Hope Town – Elbow Cay
If I could only visit one of the Out Islands of The Abacos, my first choice would be Elbow Cay and the settlement of Hope Town. Hope Town, with its narrow streets and charming historic cottages, dates back to 1785, when it was founded by Wyannie Malone, a widow who moved from South Carolina. The Abacos has several ‘Loyalists Settlements’ started by British Loyalists following the Revolutionary War in America.
If you take the ferry to Hope Town, and you want to go to the lighthouse, you will need to tell the ferry captain. The lighthouse is across the harbour from the main settlement. The ferry will drop you off and then next ferry can pick you up to cross over to the main settlement.
The Wyannie Malone Historical Museum was established in 1977 and documents the lives of the early settlers: fishermen, wreckers, and pirates who chose Hope Town because of the natural, well-protected harbour. Many families fished and farmed to feed themselves, but salvaging ship wrecks was an important part of the economy.
The Red & White Striped Lighthouse on Hope Town Harbour is the most photographed scene of The Abacos. It was built in 1862, and is still operated on kerosene – one of the last of this type in the world. The construction of light houses in the Bahamas took away most of the wreck salvaging business, and the locals expanded their business to exporting pineapples, sponges, sisal, and lumber to the US.
It was after World War II that Hope Town became a tourist destination.
If you are interested in more information about the history of Hope Town, visit the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum. It is located near the upper public dock, next door to the post office and Government Clinic.
Here are some pictures from our visits to Hope Town. We have stopped by when we rented a boat and were island hopping, and we have visited several times on the ferry. This is a link to the Ferry Schedule. (Published twice a month)
The Hope Town Ferry dock is past downtown in Marsh Harbour. Coming from the south, at the traffic light take a right on Queen Elizabeth Drive. At the stop sign at the harbour take a right on Front Street. Stay on Front Street past the restaurants, shops, the Abaco Beach resort – through a residential area – and you will eventually see the ferry dock on your right.
Hope Town has a nice web site about ‘Things to Do’ when you visit – so check out this link: Visit Hope Town.