Tour of Hope Town Village
When entering the harbour on the ferry or by private boat, you will notice that the island extends north past the village itself. This beautiful and quiet section of the island is known as, well, North End. This is a great spot to go for a morning walk or jog. It is 3.5 miles from the Sailing Club dock past Down Thru and around North End and back. Go for it!
Speaking of Down Thru, this is what they call the area just south of North End before you reach the village. It is a narrow strip of road with a beach house on one side and their dock on the other.
The Elbow Cay Reef Lighthouse is open for visitors during the day with a donation box on the first step. The tower (its local name) has not won any safety awards, so be very cautious if touring with small children. Remember the lighthouse keepers live in the cottages at the foot of the lighthouse and have been up all night winding the light, so please ascend quietly.
Lighthouse Marina offers gas, oil, ice, a great gift shop and marine hardware store. You can buy T-shirts, fishing tackle, beach toys and lots of boating items such as anchors. Adjacent to the marina is Hope Town Wine & Spirits. They will deliver your liquor order if you call 366-0525 or you can pick up cold beer & sodas on your way out of the harbour on the boat…bait and beer, now that’s the life!
When you leave The Elbow Cay Reef Lighthouse, keep a look out for the Abaco Rage, a classic Bahamian sloop. This is her home mooring now that she has been retired from sailing since 2009.
Hope Town ‘proper’ starts just north of the harbour entrance and ends just south of Hope Town Harbour Lodge. There are two 10-foot wide cement roads. Harbour St. (Front St.) runs along the harbour front and Queen’s Highway (Ocean St. or Back St.) follows the Atlantic Ocean. Right by the Hope Town Hideaways real estate office it merges into one road at The Jib House. There are small sidewalks and sand paths connecting the 2 village roads and there are several marked beach accesses. There are lots of picture perfect photo opportunities through out the village, including the "Lovers Lane" sign on little street for all the newly weds!
Starting at Down Thru and heading south through the Village on Queen’s Highway, the first port of call is Vernon’s Grocery Store. Mr. Vernon is quite famous for his pies and bread. He stocks gourmet cheeses, earthen jars of great Greek olives, small sections of health food and lots of produce. To be honest, I often have to ask where an item is located as the store is so packed that I often miss some of the best stuff! BE SURE TO ENTER IN ONE DOOR AND EXIT OUT THE OTHER. Mr. Vernon is the most popular marriage official on the island. He is also the lay minister at St. James Methodist Church and often leads the 11 a.m. service. His wife Bobbi is very delightful and is often at the register. If you need baked items for a special occasion (keep in mind he loves to make dinner rolls and hamburger buns but hates to make hot dog buns). If you call ahead, he will put you on his baking calendar: 366-0037.
Across the road from Vernon’s Grocery is Dedrie’s place. She braids hair with her daughters and weaves one-of-a-kind baskets, hats, etc. at Edith’s Straw Market. Next to her shop, her sister Sheila runs a gift shop called Kemp’s Souvenirs. Sheila is also known for being a great seamstress. In case of missing suitcases, this shop has inexpensive sandals, bathing suits, and even underwear! She also has the fun tourist stuff too like coffee mugs and beaded t-shirts.
Under the same roof as Kemp’s Souvenirs is Munchies Restaurant. This little take-away is popular with the locals. I often order ahead 366-0423, then send one of the kids to pick up the best Bahamian Fried Chicken you have ever had! The price is right too. There are ice cream cones, cold drinks and an informal hangout for children. I sometimes take a book and let the kids run around until our conch fritters, grilled fish, chicken nuggets, etc. are passed through the small window. You can also get a mean hamburger or conch burger and even a tuna fish sandwich – quite handy if you are packing a picnic – just grab the chips. Munchies hours are great, they cook in the "in between" times when the other restaurants are preparing for dinner. They are open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week from 10am – 10pm.
As you continue your journey down Queen’s Highway, you will pass Cemetery Lane on your left, which is a beach access. As skip further down QH you will notice a two-story yellow building with white trim. In here there is a unique little gift shop called El Mercado 366-0661. Here you will find a great selection of gold jewelry, beach wraps, t-shirts, art and fun souvenir goodies. The owner of the shop has a South American connection, so you will also find custom made arts and crafts.
