Part of the pleasure of exploring Harbour Island is checking out the restaurants. When compared to other Bahamian islands, Harbour Island has one of the best selections of restaurants — all within close proximity to any place you stay. Harbour Island has its own take on Bahamian food. It’s very fresh and tasty, and served with flair. Dining out is casual.
First, head to town. Mornings must begin with freshly baked Bahamian herb bread or croissants at Arthur’s Bakery. The Landing is wonderful: amazing local ingredients (langoustines, grouper, fresh chicken curry), refined yet simple cuisine, a beautiful setting under trees, twinkling lights. Kids love the easy feeling of the India Hicks-backed venture; parents love lazing on outdoor settees aside the odd luminary. The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Uma and Arki — all island regulars. Sunday Brunch is very popular here as well, where they serve ricotta pancakes and fresh-baked coconut bread.
For the best views on the island, guests head to The Boat House Restaurant where guests have the choice of enjoying meals on the open-air deck or you can choose to dine in air conditioned comfort, without sacrificing the joy of our Harbour Island waterfront view. Favorite dishes include Lobster Quesadillas and Lobster Benedict for breakfast!
The jet-set crowd can then often been found in the evenings at The Rooster Tail Bar, where live entertainment is provided weekly (Friday and Sunday).
When you’re ready for a bigger night out, head to Rock House for the Euro/fabulous scene and the cuisine. Here, too, the focus is on fresh, locally caught fish and ingredients. The crowd stays late, lounging on couches around a central, sleek pool area.
Other top restaurants include Romora Bay Club and Harbour Lounge. And there are so many more…
For local fare, Ma Ruby’s should not be missed. Sybal’s Bakery is known for local Bahamian breakfast of grits and stewed fish. If you are feeling brave, Avery’s offers the local dish of souse in all of these delightful flavors: chicken feet, pig feet, chicken, sheep tongue. This meat is what the local plantation workers ate, and they found ways to make it taste very nice. After a morning lying on the pink sand beach you will want to wander into Sip Sip for lunch. “Sip-sip” is the local term for gossip! And at Sip Sip you will indeed hear all the gossip, local and otherwise, and see anyone who’s anyone. Popular dishes are the Lobster Quesada and a Gombay Smash drink. The Queen Conch shack at the top of the PLP dock is a must for a late-afternoon snack. Here, local conch salad is made to order from local giant conch meat is pulled from its shell, chopped and mixed with the juice of limes and sour orange and local tomatoes, onions and green peppers.
Beware: ask for “tourist strength.” Anything else might blow your bikini off. If you are feeling adventurous ask for the conch’s pistols. Harbour Island men say, “It puts lead in your pencil”.
Harbour Island is most renowned for its pale pink sand beaches some 3 plus miles long and 50 to 100 feet wide – considered one of the very best pink sand beaches in the world.
A lot goes into making this Pink Sand Beach so– pink. The three-and-a half-mile-long pink sand stretch gets its hue from thousands of broken coral pieces, shells, and calcium carbonate materials left behind by foraminifera (tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells) that live in the coral reefs that surround the beach. They are washed up on shore as a result of waves or fish who knock them loose. The pink sands can also be found on Harbour Island’s Atlantic side and along the Exuma Sound–Lighthouse Beach, Surfer’s Beach, Winding Bay Beach, and French Leave Beach are also famous for their rosy sand.
Come visit us at Valentines Resort and see all this beauty for yourself: http://www.valentinesresort.com.
Eleuthera, or “Lutra”, as it is called by native Eleuthereans, is true to its name, the Greek
word for “Freedom”. A large, modern-appointed island in the east of the Bahamas, Eleuthera still has some of the most pristine natural environments in the world.
From tip to top, Eleuthera is blessed with 220 miles of shoreline ranging from pink sand beaches to rugged crashing Atlantic.
