Friday, December 23, 2016

How We Celebrate the Holidays - Island Style!!!

The holidays are a time for family and friends, love and laughter, and of course, delicious food! If you are thinking about traveling for the holidays, you should know how we like to celebrate here at Small Hope Bay Lodge . . .

At Small Hope we have big, delicious feasts four times a year - Thanksgiving (US), Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Easter. To see how we enjoyed Thanksgiving, click here.

For Christmas, we get a tree and decorate it with lights, sea shells, Androsia batik garland, and handmade ornaments made by our guests. We decorate our lounge, dining room, and games room with festive lights and decor. We put out nuts with nutcrackers, and candy canes, and we play holiday music - traditional and island style.

For Christmas day dinner our kitchen works tirelessly preparing a huge feast. Each time it's different but you can be sure it is epic! There are usually options such as roasted pig, spiral ham, smoked turkey, lobster, grouper; side like mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted veggies, 3 different salads, and a tasty soup!

Then comes dessert . . . No less than 25 mouth-watering homemade desserts such as pumpkin pie, key lime pie, chocolate peppermint bark, guava duff, brownies, lemon bars, and many, many more!

New Year's Eve is similar in the food area - an exquisite and bountiful dinner followed by a plethora of scrumptious desserts. But after dinner things are a little different . . .

Everyone heads to our Games Room where all the crafts are spread out. we all make different and festive hats. Even those a little reluctant in the beginning start getting creative!

Jeff's brother-in-law, Alec, starts serving up Bang Bang shots to those willing adults. The dancing starts. Then, as midnight draws close, we all head down to the bonfire pit where the fire is blazing. At the stroke of 12, we toss the Christmas tree in the fire, and our newly made hats! Fireworks shoot from the dock as we all toast the new year, sing, dance, hug and kiss!

Holidays are Better in the Bahamas!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

How to Get to Andros Island, Bahamas

It's Easy!

Getting to Andros Island is a piece of cake! There are many ways to get to this beautiful island. Here are some of them . . .
  1. Fly to Nassau and then take the short hop over to Andros from there. Book your flights to and from Nassau, then contact our wonderful office staff and they will arrange your flights between Nassau and Andros, there are two flights daily each way. Don't forget to go through the "Traveling Through to Family Islands" line at Immigration in Nassau to skip the long line! Ask us about our Fly Free special too - you may be able to fly to Andros for free!
  2. Fly the Fort Lauderdale and fly to Andros via Watermakers Air, or another air charter airline. Watermakers has flights to Andros scheduled on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They even offer Small Hope guests special rates, as well as Island Hopping packages to Small Hope and Staniel Cay to see the swimming pigs! Contact us for more info or package rates.
  3. Fly your own plane! Fresh Creek, Andros is a Bahamas port of entry which makes a quick hop down to Small Hope easy. We often have private pilot specials, too. Check our Specials page for more info.

Those are the most common ways vacationers come to Andros Island. But just contact our office if you have any questions or need any advice or assistance in making your travel arrangements!

We look forward to seeing you soon . . . 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Island-Style Thanksgiving at Small Hope Bay Lodge

Celebrating the holidays abroad can be a real treat! Enjoy all the great food, as well as being with great family and friends, without ever having to do the dishes!

At Small Hope we celebrate 4 holidays with incredible style. US Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Easter. On these days we make huge feasts and have great parties.

This Thanksgiving was no exception. Our fantastic kitchen staff created a delicious blend of classic Thanksgiving fare with traditional Bahamian dishes. Not only savory dishes, but a plethora of tasty desserts, too! Here is just a taste of what we had: Rosemary baked turkey, Honey glazed ham, Sage and sausage stuffing, Grouper fingers, lobster salad, mac n cheese, peas n rice, potato salad . . . With desserts like coconut tart, pumpkin pie, guava duff, pineapple tart, sweet potato pie, pumpkin roll, Oreo cheesecake, and many, many more!

We are so thankful for the great family and friends.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Relief Efforts for Andros, Bahamas

We've finished distribution on our school lunch kits! Every child in Central Andros- in school and the younger ones staying at home- received a packet with: cereal, milk, water, juice, and 5 different snack items. Close to 600 kits were distributed and the remaining 400 stayed with Social Services for distribution to households with severe needs. Linda and Casey helped local Social Services pack up and deliver the kits. The kids loved them and we are so happy to get a smile out of everyone! In addition each school and the clinic received a few weeks supply of bleach, garbage bags, toilet paper and dishwashing liquid. Thank you all so much, with your help Small Hope has now donated over ten pallets of supplies to our local communities- up next shingles for as many roofs as we can cover!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What's in a Bahama Mama?

