Jamaicans have this term, ‘back a God’, as in behind God. It’s the equivalent of saying God forsaken.
That was my view of Clarendon for years. I only slightly revised the view after being exposed to areas such as Frankfield, Sanguinetti and Chapelton, and realising I had formed my view of the entire parish based on my exposure to Vere, and more specifically, Portland Cottage.
My reason for thinking even God hated the parish? As far I was concerned Clarendon was a flat, dry wasteland without any trees worth mentioning. It was ‘macca’ country, uninspiring and desolate.
However, Clarendon began to get a slightly more favourable rating in my book after I realised the entire parish did not look like Portland Cottage.
My views have even further altered in recent years. I’ve since learnt that if you look beyond the rough exterior of a place, you can begin to see a beauty unique to that place.
Now here I am, recommending Portland Cottage as a place to visit and get to know.
Yes, it is perhaps the driest place in Jamaica. Months can pass without it raining there, even when all Jamaica is under flood rains. The upside for fun seekers? You’re guaranteed a sunny day in Portland Cottage.
Where else can you drive to the literal end of a main road? There is no community beyond Portland Cottage and if you continue driving, the road tapers off into a track across a swamp, then into bushes along the coast.
I guarantee, you’ve never driven along a wilder coastal ‘road’. Along the way you pass a private retreat, with an enclosed salt water pool and dock. Continue further and you end up at the lighthouse at Portland Point. It’s on a compound owned by the Port Authority of Jamaica. Several other entities have interests there, including the University of the West Indies and a shooting club.
The best thing about Portland Point is the view. You can see into Kingston and Old Harbour. You can also see several cays from that vantage point.
From Portland Cottage you can make a day of it and visit one of the cays for a beach day (On my to-do list).
You could also go to the fishing village, walk out to the fish sanctuary, buy some fresh fish.
Also, at Portland Cottage is Jackson Bay Beach, a not-so-popular white sand beach where you are guaranteed to have space to spread out. I suggest a cookout or picnic on the beach.