So what do you do if you have a few days to spare, and the sunny weather takes a turn for the worse on Grand Bahama Island?
Easy! Pull up your weather app, and look for another Island where the sun is shining bright. Then pack your overnight bag and grab your passport.
I have to admit, I’ve been eyeing up the ABACOS ISLANDS for some time now. Mostly because someone told me “once you go to the Abacos, you won’t want to go back to Grand Bahama”. (It always piques my interest when people say grand things like that.)
If you aren’t already familiar with them, the Abacos are a group of Islands and Cays that form a 120-mile long chain of calm turquoise bays and coves, just a 30 minute flight east from Freeport, Grand Bahama. The scalloped edges of the islands feature three of my favorite things…..unique places to stay, gorgeous beaches and LOTS of yachts gliding in and out of marinas.
I also wanted to find out about the artists over there, as they’re always good company.
PILOT’S LOUNGE for the WIN
After chatting up some local pilots who were hanging out at the GBI Airport’s pilot’s lounge, I heard that there were several ways to Island hop from Freeport.
Write your name and number on a card, and post it on the bulletin board in the lounge. If you’re lucky, someone will call you up for a spontaneous ride
Stop by the Ziz Zag Aviation building next door, because they know a guy over there who might be flying today
Catch a commuter flight via Flamingo Air
So I took their advice and did all three.
Flamingo Air came through for me in the end, with a $106 fare from Freeport (FPO) to Marsh Harbour (MHH). The local ticketing agent let me know that if I walk in and book my flight in person, I could get the fare for $102. Who knew paying in person was cheaper?
If you search up #flamingoair on Instagram, you can see all sorts of fun posts by people who got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit up front and co-pilot the Flamingo Air plane.
I took a window seat and enjoyed the cool, blue ocean views everywhere I looked.
CHASING ISLAND SUNSETS
Have you ever noticed that cab drivers offer the best advice on where to go? They always have their pulse on the cool places. I tried this theory out on the rather reserved rental car guy at the Marsh Harbour Airport. While I checked the time, and he tallied up the paperwork for my rent-a-car. I said “where is the best spot for catching the sunset on the Island?”
He said “The Bay” and sent me on my way. I Googled it and found out that it’s spelled “The Bae” and that I had precisely 15 minutes to make it there before the sun set.
I made two wrong turns on the roundabouts, but this is the view I had after parking the car and walking up - I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered the hot spinach dip, and enjoyed the bang bang shrimp while I watched the sky colors change, and the stars come out. It was pretty postcard perfect.
I heard from a friend-of-a-friend, that once I was on the Island he could connect me with someone who could take me via private boat charter over to Great Guana Cay.
The Cay is a narrow 7 mile Islet accessible only by boat, and located about 8 miles from Marsh Harbour, and I jumped at the chance to go. If you want to give it a try, you can connect with my Captain Corderro right here. (Make sure to tell him Open Air Places sent you!)
Once we landed, my first stop led me to Grabbers Bed Bar & Grill which I had researched as a potential place to hold an OPEN AIR PLACES Retreat. When I walked up the path towards the pool, I happened to meet the owner enjoying the morning views overlooking his dock. He introduced himself as Dennis, and his dog as Kingsley, and kindly offered me a Blood Mary.
While I sipped on my drink, I told him I came to the Bahamas to get a break from the Polar Vortex in Wisconsin, and asked about where to find the artists in the area. He told me to check out Pete’s Pub & Gallery, which is the only working sculpture foundry in the Bahamas. After watching a YouTube video about the place, I definitely want to see this spot in person!
PIRATES FOREVER at TREASURE CAY BEACH
Since I am endlessly chasing turquoise waters and barefoot beaches, I headed straight to Treasure Cay Beach which I heard was beyond beautiful.
The Coco Beach Bar and Sea Grille was in full swing promoting their ROMANCE ON THE BEACH SPECIALS just in time for Valentines Day. They even had a sign set up for lovers to pose by for an Instagram worthy snap.
I was happy that they didn’t mind my bare feet afterwards when I admired a least a million signatures of people who had visited this spot before me. If I had a sharpie tucked into my bag, I would’ve signed “OPEN AIR PLACES, 2019” somewhere on this hanging pirate boat.
GRILLED CHEESE vs. LOBSTER MAC ‘N CHEESE
A few nights back I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner on Yacht SLAINTE. It was golden and good, and just what I wanted. I probably spent less than $5 on the fixings for it.
So, when I saw Lobster Mac’N Cheese on the menu for $30 at Da Blue Hole Restaurant in Marsh Harbour I just had to splurge and try it. It was worth….every…..decadent….bite.
HEALING WATERS MEDITATION
I spent a few hours in a secluded private bay, swimming and sunning myself. The saltwater is magic for my skin, always leaving it soft and glowing. The ocean heals me. Every. Time. Without a doubt.
While I let the ocean breezes dry my hair, I watched the clouds lazily roll by, and saw several sailboats pass across the horizon. I meditated on all the colors I could see in the clouds.
GOLDEN HOUR at TREASURE CAY POINT
Meandering around the Island’s roads after dinner brought me past this inviting spot, where I could see a glimmer of blue on the horizon. The compression and release effect of following this path up, and out out onto a beautiful beach, was truly Frank Lloyd Wright worthy.
Inspired by the golden glow and beauty of my surroundings, I drew some words in the sand.
…..just as I was leaving and thinking that this life couldn’t get any better, I saw a couple emerge onto the beach with their binoculars. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed that they had come out to watch the birds dancing on the sandspit at Treasure Cay Point.
Seeing their love for the birds, and observing their love for nature and each other filled my heart up to the brim.
I was already leaving when I changed my mind and went back to ask the couple for permission to make a photograph of them.
After snapping their photo, they invited me to take a look through the glass where I briefly saw a pair of American Oystercatchers with their bright orange bills. I thought about pairs of people, and pairs of birds and how migrating to this beautiful Island in the middle of a Midwest Polar Vortex was the right idea.
It was a rare and beautiful moment that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
Have you ever had a moment when you’ve went back to make a photograph, because the moment was just too wonderful not to? Write to me and let me know because I’d love to hear how it happened for you!
HELLO FRIEND! I’m JENNA ERICKSON
Founder & Lead Travel Ambassador for OPEN AIR PLACES.
I love serving the world by showcasing UNIQUE PLACES TO STAY, where artists can regenerate and be inspired. This week is all about how I found inspiration during a micro-lifestyle break on a few Bahamian Islands.
You can follow along with me on my journey by joining my mailing list below, or by interacting with me on Instagram at @openairplaces.
I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU SOON.