Ah, the Bahama Mama . . . A delicious concoction that taste like a sip of Paradise. But what exactly goes in this famously tasty beverage? Here is a recipe so you can have one any time you want!

Bahama Mama Recipe:

  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz. Nassau Royale
  • Top with fruit punch (we make our own from equal parts orange and pineapple juice, with a dash of grenadine for color)
  • Shake with ice
  • Add a dash of grenadine
Viola!!!!  Here are some more of the recipes we like to make at Small Hope Bay Lodge . . . Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Kid-Friendly resort in the Bahamas!

When planning a vacation, we always want to make sure we find the right fit. This goes double for kids. Cuz when the kids have a great vacation, the whole family has a great vacation!

At Small Hope Bay Lodge, we know this and do our best to ensure the kids have a blast! We also like to give the parents a wonderful and, most importantly, stress-free vacation.

We are located in a secluded and very safe area. With two private beaches, we give the kids the space to roam around and explore but remain on property. We have a Games Room just for kids! (It's even being completely renovated right now - photos coming soon!). In there we have a kiddie castle, arts and crafts, their own cubbies, a ping pong table. We have a swing set with attached fort, located right on the beach so they can swing in style. We have Nature programs for the kids who want to learn more about our environment and the flora and fauna around the resort.

Our Kids Dining program is one that has been proven to be great for both parents and kids. At 6 pm, the kids go to our Games room with one of our highly capable babysitters. There, they have their meal together (kid-friendly meals or the adult menu of the day - their choice!). After dinner, they play, or make crafts, a play games. This gives the kids time to be just kids and the grown ups time for some adult time with the other adults at our cocktail hour and dinner.

We have Family Packages available or you can make you own! Call us for more info at 800-223-6961 or email at!

Not a bad view for the kids fort, huh?

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

What is Included in "All Inclusive" Rates? At Small Hope, A LOT!

There are many resorts that say they are all inclusive. But many only include breakfast, and most do not include beverages or bar drinks. There can also be added resort fees.

At Small Hope Bay Lodge, we like to make it as simple as possible! All Inclusive to us means totally ALL INCLUSIVE! Included in our nightly rates are the following:

  • Beachfront cabins - All the cabins are just steps away from crystal clear water!
  • Breakfast - Made-to-order and continental selections including omelets, toasts, bagels, yogurts, french toast, etc. There is even a special Bahamian breakfast each day so you can try some island flavors.
  • Lunch - Three different salad options, sandwich fixings, and a different island-style hot lunch every day such as Pepper Pot Curry or Conch Chowder. And, of course, plenty dessert choices!
  • Dinner - A soup, multiple salads, a seafood course, a meat course, a starch dish, and a vegetable dish. Plus homemade bread, and at least three different dessert options!
  • Snacks and hors oeuvres -  At cocktail hour we serve our famous conch fritters, as well as some chips and dips. And if you fancy a bite at any time during the day, just pop your head in the kitchen and our chefs will whip up something tasty for you!
  • Beverages and Bar Drinks - That's right. All your drinks are included in the all-inclusive rate! Plus you can even hop behind the bar and show us how you make your favorite drinks!
  • Resort fees - That means use of all the extras: hot tub, bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, sailboat, wifi (in lounge and bar areas), etc. 
The only things not included are any optional guided activities like scuba diving or fishing, and the Bahamas VAT of 7.5%.
All Inclusive means you don't have to carry your wallet. Everything made easy!Come and see for yourself . . .
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Great Hope for Small Hope!

We believe Hurricane Matthew will not hit us too hard but it is always better to be prepared!!! We will keep you posted with updates . . .

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Friday, September 23, 2016

What to Bring on Your Bahamas Vacation? Here's a List to Get You Started

 Packing for vacation is always so exciting because it means . . . your going on VACATION! But with airline luggage fees, not to mention the hassle, it's great to bring just what you need.

Andros, Bahamas has such a lovely climate year-round, so no need for big heavy jackets or boots. Scuba divers and fisherman often want to bring their own gear, but Small Hope Bay Lodge has everything you'll need for scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing here if you don't want to pack your own.

