These are the Alligoods, a family that has adopted me as their own and the reason I got to experience this wonder...
Haley In Motion Commitment: Minimal words, just the good stuff: with that, enjoy what I hope will be a time sensitive, inspiring read.
Welcome aboard, on a quick adventure to one of the most inspiring secrets in the Caribbean.
There are 2 sections to this blog:
1. Quick Travel Tips for Hope Town
2. My favorite spots on the island
When you think 'Bahamas', most people immediately think cruise ship ports, a luxurious resort like Atlantis, casinos, and lots of locals trying to braid your hair.
But I'd like to shift gears for a moment and take you to an unpretentious place where simplicity is the force and island time is the way.
A place that moves your soul,
sets you back on the right track
and shines a light you can't imagine (figuratively & from the Light House).
Sitting in the middle of the Abaco Islands, Bahamas is a little nautical settlement rich with history, sunshine and soul care.
Welcome to Hope Town, the best kept secret in the Caribbean.
Can we just first talk about the name?
I said last time I was there, if I ever married a guy with the last name 'Town', I would name my daughter Hope... Get it? Hope Town.. genius, I know.
Before I started to write, I contemplated even sharing this tropical get-away because enough people already know about it. But I figured my huge population of readers (ha!) wouldn't make that big of a change in tourist population... or will they?
ON THE MAP: You can take a quick flight (an hour) from Florida to Marsh Harbor. Hop on a ferry or the boat you've rented for the week and you'll be there in about 30 minutes...
And when you spot the lighthouse...
you know you're close.
Riding into the marina of Hope Town, it's like you've just arrived in Nantucket, except you're in the middle of turquoise water and the salty air is reaching into the 90's. The island is 2 miles long and it's against code to build any high rises or large resorts, so everything on the island is quaint, quiet and as "mom and pop" as you can get.
As an American with the stress from "all the options" at my finger tips, there is something freeing about the simplicity of limited options.
one ice-cream shop,
one coffee house,
and seeing the same people the entire week you're there gives you the freedom to actually...
PACK YOUR SUITCASE
Besides your passport, sunscreen and a few cute bathing suits, food and what were going to EAT is (obviously!) the next most important item on the list.
Check with your airline before you depart, but for the most part you are allowed to bring coolers with food, and almost anything you think you'd want on the island. Besides beer (because of their local beer Kalik) and produce, you are welcome to bring wine, cheese, meat, snacks etc. There is a grocery store on both Marsh Harbor and in Hope Town that have almost everything you could imagine (including organic and gluten free options). You'll pay double, but at least the access is there.
We love to bring our own food and also shop when we get there so we can eat dinner IN most nights and make breakfasts, lunch for days on the boat and homemade pina coladas... (I'll have to post my island recipes soon!)
WHERE TO STAY
Bright pastel gingerbread houses line the rustic creamy dirt roads, hugged by palms on both sides of the island. It reminds you of a magazine shoot out of Key West or Charleston. Vacationers stay at one of these beach homes or at one of the small Inn's or Bed & Breakfasts on the island.
You can (should) rent a golf cart(s), because thats what people drive around the island and it makes it way more convenient to get places.
You can't really go wrong with any location on the island when picking a house but the more trips you take, the more you'll learn your favorite spots and whats most convenient for your family.
For us, a place close to Tahiti Beach is where we choose to stay.
It's on one side of the island and close to where our friends from our home town stay, so we like it there!
Most of the homes on Hope Town have a top deck or wrap around porch so you can sit outside and enjoy the incredible views on either the sea side or ocean side.
Both are enchanting and more than you could imagine.
One of the details about this place is the authenticity of local life.
It gives you butterflies over and over. Or like Garret from the Bachelorette said, "Butterflies are too small, it's more like eagles." (Exactly Garret!)
Like, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, everyone knows that at Mackey's, she hand makes homemade cinnamon rolls, and when they are gone, they're gone.
The Sweet Shop is where you go for ice-cream, but they are on that full time island vibe, so hours are limited.
Sometimes you'll show up and it won't be the right day, or they've run out of banana bread or rolls, so you have to read the homemade sign and come back the next day!
The Sweet Shop ships in ice-cream from Ft. Meyers Florida, and it's pretty ridiculously amazing.
Their most popular milkshake?
The Cookie Monster. A bright blue cookies and cream milkshake that will make you feel 10 again.
My favorite spots on the island
THE FOOD BOAT AT TAHITI BEACH
The Tahiti Beach vibe is everything, so even if you don't stay down close to it, you will want to drive your golf cart, or boat down there and park it for the afternoon. This trip I was overjoyed (understatement) when I walked up waste deep in turquoise water to "The Thirsty Cuda", ...a food boat!
It's just like a food truck, but a boat! They have music playing, a whole menu full of amazing tropical fun drinks and for a foodie, I approve of their burger (that's saying a lot).
Catch them on the right day for fresh conch fritters,
lightly breaded and drizzled in a ponzu sauce.
You'll meet new friends, soak in some vitamin D and before you realize it, it's past dinner time. But we're on island time here remember?
It's a perfect spot to chill after a day out adventuring. Trust me on this one..
THE METHODIST CHURCH
If you're a local or just staying close, you'll know about the Methodist Church
in the heart of Hope Town that sits right on the ocean.
There are some cool stories that we're not sure are completely true or not,
but the history on the walls and in the brick is breathtaking.
Right on the oceanside of the church is a spot
that is perfect for swimming, especially right before sunset.
SUNSETS AT FIREFLY
It's probably the best restaurant on the island, but besides the food, people flock to it right before sun down to catch the insanely gorgeous views that set right in front of you off the back porch of the restaurant.
If you want, grab dinner or a glass of wine or dessert, play some corn-hole or swing in the hammocks.
Ps. for some incredible reason, the sunset seems to be on island time too. It's like this sunset that gives you time to soak it in and enjoy every second of glowing and forever shifting shades of paradise.
Pss. If you do eat dinner there, the Lobster quesadillas are the win, and the apple guava pie will make you cry tears of foodie joy.
KARAOKE @ THE LODGE
Well, if you're on the island and love karaoke,
then you'll quickly find all the spots to sing your heart out.
My favorite spot: The Lodge in Hope Town.
Click on the pic or HERE to check out my karaoke
version of "Natural Woman" on my instagram...
(don't worry, it's worth the listen!)
Hope Town - a light for the soul
Well, that's it for this part of the Hope Town get away...
I know you're busy and I've got more to share!
Next adventure: I'll be taking you to some of the local adventures at the other islands around Hope Town that you can pin on your bucket list board for your next vacation!
I'll also post some of the island recipes like my homemade pina coladas, pineapple cashew rice & island coast toast...