Eleuthera and Harbour Island Experience
The Harbour Island Lifestyle
There are Out Islands and then there are "In" Islands (think fashionable St. Bart's), where the person at the next beachside table could be a film star, supermodel, or Grammy-winning musician. Harbour Island is both, an island where celebrities and billionaires gallivant freely, wearing flip-flops and driving old four-seater golf carts.
There are no high-rise condos, no luxurious spas, but plenty of fresh fish and lobster, one of the world's most magnificent beaches, elegant intimate inns, bakeries that rival any in Paris, good weather, and good cheer. When you're here you don't have to live the pampered life of the rich and famous; go fishing (regulars develop relationships with their fishing guides that last longer than some of their marriages), diving, and kayaking—or just sit back on the beach and watch how the beautiful people do it.
Claims to Fame
Celebrities: Both homeowners and visitors are detailed below.
Movies (filmed in Eleuthera): Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married, Too? with Janet Jackson and Jill Scott; Fool's Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson; Mysterious starring James Brolin and Antonio Sabato Jr.; Three with Billy Zane and Kelly Brook.
Photo Shoots: 2006 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated; Vogue fashion spreads.
TV Shows: House Hunters International episodes on HGTV (the real-estate agent on both episodes was Robert Arthur, co-owner with his wife of Arthur's Bakery).
How To do Harbour Island
Know Your Golf Cart Etiquette. A friendly hello and wave separate the insiders from the visitors. Use hand signals to indicate turns—another thing newcomers don't do which causes some confusion on the narrow lanes. And drive on the left, for goodness sake! Americans have a habit of drifting toward the right, especially when they're looking at the scenery.
Plan Your Sunsets. The hallowed daily ritual of watching the sun set is best complemented by food and a libation: a glass of Italian wine and crab cakes at Acquapazza, lobster dumplings on the porch of the Landing, refreshing gazpacho on the terrace of the posh Rock House, conch fritters at Sunsets Bar and Grille, or cold Kaliks at Valentine's Marina. So many choices, so few vacation days.
Who's Here? Bahamians are famously unimpressed with celebrities, but ask the staff at shops and restaurants, and they usually don't mind telling you who's in town. It's nice to know what famous musician is on the island, just in case there's an impromptu bonfire sing-along.
Pronounce it Like a Local. Islanders have a shorthand name for their island: Briland. But say it right: BRI (rhymes with dry)-land.
Bring Your Pooch. To really blend in with the locals, you should take your dog—everywhere. You will look right at home with your furry best friend riding in the golf cart, frolicking on the beach, sharing a table on the terrace of a café, and going on long walks down the narrow lanes. There's no quarantine, just an import permit available at www.bahamas.com, a $10 fee, and your vet's health certificate.
Who's Who of Harbour Island
Homeowners include Wayne Huizenga, former owner of the Miami Dolphins; Revlon Chairman Ron Perelman; media mogul Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane von Furstenberg; duty-free tycoon Robert Miller; J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler; supermodel Elle Macpherson; and India Hicks, English model and goddaughter of Prince Charles. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell started the influx of the ultrawealthy when he bought Pink Sands Resort in 1992; guests have included Martha Stewart and the Duchess of York. Dave Matthews, Tyra Banks, Jimmy Buffett, and Mick Jagger all rent homes on Harbour Island.
Just next door, Mariah Carey and Patti LaBelle own homes on the mainland of Eleuthera, as does Lenny Kravitz, who amuses residents by living in a modest wooden house and walking around in bare feet.
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