Tour of Hope Town Village & Elbow Cay
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.
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 as this is her home mooring.
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.
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. 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 Sand in my Shoes Boutique which has recently opened its doors. They have wonderful “Islands of the Bahamas” clothing and other great finds.
Under the same roof as Sand in my Shoes Boutique is Munchies Restaurant. This little take-away is popular with the locals. You can order ahead 366-0423, then send someone to pick up the best Bahamian Cracked Conch you have ever had! The price is right too. There are ice cream cones, cold drinks and an informal hangout for children. You can take a book and let the kids run around until your 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 breakfast, 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. A skip further down QH you will notice a two-story white building with green 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 past 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 past the two-story white building with aqua, you will see another two story building, on the right. In here, you will find a little restaurant and 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 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch & dinner. 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 lower dock and Abaco Paddle Boards for Rent. The Crazy Crab Boutique on your left hand side in a green & orange building. Next door to The Crazy Crab you will see a big beautiful two-story light aqua & white trim building on your left. This is the HOPE TOWN COFFEE SHOP. Andrew and Heather is a friendly, artsy couple who 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. Enjoy 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 – 3p.m and Saturday 8a.m. – 12pm. 366-0760.
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-wear that both visitors and local’s alike 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 – open 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 aqua/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 pharmacy 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 contact them, you call and leave a message at 366-0033.
At the point where Queen’s Highway and Harbour Street meet, the road converges into one at The Jib House, where you can stop in to see original artwork & crafts between October-March. Just south of this point, the road breaks into two once again. If you take a right down the Queen’s Highway once again and follow the waterfront, 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 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 agents on Elbow Cay or Guana Cay would be happy to show you around.
Along the water front, just past 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 lunch menu ranges from fresh wraps and specialty salads to good ‘ole Bahamian Specialties. The dinner menu consists of lobster, pastas, grilled fish, lamb and steak. They also have a children’s menu and provide crayons for the kids 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 the busy seasons, 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 Hope Town Library (renovations, under construction till further notice) is located on the right hand side of the road within the park. AA meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 p.m. in the library or the clinic.
Across the street, on the left, is the Wyannie Malone Museum. It is located in a two story white building with green shutters. 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! Ebb Tide gift shop is now located in the Wyannie Malone Museum and you will find authentic Bahamian gifts. Androsia is a handmade batik in vibrant colors and lasts forever, be sure to invest in a beach cover up. The handmade conch jewelry and carved boxes in shapes of groupers or dolphins are great take home gifts as well as the conch serving dishes, jams and rum cakes. Debbie Patterson is the owner and will help you choose the perfect souvenir.
St. Francis Catholic Church holds mass under the cork tree in the park outside the library, Sundays 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 a Government Doctor who comes on a 2-week schedule so you may get lucky, but really, the Nurse here is very good with ear aches, 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 call “Hope Town Fire & Rescue” who are always standing by on the VHF or Dial 911 on the phone.
Right next to the Hope Town Clinic is the Post Office, Hope Town District Council and the Police Station in a two-story blue 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.
Most 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.
A couple doors down from the Methodist Church is the newly restored and completed Hummingbird Cottage Art Gallery, open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5pm. Be sure to stop in and check out the latest exhibits.
Just past the public dock on the right you will find Lighthouse Liquor Store 366-0567 & Mo’s Straw Market with great handmade straw bags, crafts & souvenirs. Sun Dried T’s is next door and offers bicycle and surf board rentals and has all the apparel needed for your beach vacation. Upstairs is the Sugar Shack a popular spot known for their homemade subs, ice cream and goodies. This little ice cream shop stocks a wide variety of premium ice cream and boasts a fun collection in their gift shop. 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 staff delightful. The gift shop is well-stocked with T-shirts custom-designed for the Sugar Shack by a variety of artists. You can special order ice cream/birthday cakes for parties and purchase Albury’s Ferry Tickets. 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 special trips: cocktail cruises, dinner drop-off and pick-up on neighbouring islands, 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. You may support this beautiful tiny park by purchasing a plaque in your name.