Further down the road, you will come across Russell’s Lane on your right hand side. There is a two-story white building with aqua trim that you can use as a land mark. If you take a right down this lane and proceed just passed the second house on your left, which is olive green with beige trim, you will find a garden with a small stone pathway that will lead you to the best little hair and nail salon around. Monica and her mother Mrs. Margret will pamper you and fill you in on all the local know how. They offer a wide range of services such as hair cuts, colors, styling, highlights, manicures and pedicures. It is best to call ahead and make an appointment, as they book up very quickly. Monica is also a fabulous pastry chef and bakes for a lot of the private upscale events on the island. To reach Chopping Block you can call 366-0052.
Head back down Russell lane and onto to Queen’s Highway again. Just passed the two-story white building with aqua, you will see another two story building, on the right. In here you will find a little bar called Wine Down & Sip Sip ("sip sip" is the Bahamian equivalent to gossip). The owners Bonnie & Arnold Hall help you relax with cool air conditioning, crackers, cheese and music. Bonnie is Vernon’s daughter and has a great bridal coordinating business. The wine bar does offer other items like martinis, Wednesday margarita night, sipping rums, ports, etc. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Patrons can also take home purchases from the Lighthouse liquors. Reserve the wine bar for a casual get together or just drop in for a perfect "wine down" evening after a day of fun and sun. 366-0399.
Now let’s begin again on the northern tip of town, from the mouth of the Harbour on Harbour Street this time. Head south down Harbour Street and you will see The Crazy Crab boutique run by Bruce and Evette on your left hand side in a green & orange building. Next door to The Crazy Crab you will see a big beautiful two-story periwinkle & white trim building on your left. This is the HOPE TOWN COFFEE SHOP. Andrew and Heather is a friendly, artsy couple that have created a great haven for quiet conversation, book reading, relaxing and meeting up with folks. It has a living room set up and a sunny outside deck offering fabulous harbour and village views. Marilyn, Andrew’s mom is a fabulous cook and each day adds to their yummy bakery case where they offer homemade quiche, delicate pastries and rich cakes, etc. Their selection of beverages ranges from fruit smoothies and frappes to cappuccinos and espressos. They actually roast their own beans! What a great souvenir to take back home – Hope Town Coffee Roasters fresh coffee. The bright and airy dining area provides lots of artwork, reading material and a specialized gift shop featuring many one of a kind items. Their hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8a.m- 4p.m and Saturday 8a.m. – 12pm.
Down the road, you will see a boutique store called Iggy Biggy, on the right hand side. The store carries great tropical attire and accessories, gorgeously displayed candles, shoes, hats, sunglasses, jewelry and vases etc. Mary Beth does a fabulous job ordering unique island stock. Cheri and Sandra will even gift wrap! The clothing lines she carries are unique island where that both visitors and local a like purchase (not like that grass skirt you bought last holiday). Their contact is 366-0354 and they are open Mon – Sat, 9:30am – 5:30pm.
Next-door to Iggy Biggy on the right is a bar and restaurant called Cap’N Jacks. The menu is fun and casual opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner with daily specials. There is happy hour every day and often music on Wednesday and Friday nights, but it’s always best to check ahead in case something has changed. The owner s Lana and Jack try to keep everyone entertained with fun activities like bingo and trivia night, just check the schedule of any fun days during your stay. You can contact them by calling 366-0247. Their hours of operation are Mon – Sat, 8:30am – 10am for breakfast, then 11am – 9pm for lunch and dinner. They are closed on Sundays.
Harbour View Grocery is the blue building painted with swimming dolphins on the left side of street across from Cap’ N Jacks. It boasts its own dock so you can "park" there for shopping. They sell bakery items sent to the shop daily from two very good bread and pastry makers. Their inventory includes a variety of organic, whole grain and natural products. There are a few shelves of medical supplies as well. Mercedes is the cashier. She is Cuban and the wife of Maitland (Bonefish Dundee). Don’t forget to buy your "green bag" so you can help the environment, carry more groceries and have a souvenir from Abaco! To call contact them, you call and leave a message at 366-0033.
