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Central George Town is home to an abundance of fun shops, delicious restaurants, and breathtaking ocean views, but did you know George Town is also home to some unique and interesting historic sites? Next time you’re in town on a mission to shop ‘til you drop, take some time to see these amazing historic places!

Mr. Arthur’s Home and Print Shop

At 186 North Church Street, you’ll find a small home and print shop that now operates as a general store. This small, white shiplap shop could be missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The shop offers a glimpse at Grand Cayman’s historical architecture and is the perfect place to stop if you need some snacks and drinks while walking through town.

Built in the late 1800s, the store was originally Mr. Arthur’s Home and Print Shop, owned by Arthur Bodden and his family. Known for his spotless white shirt, cap and pipe, Arthur was the first wireless operator and weather specialist on Grand Cayman. The print shop across from his home operated for more than 50 years printing Cayman Islands Government stationary.


Fort George

If you've ever noticed the wooden hut on a tall pole in George Town, you might have wondered where it came from. It’s a unique sight to see while strolling the shops on Harbour Drive, but this small site has a lot of tales to tell.

The hut is actually what remains of Fort George. Fort George was built sometime around the 1790s as a means to protect the island. It’s not clear whether Fort George ever successfully warded off an attack, but it was manned by local militias for many years. Eventually, the site was mostly abandoned and the sand-bottomed fort became a play area for children at the neighboring school. During World War II, a lookout hut was added to a silk cotton tree and was used by watchmen to monitor for German U-boats that commonly patrolled the Caribbean. It was abandoned after the war.

When a developer began to demolish the dilapidated Fort George in 1972, locals dedicated to protecting Grand Cayman’s history protested by standing in front of the remaining structure and eventually saved it.

Now a National Trust protected site, a replica of the lookout house was constructed using pieces of the original that had crumbled over years with no upkeep; it is now one of the more prominent features of a stroll through town, and one passersby ask many questions about.

When you visit, you’ll want to check out the three-panel mural painted by local artist John Broad that depicts three events that represent the strong history of both Fort George and Grand Cayman: an attack by Spanish marauders, a U-boat bombing, and an Easter Regatta.



George Town Step Well

Perhaps one of the easiest sites to miss and most unique in downtown George Town is the George Town Step Well.

When you’re picking out a souvenir cap at Outlet Embroidery Shop in Bayshore Mall, make sure you look at your feet. Viewable through a pane of glass, the George Town Step Well is believed to be one of four freshwater wells recorded in Grand Cayman in the 1700s. The well likely served as the main water source for residents of Hog Sty Bay and ships that docked at the port. The well was discovered by developers in 2003 and was excavated by local archeologists who found remnants of 18th-century pottery, glass, and other treasures. You can even see some of these artifacts outside the shop. The Grand Cayman Water Authority also found the water at the bottom of the well was perfectly good to drink today!


Take a Walk Through Time

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and cultural background of Grand Cayman, these unique sites are must-sees, even if they’re hard to spot at first. Next time you’re wandering through George Town, make sure you take some time to take a trip back in time at these amazing sites.

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Aside from the breathtaking scenery and the friendly people you meet on the island, one of my favorite parts of visiting Grand Cayman, is all the delicious food to choose from! There's the freshest seafood of course, authentic Italian, Mexican and so much more. You could dine out every night for a week and still not make a dent in all the food Cayman has to offer your willing taste buds.

What happens though, if don't want to go out for every meal or you're tired from a fun filled day on the beach? I say, take a trip to the grocery store first thing and when the time comes you can put that fully equipped kitchen in your condo to good use! 

While staying on the island there are great options to choose from when picking a grocery store. Even better, they are close to the condos! 

Here are the top 3 grocery stores I recommend stopping by to fill up your condo with quick snacks or ingredients to make a delicious meal for a night (or day) in.

1. Foster's Food Fair (Republix Plaza)

Foster's grocery store is your typical go to grocery store. They have a good selection of the food you're used to as well as food unique to the island, all at very affordable prices. This particular Foster's location also has a Priced Right  attached if you find yourself needing more than food. (Does anyone else forget to pack at least 1 thing when they go on a trip?) Priced Right is a warehouse shopping environment similar to Sam's Club or Costco.

Miles from Christopher Columbus Condos: 1 
Hours: 7am-11pm
*Closed on Sundays

2. Kirk Market 

I went to Kirk Market on my second trip to Cayman and was very impressed by the overall look, feel and selection. The store was so clean and organized, which I personally appreciate. Kirk Market's prices are a little bit higher than Foster's, so you'll want to keep that in mind when choosing which store to visit. 

