The lovely tree-lined neighborhood of South Sound is one of our favorites on Grand Cayman, in large part because it is so picturesque.
This charming corner of the island is located on the southwest knob of Grand Cayman, just beyond the bustling activity of the island's nerve centre, George Town (Note: we spell things the British way here - e.g. centre, theatre, realise.) It is also one of the largest neighborhoods in Grand Cayman. And yet, the residential streets of South Sound are quiet and peaceful. South Sound is one of the greenest parts of the island. Affluent homeowners cultivate their West Indian gardening styles to great effect making this neighborhood colorful and shady.
There are also really great views of our beautiful Caribbean Sea along South church Street and South Sound Road. South Sound is technically the name of the shallow body of water protected by the fringing reef along this section of the coast. As if local residents aren't already lucky enough to live in the Cayman Islands, South Sound residents get to see the water on their way each day to and from work and play - the view out to the reef is unobstructed along large portions of this waterfront road. This is where you will also find the after-work fitness crowd jogging and bicycling, taking advantage of the park-like setting.
The streets closest to town were the original residential heart of the island and show the architectural style of the hardy early settlers. There are a number of traditional Caymanian structures still standing throughout the neighborhood. Perhaps the most important being Miss Lassie's historic wattle and daub cottage. The World Monuments Fund has recognized Miss Lassie's unique cottage as having significant cultural importance internationally. You can't miss this charming blue and white bungalow at the intersection of South Sound and Walkers Roads. The Wikipedia entry on Miss Lassie (born Gladwyn K. Bush) doesn't even begin to do the dear old lady justice, so be sure to visit the National Gallery or buy the book about her which explains in detail her remarkable painting skills and career.
Cayman cottages, standard family homes and luxury villas and estates are all interspersed throughout the wandering neighborhoods. In recent years, older water front properties have been redeveloped into luxury condos and villas, responding to the eternal demand for quality homes with stunning views of the beautiful water that is Cayman's calling card. The reef hugs the surface at most points along the shore, creating the lulling sound of breaking waves. For those with waterfront property, this constant murmur is the sound stage for life in the tropics.
South sound at large has great appeal beyond the aesthetics. It is centered on Walkers Road where numerous schools, medical offices, hospitals and shopping are located, Understandably, the neighborhood is popular with families, and children are daily seen walking to school. Along with the schools you get parks, ball fields, the Lions swimming pool, the Truman Bodden sports complex and Little League Field of Dreams. Many of South Sound's residential streets are also walking distance to some of the country's most prominent banks, law and accounting firms located in downtown George Town. And along with the financial industry professionals you get the tennis, rugby and squash clubs, as well as horse stables and riding rings.
South Sound also has its share of restaurants, including the Grand Old House, the grade dame of fine dining in Cayman. West Indian cafes are dotted along Walkers Road together with coffee houses and fast food. It's hard to pick a favorite in Cayman because dining is a mini industry done very well here. But our go-to in South Sound is My Bar at Sunset House dive resort, a favorite with locals and visitors. The opend deck overlooking George Town harbour (there's that British spellign again!) is the quintessential good lfie experience. That's a dominoes game you heard under the cabana in the corner. Those gents have been gathering there every evening for decades, slamming down the tiles with gusto to proclaim a win. And the menu, which actually comes out of the adjacent Seaharvest Restaurant, is good mix of grill items and dinner entrees, all reasonably priced.
South Sound has a lot of personality - charming residential streets, the hub-bub of the schools corridor, recreational venues such as dive sites and parks, and of couse beautiful Smith's Cove (more on this beloved swim spot in the future). When we are headed to points east we always take the "long way" to enjoy the scenery along South Sound Road rather than taking the bypass. It is a showcase of so many of Grand Cayman's best features.