McNeil Johnson is a bellman and a driver, but right now, he's a preacher. He has mounted the pulpit—a limestone mound that puts him far above our heads—and we have gently goaded him into giving an impromptu sermon.
"Hello, my fellow audience," he hollers, his Bahamian vowels bouncing off the walls of the cave we're standing in. "This is the Preacher's Cave. I want to say a good prayer for all of you!" Johnson laughs, trying to keep his mock homily together. He waves down at us. "Thank you!"
The thanks should go to Eleuthera. One hundred and ten miles long and generally only two miles wide, this island about 70 miles east of Nassau lies like a strand of pearls flung into the Atlantic Ocean. And like a strand of pearls, it is a string of stunning natural beauties—particularly here at the northern end, where water and stone have had the most interesting of geological conversations.
Here lies the Queen's Baths, a cluster of natural pools carved out of rocky shelf that fills with seawater and warms into splendid tubs when the tide is out. Just up the road, a narrow strip of rock separates the azure Atlantic and the turquoise Bight of Eleuthera in such a strange and stark way, it's called the Glass Window Bridge. Hidden in the tangly undergrowth of the north end resides the Sapphire Blue Hole, a deep, limestone-ringed pool that practically glows, the blue is so intense. And Preacher's Cave summons pilgrims to gape at the massive, sea-hollowed mound of limestone that in fact played a vital role in the history of the Bahamas: Puritans fleeing Bermuda in 1648 were shipwrecked offshore and found shelter here. That salvation led to the founding of the colony.
It's amazing to regard all this splendor and marvel at how quiet Eleuthera remains. It's also amazing to ponder it all at The Cove, Eleuthera, a resort tucked into the north end on a lush promontory framed by two white-sand beaches. Whether taking part in morning stretch amid the ocean breezes, lolling in a palm-strung hammock, or parked at the tiny blufftop bar for sunset watching, there are plenty of ways to allow the natural delights of Eleuthera to sink in. As McNeil Johnson might say, it's a good prayer for all.
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The Cove, Eleuthera features 55 luxurious rooms in seaside cottages and villas, two excellent restaurants, two bars, a stunning hilltop infinity pool that overlooks the calm Bight of Eleuthera, and a top-flight spa. Clear-bottom kayaks, paddleboards, and bicycles for exploration add to the fun. Rates start at $250.