WHAT AK PRODUCTS TO HAVE WHILE ON HARBOR ISLAND?
Since the island is super casual, forget packing heels and take a pair of your AK Sandals instead - they're perfect for day or night and there are so many style and colors to choose from. Bag wise, the French Market Tote is perfection for long days on the beach and nights out.
WHAT TO DO?
This island is my perfect type of paradise because it is small and demands relaxation - that might not be everyones idea of vacation, an island without a golf course or 50 ft watersides, but give me a pristine beach and a good book and I am officially relaxed. This casual island attracts plenty of celebs, but they'll be barefoot and blending in. No Gucci or duty free shops in site, but plenty to buy.
Golf Cart Adventure
Since the island is only 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, getting around is a snap if you rent a golf cart like the locals. We recommend Dunmore Rentals or Johnson's Cart Rentals. You can explore the island end-to-end, and be sure you go down to the "Narrows," end of the island where there are fabulous homes! (Homeowners include Revlon chairman Ron Perelman, duty-free tycoon Robert Miller, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, media mogul Barry Diller and wife Diane von Furstenberg, and former Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga...just to name a few).
I am certainly not a fisherman, but my husband is and he swears by the bone fishing guide Stuart Cleare. He said it was one of the best guides he has ever had and books trips with him every visit we have. Stuart's Harbor Island phone is 242.333.2072 and his cell is 242.464.0148 if you're up for an adventure.
Sunset cruise around the island
I love looking at the island from the water. To get to see all of the homes from the water and around the island is truly a treat. Grab a cocktail at Valentines Bar waterside view of this beautiful island and take a trip over to man island as well - the tiny deserted island next door where it is fun to take a picnic and spend a day fishing with family. You can also do this via jet ski as well - Lil Shan's Water Sports at the Valentines Dock Area. 422.9343.554.5789
All hotels have beach access with fabulous little huts that have all the items you need. My boys would body surf and boogie board all day long. Stand Up Paddle Board and Kayaking is a fun family adventure as well and our latest obsession (or at least my husband's) is KiteSurfing. There were TONS of people taking advantage of the winds and water. Also, keep in mind that the conditions are better in the winter than they are in the summer. Capt AJ Watson 242.422.0756
WHAT TO READ?
As there are not many guide books; however, there are some fun and fascinating articles that describe the island much better than I can so be sure to click on the links below to check them out.
There is also the fabulous India Hicks who is the celebrity resident. You can check our her blog and instagram account as they are daily fun reminders of what a special place Harbor Island truly is! India also has a wicked sense of humor, amazing sense of style - of course - she is the daughter of David Hicks, is Prince Charles' goddaughter and is a designer, model, entrepreneur and a devoted mother to 5 children.
WHERE TO EAT?
I feel like this should be under "to do" because it is literally what our life revolves around - where are we eating next and luckily there are so many yummy options....
Lunches here are a must. We would eat here daily as the food is divine and the service is fabulous served with a side of attitude. The gift shop is one of my favorite stops on the island where they carry local artisans as well as fabulous findings from around the world. This acid green house sits is perched on top of the beach for amazing views and the perfect place to break up your beach day. Lobster quesadillas, hummus and fresh salads are our favorites. We love to make an afternoon of it with Rummikub and a great cocktail! If you have a large party - rent it out of the night for dinner or for a party! Sip Sip is open from 11:30-4pm, and there are no reservations taken
This is where to go for breakfast: delicious cinnamon rolls and banana pancakes and apparently they have to die for jalapeño cheese bread that people take home by the bag fulls. Arthur is also a realtor so you can grab a cup of coffee and get caught up on the island real estate gossip. He has a great website detailing the island too! Crown St. and Dunmore St., Dunmore Town, Harbour Island 242.333.2285
For breakfast or dinner this place is one of my favorites. I dream about their Spicy Coconut Lime Chicken! It is full of local fresh fish and make sure you say hi to Toby the owner and try his fantastic Rum that he sells. Makes for great take home gift! Kids are welcome which is a plus and the outdoor area is in a charming garden making dining under the moonlight heavenly in this plantation style garden. They have a very Hemingway-esque Bar as well so go early to enjoy it. Reservations are essential, so click here to make yours. Bay St.,Dunmore Town, Harbour Island 242.333.2707
Another one of my favorite places to eat. Divine food with a beautiful view of the harbour. They have a wonderful wine list and the service is amazing. It is a California continental menu infused with tropical accents. It is the most refined and serene restaurant on the island for sure and well worth a visit! Reservations essential and they are closed August to mid November. Bay St., Dunmore Town, Harbour Island 242.333.2053
Word on the street is that their cheeseburger is the inspiration for Jimmy Buffetts "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and it is quite good. You can also get into the local bahamian fare and the rustic charm of this eatery. It is a great off the beaten path place to eat and get local! Tingum Village Hotel, Colebrooke St., Dunmore Town,Harbour Island 242.333.2161
Another local favorite that should be on your must stop at list. It is a color snack stand that is on Bay Street that has a deck over looking the water. The perfect place to stop after the beach to get a fresh conch salad (litterally just caught and diced in front of you and mixed with fresh veggies on the counter) to tide you over before your dinner. Bay St., Dunmore Town, Harbour Island 242.333.3811
We had the pleasure of having the amazing chef, Ed Boncich cook for us when our friends rented the villa at pink sands. He used to be Pat Riley's personal chef and has worked with Bobby Flay in NYC and is simply AMAZING and could not be nicer. The Pink Sands has an amazing garden you can dine in and be sure to check out the Blue Bar which is their beach lunch area - a perfect perch above the beach for a cocktail or lunch. Chapel St., Dunmore Town, Harbour Island 242.333.2030
Hire a Chef
Denaldo Bain - He is not only an amazing chef but also like a local concierge as well - he lives in Nassau but is well worth hiring to come for a week and treat yourself! email@example.com
Patricia's Fruits & Vegetable Stand
Tom Scheerer swears by her homemade hot sauce & jams.
