Altamont, Dec. 12, 2013

My husband, Jim, and I were enjoying a bowl of oatmeal before we started out to take a journey that was somewhat familiar yet totally new. We were waiting to hear our number called to board a tender for a journey full of sights and flavors of Grand Cayman. 

The island of Grand Cayman was familiar due to an earlier cruise, but the tour we were about to take was new.

New cruise ships are so large that many of the ports cannot accommodate them with a pier. Instead of docking, they drop anchor a distance from shore and use tenders to transport everyone. These are not the lifeboats that you may think of from watching the movie Titanic. They can hold from 200 to 250 people comfortably if all of the hatches, doors, and windows are closed and latched. They become quite waterproof and can survive a very fierce storm quite easily. As transportation to shore for a 15-minute ride they are not too uncomfortable.

When our number was called we went to Deck 6 and boarded the tender for our trip into Grand Cayman. It was a sunny day and the waters were calm giving us a chance to look around the port as we traveled.

Once ashore our tour guide led us to an air-conditioned bus, loaded with about 15 of us, got behind the wheel, and began our tour of the city. We passed through downtown Georgetown on our way to the first stop, The Rum Cake Factory.  

Riding through the city is an interesting experience because of Grand Caymans ties to England. You have seen English cars with the steering wheel on the right side of the car and the vehicles driving on the left side of the road. That is how they drive in Grand Cayman.

Depending on where they purchase the automobiles and trucks, the drive train may be on either the right or left, but they still drive on the left side of the road.

David, our driver, pointed out some of their most famous landmarks: Fort George; The Legislative Assembly Building; Heroes Square; The Peace Memorial and many of the banks which have made Grand Cayman banking famous.

The staff at The Rum Cake Factory was ready for us when we arrived and offered samples of their delicious rum cakes. The chocolate rum cake was interesting, but I liked the coconut rum cake better. They also had an orange and vanilla rum cake that was quite good.

At another counter, someone was filling small cups with rum. I sampled the coffee rum and the vanilla rum. Both were very tasty, however, they were a bit strong for 9:30 a.m.!

Across the parking lot from the gift shop and tasting room was a lovely small, caged area that housed some of the local parrots, pigeons, peacocks and iguanas. It was a wonderful distraction while people waited for their bus companions to finish sampling the rum.

When you mention rum and you are traveling in the Cayman Islands, visions of pirates jump into your mind. In order to accommodate your visions, The Rum Cake Factory had several, full size pirates near the entrance and exits and around the parking lot giving tourists many photo opportunities. This was just another small example of what they will do in the Cayman Islands to put a smile on the face of a tourist and give them warm reminders of their stay.

When we hear about pirates and rum, the next vision to pop into our minds is usually, pirate’s gold or buried treasure. When we continue next week we will have a story about a treasure hidden in Seven Fathoms of water.

Holiday train

Santa is having a busy weekend. On Sunday, Dec. 15, Santa Claus will arrive in Altamont via the Holiday Train. All are invited to join with your neighbors and friends in Orsini Park at 5 p.m., to view the lighting of the holiday trees and then to welcome Santa when he arrives aboard the Holiday Train sponsored by SMS Lines. Both of these events are sponsored by Altamont Community Traditions.

Father Grizone

Father Joseph Grizone will be featured at the Spinning Room located at 190 Main Street, Altamont.  Father Joe, as he is affectionately called, will be signing his best selling Joshua Series. 

Reminders

ACT reminds the public to view the Christmas trees and to bid on the wreaths being auctioned  at the Altamont Masonic Hall 138 Maple Ave., you can also  hop  on the trolley that will be taking the public to visit the Holiday houses, a ticket for the house tour is $10 for adults, children 10 and under are free.  Be sure not to miss the Living Nativity at the Altamont Reformed Church.  Check the printed schedules to view all of the Victorian Holiday activities

Winter market 

ACT is offering something new this year to the annual Victorian Holiday event.  On Sunday, Dec. 15, the public is invited to visit the first annual Winter Market that will be held in the vacated building located at 182 Main Street.  This venue will offer gift items for the holiday.  Also featured will be artwork and artisan food from local vendors.  The Winter Market will be open on Sunday, Dec. 15, from noon to 5:30 p.m.

More, more, and more

Stop in at Re-Nue Spa for a benefit bake sale, for jams and jellies and the list goes on. Visit the Altamont Antiques, at 135 Maple Ave., Agway for the dog and cat costume contest. The dog contest is at noon and the cats at 1 p.m.

Birthdays

Happy Birthday wishes are extended to:

— Jennifer Boyce on Dec. 13;

— Alan Jacklet, Jackie McClintock, Bryan Peters, and Jessica Schadows on Dec.14;

— Jim Lynch on Dec.15;

— Matt Williams on Dec.16;

— Heather (Linendoll) Riverstone on Dec.17;

— Shirley Johnson, Brian Kowalski, John Kowalski, Veronica Liegeot and Aidan James Templeton on Dec.18; and

—  Michelle Connors, Dennis Felgentreff, and Jim Munroe on Dec. 15. 

More Correspondents

Recent weeks have been very busy. Summer is a great time for outdoor activities.

The sun was hot, the weather beautiful, and our thoughts went to, you guessed it, time for a road

Jim and I were sitting in the living room with the television turned on playing quietly to no one