Easily one of the most sought after views in Anguilla is that of the quaint isthmus of Sandy Ground, village of my childhood. Able to be seen from both of the twin directional rises, North and South Hill, Sandy Ground rests like an open storybook between the placid salt pond and the rhythm of the sea. Ready to be read; to be seen in its many states with tales of births, deaths, history, and new beginnings. A prime piece of real-estate is one which allows a sight of so many stories.
I am easily fascinated. Not by views so much as by the idea that they always existed. When I look out over Sandy Ground from the ridge of North Hill, I think of how this place was always present, through the winding words of time and all the discoveries which devoured the archipelago of Caribbean islands. The little strip of land would have seen so many iterations of inhabitants, both indigenous and otherwise, yet it remains faithfully the same. A simple ledger of those who make memories there.
In the year 1609 (while Anguilla was referred to as Malliouhana and Sandy Ground was most likely used as a stop for hollowed out Amerindian canoes) the polymath father of astronomy, Galileo, invented the spyglass. The term itself was derived from the newly presented technology in military use. You could use it to spy on your enemy and out-manoeuvre them before they could encroach on you. It was a revolutionary apparatus in its time, giving the bearer the ability to make visible the invisible. Albeit, the spyglass continues to be revolutionary having given rise to the Hubble telescope and other devices used to chart the stars across the centuries. Its ability echoes one of Galileo’s most famous quotes about bringing to the forefront what is already there: “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.”
Galileo’s spyglass was the viewfinder for what became our current tenets of astronomy, finding within the inky night sky pre-existing systems and nebula. When he first saw the moon through the telescope’s myopic view, he wrote, “it is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye to look upon the lunar body.” The spyglass allowed him to see beyond what terrestrial dwellers thought was smooth, unblemished perfection. Instead, it revealed the depressions, dunes, and possibilities of the uncharted celestial body.
Naming their villa after the first scientific instrument to intensify human senses seemed a given for Janine and Ian “Sugar George” Edwards. It’s occupation as sentinel on secluded North Hill Ridge makes it the perfect dwelling to claim the title Spyglass Hill.
Anguilla has many famous views, but I believe the one afforded by Spyglass Hill to be subsuming. Your vantage from the verandah includes the visage of not only Sandy Ground, but neighbouring St. Martin rising in the background. Each wall becomes an aperture to the outside with even a seat on the sofa offering a mix of nautical and stratospherically blue scenery.
The space creates a fusion of stone and wooden elements, complete with a roofless courtyard providing planetary viewing of which Galileo would have certainly approved.