Friday, April 8, 2011

Coastal Living Magazine Features Elbow Cay: The Island Time Forgot


Coastal Living magazine’s current issue features our old stomping grounds of Elbow Cay in the Bahamas in their April travel section. The main settlement on Elbow Cay is Hope Town, where their picturesque  kerosene powered candy striped lighthouse greets guests on arrival in the little harbour. The article is titled “Elbow Cay, The Island Time Forgot.” You can read it in their on-line addition of the magazine and see more pictures of the tropical paradise.


Elbow Cay is located in the Abaco chain of "out-islands" in the northern Bahamas where we lived for ten years on the tiny nearby tropical cay of Lubbers Quarters. For a tour of Elbow Cay and more about Abaco and Lubbers Quarters, please visit my blog Island Time in Abaco.

In conjunction with Coastal Living's article I thought that, since this is a food blog, it would be fun to go to the grocery store on Elbow Cay. So hop aboard my “imaginary” run-about boat and we’ll head to Hope Town. The welcome sign at the entrance of the harbour reminds us to “Slow down, we’re in Hope Town.”


Here is the lovely harbour where power and sailboats are tied up to buoys.


We’ll park our boat at the Hope Town Sailing Club Dinghy Dock and walk to the grocery store. Vernon’s grocery store to be more exact. Vernon happens to be a good friend of ours and I want you to meet him.


Hope Town was founded in the late 1700’s by Loyalist from the United States fleeing the wrath and intolerance of the American Revolution. Their loyalties lay with Great Britain, so they left the victorious United States in order to remain within the British Empire. Wyannie Malone was one of the first loyalist and many of her descendants still live on Elbow Cay, including our friend Vernon Malone. Along the Queens Highway, a narrow concrete main lane that winds its way through the settlement, there are old loyalist’s cottages resembling New England that have been lovingly restored. Here are a couple of examples.



Since we’re going to Vernon’s Grocery, we need to take a right at the Jib, named because it is shaped similar to the head of the sail at the forward end of a sailing sloop.


Ah, here we are at Vernon’s Grocery.


Let’s look and see if he’s open. Stores in the islands close for lunch as well as holidays and Sundays.


We’re in luck. Vernon’s here.


As you can see, island grocery stores stock a little bit of everything, not just food. Vernon is famous throughout Abaco for his homemade Bahamian bread and delicious key lime pies. His motto is “let them eat key lime pies.” Vernon also has a fabulous sense of humor as you can see by his little humorous signs strewn throughout the store.


Here’s a glimpse of Vernon making his signature key lime pies. They are a perfect balance of sweet and tart.  It's smart to buy them the moment you see them on the shelf; otherwise they will be snapped up before your very eyes.


I can personally attest to the fact that the very best Bahamian bread in the Bahamas is made by Vernon. They remind me of the sturdy white loaf my mother made when I was a child. There's nothing better than a club sandwich made with Bahamian white bread. Here are some of his loaves of bread rising in the window of the bakery.


Vernon is a jack-of-all trades and, in addition to be a shop owner and baker, he is also a lay minister of the local Methodist Church. In case you would like to get married, he can perform the ceremony for you. Here is a wedding of a lovely couple who honeymooned in our rental house on Lubbers after Vernon married them on Tahiti Beach on the south end of Elbow Cay.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our imagionary trip to Vernon’s, our favorite island grocery store and bakery, on Elbow Cay in Hope Town in the Bahamas. Don’t forget to take a look at Coastal Living’s April 2011, either by picking up the April 2011 issue or on-line. For more pictures and information about Abaco, Elbow Cay, and Lubbers Quarters, please visit Island Time in Abaco.

56 comments:

  1. Thanks for the trip and the good time reading those funny signs. :)

    Have a great weekend!

    Mely

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  2. Sam, that was fun! And I look forward to reading that issue of "Coastal Living." I will be sure and keep and eye out for it and read it with you in mind.

    I wish Vernon lived in Florida. Too bad we can't import him. I could go for one of those Key Lime pies and a loaf of that delicious bread. Thanks for sharing that interesting history of the island, too, and I always love seeing wedding pictures.

