Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Northern Eleuthera

The former home and studio of the late artist
Lord Gordon MacMillan Hughes in Tarpum
Bay, Eleuthera

Even when neglected, many of these old homes retain their
grace. This one is in Tarpum Bay

Eleuthera is a variation on the Greek word for freedom.  Discovered by the Spanish in the late 1400's, they soon decimated the Arawak Indian population and left. The English established the first colony in 1658 and made Governor's Harbor the capitol. It was later moved to Nassau, and now Governor's Harbor is a sleepy village with a lot of expensive second homes.
You can probably pick up this place cheap. That is a For
Sale sign next to the door!
We smelled these cooking and followed our
noses to these hot cinnamon buns, which
were as good as they look!

Many of the beach places were closed - not sure when the
"season" is here. Kalik is the national beer, a bit like Corona.

The island was for a long time a pirate's lair and then received a group of settlers from England, and loyalists from the Revolution and Civil Wars in the U.S. Pineapples and Angus cattle both had their brief hey days but failed quickly. During the 70's it became a way station for the drug trade but increased Bahamas police presence with U.S. assistance has reduced that business considerably. Real estate and tourism in general supply the main income now.

We rented a car from Mr. Cates at Dingle Motors in Rock Sound. He, his son and daughter-in-law seem to run a good deal of the businesses in town. It was a very basic compact car for $75 a day and he asked that we keep it at night behind his store for security.
I am nuts about these old weathered walls, if you click on
it and see the soft faded colors you might see why. It
reminds me of the walls in Venice (in a small way of course)

The Haynes Library, a beautifully restored building, still
a busy community library 
A little of the gracious interior of the library. It had a
charming children's room

The park across from the library looks over the bay to the
rest of Governor's Harbor on a narrow penninsula
The beautiful Anglican church in Governor's Harbor

We spent one day driving north and taking the boat taxi to Harbor Island, another touring the south of the island (both days in seperate entries) and last exploring the northern end of Eleuthera. The main road goes up the west side of the island along the beach. We stopped first in Tarpum Bay, a small community known once as a artist's colony due to the presence of the late Lord Gordon MacMillan Hughes. Another well known local artist, Mal Flanders, also passed away a few years ago. It is now the main fishing village on the island. Lord MacMillan built a small castle by hand and lived there for many years. I tried to find information about his life and work but googling him produced little but a few other people seeking the same. There was some info on the auction of one of his paintings too. He was an official artist during WWII in England and was himself Irish. Anyone knowing more, please let me know!
The next two towns going north are North and South Palmetto Points. We saw a very intriguing French restaurant , Cafe Pierre, at the now closed marina on the gulf side, but it was temporarily closed. - very nice menu. We followed the signs to Windermere on the Atlantic side but were turned away at the guard post. This old resort was a favorite of Lord Montbatten and Prince Charles has been there 9 times, originally of course with Princess Diana.
The pink beaches of Eleuthera are not fiction! We loved the Keys in Florida, but the beaches don't look like this, or the water.

Next was Governor's Harbor, a fascinating combination of ramshackle and restored homes, local people and wealthy second home owners. The library and church were imaculate but many of the other old homes in the center of the town were derelict. The harbor itself was empty of boats other than an houseboat used as a bar and our charts said it had poor holding. The two moorings didn't look like they had been maintained. Nevertheless it's a beautiful spot and I suspect will gradually be gentrified.
Scott, Peter, Julie and I posing at Tippi's

The beach at Tippi's Restaurant, Governor's Harbor, but
on the Atlantic side

Our stomachs were signaling lunchtime and on the recommendation of Mr. Cates, we headed for Tippi's Restaurant on the Atlantic side. Thank you Mr. Cates! What a lovely out of the way spot with a much more ambitious menu than usual. Everything was delicious and what a view. A long walk down the beach helped our digestion before heading back to Rock Sound.

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