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Whipple House

Camanoe  –  Retreats are to an extent in the eye of the beholder. Never have I come across such views as those above Camanoe, from the observatory of Whipple House with its rustic charm.

Currently under renovation ,Whipple House consists of three master suites that have been joined together and is now opened up to let the light in on what was once a modest dwelling. Its sturdy structure of stone and timber have been built to last more than its young 40 years already.

The name Whipple is that of famous English astronomer Fred Whipple 1906-2004. By day and night the house was chosen for its spectacular view point. His children frequented the island and are the current owners. One of the first houses on Camanoe, it was built in the 1960s as the family retreat. It is to an extent the Whipple Caribbean observatory.


A vantage point overlooking Scrub Island and Marina Cay sweeps from Eustatia and The Dogs through to Beef Island and Tortola. The difference being that your view point from here is above the islands, you feel elevated and with the trades blowing fresh, it is a sensation of fresh discovery. Foliage surrounding you is cacti, orchids, and sage and loblolly trees. Scents of wild charm tease the air.

Each of the three units is currently being joined together and the stone masons are hard at the task. The floors are of Mexican satio tiling with loose large stone granite walls. The ceilings and timber posts are mahogany and cypress tongue and groove replaces any worn wood. To join the master bedroom and living area with the second bedroom, a barbeque area is being prepped whilst the third unit remains isolated. Stone paths remain whilst each bedroom is having its original small windows knocked through with replacement stone arches that will look onto new wooden decks overhanging the hillside.


Andy Gordon, resident on Camanoe for twenty years oversees the project. It’s in synch with the community on Great Camanoe. Living is remote and access to the island is by boat. Andy has seen many changes but with 16 of the 28 lots being occupied for a long time, island life is relatively slow. A communal library and mailing post is on the beachfront, providing a message centre and reading room for residents. It was essential pre telephone, but still serves its purpose today. Cars are on the island as a means of transport but boat is necessary to cross to Beef or other islands. Overlooking the airport Camanoe is a Caribbean retreat that you will be on a presigious slice within 15 minutes of landing.



The purpose of the renovation is to enhance the features of Whipple House. Large farmhouse doors open up the main suite and in its original design efforts were made to protect the housings from wind, now it is to open it up and install French sliding doors to obtain maximum view. The renovation is quick, with two months to complete.


The property being 4.2 acres is self-sufficient. A pump room provides water from a cistern and an old generator provides back up power. All systems and the kitchen are to be upgraded with modern appliances, furnishings will be wooden teak imported from Bali, to feature Caribbean colonial style (see Dec BVIPG issue). There is ample storage in a garage and laundry room. Each bathroom is to undergo a revamping. Its original shell intact, Whipple House is getting makeover and its eyes are opening.


Suitably a family home for residence on Camanoe or a retreat, Whipple House is island living, self-sufficient. Commercial development is prohibited on the island and amenities for provisioning are available from Beef Island or Marina Cay. The residents' association of Camanoe pays fees for upkeep of the docks and roads. In contrast to its neighboring residents in Camanoe Whipple House remains with its original rustic charm, modernized and brought into the new millennium, at a charming pace.

Asking price 1.2 million usd.


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