In our limited series this week, Sarasota Magazine’s editors share the highlights of their summer vacations. Here’s where our editors went and what they did—from Michigan music festivals to New Hampshire mountain adventures to snorkeling in the Bahamas.
Many people go on adventures to unknown places for their summer vacations, but I always feel like I’m heading home. I’ve spent every summer vacation for more than two decades on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. My husband and I love it there so much that five years ago we finally built a small home in North Eleuthera, not too far from Surfer’s Beach, where my husband has been surfing since he was a teenager.
While large commercial airlines fly to North Eleuthera Airport, we prefer to drive to Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport and take one of Aztec Airways’ 10-seater passenger planes—or a nine-seater when they take out a seat so our German Shepherd can lie down for the one-hour, 15-minute flight. We’ve flown so often the friendly staff know our dog by name and even ask if she’s flying when we book our reservations.
Eleuthera is located in the northern part of the Bahamian archipelago and is considered an Out Island or a Family Island. Sparsely populated, it has few amenities, resorts (Atlantis it is not), and a rugged terrain with difficult roads. These challenges are also its allure because it means that Eleuthera is filled with gorgeous, empty beaches and dramatic cliffs with no condominiums—or often a single home—in sight.
Stretching 110 miles long, the island is shaped a bit like a string bean. It’s so slender, in fact, that a skinny stretch of land on the north part of the island, which can only be traveled by driving across Glass Window Bridge, is nicknamed the “narrowest place on Earth.” With the deep blue of the Atlantic on one side and the turquoise green-blue of Exuma Sound on the other, it is one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.
But to me, all of Eleuthera is breathtaking, and because this is not a place with shops, restaurants or nightlife, and Internet service is intermittent (electricity and water can also be a challenge), it’s a place to recharge, swim, fish, snorkel, visit caves, jump in blue holes, sit in the natural hot tubs of Queen’s Bath, see friends and read books on our covered veranda.
People who have fallen in love with this place like the t-shirts and bumper stickers sold in some touristy places that say, “Eleuthera. It’s Not for Everyone.” That’s true, and it suits me just fine.