WHERE TO SHOP?
One of my favorite spots where I always find something every time I go. Curated and co-owned by India Hicks, you will find fashion treasures from around the world. They have something for everyone and it always my first and last stop on the island. Beautiful kaftans, fabulous jewelry, toys and clothes for kids, candles you name it! My boys love their skull and crossbones logo shirts and always find something for themselves when we go. Bay Street 242.333.3558 - across from the main dock
I love this place - they have a fantastic selection of beachwear & high end resort wear, jewelry and home decor - manual canavos suits for her (my favorite bathing suit ever) and darling swim trunks for men and boys. No needed bikinis here - it channels the old school preppy vibe in us all and It has everything you need to wear on the island and fantastic jewelry selection as well. They also have a shop at the Landing as well that is worth a look-see. King Street 242.333.2240
For adorable children's clothing owned by Tracey Berry who is co-owner of the Landing.
A new little tiny store that sells handcrafted jewels and clothing - high end but worth a look. Across from Queen Conch
A & A Findings
For adorable straw bags and crafts - she will monogram and personalize right there for you and she fixed the hole in my well worn french market tote - we love her!
...AND AFTER DARK?
Nightlife in Harbour Island is nothing compared to St. Barths, but there are some fun options for those who want to continue on into the night.
A wine and tapas bar that is in the middle of town. It has an open air deck and is super cute. King & Murray Streets.
The place to go for late night dancing - located on the bay it has a great deck and a fabulous sand dance floor. Coconut Grove Ave. 242.333.2165
WHERE TO STAY?
I am partial to renting houses on the island. It gives us flexibility to hang out with just our family and relax. Most homes come with daily housekeeping and a cook is always available so making it your own is the way we roll. You can always open an account at the Piggly Wiggly with your credit card and find all options to cook as well as at home. There are however many hotels that are fabulous as well.
This hotel has recently undergone a fantastic facelift. with fun and fabulous interiors by Amanda Lindroth with John Robshow fabrics all around and Molton Brown products in the rooms. It is comfy and cozy and has a fabulous barefoot elegance about it. It has a wonderful pool and a fantastic place to have lunch if you are not staying there. It is located on the beach so a great place to stay if you have kids and when we were there in November they were building some amazing residences right next door. Fingers crossed they will be available to rent one day! Colebrooke Street
877.891.3100 FROM THE U.S.; 242.333.2200
Built in 1951 it has been restored and resurrected by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. A great place to stay with families as the cottages and villas are fantastic options. Also located on the beach with swimming pool and tennis courts. They have a recently added kids club now too that you can take advantage of even if you are not a guest. Also you can get a day pass to the hotel if you are renting a house - nice to have chairs and beach gear right there. Chapel Street 242.333.2030
Ocean View Club a.k.a Pip's Place
Staying here has been described as being a guest at a sophisticated house party. When I worked at Conde Nast this is where all of the fashion editors, models and photographers stayed while doing photo shoots. It is bohemian and eccentric and if you don't stay here it is encrouaged to at least go for a drink or dinner. Court Street 242.333.2276; fax: 242.333.2459
A small boutique hotel that has 9 rooms and is a cozy and chic place for couples to get away!
BAY AND HILL STREETS 242.333.2053
There are plenty of homes to rent but my favorites ones are those that the fabulous Tom Scheerer decorated notably the Bayan is fabulous and Juicy Hill are high on our list. Perfect for families or a getaway with friends. For affordable in town rental Chatterbox is precious and we rented Salt Box as well - another Tom Scheerer house - it is an old loyalist house that is high on charm. My favorite contact to rent from is Island Real Estate and all homes above are available through them. Alex Alexiou: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most beautiful houses on the island is Southern Cross - featured in Elle Decor this 7 bedroom home comes with a full staff and chef. It is beyond beautiful.
Check out the adorable and chic rentals that India Hicks owns. Decorated by her famed husband David Flint Wood - there are a few homes to choose from based on your needs. They are as close as you can get to embodying the India Hicks lifestyle - inspired by films such as The English Patient and Casablanca, they are cozy and comfortable.
WHY DO WE LOVE HARBOUR ISLAND SO MUCH?
I am ready for some warm weather - I thought this might be a nice post for all of you in the polar vortex! I was first introduced to Harbour Island in college. We were looking for a relaxing alternative to the beer guzzling beaches of Mexico and a friend had a family house in Harbour Island. Located approximately 60 miles from Nassau and two miles east of Eleuthera, I was smitten by it's quaint charm, barefoot chic aesthetic coupled with divine food and one of the most beautiful beaches I had ever stepped on - it is truly pink!
While working in fashion in NYC it was the go to spot for beach shoots and a great getaway destination from the cold. Since I have had children, we now go there for a week during Thanksgiving and my kids play for hours and hours on the beach. It is the perfect way to reconnect before the holiday madness starts because we are all together all the time and we love it. I also spent my 40th Birthday there and rented Bayan House with some of my dear friends - we hired an amazing chef, had yoga at the house in the morning and ended the day with foot massages by the pool. After dinner we would sit fireside and strategize how we could live here full time and be just like India Hicks. It is addictive this place!