So many places and clearly not enough time for my travel writing, that said, I have a few posts to catch up on. So, while it’s still fresh in my mind, I would love to share my recent trip this past February to the Bahamas. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my “happy place” hands down. I discovered this little piece of paradise back in 1983, a lot has changed over the years but surprisingly much has remained the same, which is a good thing.
There are multiple routes to the Bahamas from Vancouver, this time I flew via Montreal to meet with my son, who would be my travel companion (lucky mom). It was a comfortable overnight at Montreal Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel, even better was not having to step outside in -20 C temperature. The next morning was a 3 1/2 hour direct flight to Nassau, then a 30-minute trip to North Eleuthera, a 10-minute taxi ride to the ferry that ultimately got us to our final destination, Valentines Resort, Harbour Island. Yes, it’s a long journey coming from the west coast to the Bahamas but seriously worth the trek; the Goombay Smash after check-in was the cherry on top. Travelling this distance, I highly recommend staying 8 nights instead of 7 just to make up for that lost day of travel.
Harbour Island became a hidden sanctuary for the rich and well off, when Chris Blackwell, owner of Island Records, opened the PINK SANDS RESORT in the early 1990s. Since then, the island has experienced a transformation from tired and old to beautifully preserved. Other developers followed suit, turning old run-down properties into luxury boutique hotels like THE LANDING owned by India Hicks and her husband. More significant properties like the CORAL SANDS RESORT and DUNMORE BEACH have taken on a more sophisticated vibe but without feeling like one of those big box resorts. There will never be a Hilton or Sheraton on this island, only one of a kind “boutique” resorts, but isn’t that why you travelled all this way?
I’m not gonna lie, it’s expensive here, but know, there are inexpensive options for the budget minded traveller. With only a small selection of hotels, 12 to be exact, and a generous supply of private homes to rent, both Harbour Island Realty and Dunmore Realty will find you your home away from home, one you can experience at any budget.
Harbourside vs Beachside? Honestly, you can’t go wrong, Harbour Island is approximately 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, famous for its beautiful powder pink sand beach and happening little town, it’s hard to choose. Ideally, decide on your favourite rental property or hotel, the rest will fall into place, seriously, don’t over think this. It’s ALL about the beach.
A person can get very hungry lounging around doing nothing…ok, so an occasional walk on the beach or a plunge in the ocean is required, but that’s about it. It certainly whets my appetite, leaving me to crave a few favourite restaurants on the island. If it’s beachside, the very lively SIP SIP is hands down the place to have lunch. Their famous lobster quesadilla is to die for, drinks are made with fresh fruit, guaranteed to put a smile on your face or at the very least, a good nap in the afternoon. The Pink Sands, Coral Sands and Dunmore resorts all offer great lunch options, even better enjoyed on their beautiful patios with views of the ocean.
Harbour Island is tiny but definitely worth taking a road trip in your golf cart for. The Romora Bay Resort , a five-minute ride from Dunmore town, is a perfect destination for enjoying the patio and watching the yachts come and go, it doesn’t get much better. Needing something quick and easy, Queen Conch is famous for its Conch salad and more, they offer takeaway, perfect for a beachside picnic. If you’re craving BBQ, Brian’s BBQ Ribs is no frills, a few picnic tables and cold beer… but seriously delicious.
If you want something extra special, definitely reserve a table at the Clubhouse which is located at the Dunmore resort. The menu offers delicious local cuisine along with several classics, making your dinner selection all the more difficult. Enjoy live entertainment on the weekends, it’s sure to get your dance party on.
Dinner at The Landing is always a special occasion, set in a beautifully restored manor, the food is second to none, and the views of the harbour are definitely the main attraction.
Last but not least, Valentines Resort hosts a beautiful dockside bar, it’s a lively spot, ideal for after the beach and yes, the sunsets are SPECTACULAR! Try the rum punch…I caution you, it has a kick that will keep you ordering more.
Wanting more to do? Have no fear, there are numerous water activities to experience at Valentine’s dive centre offering everything you’ll need to rent for fishing, snorkelling or scuba diving. But if staying on land is more your style, no worries, there is enough to keep you busy with shopping, horseback riding and day spas. This quaint island packs a lot of punch!
Planning this trip with my son months ago gave me something special to look forward to. It was another fantastic mother-son time together, great moments, filling me with love. Harbour Island, my happy place can be luxurious, or it can be as simple as you want it to be. I am a true swimsuit and flip flop girl who can’t seem to get enough of the beautiful pink sand beach, which by the way…you need to go and check out for yourself. Let me know what you think:)