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Aug 19, 2022

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Travel Guide

Winter Travel : At Present

Emma’s Guide to Harbour Island, Bahamas

Our head of content and self-proclaimed beach girl, Emma, had always dreamed of living 100 steps from the sand, but a corporate career required in-person NYC work days–until the pandemic hit, that is. When her NYC lease up was up mid-2020, she and her husband had the crazy idea of relocating to their favorite tropical paradise: Harbour Island. With a good wifi connection and a sense of adventure, they were lucky enough to call this tiny island home for a good chunk of the pandemic–and soon fell into the rhythm of local island life.

Read on for Emma’s favorite places to sip, shop, stay and more.

To Stay:

If we’re not renting our dreamy (teeny) bungalow, we always stay at Ocean View Club, a family-run boutique hotel that feels more like you’re staying at your effortlessly cool friend’s house. Grab a “tent cottage” if you can: it’s about as close to sleeping on the beach as you can get. 

The epitome of Bohemian island style, OVC calls for easy, elegant, and eclectic pieces, like Objet-a’s beaded necklaces. With saturated stones and asymmetric designs, I’d layer a few of these pieces with a bikini and sarong to take me straight from beach to cocktail hour at the hotel’s honor bar.

To Sip(sip)*

My favorite spot for sunset cocktails is the Dunmore, an upscale hotel that takes you back to a different era. Just down the beach from OVC, the Dunmore’s bar and restaurant is perched above the beach; snag one of the three outdoor bar seats early, and ask Lynn to make you the best martini anywhere (according to my husband); my personal favorite is Rodney’s frozen lemonade. 

To match the Dunmore’s retro, chic vibe, I love the idea of a fun take on a classic pearl, like these Disco Pearl with Amethyst, Citrine, and Tourmaline earrings.

*Fun Fact: “Sip sip” is the term for gossip in Harbour Island!

To Eat (Lunch)

For a lowkey lunch, explore local harbor-side spots in town like Queen Conch. Grab their famous conch salad to go, or sit down at the end of the dock for sautéed shrimp (and a Kalik). 

This fun, sea-inspired necklace captures the playful, beachy vibe of the island.

To Eat (Dinner)

You can’t come to Harbour Island without a visit to The Landing. This historic property dates back to 1800, and has maintained its colonial, Caribbean style thanks to local designer India Hicks. Ask for a table on the porch (especially if it’s around sunset), for a view of the harbor–and for great people watching. Don’t forget to get a pre-dinner drink at the famous bar; the cozy room feels like Hemingway could appear at any moment. 

The vibe at the landing is always warm and fun–making these Eden Presley earrings the perfect addition to any evening look.

To Do

Whether you opt for a long beach walk or a boat day around Eleuthera, the colors of Harbour Island are something to behold: the pink sand and turquoise water are truly unrivaled. I love taking inspiration from the natural landscape, which means pinks, turquoise and blues are staples in my island wardrobe.

To See

Harbour Island’s infamous Lone Tree is actually a large piece of driftwood that stands alone in the sand, making for a unique photo op. Legend has it the tree either slid down a nearby hill or blew over from another island. Either way, Lone Tree has become synonymous with Harbour Island, and has been featured in photo shoots, ads–and was even recently the site for a wade-out wedding! 

Julez Bryant’s Skye Necklace reminds me of a sand dollar–which is fitting for harbor-side adventures. If you’re lucky, you can find sand dollars at low tide (I’m still waiting to find one in the wild!)

To Shop

While Harbour Island is tiny (it’s only three miles long and half a mile wide!), style is an important part of island culture. My favorite stores are India Hicks’ Sugar Mill for beach towels and slip dresses, Blue Rooster for coverups, Shine for eclectic silk sets and handmade jewelry, and A and A Hidden Treasures for customized straw baskets. 

For an afternoon zipping around on the golf cart from store to store, Mined and Found’s freshwater pearls, rainbow threads and iridescent beads feel sunny and whimsical when paired with my daytime outfit of white shorts and a t-shirt. 

Meet Emma

When she’s not running content for At Present, you can find Emma teaching backyard yoga, hanging at the beach, adventuring with her husband, or exploring farmers’ markets. She lives in East Hampton, NY–and sometimes in Harbour Island, Bahamas.

Current go-to every day piece: ParkFord’s Rainbow Revival Necklace.

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