Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ringing in the New Year at Small Hope!

Every day spent on this magical island is a treat. That said, New Year's Eve is hands down my favorite night of the whole year here!

It's another wonderful feast day (the others being US Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) which means our kitchen delights guests and staff alike with wonderful things like roasted pig, smoked turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, grouper, shrimp, lobster, etc. Then bring on the desserts - again, a minimum of 20 desserts, like key lime pie, guava duff, sweet potato pie, bread pudding, all kinds of cookies, and so on . . .

After the feast the party really starts. Music starts rocking, people start dancing, drinks are imbibed. Our games room is turned into a craft shop. This is where EVERYONE makes a het. Hats are made from anything we've got - construction paper, felt, Androsia fabric, glitter, plastic jewels, feathers, and more! And they are meant to be representative of the past year.

On the beach a bonfire pit is ready, and at the stroke of midnight the Christmas tree that was in our lounge is tossed into the flames, along with everyone's newly made hats! It is a cathartic release and then we get a fresh start for a brand new year!


From all of us at Small Hope, Happy New Year. We wish you a wonderful 2016!!!!
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Androsia, the fabric of the Bahamas . . .

 Back in 1973 (coincidentally the same year the Bahamas became an independent nation) Rosi Birch decided she wanted to give the women on Andros Island a vocation. She decided a batik fabric factory would be perfect. Using the colors of the islands - golden yellow, royal blue, shell pink, etc - and the design found in the nature around us, like sand dollars, conch shells, groupers, palm trees, Rosi and Dick started Androsia.

Well over 40 year later, Androsia is still making the fabric of the Bahamas. They have tons of new stencil designs and still use gorgeous, vibrant colors to create their cloth and clothing. Androsia is also still a big part of Small Hope Bay Lodge and the Birch family. It was passed from Rosi to her step-son Jeff Birch, and now Jeff's daughter, Casey, is there.

And they have a brand new website! 

Androsia's new website has a handy-dandy online store for those who are (unfortunately) not on Andros. Or better yet, come visit us at Small Hope and take a tour of the Androsia factory or come shop in their boutique for all your fabric or clothing needs!

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas is Coming to Andros . . .

Tis the season . . . for all kinds of fun, food, love, and laughter. Then again, it's that season here year round! But the holidays are upon on us and here is how we celebrate them here on Andros:

  1. Get our tree! We get a locally grown Andros pine to be our Christmas tree. It goes right in our lounge near the dining room and is bedecked with lights and homemade decorations done by our guests each year!
  2. Decorate the resort. Every year our staff goes wild hangings lights, "snowflakes", garland, tinsel, Androsia stockings, and more. It becomes a magical winter wonderland, conveniently located in the Bahamas, and so very comfortably warm.
  3.  Feast!!! On Christmas day, the kitchen staff prepares us an incredible culinary extravaganza. These vary every year but often include such things as roasted pig, smoked turkey(s), spiral ham, mashed Irish and sweet potatoes, lobster salad, coconut shrimp, steamed vegetables, pumpkin soup, etc. Our insanely
    tasty dinner is then followed by the dessert to end all desserts. No less than 20 (and usually several more than that) homemade sweets such as pumpkin pie, coconut pecan cookies, Bailey's marble cheesecake, apple pie, sweet potato pie, key lime pie . . . . and the list goes on. And on. And on. Then food coma sets in and we just kind of stare around at each other in a happy daze of food.
  4. Then we scuba, snorkel, kayak, hot tub, etc for a week until New Year!!!!!!!
Come back for how we spend New Year here at Small Hope  . . . .
*spoiler alert: it's a crazy, awesome, fun, and hilarious party!!!!!!!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Our Fabulous New Fitness Area!

Sometimes it is difficult to keep up an exercise regime while on vacation. OK, it's always difficult to keep up an exercise regime, but especially on vacation! At Small Hope, we have always offered our guests several ways to keep active while here - snorkeling, scuba diving, nature walks, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc. - but we also offer several ways to be inactive too, like hammocking or sampling our bar menu.

But now, thanks to our intern PK, we have a real fitness area, complete with ab, pull-up, dipping, and floor stations. PK came to Small Hope in June of 2015 to join our Divemaster staff, as well as assist us in our Nature Program. However, his passion, education, and training are as a personal trainer. So he decided to take his expertise and turn it in to something that our guests can benefit from.

He designed and oversaw the construction of our new fitness area, right on the beach, next to our hot tub. He also has provided detailed instructions for exercises on each station for all levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

It is a wonderful additional amenity for Small Hope guests and staff alike. PK has even helped in doing some rehabilitation for Jeff's injured leg, and designing fitness programs for several staff members.

And considering how well our chefs feed us every day, and those darn conch fritters, it's really a great thing to have a place to burn those calories off!!!

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Island Hopping in the Bahamas, the best way to get around . . .

With over 700 islands in cays in the Bahamas it's nearly impossible to see them all. But we can still try! A great solution to getting to see a couple of the islands while visiting the Bahamas is Island Hopping. This means you can "hop" from one idyllic tropical island to another, without a discouraging layover in Nassau.

