The best place to experience the laid-back Bahamian lifestyle is in this colorful seaside rental.

By Kelly Brown Tomas
March 23, 2010
Photographer Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

When the waning sun casts colorful rays over the Bahamas’ Cistern Cay, guests at Beside the Point cottage tend to forget their dinner plans. Cocktails in hand, they take a seat on the porch and watch the sun drop below the horizon.

You might expect impressive sunsets at a waterfront locale, but here’s something different to write on your postcard: In the late 19th century, this structure sheltered pirates who left behind more than just lore. “Previous owners found gold bullions hidden in the ceiling,” says Alicia Fox, who now owns Beside the Point. “We found 300-year-old sailing equipment in the basement and cannonballs in the yard.”

Alicia and her husband, Matthew, preserved the historic house and have expanded it along the way. The unpretentious three-bedroom colonial provides space for a family of six, and a recently built guesthouse added two more bedrooms. In the living area, floral fabrics, wicker furniture, and sunny yellows create the feel of an old-fashioned front porch. A Dutch door connects the kitchen with the backyard, where a tropical oasis awaits. Here, guests can choose to be shielded from sun and wind on the covered terrace, surrounded by a thicket of palm and banana trees, or treated to ocean views while relaxing at the private pool.

Within walking distance from the house, Dunmore Town draws visitors down narrow streets to one-of-a-kind boutiques and seafood restaurants. The former Bahamian capital showcases colonial architecture and colorful cottages at every turn. The active but not overly busy bay offers swimming, fishing, and boating. “We love to go body surfing there because the tides are perfect,” Alicia says. If that’s too much action, stroll along the island’s famous pink-sand beaches or explore flats for minnows, sea urchins, and sand dollars. Chances are you won’t stumble across any long-lost pirate’s booty, but if you plan your day right, you’ll be back at the house in time for sunset cocktails—an island reward all the same.

(published March 2009)