Grand Cayman Island is all too often swallowed up in the same breath as the mega-cruise ships and overdevelopment it’s grouped with, but what’s lost about this beautiful Caribbean getaway are all the reasons we fly south in the first place.
Here the water is gorgeous, warm and unparalleled to those of its more famous Caribbean neighbors, the culinary scene has abruptly graduated from tourist-driven dishes to international acclaim and the flora and fauna of this small island (21 miles around) is as impressive as it’s always been.
Yes, there are spas, submarine rides, sunset cruises, trinket shops and some of the best dive sites in the entire world, but as I showcase in my images below, Grand Cayman Island is best enjoyed for all the colorful wonders that are constantly in view. If you are looking to lay back on the beach, adventure out to explore and enjoy the company of others over a great meal or strong drink, then I highly recommend Grand Cayman.
Look for my 10 Best highlights with links at the bottom of the post.
10 Best Highlights of the Trip
Everyone wants their own private beach, right? Well I’ve found that if you start with some of the well-known but not easy to find beaches and then look left and right, you find your private beach. Here are two to start from– Starfish Point near Kaibo and Cemetery Beach on 7-Mile Beach.
Watch the sunset and have a drink in one of the cabanas at The Westin on 7-Mile Beach.
Splurge on fresh local seafood as you hover over the sea at Grand Old House in Georgetown.
Want a reason to drive nearly half the island to get a cup of coffee? Yeah, me too. Kaibo Beach Espresso is a must.
Looking to stay healthy during your stay in on Grand Cayman Island? Then head to Jessies Juice Bar in the beautifully thought out new-urban oasis of Caymana Bay.
If waterside drinks, live music, volleyball and beach parties are on your agenda, then Rum Point is a must. Since several bars and restaurants are located directly on the water, there are several others I could list as runner-ups.
If you are looking to shoot some underwater photography while you’re snorkeling or diving around the reefs of the Caymans, then you would be remiss to pass up a stop into Cathy Church’s Photo Centre.
Craft F&B Co. is a pub that delivers on hearty American fare with a wide selection of craft brews and picklebacks to boot.
Restaurant Pappagallo. It’s almost strange that this Polynesian-inspired hideaway is an Italian restaurant, but don’t be fooled by the rather ordinary menu, the food is spectacular and the setting is unrivaled.
Close spot to dive, snorkel or sit on the sand and take in a breathtaking caribbean cove– Smith’s Cove is your place and it’s right next door to Georgetown.
Bonus – The Mastic Trail with tour guide, Stuart Mailer. A truly insightful walking tour through the dense canopy of the Mastic Trees.
Storms come and go. The colors vary by day and hour. The clouds are there and then they are not. Through it all, the sky stays constant while everything below the horizon changes.
When I pick up my camera or phone, the horizon line is always on my mind. It has a finite feel to it as if the world really was flat. It creates a barrier of security and change and when that plane is broken by something like a swaying tree, a man-made light post, a pelican–or anything really–it reminds me just how important it is to live in that balance. And what better setting than California to see it all come together?
This series depicts the ever-changing movement of California underneath its fabled blue skies.
I woke up this morning and began my day how I usually do; wake early, feed Witty, see Sammy off and walk the lil’ man in the park before work. But today the ground shook… literally.
I live in Harlem and have grown rather accustomed to backfiring buses, dirt bikes, fireworks and even the occasional gunshot. For the most part, I block it out. This, however, was something much different. This was definitely an explosion and it was coming from my neighborhood.
At the moment, there are 3 dead and several more missing, but before it was clear what was happening, the not-knowing loomed large.
Already a few miles deep in the park, I couldn’t get home fast enough to grab my camera and head to the scene. The closer I got, the heavier the smoke as it combed through the trees of Central Park and eclipsed the prewar buildings of Spanish Harlem.
There was a smell of things burning that shouldn’t be and a haze that can only mean tragedy is near. I wasn’t alone. Like a stampede, the news helicopters, bomb squad, police caravans, FDNY responders and journalists swarmed down on the little slice of Manhattan that is often overlooked or at least under-appreciated. At the press line it all became that much more real–not just the eminent devastation, but the reminder that this is a human story and while we want to know all the ins and outs of what happened, it’s important that we balance the sensationalism and quick tongued questions with what should be our own true reaction.
The story of a New Yorker traipsing into the woods of Vermont — if only to find a hint of solitude — is certainly nothing new. The insistent need for a change of pace or just a change in scenery lives within us all. We do it to stay sane; we do it to rekindle creativity and we do it to remind ourselves of a truer sense of reality – regardless of what that means to you.
For me it’s all of those things really, however I’ve always looked to Vermont as a deeper source of kindred inspiration. Vermont remains virtually unchanged, because it takes a particular type of person to withstand all the cliches of a rural American landscape. They must endure the question of “what do people do around here,” and come to terms with the fact that they must “come to terms” more often than not. It’s one thing to appreciate the colors of autumn or the quaint ski hills of the Green Mountains. But it’s another entirely to fall madly in love with the year round exploits and obtuse understandings of Vermont.
Where I fall in all of this I’m not entirely certain but I do know that I’ve always shared a special affinity for the Green Mountain State. And only images can conjure up the raw emotion of such a crush, so I will simply leave you with those.
Some clickables from the trip…
The incredible Troutlily Farmhouse in Waterbury played home base to my traveling office while Witty and uncle Aaron made the arduous journey to the top of Hunger Mountain. Liz and Javin are some of the nicest people around and a stay here is unrivaled by most in the Stowe region.
While there’s nothing quite like a family barbeque in the wilds of a Vermont summer, these two restaurants certainly make a compelling argument against. Hen of the Wood is hands down one of the best restaurants in the region. And it’s not just my opinion. Chef Eric Warnstedt was a 2011 and 2012 James Beard Best Chef North-East Finalist and was named as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs. Hen of the Wood was featured in a slew of magazine and newspapers as well as featured in the book Harvest to Heat.
Prohibition Pig is a must-stop for craft beer enthusiasts, pickle-back addicts and those searching for a properly prepared brisket. The cocktail list is impressive, beers are perfectly paired with the rich flavors of the gastronomic explosion taking place on the table. My only regret was going here after Hen of the Wood. I recommend the reverse order.
A great find on the way home, we stopped in at Juniper’s Fare, a quirky little diner of sorts with a humanitarian element (they donate a portion of their profits to Everyone’s Child to help feed and educate children around the world ). The breakfast sandwiches were incredibly good and their maple cappuccino was pretty insane to say the least. Pop in and ask for Bernie and Lori-Ann for some good conversation. Some runners up… The Alchemist Brewery, Piecasso, The Whip, The Village Creeme Stand,
Around the globe, coastlines are dear to many in their most general form, but the Connecticut coastline holds a particular space in what is left of my New England heart.
In the off season — and particularly in this when-will-it-come spring — the Connecticut coastline is desolate and bare, yet it is particularly alluring with its quaint, sandy shores and meandering marshlands.
I’m partial to it, because I’ve embedded so many memories here, but even if you eliminate the breeding of childhood reflections, I think I’d still be drawn to these shores. As I grow older, the spaces before me dwindle and the perspective grows ever so skewed. But whether it’s the nostalgia, the memories of family and fun or simply the salt in the air, I will always come back to the Connecticut coastline.