We’re having a great time here in Hope Town which we refer to as ‘Home Town’ because it’s like coming home, and we’ve been reuniting with friends and feeling the love, and the hangover.
We’re at dock at Hope Town Inn and Marina – a very large and pink new resort and marina in heart of Hope Town Harbour. Last night RS and I took a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to savour poolside in the necessary shade of the pergola overhead, perched on comfy high-stools balustrade-side to prop our bare feet onto. Our view is of the harbour, boats, quaint pastel cottages and golden sunset. Thankfully there is a cooling breeze after a brutally hot summer’s day.
The dogs are lying prone alongside their sloppy water bowl. Within minutes we meet Linda who lives aboard her sailboat with Sascha a young chocolate lab. Sascha periodically sneaks off and tries to board our boat having sniffed out the remnants within our dog’s bowls in the bowels of the cockpit. She is sweet, but not particularly clever. Her ‘covert’ efforts are undone by frustrated barking caused by her inability to negotiate the awkward leap between dock and cockpit…so Linda routinely retrieves her, and we continue to chat, for hours.
…It’s now dark and RS and I are anxious to head over to the restaurant for food. But instead, we gab some more, and drink. By the time we finally make our way over to the restaurant, the kitchen is closing.
I commiserate with a fellow hungry person who has coincidentally just arrived late for food as well. We decide to make the best of the situation and order margaritas. Roger wants to go back to the boat for me to cook something; there are no other food options within range, but then Linda re-joins us with a full glass.
The four of us pull up chairs at a waterside table and continue to shoot the breeze. To make a long evening’s story short, I withdrew at 2:00 a.m. and returned to the boat to scarf down some crackers and cheese, and a small stash of m&m peanuts. Roger eventually returned but only to grab a towel, he weaved down the dock and over to the pool area’s hot tub he’d been heating throughout the evening. I quickly joined the unconscious.
Two days earlier…
We arrived late afternoon from Lynard Cay and hooked a mooring ball in Hope Town Harbour for the evening. The following day we moved to a dock here at Hope Town Inn and Marina – a treat; we’ll enjoy their new facilities for a few days before heading north to Treasure Cay, Spanish Cay, etc. over the next 3 weeks, then it’s back to Florida and up to Toronto. Staying at dock is a no-brainer and we have air conditioning to boot! – the dogs are especially grateful!
It’s been brutally hot…yesterday I took a long marina shower (water is at a premium on a boat, esp. since we make our own) and LOVED it! I am so tired of Rasta hair – I literally cannot get a wide tooth comb through my hair unless I de-salt with a fresh water shampoo and gallons of conditioner, and even then it’s a battle – I really wish I’d cut my hair into a short ‘bob’ before this trek.
We have been visiting old familiar and new places – though we used to come here annually over a number of years, it’s been four years since cottaging at Lubbers Cay…since buying our Florida home.
Day 3 began with a delicious Quiche and a large cup of freshly brewed java at the Hope Town Cafe – then I browsed the few, small boutiques which have either changed locations or have gotten more upscale over time – then off to the liquor store which has moved to the waterfront – there have been lots of changes in four brief years – all appear positive and progressive while in keeping with the quaint character and feel distinctly Hope Town.
Best of all we spent much time with a dear friend, Robbie Bethel, who manages the Hummingbird Art Gallery and Event Centre, while still keeping a hand in his real estate agent job. He is well-connected with friends who have invested well over $1M++ to develop the two small buildings and remove the ancient cisterns in the ‘back yard’ that fronts the ocean.
The original sweet small Bahamian 100 yr+ pink and white cottage with dormers has been refreshed on the outside and rebuilt on the inside, using natural and traditional materials. In fact, as part of the construction project, the original cottage was lifted from it’s foundation and propped to the side while a new support was constructed, then it was return to it’s original site.
All the charming bahamian cottage character has been lovingly restored. At the same time, the feel is fresh and richly toned with polished wood throughout. The style is open concept and clean; the ceilings are high and the dormer windows are open to sweet cooling sea breezes. The small kitchen is outfitted with modern stainless steel appliances fitted into refurbished original cabinetry. Robbie gave me access to upstairs which was considerably large given the small appearance of the cottage from outside. This upstairs room was in transition and currently a place for storing more artwork and frames and files.
What a fine and tasteful architectural achievement Hummingbird is! And what a centre piece for the community and Elbow Cay visitors.
Just a few steps away is a second cottage, a single room gallery constructed to mirror the refurbished original cottage. This inviting, uncluttered space has a simple earthy elegance. Like its sister cottage, it is made of wood with attractive structural beams overhead situated just below the open dormers and free flowing trade winds.
Hummingbird’s walls are adorned with groupings of paintings by accomplished local and American artists. The single theme throughout is ‘Bahamas’, its people, culture, geography, sea life and unique architecture.
The gallery’s show piece sits centre-stage atop a shabby-chic faded persian wool rug. It’s a really cool multicoloured ‘table’. In this instance it wasn’t the invention of professionals, rather it was a creative collaboration by school children. Its broad surface depicts the joy, excitement, colour, and celebrations that is Junkanoo. This was originally an art project to raise funds for the local school. A generous buyer paid $10,000 for the table and simultaneously returned it for auction to raise more funds.
But it even gets better! Stepping into the ‘back yard’ is a very large rectangular deck pillared and canopied with a pergola mixed with hearty vines blooming into corsages of white flowers that smell like jasmine – they originate from large dark brown urns that complement the natural textures and colours of this cohesive architectural achievement.
The deck is multipurpose. Art classes taught by both local and international artists are held in this inspirational garden. It is the planned site for extraordinary dinning events that promise gourmet feasts concocted by talented local chefs.
Facing the deck, and a step down, is a half circle expanse of stone patio bordered by a low stone wall – the broad Abaconian lawn and casually landscaped garden leads to the second stone patio at the very back. Here is another low stone wall, it separates this idyllic setting from the outcroppings of coral reef, wisp of sand shore and forever-turquoise sea. Robbie has scheduled a wedding event here, the first of many to come undoubtedly! Only a year and a half in operation and they’ve hosted multiple events including fund raisers, one of which comfortably accommodated 250 guests.
I can’t wait until Day 4 in Hope Town!