Here is a list of some of the essentials to bring on your Bahamas holiday:
  • Swimsuit - The water is way too nice to miss out on swimming
  • Good walking shoes - There are great nature walks around here
  • Flip flops or sandals - The weather is warm. Give your feet a break with comfy sandals
  • Light, comfortable clothes - Summers are very warm, but Autumn, Winter, and Spring often have beautiful warm weather too.
  • A light jacket or hoodie - Not absolutely necessary in summer, but always a good idea
  • Small, compact umbrella - We get lovely, tropical showers that are usually quite brief, but the umbrella will make getting from your cabin to the bar that much easier!
  • Sun glasses - We get lots of sun
  • Sunscreen - We get lots of sun
  • A hat - Not mandatory, but . . . we get lots of sun
  • Bug spray - We provide some bug sprays, but you may have a favorite brand that we don't carry. 
  •  A good book - Always great to finally have the time to enjoy a book  . . . 
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, etc) - We will be adding these to our bathroom provisions soon, but contact us to ensure we have them or bring your own

Optional items:
  • Mask and/or snorkel and/or fins - We have plenty here that fit most sizes but some people love to use their own stuff
  • Dive gear - see above
  • Fishing gear - see above. If you are wondering what fishing gear is best for Bonefishing click here

What we have at Small Hope Bay Lodge so you don't have to worry about bringing:
  •  Towels
  •  Water bottles - in your cabin, and you get to keep them!
And we have a boutique at the resort, just in case you forget anything!!!!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Small Hope Staff Party 2016!!!!!

Another season is over. We have had a great year, and now we begin preparing for another wonderful season. Like every year, the Small Hope staff celebrates a great year with a great party.

Our fearless leader, Jeff Birch, treated us to a fantastic party - private cay, diving, snorkeling, delicious food, drinks, dancing, and more!

Thanks to all our guests for a marvelous year! Looking forward to the next one . . .

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Having Fun with Photos and Filters

We have a virtually unlimited supply of gorgeous views at Small hope. That means it is not hard getting a beautiful photo anywhere here at the resort. But I have also recently found new apps that make your photos in to different styles of art and having been having fun playing around with those. Take a look at some of the recent ones . . .

All pretty, but the original, in person are always the best!!!
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Diving the Backside of the Blue Hole!

Check out this incredible, and one-of-a-kind dive . . .

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Friday, July 15, 2016

DIY Bonefishing at Small Hope . . .

We love sharing the videos we make about our favorite activities here at Small Hope Bay Lodge. But we also love when our guests share their own great videos and photos! Here is a wonderful video from our friend Ingo, who recently spent his vacation here thoroughly enjoying the bonefishing. He also did some diving, saw the batik factory, and more.

Thanks for sharing this great video, Ingo!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Small Hope Bay Lodge is now on Snapchat!

As Bob Dylan said, "Times they are a changin". And we are riding the wave! We are now on Snapchat! Follow us at: smallhopebay

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Monday, July 4, 2016

2016 Certificate of Excellence, from TripAdvisor!

Small Hope Bay Lodge is very proud to once again be a recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, as well as the #1 Hotel on Andros, Bahamas! We work very hard to ensure our guests have the best vacation possible and we are so thrilled to see the wonderful comments and reviews they give us on TripAdvisor.

If you have stayed with us and have not yet left a review on TripAdvisor, please click here to leave some comments about your stay.

A Big Thank You to All Our Wonderful Guests!!!

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Friday, July 1, 2016

A Memorial, and Saying Goodbye to a Good Friend . . .

We lost a good friend recently. Carol Heimann has been coming with her husband and two kids to Small Hope for several years. The four of them are passionate divers and they loved diving as a family with us.

In December of 2015, Carol lost her battle with cancer. As per her wishes, her friends and family gathered here at Small Hope to spread her ashes at one of her favorite dive sites, the Blue Hole.

All of us at Small Hope are very touched and honored to share this moment with her family. And we are glad she will always be in a place she loved so much.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Birch Family History, by Rosi Birch

As many know, the history of Small Hope Bay Lodge is a long (and very interesting) one. Thankfully there are some who have kept records and accounts. Here is one of the first-hand accounts of Small Hope by none other than Rosi Birch (now Rosi Lovdal) . . .

