The first thing that instantly attracted us to Moonhole, is its name, the mystic and poetic sound of it, but the story behind the name is as thrilling and interesting.
Located in Bequia, one of the jewels of the Caribbean island, the secluded eco -resort shares its walls with the natural volcanic arch, through which the setting moon is sometimes visible, so hence the name: Moonhole.
Founded by Thomas and Gladys Johnston in the 1960s, Moonhole is now a private nature preserve. In the late 1960s, the Johnstons retired from the advertising business in New York and founded the Moonhole community on the narrow western tip of the island.
Tom and “Gladdie” began building a house beneath the arch with the aid of local masons from the nearby village of Paget Farm.
Using whalebones, native hardwoods, and objects recovered from the sea, they built large open rooms with magnificent views of the sea. Without wells or electricity, they collected rainwater from the roofs and stored it in cisterns for bathing and washing.
The master bath had a large tree that grew right up through a large hole in the roof. Large windows facing the prevailing trade winds had plexiglass panes that could be lowered into place. The bedrooms surrounded a central dining room, veranda and large bar made from a humpback whale’s jaw bone.
In the early years, there was not even a road to Moonhole. People from Paget Farm walked in daily to bring in fresh fruit and freshly baked bread and to do any necessary cooking.
Tom and Gladdie later formed Moonhole Company Limited and contributed the approximately 30-acre property to the company. Tom bequeathed his controlling interest in Moonhole Company Limited to a trust for the protection and preservation of Moonhole for posterity.
The Thomas and Gladys Johnston Moonhole Conservation Trust Limited is dedicated to preserving the unique architecture, lifestyle, and vision of the Johnstons and to protecting the birds, wildlife and marine life on the peninsula at the western end of Bequia.
There are now eleven privately owned homes at Moonhole and four houses owned by Moonhole Company Limited.
The secluded Moonhole house caught the attention of curiosity-seekers and Tom’s reputation spread far and wide.
Distinguished publications including The New York Times,National Geographic Society Publications, and Sports Illustrated, featured Tom’s creations at Moonhole.
In 2004, The New York Times described Moonhole: “It is a quirky 19-home ecologically oriented development built of native stone, with whalebone accents, on the steep hills of the island’s southern tip.
The name comes from a soaring natural arch on the shore through which the moon can be seen at times. The whalebones, remnants of aboriginal whaling by the islanders, are big enough to work as elements like stair railings.
The houses, which rely on solar electricity, rainwater and propane tanks, are mostly fanciful open-air affairs with lines blurred between indoors and out.
If you love the Robinson Crusoe-alike vacation, then we think that Moonhole should be on your bucket .list