For such a small place, Hope Town truly has a great deal to offer, especially for history buffs.
Located a quick 20-30 minutes by boat from the Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina, Hope Town echoes the same charming New England sensibilities I encountered in New Plymouth in nearby Green Turtle Cay a few years ago. Makes sense, of course, since both towns were settled by Loyalists, or British citizens living in the American colonies who remained sympathetic to the Crown following the Revolutionary War.
The history and lasting imprint of the Loyalists remains strong in Hope Town, which for centuries remained a very remote and even more tightly-knit village dependent almost entirely on the sea. You can explore much of Hope Town’s uncommon origins at the modest Wyannie Malone Historical Museum, named for the town’s very first documented resident, a widower who, upon arriving at the very spot pictured above from South Carolina with her three sons in 1785, founded Hope Town.
The plaque rests along a tiny patch of slightly open, mostly overgrown shoreline a hefty stone’s throw from the Museum. In other words, it’s exceedingly easy to miss, belying its inherent historical significance.
This is not a bad thing to me, though. In fact, I found it kind of fitting.
Hope Town, like everywhere else I’ve visited in the Abacos, doesn’t make any excuses for not being all things to all travelers. You won’t find any cruise ships here. Nor are there any pushy higglers, or towering resort or condo high-rises blotting out the sun.
Its charms and attractions are not the obvious, spoon-fed creations variety you find in your more common tourism destinations.
What there is to experience and enjoy in Hope Town is authentic, born of history and tradition built and carefully nourished over time.
Like the plaque above, you have to search a little bit harder to find Hope Town’s charms, which of course, just makes the whole experience of being here more special.