In the early 1900s, Taipa and Colôane were island outposts, accessible only by boat from Macau Peninsula. Administrators charged with overseeing the islands built their homes here, including the five attractive colonial-style Macanese houses lined along the banyan-shaded Praia near Taipa Village. They once looked out toward a sea filled with passing clipper ships, but the reclaimed land of Cotai renders them sadly landlocked and the view now is of glittering casino resorts. Still, they're worth visiting for museums contained in three of them (the other two are reserved for administrative and ceremonial functions). Most interesting, in my opinion, is the Macanese House, which gives an idea of what it was like for the families who lived here. Incorporating both European and Chinese architectural details, the two-story structure contains a living and dining room, kitchen, study, and bedrooms, all with period furnishings. Another house is for changing exhibits, while the third one contains traditional costumes from Portugal's various regions. Nearby, on a hill, is the attractive Our Lady of Carmel Church, built for Taipa's devout Macanese Catholics.