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Inspired by the tranquil island paradise famed for its beautiful pink sand beaches, rainbow cotton knit in candy colored pastels invites you to view the world through rose colored glasses. With a serene turquoise liner, playful pink trim and splashy metallic gold ball zipper pulls, our Stephanie Johnson Bermuda Collection conjures sunset cocktails, a gentle ocean breeze, and the dream of eternal summer. Here’s what else I brought along for my Bermuda getaway:
1. LemLem Lilly Striped Slub Cotton-Blend Dress
2. Mara Hoffman Ananda Swimsuit
3. Chan Luu Gold Plated, Jade and Leather Five Wrap Bracelet
4. Jack Rogers Neon Whipstitch Thong Sandal, Lime
5. J Brand 1046 Low Rise Cut-Off Denim Shorts in Neon Pink
6. Gap Essential Stripe V-Neck Tee in Red Stripe
7. Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette
Want more Bermuda? Get to know our new Bermuda Collection here:
The tranquil paradise of Harbour Island offers so much to experience, I couldn’t confine my trip to just one post. For tips on my favorite Harbour Island resorts and restaurants, check out Destination Harbour Island, Part One. Then read on below for Part Two of my Bahamian adventure!
The preferred mode of transport here is the golf cart. There are several rental options on the island and we got ours from Dunmore Rentals. We woke early each morning and hopped in our dew covered cart to have breakfast and explore the island. Morning excursions included the ‘Haunted House,’ visits to Goldie the talking parrot at Romora Bay, and feeding fresh water to Gina Valentina the manatee at Valentine’s. Afternoons were ideal for ice cream runs to The Sweet Spot where we loved fresh mango and coconut sorbets, ginger lime and espresso ice cream.
Lil’ Shans is a tiny shack in the parking lot at Valentine’s. This is where we found Luther, our captain for an afternoon of fun on the water. He took us to neighboring island Eleuthera, where we saw giant sea stars dotting the clear ocean floor and baby turtles speeding along. We snorkeled around a rock formation and fed the bright tropical fish and saw a giant sting ray camouflaged under the pink sand. We stopped in shallow water, where we discovered hundreds of sun bleached sand dollars underfoot. Our trip with Luther was the highlight for me and I can’t wait to return to those clear blue waters.
Bring a racquet and play tennis but you will have to bring a partner too. Run on the beach where you are likely to see a tanned and toned India Hicks running with her Black Lab. Soak up the sun and float in the ocean all day long.
A visit to India Hicks’ shop The Sugar Mill will be where to find her own island batik bedcovers and sheets and bright nylon ntandy belts by friend Napper. I loved my visit with Amy at The Blue Rooster, a well-curated island shop with island flavor and a high chic factor. I found gorgeous gold jewelry, elegant beach cover ups and Stephanie Johnson bags! Princess Gallery is where to find island entertaining essentials and local art. I loved the Bahama Hand Print robes and napkins. The gift shop at the Pink Sands Resort had an excellent selection of straw hats (that’s where I picked up mine), canvas espadrilles and colorful pareos trimmed in pompoms (I picked up one of these as well)!
Erela and I visited with Alice at A & A Hidden Treasures several times on our trip. Alice hand weaves hats and totes and clutches and sells them in an open air space along the road. Erela chose a cross body bag with a blue raffia butterfly and the word Bahamas embroidered on the back. Alice personalized it with Erela’s name and E hasn’t taken it off since.
The best thing about this tiny island (it’s only 3.5 miles long and a half mile wide) was the people we met. Everywhere we went we ran into the same folks, mostly visitors like us, and unlike us this was not their first visit. Harbour Island had been their special paradise for many years and we were happy to share in their secret.
When I needed to escape another East Coast snow storm I looked to book the Caribbean but everything was sold out or impossible to get to. I booked Harbour Island because it was available and I wasn’t terribly excited about it. I worried the Bahamas wouldn’t be warm enough, I’d be bored to tears with no kids camp, tennis clinics or sunrise yoga on the beach, blah, blah, blah. How wrong I was.
We stayed at the Coral Sands Hotel, situated right on the pink sand beach for which this island is famous. Our room was large with a separate dressing area and a balcony with sea views. We slept with the doors open and the sound of the ocean lulling us to sleep. The pool is the absolute best on the island despite its lack of poolside services. You will have to hike it a bit to the beach to collect towels or find an attendant to help you open your umbrella, and you will have to bring your own Goombay Smash up from the bar. There is limited lunch service on the beach and no lack of boogie boards and sand toys for the little ones. The staff was warm and welcoming: Romanda helped us book our dinners and Terrence even bleached a conch shell for Erela.
The Dunmore next door on the same sweet beach has just had a complete overhaul and its 13 rooms are perfection in dark wood and raffia with island colors and all the modern conveniences. The Landing reminded me of my days in Key West. It’s one of the oldest buildings on the island; a cozy guest house on the harbour side with rooms designed by resident India Hicks and a bar where you could imagine Hemingway holding court.
In addition to being your cozy home on island, The Landing boasts the best breakfast on Harbour Island and some of the best dining altogether. We ate there most mornings as Erela befriended the proprietor’s daughter, so it was ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and French toast with whipped cream in caramel sauce along with a harbor view from your porch-side seat (and an additional five pounds to your waistline).
As Sip Sip was closed for vacation before the season rush, we lunched beachside at The Dunmore daily. The conch ceviche, lobster tacos and Norma’s Terrace salad were on high rotation. Note that The Dunmore staff was friendly and happy to accommodate my five year old’s requests for pen and paper, but alas no children are allowed at dinner time. The Rock House has a similar dinner time policy, allowing children to only dine early and by the pool rather than in the main dining room overlooking sunset views of the harbour. The food, however, was exceptional with fresh mahi mahi in a coconut Thai curry nearly blowing my mind.
Other island options include sunset drinks at Romora Bay, where if you time it right you can see the nurse sharks circle as the fisherman bring in their catch. Acqua Pazza was an excellent dinner choice with a child. As I watched the sunset over the bay and sipped a Bahama Mama, Erela ran around the lawn outside the adjacent ‘haunted house’, climbed trees and hung out in the hammock. An arugula salad from their own garden and local lobster ravioli were delicious.
There are several options on the bay side and Queen Conch reigns supreme. A ‘shack’ near the water’s edge where the local conch man pulls conch from their shell and discards the shells in a pile on the beach and smiling women in head scarves prepare the ‘exotic’ salad with fruits and veggies, this is the perfect casual-dinner over-sunset-with-the-kids -place. Liquor is BYOB so pop over to the bar next door for a Goombay Smash in a plastic cup to sip with your excellent conch fritters or spicy shrimp.
Want more Harbour Island? Stay tuned for next week’s post, highlighting the island’s charming boutiques and my favorite things to do in this Bahamian paradise!