Birch Family History

When Dick Birch first came to the Bahamas he came to Andros to find land to build a dive resort next to the Andros Barrier Reef.  He was sitting on the steps of the old Calabash Bay school when Mr. W. Edgecombe came along and directed him to go to the house of old Mr. George Minnis who had exactly the piece of land Dick Birch was looking for.  ”The Bay”.  Which became Small Hope Bay.  That was 1958.
Dick Birch came to Andros from Hamilton, Ontario in 1959 to begin the building of Small Hope Bay Lodge which subsequently opened for its first tourist in December of 1960.  His wife Joan had stayed behind in Canada with their three children , Janet, Margo and Jeff while she completed her degree in teaching, 

The family joined Dick and Joan began her teaching career at the Calabash Bay School in 1960. Joan continued her teaching career both on Andros and then in Nassau until her retirement.  There are many Bahamians who remember ”Ms. Boich” with love and gratitude through her many years as a beloved teacher.

In 1965 Rosi Kurth and her four children Heidi, Krista, Scot and Topher came to Andros and to Small Hope to join Dick.   Joan and Duke Hanna were now together, Duke a native Andros son who had become a musician and singer.  Duke’s music career thrived and he went on to become the first President of the Bahamas Musician and Entertainers Union, and eventually Senator Hanna. Joan and Duke are much loved for their years of service and influence on behalf of their fellow Bahamians, both culturally and politically.

Dick had been interested and involved in politics in Canada and not long after starting his life in the Bahamas he met Lyndon Pindling, and became familiar with the then fledgling PLP party.  It seems that his involvement with the PLP was frowned upon to the extent that a major lumber company refused to ship materials to Dick on Andros while he was building the lodge. He then set up his own small saw mill and began using Andros pine which he cut up north and then hauled down to Small Hope by sea.  The Andros pine was so heavy that it didn’t float while he was hauling it, he remembered that being extremely difficult.  The pine was so dense that he couldn’t hammer nails into it.  But it stands today, as a testament to the sturdiness of both Dick Birch and the Andros pine.

When Lyndon Pindling was declared Prime Minister in 1967 the Birch Family celebrated along with the Prime Minister and his wife Margeurite.  Not long after, Prime Minister Pindling brought his cabinet to Small Hope Bay Lodge for some classified cabinet meetings which were quite sensational in that the Prime Minister re shuffled his entire cabinet during these meetings at Small Hope Bay Lodge.  So the Birches and Small Hope Bay Lodge had again played an important part in the evolving political process of the Bahamas.

When Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a guest at Small Hope Bay Lodge, Dick and Rosi arranged a private meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Pindling at the Lodge who enjoyed their private meetings on several occasions.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was an avid SCUBA diver and frequent guest at Small Hope.  Around 1970 Dick Birch taught Prime Minister Pindling how to SCUBA dive and accompanied him on a number of dives to explore the underwater wonders of the Andros Reef.  It was about this time that the government began to lay down environmental protective legislation making the Bahamas one of the first to do so.

Prime Minister Pindling was invited to Small Hope Bay Lodge again when the head of the Columbia University Lamont Geological Laboratory, Dr. Conrad Gebelein, was a guest.  Several members of cabinet joined the PM and Dick and Rosi Birch when Dr.Gebelein took them for a walk through the mangrove swash and explained in scientific detail that this was the nursery for the entire reef system.  Dr. Gebelein explained to the PM and his cabinet ministers that if this mangrove area was filled in and the site used for building, the entire reef would die, as it had off the coast of Florida.  Again Small Hope Bay was of primary influence in protecting the natural resources.

In 1970 when it was becoming apparent that the Bahamas would seek independance from Great Britain, there was much idealism in the air.  In the midst of the enthusiasm about independance Rosi Birch was aware of the  number of Bahamians who were seeking work, especially the women.  It was at that time that Rosi conceived the idea for ”Androsia”; a way to create jobs for the women of Andros, making something beautiful and reflecting the beauty of the Bahamas.  Starting in old bath tubs at Small Hope Bay in 1970, the business grew, the number of employees grew and eventually moved to the warehouse behind the old Lighthouse Club, with the help of Mr. W. Edgecombe.  It was in fact the same Mr. Edgecombe who had helped Dick Birch when he visited from Canada in the 1950s to find the property that is now Small Hopoe Bay Lodge. The first ”Androsia” fashion show was held in 1973 at the Nassau Beach Hotel.