The picturesque old fishing villages have a quaint feel, with some houses over two hundred years old. Famous for its artists and the sweetest, most delicious pineapples in the world, Eleuthereans are painters, fishermen, farmers and craftspeople.
Eleuthera is the birthplace of the Bahamas, the site of the first successful European settlement in The Islands. In 1648 Puritan Pilgrims led by Captain William Sayle left Bermuda to seek religious freedom, and to lead their lives as they wished.
Shipwrecked off the Devil’s Backbone, they barely made it to shore alive, losing all they had brought with them. The Adventurers were farmers seeking land to establish food crops.
When they straggled ashore, the original people of Cigatoo, the island’s aboriginal name, had long since been extinguished, leaving virtually no trace. Although bounded by rich seas, the Adventurers did not know how to harvest food from the waters, and they starved.
A rescue mission was mounted by Captain Sayle to bring back provisions, landing in the Carolinas.
News of their plight reached fellow Puritans in the Colony of Massachusetts, and aid came just in time.
Appreciatively, the rescued survivors in The Company of Eleutherian Adventurers cut down braziletto and other rare woods then abundant in Eleuthera, sending them to Boston as a gift of thanksgiving to their saviors.
The cargo of fine woods was then sold to assist in the building of Harvard University. The proceeds were the largest bestowment received by the University to that time. The bond established between Harvard and Eleuthera continues to this day.
The Constitution drawn by the Eleutherian Adventurers is proudly displayed in the Parliament buildings in Nassau. It outlines the Charter for the first Republic in the New World.
Of course, the story of Eleuthera continues beyond its beginnings. In the following three hundred years, Eleuthera has seen boom and bust through the era of pirates, cotton, pineapple and sisal, the seventies jetsetters, and into the modern home-owner era.
The story of Eleuthera is a fascinating account. For more about the history of Eleuthera, read “An Island Called Freedom, The Story of Eleuthera” by Everild Young, when you come to visit SeaView Cottage, and available in finer Eleuthera gift shops.
For current day fun in Eleuthera, visit Valentines Resort & Marina.
Central to Harbour Island is Dunmore Town. This quaint and friendly community features old Victorian structures adorned with Bahamian colorful pastel paint schemes. No high rise hotels, fast food or traffic jams on this island!
For such a small place, Harbour Island has more than its fair share of sweet boutiques where you can find one-of-a-kind fashion and keepsakes.
All ages love the Dilly Dally, located at the main intersection in town, for Bahamamian straw goods, “briland” tees, postcards, and jewelry and ornaments crafted from pink conch shells. (In other words, the irresistible trinkets you buy on holiday and start questioning on the plane ride home.)
India Hicks’ Sugar Mill is the glamorous source for caftans, European finds, and beach gear. Here you will find an eclectic mix of treasures found from India’s travels around the world, everything from a $1,000 embellished evening kaftan to a child’s bucket and spade. The Sugar Mill also is the flagship store for India Hicks Fine Jewelry. At the Blue Rooster on King Street, you’ll find gorgeous sundresses, scarves, and unique sandals.
At the top of Gustie’s Hill you will come across The Sand Dollar Shop. Here you can find many locally made treasures including little bottles of pink sand, which Harbour Island’s beaches are renowned for. You might want to take one home to prove pink sand really does exist.
Even a trip to mini-supermarket The Piggly Wiggly is good fun, just to see what came in on the boat from the mainland that day.
WHERE TO SHOP
• Princess Street Art Gallery
• Straw Market- local souvenirs
• Shell’s & Things Island wear, local crafts
• Miss Mae’s- Refined Tropical Fashion
• Island Treasures Resort wear, collectibles
• Blue Rooster Home décor
• Dilly Dally Artwork , photography and Bahamian music
• Briland Brush- Tea Shop, art and framing
• Down Home Authentic Bahamian crafts
How can your peaceful morning, incredible sunrise and warm water get any better? For many the answer is a hot cup of Starbucks Coffee, a staple in the morning routine of quite a few of us. Now Valentine Resort has a new neighbor that you are just going to have to meet.
