Pristine beauty Mary Beth Malooly, Baltimore, I drove...

PERSONAL JOURNEYS

May 21, 2000|By Special to the Sun

Pristine beauty

Mary Beth Malooly, Baltimore,

I drove from Baltimore to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge to see birds migrating north. I didn't see as many geese and ducks in the spring as I had the previous fall when they were flying south, but I did see this beautiful sunset. It was quiet and I was the only person around. I felt like I was seeing the Chesapeake Bay in its old, pristine days.

A MEMORABLE PLACE

Sweet Bahamian breezes

By Melodie Taylor

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In late April 1996, a puddle-jumper from Miami transported my husband and me in just 30 minutes to another world -- the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. A Caribbean paradise where crime is unheard of and commercialism is limited to the resident Club Med, Eleuthera is a shoestring on the map at 100 miles long and two miles across at its widest point. Loaded with charming villages and friendly people, it quickly captured our hearts.

Arthur, the caretaker of our rental house, met us at the airport with a welcome smile, the rental car and meticulous directions along the unmarked roads to our hideaway.

The house, nestled in a thicket of flowering trees and high on a bluff, overlooked a cove. The view was breathtaking, and we were surrounded by unoccupied bungalows along the neighboring cliffs. Three hundred yards across the shallow basin were the white sands of Ten Bay Beach. During low tide, we toddled over through waist-high waters. Early morning was our favorite time for snorkeling in front of the house: blue-green sea was always just steps away.

The lack of commercialism was refreshing and encouraged us to be creative in our activities. We visited a woman in Savannah Sound who bakes Portuguese sweetbread so good you couldn't leave without buying a few loaves off her kitchen table. We dropped in on an artist whose studio is open to the public daily. And we frequented quaint shops owned by hospitable residents who gladly divulged information about Eleuthera and its people. Scuba diving, body surfing and cave exploration were other favorite pastimes away from our cove.

Our best trip was to tiny Harbour Island, the original capital of the Bahamas and a five-minute speedboat ride from Gregory Town at the northern tip of Eleuthera. It's full of cottages in an array of pastels, and the best way to take in the rolling hills and narrow streets is by moped. An oceanside lunch of conch chowder and coconut bread at the Coral Sands Hotel and drinks at the former Governor's Mansion rounded out our afternoon.

By the end of the week, we yearned for a night on the town, so we headed to Club Med for dinner and a show. The outing was a nice change of pace, but we were happy to return to our solitude at the end of the evening.

Our nine days on the island were wonderfully relaxing. We hope to one day return and again enjoy the sweet Bahamian breezes.

Melodie Taylor lives in Westminster.

READERS RECOMMEND

MONT-ST-MICHEL, FRANCE

Jennifer C. Menzel, Baltimore

"I traveled through Europe with 30 of my fellow college students. One of the first stops we made was at Mont-St-Michel in Normandy. Visitors to this wondrous abbey stand outside in awe, but the view inside is just as amazing. This is one sight in France (and Europe) that cannot be missed."

MOUNT ST. HELENS, WASH.

Irene Mixon, Millersville

"The views from Mount St. Helens were breathtaking. Seeing the acres of fallen trees and the devastation this mountain's eruptions had caused brought tears to my eyes. But we were also able to see the most beautiful wildflowers pushing their way through the ash-covered grounds. And new saplings were growing in the midst of those humongous felled trees. I came back from that trip with a renewed belief in the power of nature."

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