The point where Queens Highway and Harbour Street meet the road converges into one at the Jib House. Just south of this point the road breaks into two once again. If you take a right down the Queens Highway once again and follow the water front, you will see the Hope Town Hideaways Office. Stop on by and see what the current real estate listings are, including private islands, and other beautiful homes that we rent here on the island. We also have all the local island info such as fishing tips, sailing and kayaking excursions, and local upcoming events. We also have a list of babysitters in case you would like to do any of the above while the little ones play on the beach in the sand. Come by and see us, we enjoy putting faces to the names so don’t be shy! We have very friendly staff in reservations and accounts. If you would like to look at real estate, we can make an appointment for you here at the office anytime and one of our four agents on Elbow Cay or Guana Cay would be happy to show you around.
Along the water front, just passed Hope Town Hideaways, is Harbour’s Edge Restaurant & Bar. It is located in a two-story green building. The "Edge" serves lunch & dinner daily except for Tuesdays. The menu lunch ranges from fresh wraps and specialty salads to good ole Bahamian Specialties. The dinner menu consists of lobster, pasta’s, grilled fish, lamb and steak. They also have a children’s menu and provide crayons for them to have a little fun while you enjoy your meal overlooking the harbour. In the bar, there is a TV to keep up with local sports. Saturday night is pizza night and it is oh so good. Yes, you can order conch on your pizza! During busy periods, live bands play on Thursday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. until? During slower periods, they will play music for dancing. A little playground is outside or if the children are older, they often walk to the park. This allows the grown-ups some time and the kids don’t get squirmy. Don’t forget the pet fish for your leftovers…very exciting to watch them jump. The bar is a great place to have a specialty drink – watch out for those curly tails – and check your e-mails. They will give you a key code to access the internet when you patronize the bar or restaurant. Their hours of operation are 11am – 9pm for food and the bar is open until…366-0292.
The library is located in a yellow building on the right hand side of the road within the park. Across the street, on the left, is the Wyannie Malone Museum. It is located in a two story White and Green building. Their hours may vary due to the season and the fact they are run by volunteer staff. The museum is a must-see and you may end up going more than once! AA meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. in the library or the clinic.
St. Frances Catholic Church holds mass under the cork tree in the park outside the library Sunday at 12:45 p.m.
The Hope Town Clinic is at the end of the road, right on the corner of the park and parking lot in a one story pink building. There is Government Doctor who comes on a 2-week schedule so you may get lucky, but really the Nurse here is very good with earaches, stitches, rashes, tummy virus, etc. Her number is 366-0108 or she monitors VHF 16 "Hope Town Clinic, Hope Town Clinic, - say your house or boat name," then switch to another channel. If it is an emergency or you need help with transportation, "Hope Town Fire & Rescue" is always standing by on the VHF.
Right next to the Hope Town Clinic is the Post Office, Hope Town District Council and the Police Station in a two story green building. In front of this building is the public parking lot and the Post Office Dock. This is where the vehicular traffic stops and then only pedestrian traffic and vehicles with special permission can drive through town. Nora is our postmistress and she is on the second floor of the blue two-story building. She will be happy to send your postcards, etc.
On Fridays, Down Deep sells fresh fish on the dock. The fisherman, Michael Shreiner sells his fresh catches and it varies. His wife Laurie makes some of the seafood into recipes – smoked fish dips, conch chowder and conch salads are just some of their specialties. Drop by the end of the dock around 2 p.m., they stay until they sell out so don’t delay!
Just behind the clinic is St. James Methodist Church. They have an uplifting "family service" on Sunday from 9:30am to 10:30am. The children participate and there is a lot of singing. The regular service is 11am to 12pm. At Christmas and Easter you can join the sunrise services and evening programs. The kids play a medieval British instrument called an ocarina.
