Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time, wherever you were. After Christmas we escaped at the first light of Boxing Day to make the long journey back to Harbour Island, which looks like it’s becoming a tradition for us. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a place that has more personal style than Harbour Island. Of course there is the obvious beauty of the immaculate pink sand beach, the perfectly clear turquoise ocean, the adorable pastel-painted cottages, and countless palm tress silhouetted against a spectacular sunrise and sunset day after day. But beyond that, the island just has an inherent sense of style emanating from everyone and everywhere. The locals have their hand-painted (and often cheeky) shop signs, their outrageous and meticulous costumes at Junkanoo (the local street parade that takes place on Boxing Day), and their over-the-top Christmas decorations. The hotels – especially the Dunmore and the Ocean View Club – keep getting chicer while adding onto their original charm and character. And the people who visit also share a love of this place that has all the style and beauty you could crave yet still embraces imperfection and everyday life.
The other thing I love about Harbour Island is that each member of my family – myself, my husband, tweenage Zach and teenage Coco – are all equally happy there. I live for my jetlag-fueled sunrise walks on the beach, Coco longs to be under the water with a snorkel looking for sharks, dolphins and manatee, Christopher has his routine of going to the local coffee house in the afternoon to sketch, and Zach is happiest when being pulled behind a boat at top speed on any kind of floatation device on offer. Zach has a close friend that is usually there when we are, but Coco has twice now arrived hoping to find a like-minded teenage girl and is now 2 for 2 in spontaneously meeting a wingman (wingwoman?) who is likely to become a lasting friend.
With all that said, Harbour Island is a major schlep to get to, especially from Europe. The absolute minimum travel for us is two planes, a boat and two taxis. We thought we were clever renting a minuscule charter plane to get ahead of the commercial flight that is often delayed, overbooked or cancelled, only to sit taxiing on the runway for three hours in a chlaustrophobic 4-seater. However, arriving at night, as we always do, to a warm welcome (in the form of a hug, a glass of wine, and a home cooked meal) from owners Ben and Charlie and all the regulars that have become our friends at the Ocean View Club and waking the next morning in my idea of paradise is worth every minute spent in transit.