Where to Buy Groceries, and Beer/Wine?

December 11, 2014 in Best Vacation Ever, Practical Infomation

A frequent question is whether to buy groceries in Marsh Harbour or on Elbow Cay, and the choice is between Marsh Harbour’s large grocery store, similar to a mid-sized US supermarket, and the 4 smaller grocery stores on Elbow Cay, similar to a neighborhood grocery . The answer greatly depends upon your situation. How much time do you have? Do you have help? Are you particular about your food products or flexible? Is grocery shopping an adventure or a chore? Hopefully, these suggestions will provide some guidance.

For most people, the decision comes down to convenience and time. If you have time between landing and getting to your boat or the ferry, and don’t mind having to deal with groceries while in transit, then grocery shopping in Marsh Harbour on the way to Elbow Cay makes sense. If you have lots of luggage, lack patience hauling boxes/bags around, and/or little time, then grocery shopping in Elbow Cay may be the better choice.

Don’t underestimate the 4 grocery stores on Elbow Cay. They supply about 600 residents and visitors to the 200+ rental homes. Over time, they have learned to stock what people need most often, or with which they can make do. There may not be 30 brands of breakfast cereal, but the 6 in stock are popular and acceptable.

About the stores…

In Marsh Harbour, Maxwell’s is the largest grocery store in the area with good variety and the best prices.

On Elbow Cay, Harbour View and Vernon‘s are in town. (Golf carts are not allowed in town, which may be an issue with large purchases.) LVA is in the middle of the island, just “around the corner” and a very short cart ride from Calypso.  The Food Store is  about a 5-8 minute cart ride to the south, is the largest and best stocked grocery on the island, and will deliver upon request.

Making a round trip between Elbow Cay and Marsh Harbour specifically to shop for groceries is rarely justifiable, unless you need something essential that is unavailable on Elbow Cay, because the ferry/taxi fares or boat gas will cost more than you would save.

With respect to adult beverages, there are 3 stores on Elbow Cay with a very acceptable selection. Hopetown Wine and Spirits is located at the harbor entrance adjacent to the lighthouse and only accessible by boat. Lighthouse Liquors is at the base of the main public dock. A&E Liquors is a 5 minute cart ride to the south of Calypso.

The owners of Calypso greatly prefer to buy groceries (and wine/beer) on Elbow Cay, primarily for the convenience, but also because it’s part of the “island experience”. Very rarely have we been unable to find what we need, or an acceptable substitute.

As everything has to be imported, you will find most prices higher than in the states. Really, this holds true with just about anything purchased in the islands.


The Food Store, Elbow Cay


The Food Store, Elbow Cay

The Goldilocks Island

September 11, 2013 in Best Vacation Ever

Pelican Cay Paradise

Pelican Cay Paradise

The islands of the Bahamas offer an incredibly wide range of vacation opportunities, ranging from peaceful isolated coves to mega-resorts with casinos and high action night life.

Elbow Cay is “just right” – the Goldilocks Island – not too big and not too small, plenty of activity but never crowded, and friendly locals that really care about you – always feel comfortable and welcome. It’s the perfect balance of tranquility, natural beauty, and civilized comforts, without overdevelopment. But there’s more than just one island,  the  surrounding cays are a water lover’s playground that must be explored!


Fish Finding Expedition

Want a pristine beach with clear waters all to yourself, or maybe you’d prefer watching surfers rip a perfect wave? No problem. How about a sunset blazing with color, a fantastic meal with fresh local cuisine,  or live island music? You can do all that – in one night. Feel like snorkeling? Many great spots with incredible sea life await. Choose what you want, when you want. There’s no schedule and it’s all there for you.

Sunset Cocktail at Firefly Bar

Sunset Cocktail at Firefly Bar

What makes Calypso such a great rental house?

June 30, 2013 in Best Vacation Ever

Calypso Land ViewIn 1982, my wife and I honeymooned on Elbow Cay, and over the ensuing years were drawn us back on a regular basis. In July of 1999, with the interest and support of a good friend, we made the leap to island home ownership. Months later the house was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Floyd. This happens to older homes in the paths of hurricanes. With a lovely piece of land in a prime location and a clean slate, we chose to design and build Calypso.

After nearly 2 decades of renting numerous houses on Elbow Cay, we saw a glaring deficiency in the rental market – there were no houses that would comfortably accommodate large groups or several vacationing families. Our goal became the building of a house that was designed from scratch to be our dream rental house – what we would want to rent ourselves with 2 or 3 other families, or a group of our closest  friends.

Most homes on Elbow Cay were designed and built as personal residences, with the owner’s specific wants and needs taken into account, and then rented  when the owner is absent. We wanted a house that could be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of people.

Upstairs North Master Bedroom

Downstairs Southeast Bathroom

Our goals…

Every guest should have comparable accommodations, with appealing bedrooms that have their own bathrooms and storage optimized for brief stays. (Large closets simply aren’t needed, shelves are.) The bedrooms should be separated as much as possible from each other and the common areas of the house for better privacy and quiet. This is accomplished by spreading bedrooms on multiple wings and floors.

Calypso Living Room

The common areas need to be large and open, so everyone can comfortably gather, and especially suited for entertaining. There must be multiple places to gather, reflecting different moods and, in the case of an ocean location, differing wind/weather conditions. A large yard, ocean deck, land-side deck, screened porch, game room, away room, and multiple dining areas allow plenty of places for spreading out, so guests never feel crowded and everyone can find a favorite spot to call their  own.


Calypso Screened Porch and Grill DeckAesthetically, the ideal Bahamas rental home should be informal, relaxing, comfortable and, of utmost importance, FUN. Art, furnishing, and decor should bring smiles, not worries. Vaulted ceilings, tile floors, cypress paneling, lots of windows, and stunning views provide a sense of being in the right place – a casual and stunningly beautiful island in the Bahamas.


Calypso at dusk from the beach.So now you know what drove the creation of Calypso. We designed it. We built it.  We love it. We hope you will too.