Eleuthera, Bahamas

Photo: The Cove, Eleuthera
Photo: The Cove Eleuthera

Have you made plans for Presidents’ Day? You already have a long weekend, so why not extend it into a longer winter break? You could use one. It’s been a rough winter—one that’s far from over. So forget snowboarding in Breckenridge or ice skating in Quebec City. You need some sunshine as soon as possible.

There’s a new resort in the Bahamas. Don’t groan. It’s not in Nassau. It is warm enough there this time of year. And the resort has been open long enough to work out any kinks. So pack your bags, you’re going to Eleuthera.

The island of Eleuthera is about 110-miles long, but only one-mile wide at its widest point. It may have been the site of the first permanent settlement in the Bahamas, but the island is still wild and largely undeveloped. Fly to the tiny North Eleuthera Airport; it’s a quick flight from Florida’s coastal cities. A Range Rover picks you up, and before you finish a bottle of water, a welcome cocktail is placed in your hand at The Cove on the Caribbean side of the island.

Photo: The Cove, Eleuthera
Photo: The Cove Eleuthera

The Cove has everything you expect from a boutique beach hotel. Simple rooms with wooden furniture and white linens, iPod docks and Nespresso machines, and views of the turquoise water. It doesn’t take long for you to change into your swim trunks, grab a towel, and head to the pink-sand beach. By the time you drop your sunglasses and bottle of suntan lotion on a lounger and practically run into the warm water, you’ve forgotten all about the flurries in the air when you woke up this morning.

Spend the day reading in a hammock. Swim in the infinity pool. Play with the resort’s rescue dogs. Eat an Eleuthera burger with pineapple or a jerk chicken wrap at the Gregory Town Grill. Kayak around the bay. Sip a Cove lemonade at the Sunset Bar overlooking the water. And decide which parts of the island you want to explore.

Start with Governor’s Harbour. The fishing town, which has a colonial feel, is where the first settlers lived after fleeing England in search of their religious freedom. The little town has gingerbread-trimmed wooden cottages and streets lined with oleanders and hibiscus. Stop at Surfer’s Beach—the Atlantic coast beach has the island’s best waves—and Hatchet Bay Caves to see stalagmites, stalactites, and old graffiti on the walls. Eat lunch at Tippy’s. The open-air restaurant’s menu is written on a blackboard, and waves provide soothing background noise. Another day, take the water taxi to Harbour Island. Rent a golf cart to explore the island and its New England-style architecture. Or head to the Glass Window Bridge, a narrow bridge where the dark water of the Atlantic Ocean meets the crystal-clear Caribbean water. The nearby moon pools fill with water from crashing waves.

This little vacation arrived at just the right time. Maybe once you’ve absorbed enough vitamin D, you’ll be able to brave the rest of the winter. It can’t last too much longer, right?

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