The very next historic home after the Methodist Church is Ebb Tide. It is a great shop with the latest magazines, books by very hard to find Bahamian authors. They also have island-themed books including a great selection for children as well as authentic BAHAMIAN gifts. I love the Abaco Gold as well as the conch jewelry and bowls. The shop has some great artwork as well as inexpensive prints. Androsia fabric is a handmade batik in vibrant colors and lasts forever, be sure to invest in a beach cover-up or t-shirt. There are all kinds of unique gifts to find for loved ones back home. Debbie Patterson is the owner and assisted by Lucille will help you choose the perfect Bahamian gift or souvenir.
Just past the public dock on the right you will fin Lighthouse Liquor Store 366-0567. Across the street from Lighthouse Liquors is Sugar Shack. It is located just after the public dock on the left side in a two story pink & blue building. This popular spot is known for their homemade subs, ice cream and goodies. This little ice cream shop stocks a wide variety of premium ice and boosts a fun collection in their gift shop. The bread is baked fresh daily with sandwich offerings from hot pastrami, hot Italian subs to chicken & tuna salad. Whether you are grabbing sandwiches to take on the boat or eating in, you will find the shopkeepers Anna & Koops delightful. The gift shop is well-stocked with T-shirts custom designed for the Sugar Shack by a variety of artists. There is also a kids section filled with sea life stuffed animals. This little takeaway deli has an air-conditioned "dine-in" living room set up as well as an outside porch. Food can be light snacks or an entire dinner if you add one of their Greek or macaroni salads. If you are looking for a dessert for a special occasion or gathering, you can order cakes or pies such as apple and coconut. Their hours are Mon to Sat 7:30am – 9pm, Sundays 1pm – 7pm with a limited menu. Their contact information is 366-0788 or they stand by on VHF ch 16.
Across the street from Sun Dried T’s and the Sugar Shack is FROGGIES OUT ISLAND ADVENTURES. The owners, Theresa and Lambert, take out groups of all sizes to snorkel and dive all week long. They can customize a trip for your group to include island hopping and dining on other islands. They are available for trips like cocktail cruises, dinner drop-off and pick-up on other islands, etc. The resort course is great practice in the pool first thing in the a.m. This way you can tank dive the same day! They can also help with your certification (PADI) if you would like to open water dive, etc. Their dive shop offers swimming, surfing skins, gloves, snorkel and dive gear for rent and purchase. They also have underwater cameras, t-shirts, shell bags, etc. for sale. Make sure to check their board for upcoming trips and be sure to sign up if you are interested, as they are limited on space. You can contact them at 366-0431.
As you wander down the Back St., behind the Post Office, you will see a memorial garden at the top of the little hill, complete with a gazebo. Rest awhile and contemplate life as there is a lovely view and breeze at the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean beach.
As you stroll along the back road which hugs the Atlantic Ocean, you will begin to see a quaint little boutique resort and restaurant called The Hope Town Harbour Lodge. If you are looking for a fine dining experience or a relaxing lunch by the ocean and pool, this is the place to be. There is breakfast, lunch and cocktails by the pool and dinner on the upstairs terraces, balconies and air conditioned main dining room called The Great Harbour Room. Ray’s Place is famous for its nice selection of martinis. It is always best to try and make reservation in advance. To do so you can call 366-0095. The staff at the Lodge seems more like friends helping you, than employees. Tom, the general manager, is truly the epitome of a "people’s person." Lunch is very casual and surrounds the pool so mom can tan and read while the little guys swim. There is one of the best swimming and snorkeling beaches just behind the resort. Beach or Pool, it is so hard to decide! Gary makes a great Pina Colada with a little floater of Meyer’s dark rum on top. He can also make non-alcoholic versions. The new ice cream bar is great after a long hot day at the beach. The Lodge is also known for its weddings and private functions. They show extreme attention to detail!
Passed The Hope Town Harbour Lodge, you will see Batelco in the blue "cottage" building and they will help you with purchasing phone cards, operator assisted calls, faxes and shore to ship calling. They are open Mon – Fri. 9:30 to 4 p.m.
Hope Town School is one of our most historic buildings. They love visitors, especially if you have something to offer like a good story or a musical instrument you can play. Candace Key is the principal and welcomes you with open arms. You will be impressed by the wonderful manners of the children if you do stop by. They have various fundraisers throughout the year and invite everyone to join in.
