Island of Eleuthera - For the In Crowd
Eleuthera, one of the Out Islands of the Bahamas, is 110 miles long and just two lanes wide where the Queen's Highway passes over a bridge leading to northern end of the island.
When Winslow Homer sketched the area in 1885, the neck of land had a natural arch forming the window, so named because sailors on the choppy Atlantic Ocean could look through and see the glassy Caribbean on the other side.
The arch was knocked down by storm waves sometime after the turn of the century, and a series of bridges built to replace it have fared little better. A concrete bridge was shifted seven feet by a storm on Halloween 1991, and the rebuilt bridge was shifted again by Hurricane Andrew in 1999.
Islanders refer to the storms, when the Atlantic sends waves exploding up and over the narrow strip of land, as "a rage." The Glass Window bridge is closed during a rage - it was shut down only once in 2003 - and foolhardy trespassers have been blown to their death. A rusted car still sits on the boulders below, a testament to the power of the sea.
Some years ago, a policeman and Sam Pedican walked over it during a rage and didn't make it. The policeman survived - his hip was broken - but Sam died. They found his body a couple of days later.
This is not an island for couch potatoes or women in high heels. That's why they do all the fashion shoots over on Harbour Island.
After three days on Harbor Island , I took the water taxi a mile southwest to spend a couple of nights on Eleuthera. While you can see all of tiny Harbour Island on a golf cart, you'll need a rental car, better yet a four-wheel-drive, to visit some of Eleuthera's 50 beaches and find a hunk of pink sand to call your own.
Eleuthera used to be the crown jewel of the Out Islands, especially when American Airlines had a deal to fly guests into the Club Med. But the island's economy suffered a shock when the Club Med was battered by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The resort chain already was in financial trouble, so it used the insurance check to pay bills and never reopened.
But there are signs of revival on Eleuthera. A new owner has bought the Club Med property and is razing it for a development. A half-dozen other projects, mostly boutique hotels on Eleuthera, are on the drawing board - even singer Lenny Kravitz is building on Eleuthera.
Eleuthera is more laid-back than Harbour Island and has more area to explore. A drive on the Queen's Highway heads through several quaint villages filled with vividly painted homes.
Gregory Town has several renowned establishments, including the Thompson Sisters Bakery, Pam's Island Made Gift Shop and Elvina's, a bar where surfers hang out after surviving the world-class waves that blast the Atlantic side of Eleuthera.
Surfboards line the ceiling of Elvina's, and people make the water-taxi ride from Harbour Island to attend jam sessions on Tuesday and Friday nights.
And, yes, Lenny Kravitz has been known to show up and play a few licks.
By Tom Uhlenbrock - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
<<< Eleuthera Reviews