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  3. Make that "keep AN eye out." It's early, and my mind is not awake yet. ;-)

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  4. This was really so nice; one corner we have never been and you made it look and sound like the perfect holiday spot.
    Loved Vernon's little signs; he sounds like a fun guy.
    Rita

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  5. Great post and thanks for taking us along on the little trip. I've always thought a great name of a food blog would be "Let Them Eat Cake". I'd love to have some Key Lime Pie about now. :-)

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  6. A lovely place! Vernon seems to be a funny guy...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  7. What a great shopping trip..I love Vernon:)

    And I don't think I'll skydive..

    Pretty ..get away dreamy pics.

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  8. Thank you for the armchair travel this morning Sam. With this on again off again Spring weather we can use some sunshine to start the day!

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  9. I love Coastal Living magazine! What a great trip! Vernon truly is a jack of all trades! I'll bet he'd be a fun dinner guest! Thank you for the tour!

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  10. Sam, I wish I was there right now!!! That bread and key lime pie looked awesome!! Thanks for taking us on a little trip today!

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  11. I got very fond of Vernon in that post. Love his signs - especially the Walmart one. Sturdy island bread - island breezes = enchantment.

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  12. I want to meet Vernon...now there's a man I know I would like!!! Those pies look so good!

    Wow, thanks for sharing all the picts...I love Coastal Living...it's a beautiful magazine full of inspirational ideas! Thanks Sam!

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  13. I would love to go back to the Abacos one day. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  14. This is the "good life" at it's best! I'd love it--and having the closest Walmart be 200 miles away!! So far, your post is the only sunshine in my day. It's gray and drizzly around these parts!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  15. I loved this post!!.. more!!!...

    I bet you miss that bread and pies too...

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  16. Such a dreamy place to live.....I would love it!

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  17. Who needs Wal Mart when you have a beach?

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  18. You guys were sure fortunate to be able to have lived most peoples dream and I'm very happy for you. I love the store - definitely my kind of place.

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  19. How fun, I love the pic of the loaves rising and thos key lime pies look amazing

    sweetlife

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  20. Sam- I love traveling every bit as much as I love food so I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks for sharing Vernon's store with us. I have a feeling I would really enjoy a visit there.

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  21. I love stories like this about the place and Vernons of this owrld who are driven by passion and not profit!!

    Thx for the trip!

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  22. What a wonderful place to visit virtual or otherwise. It was a great read. Thanks Sam.

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  23. Sam, what a fabulous journey to Vernon's place! I can see that the Jib looks just like that sail. Vernon has a great sense of humor, makes bread, performs marriage ceremonies, crafts key lime pies (miam-miam!)... what a man!

    I can almost smell that bread in the oven now...

    Bises,
    Genie

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  24. I throughly enjoyed the tour of Elbow Cay, Sam! It looks so beautiful and full of wonderful people like Vernon that make it extra special. I'd love a piece of his Key Lime Pie!

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  25. I so enjoyed reading this. Brought back memories of every little store we have ever entered in the Bahamas. I also remember the cinnamon bun man on Ambergris Cay who pulled a wagon behind his bike with hot from the oven cinnamon buns...just about breakfast time. smiling

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  26. I could feel myself relaxing just looking at these pictures.

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  27. What a lovely place – I’d love to go there but mostly to see Vernon’s store and eat his bread and pies. I love his little amusing sayings – what a fun fellow. You must have had a great time on this island.

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  28. I love Vernon's operating hours!

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  29. A sweet post, Sam. I love the colors of the homes in the Bahamas. In fact, I love ALL the islands in the Caribbean. Each has its own charm. How fortunate you had a home there.
    Vernon is a character and I bet his pies are a delight!
    (Love the sign about not losing weight or saving money when you vacation. Truer words were never spoken!)

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  30. Looks like the perfect vacation spot - loved the virtual tour!

