Port Elizabeth, Bequia's main town, is nestled deep inside Admiralty Bay, the island's large natural harbour and favourite stop for yachters. This relaxed little town has lost none of its lively Caribbean character despite cosmopolitan influences brought by settlers and sailors of many nationalities. The few hours it takes to explore are time well spent, and most will find it a pleasant distraction from Bequia's main attraction – the fabulous beaches.
The centre of the town's activity is the jetty where ferries from Kingstown dock and sailboats depart for other Grenadine islands. At the end of the jetty is a small market selling fresh produce, spices and a plethora of tourist fare, including T-shirts, jewellery and locally made jams; vendors will encourage you to taste their produce, but don't feel pressured to buy once you have. Port Elizabeth's main drag, Front Street, with its collection of souvenir shops, yacht provisioners and restaurants, leads into Belmont Walkway, where most of the town's accommodation and restaurants are to be found. Don't miss the Bequia Bookshop and its large selection of Caribbean literature, maps and prints, and the Garden Boutique, with locally produced batiks.
Across the road from the Garden Boutique, just before the main street becomes Belmont Walkway, you'll find the understated St Mary's Church. With its profusion of wood beams painted pale blue, its pristine white, wooden pews and tall doors letting in the salty sea breeze, the church feels very much a part of the ocean it faces. Make sure to take a look at the two striking paintings near the altar by English artist John Constable.
Head northwest out of Port Elizabeth around the bay and you'll pass Mauvin and Sargeant Brothers model boat shops, which sell the exquisite handmade model boats for which Bequia is famed. You can go inside both shops and watch the craftsmen at work; Sergeant's is the older and more atmospheric of the two. A little way past the boat shops on the inland side of the road is the Bequia Maritime Museum (Mon– Fri 9.30am–5.30pm, Sat 9.30am–2pm; EC$15), established by boatbuilder Lawson Sargeant, who also offers informative guided tours of the small but intriguing collection. Exhibits include some lovely period photos of Port Elizabeth, as well as a gushing letter of thanks from England's Queen Elizabeth II thanking Sargeant for the model replica of her yacht, Britannia, which he presented to her when she visited Bequia in 1985.
About a mile from the docks the road winds steeply uphill to the site of Fort Hamilton. A few British and French cannons remain but the real reason to visit is for the panoramic views over Admiralty Bay below.