Just out of the village proper, down the road about 10-15 minutes by foot, is On Da Beach. They are located just off of the main road, down a dirt road. It is a relaxing beach bar & grill open for lunch and early dinner. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30am – 7p.m. Sunday is a popular local chicken souce breakfast spot – a Bahamian favorite and not to be missed! I love to sit up on the lovely bluff and enjoy the beach views. My kids love the beach here because it has the best waves and in the summer they put up their volley ball nets for beach games. By the way, it has one of the longest Happy Hours anywhere in the Abaco’s from 4pm-7pm. On Tuesday’s, the chef will make whole Rotisserie chickens to go call ahead if you would like one, they are very popular. Their contact is 366-0558.
Back onto the main road and just a short ride up the hill is LVA Convenience Store (Lawrence, Val and Aidan & Anson). They are tucked up the drive way and is considered our island style 7-11, but so much more. Open daily 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. you won’t believe how neat, tidy and well-stocked this tiny shop is! Someone from the family is always there to help you and Lawrence is quick with a smile and chuckle.
Much further down the island, you will hang a left towards the ocean side and will see A&E liquors. The owner, Edward, offers a drive up service for your alcoholic beverages. They have everything from sodas to cold beer, ice and a good wine selection. Edward is knowledgeable on the brands and even drink recipes.
Just around the corner on the right hand side in a 2 story blue building, you will find Deco Deals. It is a variety store with a little bit of everything owner by TC Sweeting. Their hours are 9:30am – 9:30pm Mon – Sat.
Tiffany Cleaners is a full service Laundry company. Just call and they will pick it up, just like magic; your dirty laundry comes back clean! Free pick-up and drop off. You can call Carolee at 366-0122.
LIGHTHOUSE Ministries holds services mid-island on Sundays at 11am and 7pm. You can get a complimentary pick-up at the Post Office Dock 20 minutes prior to each service. Ricky Sweeting leads the uplifting full Gospel Church services that are a balance between traditional and contemporary music, often accompanied by guitar or keyboard. All denominations are welcome! Should you have any questions, you can call Ricky or Betty at 366-0080.
Native Creative & Mackey’s Take-away, are just past T&N Golf Cart Rental, around the corner on White Sound centerline road. Brenda Arnette offers Bahamian made shell jewelry, straw bags, hats , wood carvings depicting bird and sea life, souvenir ornaments and custom made bathing suit wraps, etc. Next door to the souvenir shop, she recently opened Mackey’s Take-away. You can enjoy a wide variety of authentic Bahamian cuisine including burgers, seafood and daily specials. Brenda is not only a talented craft person she is an accomplished chef and baker offering bread, pies, cakes and Bahamian style catering for your every need! You can contact her at 366-0396. The take-away hours are Monday- Saturday 7am-4pm serving breakfast and lunch. It then re-opens from 6pm-10pm. They also offer late night take-outs on Fridays and Saturdays from 12am-2am, closed Sundays.
On the ridge up by the ocean is The Abaco Inn. They serve an ocean side breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has a cute gift shop and a bar on those occasional rainy days with lots of games to play and keep the little ones happy. Reservations are necessary for dinner and they will pick you up complimentary if you ask. Some nights they have music, happy hours and lots of special events. Tuesday is their open grill night and usually includes live music. Dining can be alfresco under the stars with the ocean breeze, or tucked inside their open air dining room. Very romantic. To contact them, call 366-0133.
The Boat House restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve pizzas every night and check with them for special events. They have an air-conditioned inside dining room as well as a casual outside patio deck area with the Garbonzo bar. During their annual fishing tournaments they have cool events like live music and Junkanoo bands. Their Bahamian fare for breakfast is popular with the locals including stewed fish, souse chicken and boiled fish. Don’t forget to try the old-fashioned Johnny cake!
If you have a boat it is fun to go for lunch on other islands. Lubber’s Quarters, Man-O-War, Marsh Harbour, Guana Cay and Little Harbour all have at least one place to eat. If you don’t want to captain yourself, check out one of the Ferry boat schedules or hire a local guide or Froggies to captain you around.