Two months ago, back in April, I had the honor of getting to coordinate and direct a bridal photo shoot at the New Plymouth Inn in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco. Now desolate, the Inn was once a vibrant hotel accommodation and restaurant on the Cay.
As a frequent visitor to Green Turtle Cay and now an official resident since February of this year, I was always intrigued whenever I would drive or walk by the faded pink and white trimmed walls that enclosed the little property, which I had heard stories (mostly from my boyfriend) that it was haunted. Peeking through the locked black iron gate one day, an overwhelming feeling of deep fascination struck me at how beautiful the old hotel and restaurant looked, even in its current weathered state, it is the perfect setting for a vintage themed wedding! Taking down the number on the “for sale” sign sitting on the entrance steps behind the gate, I called the owner first thing the next day about planning a bridal photo shoot at the old Inn. Skeptical at first, possibly assuming I was just another eager interviewer as he and his unique property have been featured in numerous publications, he gave in to my requests. I was beyond excited to meet Mr. Walt Davies, whom has owned it since the late sixties when it was handed down to him by his father.
The next morning I showed up in front of the gate, adorned with its intricate detailing and could feel my heart jumping in my chest with both excitement and nervousness. I ascended slowly up the steps taking everything in; the now empty water fountain with the little statue greeting you as you make your way into the property, the Victorian lamp posts, the old wooden swinging bench, the Victorian cast iron ornate garden tables and chairs, it was as if I had stepped through that gate into a different era altogether.
I finally get to the double swinging doors that lead into the dining and lounge area and I am welcomed inside by softly playing classical music. If I wasn’t already awestruck, I am now peeling my lower jaw off the floor. The entire room is a scene out of a 1960s romance film. Mr. Davies walks out from the kitchen and we sit on the couches in the lounge, the whole experience like a painting come to life. His demeanor is at first reserved, but as I tell him how enamored I am with the Inn, it grows to passion, like a candle coming to life with a freshly lit flame and he begins to tell me the story. He speaks of the New Plymouth Inn with such adoration, almost as one would speak of a long gone lover. He tells me about it currently being for sale, despite his sentimentality towards it, to spend his latter years back home in America with his family.
“Rumor has it there is a ghost here”, I said. “Of course there is” he responds, “all old buildings must have ghosts.” He makes his statement with such confidence and assuredness that it sends a chill up my spine.
The original building has been around for nearly two centuries; once the home of Sea Captain Billy Roberts. The tale of Captain Billy is a tragic one as it ends with him starving to death after confining himself to the upstairs portion of his home. Refusing to go outside or eat anything on the island, he feared that fellow residents were trying to poison him to gain access to valuables he supposedly had buried under the property.
According to Mr. Davies, several guests, all female, all having stayed in the same room at different times, claimed to have seen the male ghost. All of the women being first time visitors to the island whom had never known the history or the story behind the Inn. By now, all of the hairs at the nape of my neck are standing up and my heart is pounding in my chest, so of course I then ask to see the room!
We head outside and walk through the court area, making our way up the stairs to the second level of the tiny three story hotel. Stepping on the creaky wooden floorboards of the porch, he opens a door leading into a narrow hallway with four units, two on each side. Each unit is cleverly named after different nearby Cays. I walk into the first room where I am greeted by the light musky smell that is to be expected of an old building. The small room is furnished with a bed adorned in soft colored floral sheets and pillow cases, a small dark wooden night stand, a vintage floor length mirror and old school carpeting. There is a small closet and en suite bathroom.
All three of the other rooms are decorated similarly, including the room where the supposed ghost of Captain Billy Roberts resides. I walk into the room and Mr. Davies points to the spot at the foot of the bed where each of the women claimed to have seen the ghost standing. Again, chills run through me. I walk slowly around the room, taking in every detail, trying to envision myself as a guest just like them.
Before making our descent back down to the first floor, we walk up to the third floor of the building, which holds only one single unit. It is locked so I don’t get to see the inside. But, my breath is taken away as I look all around me at the panoramic views of the settlement of New Plymouth. Rooftops, treetops and the ocean all mesh together to create the most beautiful picture that even the finest camera couldn't perfectly capture.The tour comes to an end and I leave the property with an ethereal feeling as if I have just witnessed a secret hidden world.
Coordinating and directing the vintage style photo shoot at the New Plymouth Inn in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco was such an amazing experience. It was unique and exciting and embodies how eclectic the Abacos are and showcases how the Cays have so much to offer in terms of special, one of a kind venues. It was the perfect backdrop for the perfect vintage themed wedding and the beginning of endless possibilities for new memories and stories to be created and told. I think all old buildings have many interesting stories to tell to those of us whom are willing to listen and photos, as they say, tell a thousand words.