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.