My new husband and I honeymooned in Eleuthera from December 6 to 16, 2011. We were last there together in April 2009 (I also used to go every year as a kid). Everything was as spectacularly gorgeous as it's always been, and the beauty was second only to the friendliness of the people we met. I'm also happy to report that the island seems to have bounced back almost entirely from Irene (save for a few things that I'll put in a different post). I did a lot of TA research before we left so I wanted to repay in kind:
We flew into ELH and rented a car from Naaman Rolle, who met us there for an extra $30. A solid, older sedan that we had no problems with. He's a great guy and I would definitely use him again. He actually uses contracts now, which was a first for me on Eleuthera! From there we stopped at Laughing Lizard in Gregory Town for lunch (super fresh and great). Then we headed into GHB to stock up at our reliable spots: wine from Bristol's on Cupid's Key, beer and rum from Burrow's Liquor Store (the owner couldn't be nicer, just up the hill from Pyfrom), groceries from Burrow's and the Shell Station, and a bunch of lobster and fish from the fishermen at the dock. Stopped at Island Farm for some produce and chutney, and then onto our house.
We stayed at Villa Sylphide in North Palmetto Point from Dec 6 to Dec 13. What an amazing house!!!! It's huge, with an incredible wraparound porch. Their kitchen is equipped with really high end knives/pots/pans -- the kind you don't expect to find in a rental -- and every other possible utensil, wineglass, etc, that you can think of, stainless appliances, etc. We ended up making a lot more dinners at home than I thought we would because the house was so great! Sylphide is also equipped with all the modern stuff you expect to live without on Eleuthera, but which was certainly appreciated: AC, washer/dryer, satellite cable, internet, int'l calling. Everything else you could need (beach towels, umbrellas, snorkel stuff, coolers) is all right there as well. Mornings here were so beautiful -- ocean breezes, birds chirping, sun streaming everywhere -- that we were always late to the beach! The house is almost right on an enormous, walkable beach. One morning we took our coffees and spent almost two hours walking the beach and checking out the other houses. The owner is such a pleasure to deal with, and even called the first night to make sure we had everything we needed. The house manager Anne Bethel (who owns Island Farm) couldn't be nicer and was a major help on island info. This was the first time I've stayed outside of GHB, and it worked out great. It's an easy drive to GHB if you need something, and it was a beautiful escape to be so close to the beach. In short, it seems like a lot of love went into making Sylphide the gem that it is, and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.
Favorite meal was probably the Stubbs BBQ in James Cistern. BBQ chicken, mac n cheese, peas and rice, carrot cake -- all lovingly homemade and DELICIOUS!!!! It was great fun to sit and watch Brenda take orders over the phone that had been stretched all the way out to the front yard from her house! This is a must do activity. Fri and Sat lunch only. Other good meals: Friday Fish Fry in GHB, The Beach House (lobster & conch fritters are great), Tippy's, Sky Beach Club (we went there for lunch and spent the afternoon at the pool), the Front Porch in Hatchet Bay (owner is so nice, if they have any kind of smothered fish on special, GET IT), Buccaneer Inn, cinnamon rolls on Tues and Fri at Island Farm, and cinnamon donuts from the bakery in GHB are heaven. We also had drinks at Ronnie's on Cupid's Key, the Corner Bar in North Palmetto, and Rainbow Inn in Rainbow Bay. We bumped into Dr. Seabreeze several times -- he's a lovely guy with an amazing voice, who sings at Rainbow Inn and Cocodimama.
Our favorite beaches were French Leave, Ten Bay, and Alabaster Bay. Island Made in Gregory Town is always great shopping.
As always with Eleuthera, some of our best experiences were chatting with the locals, who were so friendly and welcoming: restaurant owners, hitchhikers, priests (we went to a sunday mass which was quite an experience!). The locals wave and saying hello to just about everyone they pass, and when you adopt the practice, you can't help but be in a good mood.
After a totally relaxing week at Sylphide, we went to Runaway Hill Inn on Harbour Island from Dec 13 to Dec 16. On the whole, Harbour Island is charming and I suppose it's worth seeing, but if we had to do it over again we might have skipped it. After a week on Eleuthera, Harbour Island seemed crowded and busy! (which is ridiculous b/c we are from Chicago, but that's how relaxed we were). I'll post those reviews on the Harbour Island board, but suffice it to say that Runaway Hill was gorgeous and the perfect place to end our honeymoon.
Although I'm sad to be back, the good news is that my husband really fell in love with Eleuthera this trip, so hopefully this will be the beginning of a new family tradition! Thanks again to everyone for the help in planning!!!!