Private pilots visiting this beautiful country have been island hopping for decades. The Bahamas is a dream destination for private pilots, with our many international airports and special fee credits as well. We even offer specials with other participating hotels for private pilots to island hop too!

But not all of us are pilots or have our own planes . . . yet. So there's another option. Small Hope Bay Lodge, on beautiful Andros Island, has partnered with Staniel Cay (famous for their swimming pigs), in the Exumas, and Watermaker's Air to make island hopping easy. See our Island Hopping package!

Contact our office at or call us at 1-800-223-6961 to plan your island hopping adventure in the Bahamas

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mmmmmm, Delicious Bailey's Marble Cheesecake Recipe

Some things in life are just wonderful. For example, cheesecake. Another example, Bailey's. What could be tastier than mixing those two together? Pretty much, nothing! Here's the recipe below so you can make at home:


  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
For the crust, combine the melted butter and chocolate wafer crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 10" springform pan. bake for 10 minutes at 325 F. Then, in a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while beating. Stir in sour cream, Bailey's, and vanilla.

Pour 2/3 of the cheesecake mixture over the crust. To the remaining mixture, stir in the melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate mixture over the plain cheesecake mixture. Run a knife through it a few times to create a marble effect.

Bake at 325 F for about 1 and 1/2 hours, until the center is raised and set. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Our Coconut Farm and Garden

Here on Andros, we are a world away from the busy "rat race". Things move at a slower pace, and that's a good thing! But it also means we have had to become very self-sufficient in many ways. We make our own furniture; we compost our food scraps; we turn used wine bottles into drinking glasses; and we grow our own plants for landscaping and some food too!

This means one of our favorite things here is our coconut farm and our garden. Our garden has all kinds of native and complimentary plants we use in our landscaping and for soil retention in the storms. We grow hibiscus, aloe vera (great for our sunburned guests too!), bougainvillea, seagrape, buttonwood, and more.

Our coconut trees come from the mature trees right here on property. Our grounds staff collects the fallen coconuts, plants them in a bucket of sand, and keeps them in the coco farm till they are large enough to be transplanted to their permanent home somewhere on the grounds.

Of course, some coconuts do not make it that far. Sore we use for their delicious water and meat for our staff and guests!

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Monday, December 7, 2015

The Beautiful Birds of Andros Island

Andros is a wonderful place for so many things - diving, snorkeling, eco-tourism, getting away from it all and relaxation. One of the other things we are known for is great birding. There is a great variety of birds that make Andros Island their home, or pass through it every year.

At Small Hope we even have an Audubon Society certified birding guide on staff. We lead our guests to the best local spots to enjoy the ornithological life on Andros. And sometimes we don't have to go very far. The Bahama Oriole, indigenous only to Andros, and one of the most sought after birds to see here often like to make their nests underneath the palm branches right by our dining patio or next to our guest cabins!

We had a guest this past year who took some incredible photos of the local birds and was kind enough to share them with us. Thanks Nicole!

 See our website for more information on our birding program and tours!

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Justin Trudeau, Small Hope's friend . . . oh, and the new Prime Minister of Canada!

We want to formally congratulate Justin Trudeau on his recent election as Prime Minister of Canada! He as his lovely wife Sophie, and their children stayed and dove with us in 2012. 

I recently overheard Jeff Birch (owner/manager of Small Hope) chatting at the bar the other day. He was talking about 2012, a year he got to dive with Pierre-Yves Cousteau (son of the famous Jacques Cousteau) and Justin Trudeau (son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau). This was very significant for Jeff because both of those men's fathers dove with Jeff's own father, Dick Birch. It's a small world at Small Hope!

Jeff mentioned that there was a headline in the Globe and Mail, as well as major newspapers in Nassau, back in the 60's that read: "Where's Trudeau?!?". Well, we know where Pierre was. He was here at Small Hope with Dick Birch, Joe McGinnis, Bahamian Prime Minister Pindling, and other visiting friends. 

As Jeff is the youngest of the Birch kids he has relied on his older sister Margo's recollections of the visit. They both think Pierre came 4 times, a couple of which were with his wife, Margaret. Margo asserts (though who can know for sure) that Justin was probably conceived in Cabin 17. Jeff says that that would mean that "There is big hope for Small Hope!"

When Justin came with his family in 2012 Jeff says it was like meeting a long lost brother. They had a warm embrace, and he knows that, with his family, there was some soul searching for their future while here. Jeff having been born in Canada knows democracy is one of the greatest ways of governance. He says, "We hope that Justin and Sophie and their family are happy in the unselfish giving of their lives for their great country of Canada, and that Canadians are happy that one of their own can lead them to positive change in a complex world and continue to make my old homeland, Canada, a great nation." Jeff laughs and says, "Maybe Canada can catch up to his new home, the Bahamas."

I personally remember the Trudeau family's visit in 2012 because Justin built the coolest sandcastle I have ever seen on these beaches! See here for that cool story

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