To say my husband and I had the most relaxing vacation ever while staying at Ryan's View in Miley on Long Island is an understatement! What a fabulous trip and outstanding home rental.
We had to fly on Bahamasair out of Fort Lauderdale on a Wednesday night to make a Thursday morning connection to Deadman's Cay. The flight was on-time with no problems. We spent a very short night at A Stone's Throw Away in Nassau; about a 5 minute drive from the airport, therefore very convenient for an early morning flight. I wish we had more time to spend there as it appeared to be a very nice boutique style hotel. It was dark when we got there and when we left early morning Thursday so we didn't get to see the oceanview but were able to hear it and imagine from our oceanfront balcony. Would definitely go back and spend a full day there in the future.
We were scheduled on the 7AM Southern Air flight from Nassau to Deadman's. As soon as we checked in, we were told that the flight was delayed to 8:30AM (wish we knew that back at hotel so we could've enjoyed our free breakfast and some coffee!). It seems as though they had already automatically put us on the later morning flight to Deadman's through Stella Maris. Not sure if that is the usual but just in case, I will definitely book the later morning flight next time!
We arrived at about 9:30AM in to Deadman's and Ingrid Knowles (Ryan's View's caretaker) met us at the airport to drive us to our car rental and to Ryan's View. She provided us with a wealth of knowledge regarding the island, it's beaches, markets, attractions, etc. We rented a vehicle from Winter Haven for $85/day and it was a 4x4 vehicle which was very helpful at some of the beaches we visited where the entrance path was pure sand. Ingrid was also able to procure some fresh lobster tails for us one night that were a good size and delicious!
Upon arrival at Ryan's View, we were pleasantly surprised with a complimentary nice bottle of wine and a jar of nuts. The home looks exactly as it does on Homeaway.com. The upstairs master bedroom is huge! The master bath had a ton of extra towels and I was pleasantly surprised by their size and softness. The bathroom contained a large variety of high end shampoos, conditoners and body lotions. A very nice touch! The second bedroom is on the first floor and has two twin beds and a bathroom shared by the first floor; it looked very comfortable but remained unused on this trip. The house is extremely accommodating and has all of the necessary appliances and ammenities that are needed while on vacation. The kitchen was full of everything we needed to cook at home; lots of spices, a big charcoal BBQ grill, large fridge and a George Foreman grill in case it's too windy to grill outside. We definitely put the Magic Bullet blender to good use! We enjoyed a soak in the hot tub EVERY DAY after returning from the beach. I thought it would be too hot but it was just what we needed after a long day in the sun.
The beaches (that we visited) of Long Island are unreal and mostly secluded! Our favorites were the pools at Desert Rose, Lochabar and Gordon's (all south of Deadman's Cay). The pools were just that; two naturally made pools of water that are perfect for soaking and swimming at any time. The water is so clear it's unbelievable! The snorkeling at the end of the main road to this beach is some of the best that we have ever done. My husband and I are both former Dive Instructors and we were blown away by the amount of live coral in pristine shape at this location. We saw several LARGE grouper of all varieties, rays, lots of tropical's, etc. The beach at Lochabar is also beatiful; white sand and water in about 50 shades of blue! There is a less explored, large blue hole on the southern end of this beach. When we arrived here on the first day, we must have seen over a dozen sea turtles swimming in front of the beach! By the time we got in the water they had moved on. This is a great beach for collecting sand dollars and sea biscuits (dead one's of course). My husband snorkeled the distance over to one of the cays across this cove (not a short swim) and was able to collect some salt which we have brought back and used every day. Gordon's is a soft and sandy beach with shallow water and great for kids. It was very calm and blue on the day we went and we saw a stingray feeding the entire afternoon that must have been about 4 feet across! A cool sight. We stopped by Dean's Blue Hole which is an incredible site. There was a freediving class from Vertical Blue taking place so we moved on to a more secluded beach that day. The beach in front of the house is also very nice. If you walk a few yards south, you are on some great sand and the water entrance is also soft and not so rocky. We visited a beach at the end of a random road in Millerton's which was a fun time. There is a large boat/vessel that appears to have crashed into the reef; we couldn't determine how long it had been there but it looks like it's been awile. The snorkeling there was very nice but we had a pretty strong current that day. There is a huge osprey nest at the top of the boat which must have a baby; the parents were circling and sqwaking at us for the entire time we were in the water and snorkeling around the boat. Not bad that the only other living creature we saw on the beach that day was a bird!
We drove up to the Columbus monument which was a neat site with incredible ocean views. That day, we also hoped to spend the afternoon at the beaches at Cape Santa Maria but did not find any public beach areas. The water color in that area is SOOOO blue that it looks fake! We wound up on Deal's Beach for the day which was nothing special in my opinion. The water was very warm and allowed for some premium soaking and enjoyment of a few Sand's Light! We had 9 days of fabulous sunny weather and were able to enjoy the Atlantic side beaches every day. We tried to visit Galloway Beach but it was really rough on the west side of the island during our stay.
Patrice, the home owner, was extremely helpful throughout the process of planning our trip. Making the reservation was simple and she was very responsive to our suggestions after the trip. We enjoyed meals at Rowdy Boy's (excellent conch chowder and lobster bisque) and Atlantic Hideaway (amazing cracked conch and very inexpensive). Max's Conch Bar in Deadman's Cay has the most delicious conch salad; I highly recommend it and will visit there for more dishes next time.
We spent a total of 9 days at Ryan's View and it was the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation we have taken in many years of visiting several other Bahamian Islands like Eleuthera, the Abacos and Cat Island. While each island is different, Long Island has easily become our favorite. It is very clean, the people are extremely friendly and the roads and infrastructure are surprisingly better than Eleuthera (in my opinion). We look forward to a return visit in Nov. 2011 to look for our own property to purchase on which to evenutally build a home as beautiful as Ryan's View!
FYI- when flying through Nassau, the entire international terminal is new. It actually looks like a real and modern airport! The check-in process and customs and immigration lines were still long but they had just opened the new terminal right before we arrived. Definitely makes the layover when returning to the states go by a little faster with the variety of restaurants and shopping!