Perched on the second floor of one of Valentine’s historic and recently restored building just south of the pool area is the soon to be famous coffee house, Cocoa.
Owners Ryan and Gem Austin opened the Cocoa Coffee House in late December once they received their espresso machine and supplies from Starbucks. This real Starbucks experience includes WiFi and power outlets in the seating area, but not the usual fast paced crowd and road traffic associated with the Starbucks corner store. At the Cocoa Coffee House there is an incredible view of the picturesque Valentine’s marina and unlimited relaxation.
Ryan and Gem didn’t stop here. In addition to the “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks licensed brand meaning they use all Starbucks products and recipes, they have expanded on their coffee cuisine by including drinks made with fresh ground Lavazza coffee beans. Lavazza is the most popular coffee brand in Italy and is an added treat to any coffee lover’s menu.
Cocoa offers the perfect environment to host small business meetings, creative minds social interactions or just simple relaxation with the world’s favorite hot or iced coffees. So enjoy your peaceful sunrise with a cup of your favorite coffees exquisitely prepared at the Cocoa Coffee House and Valentine’s Resort & Marina.
Cocoa’s is open Monday through Saturday 7 am to 5:30 pm and on Sundays from 7 am to 1 pm. You can follow them on https://twitter.com/Cocoainbriland.
Just like its surrounding islands, Harbour Island, Bahamas is a great place to engage in all sorts of water activities, such as fishing, snorkeling, diving, and horseback riding along the beach. If you wish to dive, The Plateau and The Arch, two magnificent coral formations, are must-sees.
Martin “Horseman” Saunders – Horseback riding is done on the Pink Sands Beach only. There are five friendly brown and white horses that eat right out of the palms of your hand.
Byron Bullard Horseback Riding
Community Park & Ball Field This is the community playground where the schools hold their sports meets, the churches have crusades/revivals, community fairs and other fund-raising events, and other locals play a game of football or soccer.
Lil Shan’s Watersports – Captain Devon “Lil Shan” Stuart offers a number of water sports and equipment rentals, including the following; Jet Ski Rental, Boat Rental/Charters, Kayak Rental, Windsurf/Sunfish Rentals, Wakeboarding/Waterskiing, and Kneeboarding/Tubing.
Valentine’s Dive Center – The acclaimed Valentine’s Dive Center offers world-class PADI scuba diving in a resort setting.
Harbour Island’s weather is delightful; especially during late Winter and Spring when there is little chance of rain. Ocean breezes take any edge off of moderately warm temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s during the day and late 60s at night, so always a good time to come and try out these adventures.
While visiting Eleuthera, Bahamas, I decided one day to take the ferry over to Harbour Island. It is a beautiful place and while wandering around, I stumbled upon what is called by the locals, The Haunted House. It was a grand old building and it made me sad to see such majesty gone to ruin. I had to take out my camera and get pictures!
Struck by the beauty of the place, I immediately set about researching it when I got home. Unfortunately, there was not much history to be found. What I did find was that the mansion was built in the Stewart style during the 1940s by a wealthy family (name unknown) who came over with servants to live a life of luxury on the island. Shortly after, the owner either left for medical tests, or the couple had an argument (depending on which story you believe) and the house was left just as it was, with the table set for dinner. Everyone inside the home just vanished.
And there the house sat, stuck in time, until the 1960s when a Greek shipping magnate bought it for one million dollars as a wedding gift for his new wife. The legend goes that she spent exactly a half an hour in it before she came screaming out, convinced there were ghosts and demons inside. The couple left and never returned.
During the 1970s, the locals decided to take over the property and used it for Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties. However, the 80s brought a fire and looters, leaving the house once again, to decay.
Recently, the property has been given a new life as a wedding spot for locals and travelers worldwide. It is lit up with a thousand candles and couples can say their vows at midnight in the eerie ruins.
