Caribbean · Travel · wanderlust

Caribbean in January- Part 1: Nassau, Bahamas

Is it just me, or is January the longest month of the year? Geez. Cold, dreary, but full of new beginnings and goals. I learned from dear Jimmy Buffett not to make resolutions, so goals and feelings of a fresh start,are what we’re after here.

20180122_122444860714895.jpgWe started out 2018 with an adventure in the Caribbean on a cruise to the Bahamas- Nassau, and Princess Cays, and Turks and Caicos. I mean, if you’re going to do it, do it right! Neither of us had been to these spots, so we were excited for the new adventure.

We started with a drive from Beaufort to Charleston, SC where the ship was departing. This drive consisted of driving through snow and ice (a rarity for the Beaufort area), but it made the destination even more delicious. We arrived to Charleston and stayed there for the night to board the ship in the morning, starting fresh. Charleston still had a brisk chill in the air, so it took a few boat drinks, initially, to get into the Caribbean state of mind.

Our first port arrived after a day and overnight at sea- Nassau, Bahamas. Since we had so many adventures, I thought I would focus on each spot for its own blog post, as not to create a novel.

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View from the top of The Queen’s Staircase

Having been to the Bahamas previously, I had no idea just how exciting Nassau would be. We made a pact to not step foot onto Atlantis. Sorry for all of those Atlantis fans, but going across the Caribbean sea to pay to go to a water park is not our cup of tea. We can do that anywhere! I had researched some historic spots, one that I was dying to visit, The Queen’s Staircase. AHHH! It was gorgeous! It is a hike from the ship, but walking up into the city was something that is much more fun, rather than taking a taxi and bypassing all of the rich culture Nassau has to offer. If you do the same, do yourself a favor and walk past the SeΓ±or Frog’s and all of the tourist traps that are right on the coast line, and jump right into the local atmosphere. While walking to the Queen’s Staircase, we went past Princess Margaret hospital. Having recently gobbled up Season two of The Crown, I was especially interested in why the hospital was named after Princess Margaret, so I dug into some information via Google, on the deets of how that happened. Apparently, it was after a trip, where she visited Nassau, a British island, and raised some money for the area.

The Queen’s Staircase is a beautiful place, though it was created by hand by slaves in 1793, as a way to access Fort Fincastle- another nice sight once you climb to the top. The staircase was named after Queen Victoria and is surrounded by waterfalls, rick tropical greenery, and peace and quiet in a bustling city. I can imagine if I worked nearby, this being a quaint spot to enjoy a packed lunch. Since we went first thing in the morning, the spot was empty, so we had time to indulge, and photo ops, all to ourselves. I had been warned that there would be locals at the top wanting to give you information for a fee, but we didn’t experience that, so do yourself a favor if you go, and go early in the morning. We were there around 9am-10amish. Once we got to the top, we could see all of Nassau City below. It is the highest spot on the Island- a sight to see, for sure! Fort Fincastle is neat, but the locals charge a fee to enter, so we walked around it and took in the sights rather than go inside the small Fort.

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John Watling’s Distillery- The Buena Vista Estate

Once we finished taking in that area, we walked about a mile to the John Watling’s Rum Distillery- another researched place that was on our list of “must visit”. While walking, we went into little shops, and walked the campus of churches, around the perimeter of several Embassies, not to mention, being constantly thrown off by the driver’s on the opposite side of the car, and road, that we are used to. Ahem, it is British after all. πŸ™‚

John Watling’s Distillery is a gorgeous house, called the Buena Vista Estate, on a luscious green property that makes you feel like you have been invited to someone’s country afternoon picnic. There are a couple of roosters chatting to you when you walk by them, and little benches around. They definitely encourage you to take in every piece of what the property has to offer, so we did that. Once we walked up to the wrap around porch, into the foyer, a sample of piΓ±a colada was awaiting. Yum! This was refreshing since the temps were in the 80’s while we were in Nassau. Yes, 80’s in January. Heaven! Fun fact: Daniel Craig shot parts of Casino Royale here on the property while portraying James Bond in a getaway scene. He apparently scaled the wall of the property.

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COLORS! So many….

We were told about the art that hung in the large foyer, mainly of British royalty, as well as paintings of John Watling himself- a pirate. Once we went through the downstairs, we went to the back of the house and toured several attractions, like a well that apparently holds a lot of tourist’s cell phones (don’t lose your grip, you’ll never retrieve it back if you drop it). We then ventured into the warehouse where another sample of rum was waiting. 130 proof rum was being bottled folks- 130 proof rum! The smell was enough to make you feel like you had had a couple of rum punches- wonderful! We then ventured back to another portion of the house where you can purchase rum, sit on the porch with the roosters and enjoy a drink from their bar, and oh yes, another sample at the end of the tour. Definitely worth a stop.

Another great aspect of Nassau, is the architecture. There are a ton of clap houses, accompanied by the bright tropical colors of the Caribbean. The colors…Ah! Somehow, the colors in the Caribbean are, just, everything! There are painted murals in hidden areas along sidewalks, and in corridors. I kept reading about not going “over the hill” so the areas in which we visited were quite safe. I cannot speak for the other parts of the city, sadly. 😦

We would love to return and stay in Nassau, away from the ship area, and of course, away from Atlantis. Nassau seems so rich with history and culture- it would be wonderful to take in a lot more of it.

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