Tucked alongside the island of Eleuthera on the eastern outskirts of the Bahamian archipelago is a place like no other – Harbour Island; a place where time seems to stand still, where people smile and wave because they are genuine about sharing their exuberance with you. This is a place where the sunrise illuminates flecks of pale pink sparkles on a 3-mile stretch of beach beyond your wildest dreams, and where you can get lost within a maze of narrow streets lined with sun-bleached homes from another era.
Harbour Island continues to remain one of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean region, but we’re not quite sure why that is. Even frequent visitors of the Bahamas aren’t always privy to its existence, so it maintains its status as a hidden gem. Those that do make their way to the island tend have a relaxed yet stylish demeanor about them, blending in with the tasteful touches laid by international architects and interior designers.
So, what should you expect when you arrive? You’ll start your day by stretching your arms at your oceanside bungalow at one of the many chic resorts along Pink Sands Beach, or perhaps you’ve opted to rent a historical home nestled within Dunmore Town, a settlement that dates back to the first British pioneers of the region in the late 1600’s.
You’ll want to start your morning off by settling in for coffee at Bahamas Coffee Roasters, a family-run establishment in the heart of town, where you can hear the latest gossip from the previous evening’s events and keep an eye on passersby.
After coffee perhaps you’ll pop into the nearby boutique shops which are stitched seamlessly within renovated historic homes. Browse through the latest resortwear at the Sugar Mill, Blue Rooster or Dake’s Shoppe (if you can find its discreet location). If you need groceries, you might need to squeeze your way between one of the four narrow aisles of Pigly Wigly to get your staple food items (there are no large shopping centers to be found).
At low tide head over to Girl’s Bank where you can rendezvous with the Lone Tree for the perfect couple’s portrait. For lunch, be sure to show up early to reserve your oceanfront table at Sip Sip, where you can see and be seen. If you’re feeling fabulous, but would like to maintain an air of discretion, head to The Dunmore tucked within lush foliage overlooking the ocean for a more incognito scene. Later, watch the sunset while enjoying cocktail and a romantic dinner at The Rockhouse, or opt to enjoy local cuisine on the harbourside at Queen Conch.
Stay a week or stay a lifetime. Many visitors, captivated by its charm, continue to return year after year. Once you’ve gotten a taste of Harbour Island, or Briland as it’s known affectionately by the locals, you’ll be falling in love. As the locals say, “Briland sweet, eh?” It truly is.
Article written by Mariah Moyle