I did not experience any type of supernatural feeling while I was visiting the haunted house on Harbour Island. What I did experience was a sense of wonder at the beauty surrounding me. I am always amazed at the contrast of beautiful places falling to ruin.
If you ever find yourself on Harbour Island, put the Haunted House on your list of places to see!
Article by Stephanie Stebbins
- Eleuthera stretches approximately 110 miles long and in places spans no more than a mile to a mile and a half wide.
- You drive on the left.
- US dollars and Bahamian dollars are equal here.
- Here we have the North side which is referred to as the Atlantic and the other side as the Caribbean but in truth its all the Atlantic ocean.
- Gasoline runs around $6.10 a gallon or more.
- Eleuthera is famous for its sweet pineapples and holds an annual Pineapple Festival in Gregory Town each June.
- If someone says so and so is biggety. It means they think too much of themselves.
- Bologna is referred to as Sausage.
- A slam bam is a sandwich made by taking 2 slices of bread, cover each side with mustard, slapping down the sausage and bam its done.
- Sip, sip is gossip.
- Tingum is basically a word filler and is used whenever you can’t think of the word you are searching for.
- Cheapuss does does mean you are frugal – it basically means “might as well”. Cheapuss you go do your homework. = You might as well go do your homework.
- Rum is any hard liquor. If you want a specific kind you have to say the name like I’ll have a Barcardi and…
- If someone says to you Mudda sick. It doesn’t mean their mother is ill. It’s more like Holy Cow or Wow!
- Did you take the chicken out of the baker? Baker is the oven.
- I’m off to the shop. Meaning – I’m going grocery shopping
- I be right back! Meaning I’ll see you later. That could be an hour, later in the week or next week!
It’s a different world and culture here for sure and the only way to understand it is to be part of it.
What makes Valentines Resort so special?
Although the architecture of our luxury accommodations was inspired by the historic dwellings that once dotted Harbour Island, they feature all the modern amenities. Each luxury suite is equipped with a full kitchen, a spacious patio, and incomparable dÃ©cor. Every detail is a stroke of design geniusâ€”from the fabulous fabrics that ribbon throughout the suites, to the sunken tubs in our marble bathrooms.
Our Junior Suite (753 square feet) and 1 Bedroom Suite (1,048) accommodate 4 guests. For larger parties our 2 Bedroom Suite (1714 square feet) accommodates 6 guests, or our 3 bedroom Penthouse Suite (2267 square feet) accommodates 8 guests.
When you choose not to work your own magic in our fully equipped kitchens, let us cater your meals breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you desire, massage therapy can be arranged in the privacy and comfort of your own luxury suite. If you want to combine the physical benefits of exercise with inner peace, nearby yoga classes can be arraigned during many weeks of the year. Please click here for our activity schedule.
Valentines is the newest luxury resort on Harbour Island, Bahamas a location ranked “Best Island in the Caribbean” by a Travel + Leisure Magazine recent poll. With our powder soft, pink sand beach, readers of the travel elite travel magazine rated Harbour Island #1 among the best islands in the Caribbean.
Our location on this beautiful Caribbean island adds to our international appeal. We are on the exciting harbor side of the island, on the edge of the best shopping and restaurants of Dunmore Town, Harbour Island.
About Harbour Island
Over 300 years old, a Bahamian settlement with rich maritime history, Dunmore Town in Harbour Island served as the first capital of the Bahamas. This historic town is a unique blend of New England architecture and Caribbean color. Shady verandas, hibiscus and bougainvilleas, and the allure of turquoise water and pink sand beach makes this an idyllic Caribbean island.
We invite you to rejuvenate under our swaying palms, hibiscus, bougainvilleas and jasmine. Relax, and re-energize amongst this island’s natural beauty. Or indulge in the best Bahamas snorkeling, boat charters and rentals, deep sea fishing, bone fishing, sport fishing, big game fishing, scuba diving, jet skiing, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, sailing and wake boarding in our turquoise waters.