Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hope Town

Marsh Harbor

Hope Town is the kind of place that many consider ideal. It is a very quaint little village with a kind of tropical Bohemian atmosphere. The streets are barely wide enough for a golf cart.

The houses are compact. Many of them are pastel in color and they date from the 19th century. I think most of the houses are rental units or second homes, although many belong to the locals.

The village is dotted with boutiques and restaurants catering to tourists.

On the ocean side, there is a spectacular white sand beach facing close in coral reefs where one can go snorkeling.

We came in to the harbor around noon and rented a mooring. There is no anchoring here. The harbor is extremely small and crowded. Even the moored boats are no more than 3 meters apart. There is also considerable ferry traffic and commercial traffic going by. All in all it makes for a busy place.

Libby and I walked around the village and the beach and became thoroughly charmed. Rather than blowing our money on an expensive restaurant dinner, Libby went to the fish market and bought a huge 2 pound piece of grouper for $15 (much cheaper than the US price for grouper). We ate half the fish for supper last night. It was absolutely delicious. We'll eat the second half tonight.

After dinner we watched the people come and go at the water side restaurants. Everybody, including families with kids, came and went by boat. The small boats can tie up right at the restaurant's deck. The passengers climb up the ladder then sit at their table right there.

We were remarking at how much our friends and family would love Hope Town. Our daughter Jennifer especially would love it. It's just her kind of place.

Unfortunately, the charm wore off later that night. Captain Jack's, a nearby bar and grill, was having a raucus party. The music was unbelievably loud and so were the drunken patrons. The revelers at the party screamed and hooted ever louder as the night progressed. Then, just to make things worse, the wind shifted to bring us the stench of a near by land fill on fire. I remember too well from my days working as an exterminator, what a burning dump smells like. I considered leaving the harbor even at midnight, but I decided against it. It was too dark to navigate.

I hope that our bad experience was an aberration on an otherwise spendid place to visit. Still, our tastes tend more toward quiet places with few people, or no people around.

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