Yellow frangipani, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
Orange bougainvillea, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
The view from our porch at Fish Hooks Cottage, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
Several years back, on a family road trip to the south end of the Abaco mainland, we took a quick swing through the settlement of Cherokee Sound. Though our stop was brief, I was enchanted by the beauty of the tiny town and its breathtaking beach.
Earlier this year, I finally got the chance to get back to Cherokee. I spent an afternoon wandering through this small fishing village that, by comparison, makes sedate Green Turtle Cay seem like a lively metropolis.
Similar to Green Turtle, Cherokee was originally settled by Loyalist descendants who supported their families by fishing or building boats. Today, fewer than 200 residents — most of whom commute to other parts of Abaco for work — call Cherokee Sound home.
Though Cherokee’s streets were virtually deserted on the hot June afternoon I visited, I did spot a group of primary school students enjoying recess, and I met a few locals while photographing their quaint, colourful homes.
And then there’s that beach. That stunning, unspoiled beach. And jutting 700 feet out into the clear water, a beautiful old dock which, according to the sign posted nearby, is the longest wooden pier in the Bahamas.
Until a few decades ago, the only way into Cherokee Sound was by sea. And given the shallow waters surrounding the settlement, an extended pier was a necessity. These days, with a paved road connecting Cherokee to the rest of the Abaco mainland, the dock functions primarily as a tourist attraction.
To get to Cherokee Sound from Marsh Harbour, head south on the main highway and turn left when you reach the sign below:
Follow the winding road until it ends at Cherokee Sound. The drive from Marsh Harbour takes 30-45 minutes or so.
Between the highway and Cherokee, there are two key points of interest and they could not be more different. Pete’s Pub and Gallery is a rustic, off-the-grid, on-the-sand restaurant that serves up local seafood and stunning ocean views, while the Abaco Club at Winding Bay is a manicured beachfront resort with a spa and fitness center, full-size golf course and pro shop.
If it’s meal time or you’re in need of refreshments, I’d suggest stopping at Pete’s or the Abaco Club, as there are no restaurants in Cherokee Sound. Nor are there any hotels, though a quick online search reveals nearly a dozen vacation homes for rent in or near the village.
Below are a few of the photos I shot that afternoon. And if you’d like to know more about Cherokee Sound and its history, here’s a great article by Abaco Life editor, Jim Kerr.
Sunrise over Black Sound, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas.
The cemetery in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Though I look forward to every new issue of Abaco Life magazine, I was especially happy to receive the Summer/Fall 2014 issue, since it includes a piece I wrote about Green Turtle Cay’s surprisingly rich cultural history. (Did you know that prior to the 1932 hurricane, the island had a dance hall, a theater and a full orchestra?!)
Tom and I have subscribed to Abaco Life for years. It’s a great way to find out what’s going on in Abaco while we’re there — and to keep up with events when we’re not. Each issue features a beautiful painting by my cousin, Alton Lowe, on the cover. Inside, there are gorgeous photos and an interesting mix of articles about Abaco’s history, happenings and people.
Abaco Life is sold throughout Abaco and the cays. In Green Turtle Cay, you’ll find it on the ferries, at grocery and gift shops and at the Albert Lowe Museum. To subscribe, visit the magazine’s website.