Thursday, 11 August 2011

Stella Maris, Long Island

Traveling… one of my favourite things!

I love to go to new places whether it is far away or close to home.  I make it my mission to go to 1 ‘cool new place’ every single year.  I would say it is my priority goal, before house projects or anything.  I think about my vacation about a year in advanced!  Getting only 3 weeks vacation a year on this side of the world (compared to Europeans who get about 6 weeks) it goes fast.  I usually budget in a few days unpaid too since I have a very pro-traveling boss J

Just over a week ago my boyfriend and I traveled to Long Island, another island in The Bahamas.  We had never gone there before and we both enjoy getting to see the different islands in The Bahamas.

I have been to Abaco, Freeport, Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, and Andros.  And now Long Island.  We LOVED Long Island!

We were between Cat Island, San Salvador and Long Island.  As my boss owns a lot of property in North Long Island I had heard so much about it, so we chose to go there.  The Ministry of Tourism was doing a special that if you go and stay at a participating hotel for 4 nights; you get your 2 airline tickets for free! We thought that was fabulous, and a great way to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. 

On Friday July 29th we headed off on Pineapple Air down to Stella Maris, North Long Island.  I was not sure what to expect, but I was expecting something similar to Eleuthera.  Long Island makes Eleuthera feel like a bustling town. 

Dolphin House
Stella, the local community potcake, greeted us warmly at the airport.  We were whisked away by Dwight, a local taxi driver and our new best friend.  Arriving at the front desk at Stella Maris Resort was such a pleasant experience.  All the staff greeted us warmly and we found out that we had been upgraded to a beautiful house on the water with its own private pool! To my surprise, when I asked for the keys to the house, I received a funny look and was informed that they do not lock the doors.  I defensively explained that we do live in Nassau – it’s understandable!

Dolphin house could not be more perfect - a 70’s style island home with a great layout for visiting guests.  Two bedrooms on each side separated by a living and dining area, and great porch and the feature of the house is the ocean views and huge swimming pool.  

Yummy Cake!
Dinner at the resort is phenomenal.  Chef Bruno makes remarkable dishes and on our first night there we had a most delicious cake in honor of our anniversary.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Stella the dog outside of the clubhouse and she kindly escorted us back to the house, after she realized we had a ‘to go’ container.  Stella enjoyed her reward of cracked conch, and barked a few times as if to say that we paid her to act as security and we were now protected. 

On Saturday morning after a lovely relaxing night sleep, we were up early and enjoyed a great breakfast.  Stepping out of the house the small crabs scatter, and a meow came from some trees.  This was our first encounter with Rambo, the community ‘potcat’. The pancakes at breakfast were superb!  I had the same pancake every day and may have to go back just to eat another pancake.

Dean’s Blue hole was today’s destination.  About an hour’s drive south, down the one road that runs the length of the island we found it.  Words cannot explain, and photos barely do this place justice.  It is something one must see to appreciate.  Driving through the settlements of Long Island takes you back in time.  What really amazed me was how interesting it is to witness this primitive state of development.  Most people only conceptualize it in history books, how a church was built and the town grew around that and side streets develop and before you know it you are in a city.  In Long Island, you get to experience the state in which every town or city would have started off in.  Everyone knows everyone.  Even though we were outsiders, we still received a very warm welcome. 
Dean's Blue Hole

We meandered back North, excited at the thought of just relaxing around the pool at house, and even taking a nap.  Oh the decadence of island life. 

Sue heads up the bar and grill down by the water at the Stella Maris Resort.  We opted for lunch over there and met our new friend Rambo the cat.  I shared my generous portion of mahi-mahi and Rambo fell in love. 

Later on that evening he even found our house, came in and enjoyed a packet of cat food we had picked up from the store for him.  Rambo curled up so happily on the couch we did not have the heart to put him outside, so there he slept! 

On Sunday we lazed around, enjoying the house and time to do nothing, something that I especially do not get much of in Nassau.  Stella passed by to check in and lay by the pool with me until she caught a whiff of something coming from the grill and happily trotted off to investigate.

Stella, Everybody's Friend! 

Cape Santa Maria
Today was the day we were going North.  Cape Santa Maria has a legendary beach that we had to see for ourselves.  Lunch was fantastic and the beach was breathtaking.  I insisted that we go in search of the monument that I had heard of.  We were told it was down a road that was not too good – they did not tell a lie.  It was a very rough road and we were glad we rented a little jeep.  The monument is worth seeing just for the beautiful views – the different blues from the waters below.  I find all different types of landscapes beautiful, from snow-capped mountains to green pastures, but I must admit that the turquoise ocean landscapes are my absolute favourite.

Views from the Monument

Sad that our trip was drawing to a close, it was decided we would watch the sunset, enjoy the stars, and rise to see the sunrise.  Sue told us the best place nearby to watch the sunset was at the Beach Bungalow about 10-15 minutes south.  Driving down, with the music blasting, singing at the top of our lungs I felt true happiness and contentment.  The water was calm and the sunset was striking.  It was a very romantic setting.  As we both wanted one last dinner at the resort we jumped in the Rav and headed North.  Dinner was, as expected, very yummy! 

Next on our Island Agenda – watch the stars come out.  Where else could be more perfect to watch the stars but from the middle of a sun heated pool with the sound of waves crashing on the seawall.  Most of us really miss the beauty of the night as a result of our city lights.  The stars were mesmerizing.  The only other place I have been to that would top this is the Galapagos Islands. 

The alarm went off early and we looked at each other and said, are we really getting up? YES! So we did – however, the sky was cloudy, and the mosquitoes came out in droves, and drove us right back in the house and back to bed!

Our trip had come to a close, it was time to pack up from dolphin house and depart.  Rambo brought his family, a female and 2 kittens, by and it was heartbreaking that we did not have anymore cat food! Lesson learned, always travel with more cat and dog food than you think because I will always come across hungry cats and dogs!

A quick flight back to Nassau brought us quickly back to reality… we will definitely be back to Stella Maris, Long Island.  

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