back on it and this record will enhance our memories of that special day. Here’s hoping we’ll have many more!!!

      Like

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