Feb 3 - 8: Hope Town on Elbow Cay
The past is a present unless unless you live in it. Then it becomes a prison. - Vernon's Grocery Shop Quote
Elbow Cay is my favorite island so far. It is all about lovely retreats, culture, art and...of course, food. Accessible by ferry or boat, there are so many things to love about this island.
Most arrive in the the harbour of Hope Town, surrounded by a stunning spectacle of bright multi-coloured Bahamian homes, neatly trimmed in white scalloped accents. Stacked closely together, their whimsy beacons you to explore or settle into your own tropical getaway on this enchanting island. They almost call to you, convincing you that an incredible book could be penned or gallery of incredible art pieces could be created . . . even if you are the master of neither.
During peek season, Elbow Cay is one of the busiest islands to visit. If you plan to stay and explore the many attractions, book your accommodations, golf cart or anchor ball well in advance of your visit. The Hope Town tourist area is easy to walk. For the enjoyment of residents tourists are not allowed to use golf carts unless they are handicapped. You can however rent bikes at the Hope Town Canvas shop.
Quietly relaxing yet bustling with life, there is always so much going on. Along the shore beginner and seasoned sailors prepare for races; local museum and library doors open; burgeoning artists hone their craft under the instruction of skilled artists; children scamper over playground tunnels and trees; and voices ring out from covered balconies or restaurants as local musicians prepare for a show. Down these walkways creativity, history, hidden treasures and Bahamian culture wait to be discovered.
It is easy to become absorbed in the beauty of the town. Many quiet mornings were spent at the Hope Town Coffee House just sitting and enjoying a Cappuccino, the most fabulous muffins and the stunning view of the bay (coffee house details below). This place rivals Starbucks and is a local favorite and it shows. During the busy season the lineups are long and food disappears quickly so get there early.
This quaint community offers a lot to permanent residents. The usual necessities are available or can be ordered through stores on the mainland and sent through the ferry service. Cargo barges also arrive regularly delivering larger items. But the community offers much more. Sports facilities, a variety of churches and a thriving arts community, full of very creative people, bring this town to life.
One of our favorite stop-offs is Vernon's grocery store and bakery. Here you find a great selection of groceries, inspirational or funny sayings and a variety of tasty pies including his most famous key lime pie which is well known throughout the boating community. Vern bakes 50 or so pies fresh daily, and has been for the last 50 or so years. (By the way he also moonlights as the town's justice of the peace and minister . . . in case you decide to get married on a whim.)
We couldn't miss a visit to Hope Town's Lighthouse! The spectacular views from the top are worth every step up the staircase. One of the last manual lighthouses in the world, it is still run manually each evening by a lighthouse keeper who must wind the weights every two hours to keep the bright beacon working. On a clear day you can see many of the surrounding islands, perfect for taking stunning panoramic photos. A free water taxi will pick you up at any of the ferry docks or you can visit on your own dingy, tying up at the free dock out front.
Many tourists assume the whole island is like Hope Town but this town it is just a glimpse of all that is available. Home to both young and retired professionals, the rest of the island boasts other unique regions with very different attractions, experiences and lovely restaurants.
On the north end of the island, which can only be visited on foot, enjoy viewing beautiful homes, sandy trails and wildlife glimpses. It is a peaceful walk with the sounds of waves rolling onto beaches and tropical birds welcoming you. I found my home here and may just have to move...lol.
The south end of the island has several hidden communities, restaurants and resort getaways. You will see a whole new side of the island by exploring with a golf cart. Walk the stunning ocean side beach which runs almost the length of the island, or sit overlooking it at one of the many restaurants with beautiful ocean views. Find incredible getaways that make you feel like you are on a secluded island, or join the party at Thirsty Cuda's floating bar and grill at Tahiti beach. There is much to see so don't miss out . . . explore!
Hope Town Canvas: www.hopetowncanvas.com Rent bikes, and order lovely bags online or in the store.
Hummingbird Cottage Art Centre: P: 242-366–0272
Iggy Biggy: Souvenir and clothing shop P: 242-366-0354
Golf Cart Rental:
Elbow Cay Cart Rentals 366-0530
Hope Town Cart Rentals 366-0064
Island Cart Rentals 366-0448
Jr's Car Rentals 699-3799
T&N Cart Rentals 366-0069
Getaway Cart Rentals 366-0200 or 366-0758
Lighthouse Cart Rentals 366-0243 or 475-0218
Come prepared with your bathing suits. Most restaurants in the Bahamas have pools available for restaurant patrons to enjoy.
In Hope Town:
Hope Town Inn & Marina: P: 242.366.0003 or U.S. 1.850.588.4855 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hopetownmarina.com
Hope Town Harbour Lodge: P: 242-366-0095 www.hopetownlodge.com
Hope Town Coffee House: P: 242.366.0760, E: email@example.com
Sip Sip Wine Bar: P: 242-366-0399 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
South of hope town
Firefly Sunset Resort: www.fireflysunsetresort.com
Sea Spray Resort & Marina: www.seasprayresort.com 717-200-1359
On Da Beach Bar and Restaurant (& Rotisserie): Pre-order crispy rotisserie chicken 366-0558 and ready by 6:00
Thirsty Cuda Bar & Grill: Elbow Cay's newest and only floating restaurant at the southern end of Elbow Cay on Tahiti Beach.