If you need to be 100% sure nothing unexpected will happen on your vacation, stop, because Northside Inn, Mrs. Rose Gibson, southern Eleuthera, and probably Eleuthera in general, aren't the place for you.
Can you go with the flow? Do you enjoy getting to interact with locals, chat, see a little of how they live? Can you handle if the water goes out on the night everyone is off partying, with the main repairman stuck on another island? Would you be ok asking Mrs. Rose for help if the cleaning lady missed a spider? Willing to order dinner based on what the local fisherman have brought in that day?
Yes? Then you are in for a treat--to-die-for views right from your porch or bed, falling asleep to the crashing of waves at night, long walks on the beach, snorkeling when it's calm enough, gorgeous beaches all to yourself, and an amazing on-site Bahamian cook. Oh, and as many have mentioned, dear, generous-hearted, loving, sassy Mrs. Rose, who has traveled the world and welcomes her guests with her smile, wisdom, and great cooking.
Location: a 10 minute drive across the island from the Rock Sound airport in south Eleuthera. You will pass the Marketplace grocery store on the way. Stop for some drinking water, as it's not supplied at the Inn, and you don't want to go back for it after a long day of travel.
This is the quiet end of Eleuthera. Come if you want local restaurants, peace and quiet, and beaches to yourself. We loved having Miller's Beach and Deep Creek beach, especially completely to ourselves. We did a day trip up the island as far as Glass Window Bridge, but if you want to spend a lot of time in northern Eleuthera, you'll be doing a lot of driving. The farther north you go, the more tourists you see, and the more establishments you will find that are geared toward tourists.
Rooms: You'll either be in the small octagonal cottage on your own, or in half of one of the larger octagonal cottages. Each room includes bed, bathroom, small fridge, microwave, sink, and some very basic dishes. Just ask if there's something you need, and Rose will happily get it for you, I'm sure. Rose had turned on the air-conditioning for us, which had the unfortunate effect of making the room feel musty. Once we opened the windows (they and the screens need a bit of repair, and we had to find things to prop them open with--again, ask for help if you don't see what you need; and I'm sure repairing the windows is next on Rose's to-do list) a beautiful sea breeze filled the room. The big French doors don't have screens on them. We found that the bugs only came out at dawn and dusk, if there wasn't a stiff breeze, so most of the time we had the doors open anyway. When there were bugs, we just left the windows open. Room furnishings are eclectic, with a very handsome bedroom set in our room, but other furnishings that were older or peeling. I'd compare it to a family beach cottage, that's updated piecemeal over the years. Some things are very new, some need work. The mattress, though, was perfectly comfortable, which is important to me.
Our porch was wonderful. Just simple plastic chairs, but oh how we loved the endless crashing of the waves and turquoise/aquamarine/navy views. This is the windward side of the island, so the ocean is active.
Cleanliness: Daily cleaning, and the sheets were changed every other day, which was more than we needed, but it felt nice and fresh. Generally speaking, everything was very clean, but a window ledges were missed till part way through our stay--Rose discovered this herself and quickly put it to rights.
Beach: One thing about the windward side of the island, anywhere along it, unless it is a manicured beach of an estate or hotel with lots of money, is that there will be a line of trash at the high tide mark. It's not just this beach. Keep your eyes on the waves and the smooth stretch of sand in front of you, and you can walk for miles in either direction, hardly seeing a soul. We also snorkeled and swam here on calm days. We saw beautiful sea fans and some amazing creatures, especially on the seaward side of the reef.
Restaurant: the Inn serves lunch and dinner, all cooked to order by Rose herself. We usually talked to her the night or morning before, and she would give us a few options. We loved her snapper the best, but she also made us ribs, cracked conch, and other meals. It's Bahamian food, which means the meat comes with sides like rice and beans, macaroni, coleslaw, fried plantains, a small salad.You can bring your own beverages or see what Rose has. You could also ask her to make some "switcha," which I learned is the name for the local limeade, or iced tea. Yachties, several times when we were there Rose went into Governor's Harbor to pick up some boaters for a meal, and dropped them off again afterward.
Internet: You can get it at the restaurant, mostly. We didn't really want it except for communicating with our kids once in awhile. It's too beautiful here to waste time online!
Ms. Rose Gibson: One of the highlights of our stay, even though we are normally shy, quiet people, not that interested in making new friends on vacation. She is a bit reserved at first, which seems usual for Bahamian culture, but always kind and polite. She would have left us to ourselves if we wanted, but we often had questions for her at mealtimes, and she would take the time to sit and chat with us about life in the Bahamas, places we could visit, her children all over the world, funny life stories, and so on. If you look through her photo album, you can see her shaking hands with Nelson Mandela, but I'll leave it to you to discover the other world leader she has met. We asked if we could go to church with her, and she welcomed us, as did her very kind fellow congregants. She also had us eat Sunday dinner with her afterward, "on the house." There were some issues with the water 2 of the days we were there--this is extremely rare, but I guess things have to fall apart sometime. But she was more than generous with us about it, not wanting to charge us for those days. We decided to pay her anyway and she found a way to sneak the money back to us as "a little something to get lunch at the airport." It might be an uncomfortable way for Americans to deal with money--nothing in writing, but Rose is full of integrity, and you will not be cheated. I don't think you can outgive Rose. I found this to be true of Eleutherans in general.
I hope I get to come back here again someday, and I hope this review will bring many more of the "right sort" of visitors to Northside Inn!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC