How many times have you fantasized about taking up residence, well, maybe not reside, but at least spending some time on a quiet deserted island in the middle of nowhere? Do they still exist? Some place far away from the daily grind where the only person you have to answer to is yourself, and then only when you want to. A land without alarm clocks and deadlines. A place where getting in touch with you would require an act of Congress and still may not pass the Senate.
Deserted might be extreme, and the middle of nowhere might be pushing it. But how about a nice little out of the way island paradise not found in travel agents’ brochures? There can be other people there. Just not lots of them. A few restaurants would be okay. Just no Golden Corral. Quaint? Tropical? Either way is good. Maybe, just this once, you can go back to work relaxed when your vacation is over. Sound about right?
Look no further. Take some time off and get packing. Forget the standard tourist traps. Take your pick of Asia, Europe, and even the U.S. These charming small islands are scattered throughout the world.
In case you’ll only have a couple of days or so, let’s start with something homegrown, right here in the U.S.
Lummi Island, Wash.
This is where the quaint part comes in. The island is accessible near the town of Bellingham and riding the ferryboat is the only way to get there. Once you have embarked you will be smack in the middle of a small laidback artist community. You’ll find sculptures, paintings, photography, knitwear, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, and unidentifiable objects with no meaning or purpose whatsoever.
The Beach Cafe offers the finest in comfort food of which they claim they’re emphasis is on flavor. For something a bit more classy head over to the Willow Inn for the best of fine dining. Or hit the SauseBurger Stand for a gourmet burger, fresh seafood, or some sausages. All of their meats are from local sources. There are even two small private wineries for you to visit.
Besides living a temporary carefree existence, you may wish to stroll through the local gallery for an impressive display of local and African art. Sunset Beach and Church Beach and Labyrinth are ideal for strolling and collecting stones and driftwood. There is Deep Healing Arts for an amazing Loma-Loma or Swedish massage. At Tree Frog Farm they handcraft local flower essences and aromatherapy products. Healing sessions are by appointment.
There are other low key things to see and do on the island as well. The Willow Inn Accommodations is where you want to stay. It’s warm, cozy, and so homey and inviting you might start having your mail forwarded.
Let’s do some traveling.
Con Dao, Viet Nam
Located 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast, this is off-the-grid vacationing at its best. It’s a 45-minute plane ride from Ho Chi Minh City, but a world away. You’ll find deserted beaches with sheer granite cliffs as their backdrop. Crystal clear water for swimming and snorkeling.
Be forewarned, this a luxury destination. At one time accommodations were tough to come by if you could find a place to stay at all. Then the Six Senses Con Dao came to town. You’ll need a Gold Card to afford the $685 dollar a night tab for one their villas, but for those with the loot, and in the know, it’s become a much-needed shelter where they can hide out for awhile. And not that many of them are in the know, yet.
This 20 sq. mi. island utopia is great for exploring and it’s easy to find a guide to lead the way. You’ll do it by motorbike.
All of the Greek Islands are insanely beautiful and beyond relaxing, but most of them are supported in large part by their tourist trade. Skopelos somehow escaped the madness and doesn’t receive even close to the number of visitors as their neighboring islands do, yet the insane beauty of the scenery and much slower pace of the island is what attracts the few who do choose it as their destination.
It takes an hour on a ferryboat to get there from Skiathos so this attributes to their lower number of tourists. But boy if they only knew. Kastani Beach, located on the island, was used as the set for the blockbuster movie, Mamma Mia. If you saw the film you’ll understand.
There are blinding white tavernas with blue-tiled roofs, churches built centuries ago, hidden coves where you’ll find no one else, and hiking in the hillside. Fresh lamb and seafood are always on the menu at the small cafes, and plenty of Ouzo is at the ready to cure what ails you.
A room at the Adriana Beach Hotel will run you in the neighborhood of $100 dollars a night.
There are islands just like these, some expensive, some not so much, where masses of sweaty tourist with screaming kids in tow just simply do not go. There are other people, maybe like you, who seek out remote, quiet, and less frequented locations, but don’t know where to begin. There are smaller islands in Sweden, Iceland, Belize, Malta, India, Portugal, and elsewhere, which receive little publicity, and spend little to nothing on advertising. They still enjoy having guests but they want to keep the numbers to a limit. They prefer things the way they are. So will you.