Miles from Christopher Columbus Condos: 5
Hours: 7am-11pm
*Closed on Sundays





3. Hurley's 

If you happen to be in George Town and want to stop at a grocery store on your way back to CCC, Hurley's is a good option. Full disclaimer, Hurley's is the only store I haven't personally visited on this list however, from their website and Facebook page (and their motto) I can tell they are ALL about fresh food. Fresh produce, fresh seafood and freshly prepared entrees and sides ready to eat.

Miles from Christopher Columbus Condos: 8
Hours: 7am-11pm
*Closed on Sundays

Final tip: While you're at one of these stores keep your eyes peeled for the unique differences between the products and brands they carry on the island. It's fun to discover new treats and can be an educational trip if you have any kiddos in tow.

Happy Shopping (and eating)!

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Cayman Girls Trip

Sometimes a girls trip is just what I need to relax, make a few wonderful memories, and eat delicious food with my favorite ladies.

What better destination to do all of these things than Grand Cayman? Once we had the destination and our group finalized, we also had to plan for travel and arrival times. With 9 women arriving on 3 separate flights on the same day, this step was an absolute necessity! 

After everyone made it to the island safely, we headed to Christopher Columbus where our refrigerator was already stocked with all of our special food needs to get us through the week, thanks to Kayann Stephens of My Kayman Concierge.

Later that night, our first dinner of the week was delivered to our condo by Angelo Guizio, owner of Edoardo’s Italian Restaurant – mouth watering dishes, no prep and easy clean-up!

When day two came, we were ready to soak up some sun and feel the sand between our toes! All it took was a few steps out of our room onto CCC's private beach.  

After a full day lounging on Seven Mile Beach we were ready for dinner. Tonight's stop was Calypso Grill  in West Bay. Thanks to Marcos Ebanks and his big taxi/van for nine (almost like it was made for us), there were no parking hassles at one of the most popular restaurants on the island! After a week of delicious eating, the ladies declared Calypso Grill to be the favorite!

On day three it was time for some serious shopping! The group headed to Georgetown to hit the jewelry stores. Kirk Freeport even brought out the champagne when they saw the sales adding up! Thanks Raj and Susan. The shopping wasn’t over without a stop at Camana Bay with lunch at The Brooklyn, and a look at the island from the sixth floor observatory Tower. The beautiful underwater mosaic mural wall makes for the perfect photo background. It is a truly beautiful work of art – not to be missed. Our dinner that night at Morgans, on the water at The Cayman Islands Yacht Club, was a perfect way to end the day.

Day four was our day on and in the water, boating to Stingray City, snorkeling the coral reef, lunch at Kaibo, and a stop at Starfish Point. Kayann, our concierge, came through once again. She set us up with Captain Chris Bailey of Cayman Adventure Tours, and sent us off from the Yacht Club with a platter of fresh fruit and warm wishes for a great adventure. Captain Chris took amazing professional photos of each of us with the stingrays, and got even the most fearful comfortable enough to kiss the rays!

After an amazing day on the water, dinner was a joint effort by all back at the condo, with each of us ready to relax for the evening. This girls trip turned high school slumber party on more than one night. What better way to enjoy the company of good friends, than sitting around in our PJs, sharing stories, and drinking wine? (Well, maybe that wasn’t part of high school!)

A long standing tradition at Christopher Columbus is the beach barbecue by Chef John. The chef, now in his 80s, with help from his many family members, serves a meal of chicken, ribs, salads, rice and beans and homemade pies that would be the envy of every backyard (in this case, beachside) cook! With a picture perfect sunset photo, Lisa, our office manager, was on hand to record our last night together before four of the girls headed home the next day.

Managing our five, but missing the four who went home, we journeyed to the South Sound for another shopping/browsing stop at Pure Art. This place is a must – a bit of old Cayman with a quirky and totally charming collection of everything from fine art to fun jewelry, beach signs, and accessories for the island home. After Pure Art, the serious shoppers were still in shopping mode, so we made a stop at the tee shirt shop, Sun Dog, and the Kennedy Gallery to view more fine art. 

