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Wednesday,  May 22, 2024 4:22 AM 

The Sandpiper Inn looks to draw Canadian snowbirds

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  •   11-24-2014  11:05 am

The Sandpiper Inn looks to draw Canadian snowbirds

As Pedro the Sandpiper mascot oversaw on a snowy Thursday evening, 40 media and travel partners gathered at Toronto’s Drake Hotel to hear about a new and unique destination in the sunny Bahamas.

The Sandpiper Inn & Cottages at Schooner Bay Harbour Village in South Abaco opens in late December. Evoking the old Bahamas in its elegant simplicity, the Sandpiper Inn is a two-and-a-half storey traditional Bahamian house offering four harbour view Town Cottage rooms and three suites with wrap verandas.

“It is truly the culmination of a dream that we are standing here before you,” said Dr. Larry Carroll, owner. Carroll discovered the location when searching for a quiet place to build his own home, explaining that one night in Schooner Bay feels like two weeks' vacation.

"There was no phone, no cars, no radio, no TV, no Internet - just the ocean, birds and peace."

After building his house, Carroll decided he also wanted to build a bed and breakfast in the area. "If people came to stay in it, fine. If not, I would close it up that day and go fishing."

The Sandpiper is part of the new but traditional Schooner Bay community, a tidy harbour village of Bahamian cottages surrounded by both the sea and the Little Bahama banks, with narrow streets, sweeping villages, rugged dunes, a tropical hardwood forest and an abundance of nature to explore.

"The sandpipers are running along the beach all the time, hence the name 'Sandpiper Inn,’” said Carroll. “Just last week they poured the entrance walk from the street and while the concrete was wet, a few sandpipers landed in the concrete and took steps. James got there just in time to stop the mason from smoothing them out. It was a sure sign this was meant to be.”

With hiking trails, seven miles of beaches, an art studio and local organic produce, the Sandpiper is ideal for those who want nature, local culture and outdoor adventure as the focus of a vacation experience.

“We're very much a destination for those who are looking for the natural world - an authentic Bahamian place for people who love the outdoors,” said James Malcolm, VP and managing director. “We are a community - we are not a resort. The town is the resort. You're not going to find cruise ships or waterslides or duty-free shopping. That's available in the Bahamas but not so much at the Sandpiper.”

Carroll said their target market is Europeans and Canadians, who he said often want a vacation experience where they get to know more of the local culture.

“One of the great novelties is you can get yourself a glass of wine or a cocktail and get in a golf cart and drive around to go meet people,” said Malcolm. “Some of our greatest amenities are dinner parties in our houses. The Sandpiper Inn will be the first full-service bar, restaurant and inn at Schooner Bay. It's going to be very much a gathering place for people in the village and a place for people to come and stay for a night, a week or a lifetime.”

The Sandpiper’s restaurant utilizes the seafood available year-round as well as the organic produce of the village and is based on the principles of sustainability, simplicity, community and family values. The Town Cottage Rooms on the Sandpiper’s main floor start at USD $250 per night. The more spacious Master Suites upstairs start at USD $325 per night. On the attic floor, the Captain’s Suite offers privacy for a couple or a large family and starts at USD $360 per night. In addition, there are six village cottages a short walk from the Sandpiper.

“And it's 26 degrees there right now,” said Carroll.

Sky Bahamas, Bahamasair and Western Air offer seven daily flights from Nassau to Marsh Harbour. For more information, visit www.sandpiperabaco.com

PHOTO: Dr. Larry Carroll, owner (left) and James Malcolm, VP and managing director.

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