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  31. I can see why you lived there! The peaceful ease of island living combined with the form and function of New England. I love it! I've lived in both Miami and Portland, ME and your pics were a good mix of the 2. I never thought it was possible!
    Thanks for sharing your "trip to the store" with us :)

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  32. I could never leave a lovely place such as this precious island, Sam. The visual trip was wonderful and I love all of the fresh baked pies and breads in that tiny little store. The signs are the best!

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  33. What a pleasant trip! It brought back memories of my one visit to the islands -- about forty years ago.

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  34. Thank you! I am sitting in my office on Sunday morning preparing tax returns & so enjoyed my tour of your beautiful old stomping grounds. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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  35. Sam, you know, we are looking to completely change our lives and I must show this post to my husband! It sounds like a fabulous place. And I grew up on the ocean's edge and left as fast as I could - never really took to the whole culture. But each time you highlight a place like this, so dreamy and romantic, sunny and breezy, relaxing and friendly, boy do I want to go back!

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  36. Just love all those signs. It is beautiful there, thanks so much for sharing. Diane

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  37. It sounds like you miss it, Sam. My hubby commuted to St. Lucia, W.I., for 11 years, and I visited often. We thought of retiring there, but since food is mostly imported and the island runs out of things like lettuce and milk often, we reconsidered. Guy is nostalgic though and would like to revisit his old stomping grounds. He met Prince Phillip in '89 during the 10-year independence celebration.

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  38. Thank you for this neat virtual tour, it is great to meet Vernon too!

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  39. Loved your photos...Elbow Cay is on the top of our wish list. Looks like such a quaint and wonderful place!!

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  40. You always do such a terrific job making us feel like we're with you on these tours. I could seriously hang out with Vernon and be his official Key Lime Pie taster.

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  41. May I have a piece of key lime pie, please? What a great tour - and now I'm wondering why I've never made a trip to the Bahamas.

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  42. I love all of the signs that Vernon created. It sounds like he has quite a big personality. Key lime pies are one of my all time favorites, and Vernon's sounds amazing!

    Thanks Sam for your kind comment on my recent post. You must be psychic or particularly in tune with your Leo friends.

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  43. Oh, Sam...it's so incredibly beautiful! I felt like I was there...and I don't want to leave ;) Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

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  44. Thank you for taking me along on this wonderful trip to the grocer's on your Forgotten Island! What a gorgeous place it is, key lime pies to boot. I am smitten.
    Thank you again,
    merisi

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  45. How peaceful and beautiful- it looks like a dream!
    That harbour is picturesque!
    This was such a wonderful post to read, Sam!

    Blessings,
    Catherine xoxo

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  46. Glad to see you had a nice trip :) Love the signs at Vernon's, too funny! Those key lime pies he's putting together look pretty fantastic too!

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  47. Sam, I love this post! I visited Elbow Cay for the first time in college and fell in love with it. Your photos are so beautiful and capture it so well. It was so nice meeting Vernon too:)

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  48. That Vernon certainly is a Jack of All Trades, isn't he! I love the saying on wall that says "If at first you don't succeed...".

    What a beautiful place and what a calm, relaxing life they must live there.

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  49. What a great post! I love Hope Town and Vernon's. We followed our dreams and bought a house (Cozy Corner) on the island about 4 years ago. I love cooking and especially love the challenge of making great meals with what is available on the island. (and picking up coconuts on the road) Check out my blog, http://spiralstyle.blogspot.com to see some of my photos and recipes from the island. OR rent my house, Cozy Corner.
    Cheers!

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  50. Thanks for stopping by Spiral Style, Sam. I am now a follower of My Carolina Kitchen.

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  51. this is such a fun post and I want key lime pie now

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  52. Oh my goodness, what a fun post! I felt like I was there. Love Vernon's signs, those are priceless. And I want a slice of that key lime pie! :)

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  53. Sam... Wonderful photos and narrative!

    "If at first you don't suceed, skydiving is probably not for you" made me laugh out loud!

    Happy Easter,

    Janet

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  54. Lovely post, Sam. I really enjoyed Vernon. I have been to the islands, but, alas, not for many years. You are bringing back a yearning so that may have to change soon.

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