During this trip, we had our share of delicious island cuisine accompanied by a myriad of tropical cocktails and plenty of wine, although the best part was making memories with friends. Kayann, our concierge, came through one last time after learning our interest of the benefits of coconut water, stopped by the condo with coconuts. They were peeled and ready for a straw, one for each of us. We found they tasted best when a splash of rum was poured into each – do the health benefits still prevail? We like to think so!

The best part of our girls trip was being together in a beautiful setting, laughing, sharing life stories, making new ones, and strengthening friendships. The trip was such a success, we are planning to return in two years to celebrate some milestone birthdays. And what better place to do it than this island paradise!

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Meet Cayman native and entrepreneur, Emile Levy. His love for the island and preservation gave him the idea for the ultimate environmentally-friendly bag: Siggy Bags. The bags are made of recycled animal feed packages, and quickly became popular with Caymanians and tourists alike! The bags are very sturdy and versatile, and they are very reasonably priced at $12 CI for the most expensive bag.

Emile is no stranger to owning his own business; running Cayman Islands Native Fun Tours for 15 years. So, it’s not surprising that they have now sold over 5,000 bags and even started making other items like aprons and raincoats. Along with new merchandise, Siggy Bags also has it's first designated spot on the beach in George Town!

If you're interested in getting your own Siggy Bag, give Emile a call at (345) 928-0560.


   
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Camana Bay is a modern, walkable community with lots of shops, restaurants, recreational areas and even some residential opportunities. The newly developed island town (on the west side of Grand Cayman island near Seven Mile Beach) has been in the works for approximately 8 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

canvas tarp in Camana BayThe beautiful Caribbean inspired architecture and urban townscape are worth a visit alone. The commercial corridors are decorated with with multi-color lighting, lavish island landscaping, welcoming patios and courtyards, benches and water features. My favorite features, though, are the canvas tarps that are artistically stretched above the community in many shapes and colors and the exquisite main corridor that ends at the mouth of the bay.

view from observation towerWhen you visit the community you should come hungry and allow time for a meal, shopping and exploring. First, I suggest walking down the main corridor and appreciating the street view, then you'll want to make the 75 foot climb to the top of the seriously amazing Observation Tower. The views of Camana Bay and beyond are incredible, but the climb up is just as impressive as there is a mosaic mural (one of the largest of its kind in the world) that covers one of the walls for the entire climb up. If stairs aren't your thing, they also have an elevator that stops at each floor so that you can still enjoy the mosaic on the way up.

beet smoothie from JessesAfter a climb like that, it's time to reward yourself by indulging in some delicious cuisine. I suggest Waterfront for brunch. As its name implies it has awesome seating right on the waterfront. We went on a cheery Sunday morning and enjoyed ahhhmazing breakfast food and perfect mid-morning cocktails (extra-spicy bloody Mary and a mimosa made with grapefruit juice). Jesse's Juice Bar and Mizu are perfect lunch options. Really, the group I travel with has made several trips to Camana Bay just for Jesse's Juice Bar. They make healthy smoothies and can be conveniently accessed from one of the parking lots for quick "swing by's." Mizu has great sushi in a swanky little atmosphere. 

For dinner, try Karoo or Ortanique. Karoo has a Brie Burger that is to die for, but fair warning: It is huge! I also had a lemonade ginger cocktail that was made with fresh lemonade. Ortanique is also a culinary joy with desserts that are too good to be true including home made ice cream and warm bread pudding.

Books & Books shopAfter you've had your fill of food you can walk it off by visiting the local retail shops or strolling through the community. There's a cool independent bookstore appropriately called, Books & Books that is great for browsing. They also have regular events including a weekly children's story time. There's also a coffee shop that is conveniently joined to the shop.

If you're in the mood for clothes shopping, there are a couple of luxury shops - NKY Collection stores for men and women and The Jean Bar with premium denim. There are also several retailers that sell swimwear and resort-wear as well as several accessory shops and jewelers. 

If you're looking to chill out, there is a movie theater with regular showings as well as a multitude of special events to choose from on an ongoing basis. For example, every Wednesday night there's an event called Open Canvas where artists set up canvases and paint at will. It's fun to stroll by and see what they're creating. If you have kiddos with you, be sure to check out the water spouts which are popular play areas. With the holidays coming up you'll also want to make repeat visits to see the area transformed into one of the best decorated locations on the island. If you'd like more information about Camana Bay, they have a lively website that's updated daily:
www.camanabay.com

entrance to Camana Bay
   

tarp hanging over town
     

Mizu asian bistro
  sand angles swimsuit and resort shop
  creative tarps hanging over town
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