By: Lisa Collins-Haynes
Photo Credit: Shonique Finney & Mark Munroe
My friends often tease me and ask if I ever unpack my suitcases. I’m a Travel Writer, what can I say—I’m always on vacation. I decided to mix a little business with pleasure this time around on a recent trip to The Bahamas. I invited those same friends that like to tease me every now and again.
Looking for Something Different
We all decided that off the beaten path would be the theme of our trip and there was definitely nothing on the path we found—except a nice beach house perched on the bluff on Rose Island. The island itself, private and situated about four miles east of New Providence and Paradise Islands, is mostly undeveloped and uninhabited. It’s the kind of place where you go to get lost and hope that no one finds you. Definitely a place to be one with nature, enjoy bird watching, go fishing for grouper, snapper and lobster; or relax on the pristine, white sandy beaches as the waves crash up against the coral rock beds. All this comes along with and is wrapped up in a pretty, yellow package called the Bluff House.
When we all arrived to Lynden Pindling International Airport, through a recommendation by the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism office, I had arranged a car service with Mackey’s Tours & Transfers to pick us up. Mr. Dwayne Mackey arrived on time and came in a Chevy Tahoe, which accommodated all five of us, plus our luggage comfortably. On the way to the boat launch, we were able to get some important sightseeing accomplished. We visited the Nassau Straw Market and Festival Place Welcome Center, McKenzie’s at Potter’s Cay and the Atlantis Resort and Casino. After a quick stop at the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza grocery store; Solomon’s Fresh Market for a week of food and provisions, we met our boat captain Jonathan Ramsey at the Nassau Yacht Club. He and Mr. Mackey helped load all our luggage and provisions onto our water chariot (a 24ft catamaran) that would carry us to an unplugged paradise.
The Boat Ride
I knew getting out to Rose Island entailed riding a boat, when I booked the Bluff House. But I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, nor my friends. That boat ride was the most dramatic boat ride in the history of boat rides—I’m convinced of that. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.) I was however, not expecting the ride to be so choppy and bumpy and scary—I don’t know why, I really should have expected it to—I mean Rose Island is in the Atlantic Ocean. Somehow that fact escaped me; but nevertheless our fearless boat captain Jonathan assured us that we would be fine during the 20-minute ride over to the island—and he was right!
The Bluff House
As we maneuvered through the open water like a power speedboat, Jonathan hit a left hand turn and there it was cresting over the bluff; painted the color of bright sunshine. We slowly eased into the lagoon, docked and began unloading our gear (Notably enough for a month long stay, although we were only booked for a week).
Jonathan gave us the rundown of the house and check-in procedures. The house is eco-friendly; as it runs off solar power, but also has a generator and has a rainwater harvesting system. It’s also self sufficient; as it came with all the comforts and amenities of a vacation home, such as being fully furnished and included towels, linens, kitchen appliances, pots and pans, and utensils. The Bluff House has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and is spacious enough to sleep ten people. The master bedroom is on the second floor and has a panoramic view that is unbelievable. Open all the windows in the house and just allow the cool Bahamian breeze to take over.
The encompassing deck is probably one of the best assets of this beach house. We spent most of our time lounging on the plush patio furniture and watching the sunset as night fell over Nassau. The nightscape of the city was absolutely beautiful. Our days were spent walking the beaten paths to the secluded, white, sandy beaches; sipping coconuts and rum punch; and catching up with each other’s lives, which contributed to a truly relaxing vacation.
Our weeklong stay was idyllic because we had a realistic viewpoint of just what the Bluff House had to offer. It was a bit like luxury camping; yes bug repellant was needed, a lot of it. Starting the generator to get hot water daily was a little time consuming, but not complex. And lastly, washing our faces and brushing our teeth with fresh water instead of the tapped-rainwater; well some of us remembered—and some of us didn’t.
The Bluff House is perfect for getting away from everything. A “lost in paradise” theme was felt throughout the house. Once you get there, you almost don’t ever want to leave. There’s no outside interference or social infrastructure—it’s unplugged in the truest form of the word. (Cell phone service does work if you want to pay the roaming charges.) If you have to have some form of entertainment, there’s a TV with DVD player available, as well as a sound system to hook up your iPod. Our playlist consisted of Caribbean, Reggae and Dancehall tunes, which we blasted throughout the house. If this sounds like your ideal vacation, consider booking the Bluff House on Rose Island. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience!