I visited Mount Saint Benedict, and more particularly had tea at Pax Guesthouse in December 2010. This is part of that tour of Trinidad I was conducting with friends of mine from the US…clearly I never got around to completing the account!
“Mount Saint Benedict, or the Abbey of Our Lady of Exile, is a Benedictine abbey located in north Trinidad. It was founded in October 1912, by an order of monks from Brazil, after the Order of St Benedict of Italy 
The Abbey complex consists of several buildings, among them a church, a monastery, a seminary, a yoghurt factory, a drug rehab centre, and Pax Guest House. The whole complex is situated high in the Northern Range, north of St. Augustine/Tunapuna. It is visible for miles around, with its landmark tower and distinctive red-roofed buildings.”
When you’re flying into Trinidad, as the plane straightens up, facing East to land in Piarco, take a look out the left side. Up in the hills above the St Augustine-Curepe area you will see the group of buildings that are on the Mount. From the Mount itself, you get a phenomenal view of Trinidad looking South, towards the Central Range, with the Gulf of Paria to your right. On a nice clear day, you can see beyond central into South.
The yoghurt made by the monks is pretty good stuff, and is one of the earliest (if not first) national yoghurts commercially produced and marketed island-wide. You can buy it in the store or in most grocery stores in T&T.
We booked tea at Pax Guesthouse, after our trip to Asa Wright Nature Centre, and as it turned out, after a highway explosion that delayed us both ways. So we were in the mood for some peace and relaxation. The views and the general calm were great. The tea service was a bit baffling, however…
Our server was polite, but not friendly. It was very peaceful certainly – in fact after the delivery of the tea, the server disappeared into the kitchen behind a closed door and we were pretty much on our own. There was one other table occupied, and they resorted to send their child to go tentatively knock on the door and hope and wait for someone to come out so they could order some additional rolls. The tea was fine, but it was offered in combinations with no substitutions. A particular plate was accompanied by a designated tea and you were not allowed to ask for another…weird for a teahouse. It was a warm day, we’d had a long day, someone asked for iced tea. Not available. Really? We tried suggesting how they could just do it, you know, provide some ice, pour brewed tea over it… but no go..We also swapped the teas and elements from the plates among ourselves, and whispered about being caught for breaking the rules
The tea itself though was quite nice. One plate (as you can see) had cheese scones and a slice of raisin/fruit cake, with marmalade. Served with Earl Grey I think. I would go again, because the surroundings are great, and a nice peaceful tea is relaxing. And I really hope that this was just a one-time thing – maybe they were short-staffed. I repeat, they were polite and service was quick. It just seemed odd and not particularly friendly or welcoming.
Maybe Lilandra can add her observations…Would love to hear from other people who have visited. Honestly, I would go again because the place, tea and atmosphere are great.
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