As you stroll along the back road which hugs the Atlantic Ocean, you will begin to see a garden courtyard, this, please take note of the inlaid stone tiles in the walkway of the garden, 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. 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. Lunch is very casual and surrounds the pool, so mom can tan and read while the little ones 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.
Past 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 Tuesdays 9:30 to 4 p.m.
Hope Town Primary 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. Justin Higgs 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 sandy 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 souse breakfast spot – a Bahamian favorite and not to be missed! You will love to sit up on the lovely bluff and enjoy the beach views. Kids love the beach here because it has the best waves and in the summer, they put up their volleyball nets for beach games (when it is not windy). By the way, it has one of the longest Happy Hours anywhere in the Abacos: from 4pm-7pm! On Tuesdays, the chef will make whole rotisserie chickens to go, so call ahead if you would like one, they are very popular. Their contact is 366-0558. Everything is grilled. Not fried. Come on by,
Back onto the main road, and just a short ride up the hill, is LVA Convenience Store (Lawrence, Val and Aidan & Anson). The store is tucked up the driveway and is considered our island-style ‘7-11’, but so much more. Open daily, 7:30 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.
When you get to the bottom of “Big Hill”, 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 past the turn, at A&E liquors on the left hand side is the entrance of Firefly Sunset Resort – a fabulous bar and restaurant overlooking the Sea of Abaco, also visit the Boutique offering island attire hand crafted jewelry and more. 366-0145 Closed Wednesdays.
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 or 359-6991.
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.
Mackey’s Take-away, is just past T&N Golf Cart Rental, around the corner on White Sound centerline road. You can enjoy a wide variety of authentic Bahamian cuisine including burgers, seafood and daily specials. Wanda is a talented 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.
On the ridge up by the ocean is The Abaco Inn. They serve ocean-side breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has a cute gift shop a bar and lounge area for those occasional rainy days, with lots of games to play and keep the little ones happy. Reservations are necessary for dinner and they offer complimentary pick-up service if you ask. Some nights they have music, happy hour and lots of special events. 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. Abaco Paddleboard is located on the Sea of Abaco and you can sign up for lessons or rent your own boards.
Sea Spray Resort / The Boat House restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check with them for special events. They have an air-conditioned dining room as well as a casual outside patio deck area with the Garbanzo bar. During their annual fishing tournaments, they hold 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 great 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.
BOAT…BASRA is Bahamas Air & Sea Rescue. Our guests don’t often need to use this service but it is comforting to know they are monitoring vhf 16 24/7. If you are in a boat you can call “BAZ RUH” on VHF 16. If you have a non-emergency, then call your rental boat company first. If you have engine problems, tie the end of your anchor rope to a cleat then throw the anchor. Be sure you don’t anchor your stern to the waves. It is helpful to know where you are when you call, so look for landmarks – sun position, colored houses, etc. The rule of thumb is: even if the boat sinks stay with the hull – it is easier to find people and the boat than individuals. Land that looks nearby may be farther than you think or hindered by currents or other situations that make swimming harder. STAY WITH THE BOAT!
FIRE….Hope Town Fire and Rescue monitors vhf Ch 16 then turns to Ch 72 to handle the problem. You can also call 366-0500.
MEDICAL…The Hope Town Clinic offers regular hours and there are pharmacies in Marsh Harbour where your regular doctor can fax a prescription if necessary; The Chemist Shoppe (phone 367-3106, fax 242-367-3108), and Island Pharmacy (phone 367-2544, fax 367-2544). The nurse handles initial emergency care however; you may need to be transported to Marsh Harbour or even Nassau / Florida for more extensive medical help so try to call as soon as you think necessary. The nurse and/or Hope Town Fire & Rescue arrange all of this.
Call “Hope Town Clinic” on vhf 16 or phone 366-0108. If you get no response then request “Hope Town Fire & Rescue.” Remember to change to a working channel and do not use channel 16 where other callers could interrupt your transmissions. Be sure to grab passports and wallets with insurance information in case you have to fly out