Rare Books

"A Vision of Paradise: Robertson Ward and the Mill Reef Club"

For more than half a century, the Mill Reef Club in Antigua, West Indies, has been the premier private resort in the Caribbean.

It began in 1946 when Robertson "Happy" Ward, a Connecticut architect, led a hearty band of adventures in search of a vacation haven free of the crass commercialization that spoiled many enterprises.

On the eastern shore of the island they saw their vision of paradise: 1,300 acres of scrub brush and abandoned sugar fields overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Without the aid of many modern conveniences such as electricity or running water, the first members of the Mill Reef Club transformed the property into a community of private homes with a hotel, clubhouse, tennis courts, and expansive golf course.

A Vision of Paradise: Robertson Ward and the Mill Reef Club presents an illustrated history of their dedication to realizing their dream.

It is a tale of unique experiences: the establishment of Pan Am's weekly "Mill Reef Special" flight from New York, and learning to contend with the mishaps and misadventures of this rough land hardships that would be unheard of in their other lives.

It is also a story of people, many of whom built America's great corporations, creating a diverse community devoted to forging "the good life" in a place where it always required a lot of work.

But come what may, they loved it all.

As poet laurete Archibald MacLeish wrote at age eighty-five when frail health finally forced him to withdraw: "You don't resign from the Mill Reef Club more than once in a lifetime and not then if you can help it."

Elizabeth Ballantine


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