Where is your favorite place to visit? I have a few, but two and one half hours out of New York takes you to where I always manage to wind up – the Bahamas. My friend’s mother – the same pal who endured that horrific flight with me – used to say to us, “As much as you girls go to the Bahamas, you could have traveled around the world.” I can’t begin to tell you, how she certainly hit the nail…well, you know. I also have to say that we could probably fast forward an entire century, and one would still find the hospitality, and ambience in the people; along with that continuous turquoise sky reflecting it’s colors on a never-ending crystal shore.
I have mentioned in a blog somewhere along the way, that this spectacular locale is the only place on earth where the aqua blue can be seen from space. Actually, to be literal, it is one of three. Now, I know many of you reading this like to vacation when the temps are down around freezing where you are. But, let me just mention, my first trip during winter returned each and every one of us home to a brutal case of influenza. Coincidence? Maybe – maybe not. And, just FYI, I have also known the numbers to drop to around 55 on Nassau in December. But, anyway, personally, my reason for traveling in summer is two-fold. The prices are lower, and when you arrive back, it’s always nice to show off a really deep tan. Of course, now-a-days we all run for the sun block.
Moving on, Nassau/New Providence is the Capitol of this eastern paradise, but the tiny nation boasts 700 islands; not all of them are inhabited. With that being said, if you don’t choose to stay on Paradise Island, I would recommend only a brief stop on Nassau, and then, hop a puddle jumper to one or two of the out islands. Those Shangri-la’s show off what Nassau used to offer many years ago. But, if you are there for a day or two (Nassau), here are a few sites to take in on the landside of this getaway:
Fort Charlotte – A Fort with underground dungeons and passageways;
Government House – The Queen’s representative to the Bahamas lives here, although the islands gained their independence in 1973;
Blackbeard’s Tower – A tower supposedly used by the pirate, himself;
Queen’s Staircase – A limestone staircase built by slaves to honor Queen Victoria who helped with the elimination of slavery;
Straw Market – Here you’ll find all things straw, weaving’s, wonderful carvings and much more; and
Bay Street – Nassau’s busiest street. It is broken up into two sections – East Bay, and West Bay Street, and is filled with interesting shops and some restaurants. The east side will lead you out toward the cruise ship wharf as well as the Paradise Island Bridge, whereas west takes you to Cable Beach and the airport.
I don’t normally like to refer restaurants, because everyone’s taste is so different. But, I will recommend some dishes that you should not leave without trying. Let’s begin with the Spiny Lobster, which is found in warm waters only. Grouper fish – excellent prepared in any fashion; however I did manage to find it lightly sautéed and served with a gravy. If you’ve never had fish with gravy, hold on to your seat. Also, locate Bahamian Peas and Rice – much different from Jamaican Peas and Rice. As a must, do not leave the island without a serving of Conch Salad, it is excellent. And, lastly I’d like to give you a little tip – I have known some places that try to serve shark as regular fish. How will you know this – if it tastes extremely lemony, then you probably are eating shark, and that is not a good thing.
Some of my favorite outer island jewels are:Eleuthera(or Elu-tra as the natives pronounce it);
How many of you have heard of Bimini. That is also in the chain, and is one of the world’s most premier fishing spots. On Nassau you’ll find all the nightlife, gambling and clubs, but together with all of those goings on, they are experiencing even more growth. So, if you want a seriously relaxing vacation, I’d suggest one of the out islands. They each offer fantastic swimming, snorkeling, boating, and nightlife; only, the night-time activities are simply on a smaller scale.
Now, these are all reachable by a very easy flight from Nassau. You should also check, because depending on your location, it may be possible to obtain a direct flight. You can also reach Eleuthera via the new ferry service out of Nassau. Spending a week on one of these gems will definitely not disappoint. As I always say, unless you’re deep in the south pacific, the only other place to offer such beauty is, uh…I think…heaven? What better way to enjoy their exotic ocean than on a pristine beach where the only sound is the smooth surf, and the occasional beat of a Caribbean tune being carried on the wind from somewhere on the hotel property. That my friend, is a peaceful vacation.
Images courtesy of 123rf.com and iStockphoto.com