culture   //   March 7, 2016

TRAVEL GUIDE: HARBOUR ISLAND

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If you’ve been following along with me for awhile then you know that I take an annual holiday vacation to Harbour Island. It’s my favorite place in the world and I look forward to this trip all year long. After receiving countless emails from readers asking questions and requesting tips about Harbour Island, I figured that maybe this might be helpful information for everyone.

Harbour Island is a magical little island in the Bahamas that oozes charm. It’s got delicious food (read: conch fritters are a must), the nicest people, and a glorious pink-sand beach. It’s not exactly the easiest place to get to but once you’re there, you’ll see it’s totally worth it. If you do decide to go, here’s what you need to know.

GETTING THERE

Getting to Harbour Island requires some work. It’s a bit of a planes, trains and automobiles situation – except there’s a boat involved. It depends on where you’re coming from but you’ll most likely fly to Fort Lauderdale or Miami and then hop on a small airplane for a quick flight to Eluthera. From there, a taxi will drive you to the dock and you’ll get on a boat for a quick 10-minute cruise to Harbour Island.

STAY

Two options: stay in a hotel or rent a house.

If you stay in a hotel… be sure to check out The Dunmore. This is where we always stay. Decorated by Amanda Lindroth, this hotel is the ultimate beach-chic spot (think: Quadrille fabrics and lots of rattan). It also has a great little bar and one of the best restaurants on the island. (Other excellent hotel options: Pink Sands and Ocean View Club.)

If you want to rent a house…there are lots of great options to suit a variety of needs. If you decide to go that route, Dunmore Realty is a great resource.

Note: Whether you opt for a hotel or house, be sure to request a golf-cart rental. Golf carts are pretty much the only mode of transportation so you’ll need one (or two) to get around.

EAT

The best part! Harbour Island might be tiny (it’s only three miles long and half-a-mile wide) but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in good food.

  • Sip Sip – This is where you go when you’re interested in a long, boozy lunch. They’re famous for their lobster quesadillas but everything on the menu is delicious. They don’t take reservations and there’s always a long wait. But it’s worth it. The good news is that they make excellent – and very strong – margaritas that make the waiting go by oh-so-much faster.
  • Queen Conch – This place is a shack (literally) and the service isn’t exactly speedy. However, they have the world’s best conch salad. It’s made-to-order and so, so good. It’s an absolute must-try for lunch or late-afternoon snack.
  • The Dunmore – A great option for a casual lunch or an elegant dinner. The fish tacos are delicious as are their salads and french fries (why do fries taste better at the beach?). Note: reservations are required for dinner.
  • The Rock House – We eat here at least twice during our stay. It’s a must-go for dinner.
  • The Landing – This is my second-favorite dinner spot. This place has a great vibe along with an excellent (everything is so fresh!). You can also head here for a delicious breakfast.
  • Other favorites: Arthur’s Bakery (grab-and-go baked goods), Runaway Hill, Acquapazza (note: BYOB!), and Dunmore Deli.

SHOP

From locally-made things like shell necklaces and straw bags to high-end designer goods, you’ll find it all on Harbour Island.

  • The Blue Rooster – This place is a treasure trove of seaside-chic items. I’ve found so many of my favorite beachy things (including this and this) there. They offer a wide range of designer goods (think: Kenneth Jay Lane, Juliet Dunn, and Matta) along with a selection of unique, locally-made pieces.
  • The Sugar Mill – This store is owned by India Hicks and is every bit as chic as she is. This is where you go for Roberta Roller Rabbit, Figue (this!), and Valia Gabriel sandals. They also have some cute offerings for kiddos.
  • A&A Straw Lady – I’m not even sure that this is the correct name because this place is a shack with no set hours. Call it a hidden gem. It’s filled to the brim with handmade straw goods – everything from hats and totes to placemats and bowls. The best part about this place is that you can ask the owner (the “straw lady”) to custom-embroider things. I’ve picked up numerous gifts here and had many-a-straw-bag embroidered with my initials (see here).

DO

Relaxing is the name of the game on Harbour Island. It’s the ultimate lazy-day vacation. However, if you’re looking for activities, it’s a great spot for fishing (my husband and dad consider this one of the best spots for bone fishing), snorkeling, and scuba diving.

PACK

Harbour Island is super casual. With the exception of several restaurants (including The Dunmore and Rock House) requesting that men wear pants instead of shorts for dinner, there’s really no dress code. The vibe is very island-chic. My suitcase is usually filled with white jeans, tunics (just bought this one and I love it), easy-breezy dresses for dinners and, to top it all off, some fun, colorful jewelry. I don’t even pack a pair of heels. The nicest pair of shoes I bring are my metallic K. Jacques wrap-ups.

All images taken by by BAM for Luella & June

WHAT TO PACK //