Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Harbor Island

And this was a fairly calm day!
The bridge over the famous Glass Window, an amazing
place. The pounding waves of the Atlantic on one side
and the calm turquoise waters of the Gulf on the other
View of Harbor island from the ferry
We went to Harbor Island twice. The first time we drove from Rock Sound and the second time went from Spanish Wells. Eleuthera is 110 miles long but very narrow, 3 miles across max. The narrowest part is the bridge across the "glass window", a deep chasm separating the island. Once a huge rouge wave came across the Atlantic and unexpectedly hit the bridge, pushing it several feet! Hopefully no one was on it at the time. It has been rebuilt.
We caught a water taxi from the north end of Eleuthera to Harbor Island. They leave constantly, take 10 minutes and cost $5 per person. Walking around the island is a delight but we didn't get very far in the heat. The next time we rented a six person golf cart and were able to see pretty much the whole public portion of the island (a lot of the island is private gated communities). The narrow streets are lined with lovely cottages in all pastel colors - everything pristine. It reminded me very much of Cape Cod but in color (Cape homes are generally natural gray with white trim).
Another look  at the lovely homes along the shore

Check out the painted flowers on the shutters, 

Methodist Church

Shell decorated signs
The beach is so beautiful, wide, pink soft sand and stretches out it seems forever. We swam in the warm water, only fun sized waves as there is a reef off shore (it's hard to believe that ocean we saw at the Glass Window bridge was the same one). The first visit we ate at the dockside Harbor Lounge Restaurant and had a very nice meal overlooking the harbor. We were really sorry we hadn't seen Sip Sip before we ate as it looked wonderful when we got to the beach. The next time we headed there right away but it was closed for a week's vacation. However we didn't miss out really as we ended up at the Coral Sands Hotel's Terrace Restaurant and had a wonderful meal overlooking the beach.
Walkway to the amazing beach

Hobbits would be comfortable here

Wisteria like vines on Cape Cod looking homes

The details, the flowers - this is a pretty place!

We had a nice lunch here overlooking the dock

The local ferry to Eleuthera from Spanish
Wells - it was packed!

Valentines's Marina, hotel, restaurant, all very attractive
but we imagine, expensive - no sailboats

This marina was really nice with a charming wine bar and
restaurant which looked good
This is a place I could see returning to for a vacation by plane. It has everything for a winter get away (or even summer); great low rise hotels or cottages and restaurants in a charming town on an amazing beach. I've already recommended it to friends. Only caveat, it's expensive.
The second time we came we left from Spanish Wells, we took a local ferry over to the north end of Eleuthera (departing frequently $4 per person), then taking a taxi over to the other side of the island and getting the water taxi from there. This was slightly cheaper than the high speed ferry and was fun since we took the high speed ferry back.
We really enjoyed the high speed ferry as it took the Devils Backbone route back inside the reefs. We came really close to the beaches at times and there are a lot of them on this route. This route is very difficult for a normal boat and a local guide is recommended. Several are available in Spanish Wells or on Harbor Island. In fact getting into Harbor Island Harbor directly requires a pilot for deep draft boats (like ours at 6.5 feet). The route into Spanish Harbor from the north is recommended as well. More about that location in our next entry.
This "Haunted House" next door was very evocative
and beautiful. Must have been something once!

This doesn't do the beach here justice. The cloud came over
while I took it, but take my word for it - gorgeous! and pink!

Peter's shot shows the other direction on the beach

Heather, Scott, Kathy, Julie and Nigel at lunch overlooking
the beach at the Coral Sands Beach Bar

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