We sold our home and had to be out by the 10th of January, but as the holidays were approaching and we couldn’t find a rental to move into for the next year while we
We sold our home and had to be out by the 10th of January, but as the holidays were approaching and we couldn’t find a rental to move into for the next year while we build, I started to panic. I told Brandon, “We should just move to the Bahamas.” Halfway joking, I didn’t expect him to respond, “Well, why can’t we?” We decided we’d put everything in storage and then head to Harbour Island to rent a house for a few weeks in January. Our hope was that if we were there during January, we might find a Charleston rental pop up on the market while we were there. If we didn’t, well… we might just extend our adventure out of lack of having a place to return home to.
It was definitely bittersweet the night we were laying in bed while on Harbour Island and my mom sent over a text of a new property that had been listed for rent back home in Charleston. The location was exactly what we wanted but that pretty much solidified that our Bahamas trip would come to an end at the end of the month. Always good to get back home into a routine, though, and so there’s a bright side to every story! But our time on Harbour Island—just us three—was a special time I can’t quite articulate. With that said, I find it daunting to try and document the trip through just one blog post! (Although I do have three Harbour Island IG highlights if you want to catch up there as well!)
Linking everything I can, plus additional colorways, in these widgets throughout the post!
Covid Testing and Precautions
We felt peace about traveling to Harbour Island because there hadn’t been any active Covid-19 cases on the island since November. We knew we wouldn’t be traveling to other Bahamian islands while there and we also knew how seriously the Bahamas government is taking precautions—and Harbour Island specifically. Masks are required absolutely everywhere except on the beach and when dining at a restaurant. (They even have police enforcing this.) Also, there is hand sanitizer at the entrance of absolutely every business, from a gas station to a restaurant, and if the employee there doesn’t see you sanitize, you can expect to get flagged down.
Requirements. Before travel, we had to receive negative PCR test results within 5 days of travel. Once results were obtained, we were able to apply for travel health visas with the Bahamas government. I was really sweating this timing, as it says it could take up to 72 hours to be approved and we submitted them for processing on a Friday afternoon, but luckily we got approved within just hours. Once we arrived in the Bahamas, we had to complete daily health surveys where we vouched that we hadn’t been exposed to Covid, hadn’t experienced symptoms, and so forth. On the 5th day of our trip, we were required to get Covid tests, which we did at Briland Premier. We continued the daily health surveys until the 14th day of our trip, which is when it isn’t any longer required. Finally, before heading back to the US, all four of us had to receive negative Covid tests within 72 hours of our flight home. These were rapid antigen tests that we also had done at Briland Premier.
“How do you get to Harbour Island?”
We flew from CHS to CLT, then from Charlotte direct to ELH, the Eleuthera airport. From there, you hop in a taxi van that is about three steps outside of the building and take it about three minutes down the road to the ferry dock. Someone will put your bags in a ferry boat and off you go! It’s about five minutes from the ferry dock to the government dock at Harbour Island.
Golf carts are the main mode of transportation on Harbour Island. We always rent with Major’s Rentals. They are always kind enough to leave the golf cart for us at the government dock, so we can hop right on and head to our rental house.
“Where did you stay?”
We stayed at Touchstone House. Our second time staying there—and you can read about the first time four years ago here. It’s an awesome bungalow on a one-acre lush property just steps away from the beach. I absolutely love this house and the relaxed feel I have when there. One golf cart turn onto property immediately floods my body with the kind of feeling anyone is undoubtedly searching for when going to the Bahamas—total ease. We loved having the doors open and letting the kids run around and play in the yard. We spent a lot of time on the porches there cooking, playing the guitar, having a few dance parties, and maybe even a couple naps.
There is also a cottage on the property that has a very similar look and feel, yet just a bit smaller. Together these properties would make for an incredible place for friends or family to stay, giving each group a separate home but still just a short walk away across the one-acre property.
Things To Do
A highlight of our trip was going out with Tyman Charters. There were a few things we wanted to show the kids, like the swimming pigs, the sea turtles that will swim right up to you, and Preacher’s Cave. Tyson and his daughter, Breanna, took us to do all of these things and got some really cool pictures of our day. Cannot recommend them enough!
We also enjoyed about four thousand beach walks. No really, I feel like we walked the lengths of the beach over and over throughout the day while searching for shells or taking a walk to grab lunch.
We’d also make coffee at home and take the quick walk over the dune to the beach in the mornings. I loved waking up this way!
Another daily ritual? Heading to Tip Top, a super cute general store, to grab ice cream! Please note “Baby” on the floor of the golf cart. She traveled all over that island with us.
Pictured below was my favorite way to start the day (sunrise yoga on the beach with Anna) and end the day (backgammon and a glass of wine at the house).
Of course swimming in the water and playing in the waves is also on our list of favorite things to do. Rosie’s suit is linked here.
One other thing I really want to recommend is if you’re a boater and feel comfortable taking one out yourself, you can rent a little one from Lil Shan for a very reasonable price. We did this two days and ended up boating around the bay on our own. We loved it!
This swing is off of Eleuthera. It sits right in the bay across from “The Other Side.”
Favorite Places to Eat
I’ll always cherish those few weeks on that beautiful island. I want to soon write a post on a few things that changed within me while there. Nothing overly deep, but just some self reflections after stepping away from our norm. One of those things is to make an extended trip an annual tradition as my children grow. It’s the good stuff.