On Green Turtle Cay, Your Own Private Club in The Bahamas
“What’s the name of this bar?”
“I don’t know, and I work here,” says Sheena Newbold, who is the heart and soul of the legendary bar at the Green Turtle Club on Abaco’s Green Turtle Cay.
“Some people call it the Turtle Bar, others call it the Green Turtle Club Bar, some people call it the Dollar Bar,” she says.
All would be appropriate.
There’s the Tipsy Turtle rum punch that’s the signature of the place; and then there’s the hallmark of the bar: the seemingly infinite, mostly American and Bahamian, one-dollar bills that have been ascribed to just about every corner of the bar, walls and ceiling alike, all signed by those who put them there, inscribed with messages and memories of the place they love so dearly.
The longer you spend here, and the more Havana Club 7 you drink, you might even be persuaded that it’s surely called Sheena’s Bar.
What can’t be argued, though, is that this little bar is the fulcrum of the Green Turtle Club, the tiny resort on tiny Green Turtle Cay that has carve out a rather large space in the consciousness of travelers for decades.
The Club’s story began back in 1963, when the English biologist Allan Charlesworth arrived on his yacht and believed the property where the Green Turtle Club now exists was the most beautiful location he had ever seen,” according to the hotel’s story.
The next year, he purchased the land and the club was soon born.
Over the next six decades, it’s changed hands a few times, but the bright yellow main house and cottages on White Sound have remained, entrenched as one of the Caribbean’s true bucket-list destinations.
It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a place called Green Turtle Cay, and you feel that when you come here; the travelers and boaters who make their way here know they have found someplace rare and special, that peculiar destination that gives visitors the feeling that they themselves have discovered it.
Indeed, Green Turtle Cay occupies a mythic space among travelers, particularly among connoisseurs of the Out Islands of The Bahamas; after all, you can only get here by boat, either your own or a brief ferry from nearby Treasure Cay in Abaco.
The hotel itself has 29 rooms, spread across cottages and villas (room seven is a must for its stunning view of the harbor), along with the aforementioned bar and waterfront restaurant, along with a number of club-style rooms in the main house perfect for light afternoon reading or endless evening conversation. (There’s also golf-cart rental on site, it being the exclusive mode of transportation on the island.)
It’s a simple formula here, one cultivated by the innumerable boaters who make their way to the island and stay in the marina that is the town square of the property.
Mornings and afternoons on the beach (the nearby Coco Bay Beach and Ocean Beach are two of the best in the Out Islands) or out on the water; a late afternoon Goombay Smash (the drink was, after all, invented on the island); twilight strolls in downtown New Plymouth; timeless evenings at the bar; and delicious, intoxicating serenity all day long.
Because other than the evenings when the outstanding Island Spice is performing out near the dock, this place is wonderfully quiet, the sort of place where you could spend a month writing a novel.
It’s a place where you feel endless friendship and sanctuary; it’s your own private club in The Bahamas, where you know that you are at home.
The kind of place that doesn’t even need a name.
For more, visit the Green Turtle Club.