During the start up years of ”Androsia” the wife of Prime Minister Pindling gave her personal support on many occasions.  Margeurite Pindling, an Andros Girl herself, sent lovely notes of encouragement in her own handwriting along with small gifts to the ”Androsia” staff  encouraging them to ’keep up the good work’.  Even when ”Androsia” was still learning and the quality of their garments could not have been called the best, ”Lady P”wore them proudly, sometimes cleverly hiding a flaw with an excellent placement of a brooch.  So loyal to her fellow Androsians she was!

It was also during this early period that the annual tradition began of Margeurite Pindling having an ”Androsia” fashion show for her annual PLP Ladies Luncheon.  It was then that Rosi Birch began the annual tradition of releasing a big basket of Andros land crabs out onto the floor in the midst of the dancers at the end of each fashion show.  The sign of the crab! being the sign of the PLP.


During the start up years of ”Androsia” Small Hope Bay Lodge was the cradle for ”Androsia”.  Many guests at Small Hope brought their expertise to the fledgling business; wax chemists from the University of Toronto; dye chemist specialists from Washington, DC; batik artists from Germany, a garment designer from Great Britain, all who just happened to be guests at Small Hope and who offered their time and knowledge enthusiastically, continuing the tradition of generosity of Small Hope and its guests from all over the world.

Dick and Rosi Birch traveled a number of times on behalf of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, appearing on what were then live televison interviews, promoting the Bahamas in both Canada and the US.  Rosi traveled with a group of Bahamian models and gave the traditonal dancing ”Androsia” fashion show in many cities across the United States to promote the Bahamas. 

When the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference was held in Nassau in 1985, ”Androsia” was asked by the government of the Bahamas to make the gifts for all the Heads of State.  A proud moment indeed for our small local company on Andros!  A special gift was made for Queen Elisabeth II, a beautiful 5 yard piece of soft coral pink silk, which was presented to Queen Elisabeth personally by Rosi Birch on behalf of all Bahamians when the Queen came to Andros, her ship The Britannia anchored just outside the Andros Reef.

During this same period just before Independance, Dick and Rosi Birch added another son to their family of seven children, this time a native son, when Peter Douglas, originally from Long Island, joined the Small Hope Bay family. He continues to live on Andros, representing the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.  He is the creator of the Crab Fest, one of the most popular festivals in all of the Bahamas family of Islands.  His wife Gabrielle has been a teacher on Andros for many years, and today runs the ANCAT office in Fresh Creek.  Their three children are growing into their contribution to Andros and the Bahamas.

ANCAT, Andros Conservancy and Trust, has been strongly influenced by the Birch family, by Rosi’s children through EdoEd, especially Scot Kurth Rosi’s son, and Peter Douglas, Dick and Rosi’s Bahamian son.  The Birch Family’s early interests in conservation continue as an important part of their tradition.  Large parts of Andros are preserved as national parks, the most recent being the West Side of Andros.  The Bahamas now has the largest area of conserved natural parks of any nation in the Caribbean.

Dick and Joan’s children carry on the family tradition of contributing to the Bahamas; Margo follows in her Mother Joan’s tradition as a teacher at the College of the Bahamas and co host of a radio show on local issues of import:  Margo’s daughter Lauren is also a teacher and daughter Danielle works in Nassau.  Jeff follows in his father Dick’s tradition as owner and manager of Small Hope Bay Lodge which continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Jeff has also followed in Dick’s footsteps as President of the Out Island Promotion Board and has represented Andros and the Bahamas at tourism conferences all over the world.

Jeff’s children Casey and Brian both live and work on Andros, Casey with Androsia and Brian with his Dad at Small Hope Bay.  Rosi Birch’s children also remain involved with Andros, her oldest son Scot raising his two sons at Young Sound. All four of Rosi’s children Heidi, Krista, Scot and Topher are involved with ecological issues on Andros through their organization EcoEd.. Three of Rosi’s grand sons have also worked at Small Hope Bay as divers. 

All three grandmothers lived at Small Hope Bay Lodge in their later lives; Dick’s Mother Dorothy, Joan’s Mother Jean, and Rosi’s Mother Rosalie. So the Birch Family is in its 5th generation of life on Andros, now including the great great grandchildren of Dorothy, Jean and Rosalie.

Today in 2016 Small Hope Bay Lodge is in its 56th year, the oldest family owned resort in the entire Caribbean, and Androsia is in its 46th year, and commonly known as the National fabric of the Bahamas.

The beat goes on!  

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