Posted Aug 31, 2011
A veritable paradise exists right off the Southeast coast of Florida. The Bahamas, a chain of islands roughly 700 strong, is a vacation destination that has been pleasing travelers for decades. Nassau, the 11th largest body in this archipelago, and the most populous, has been featured in three James Bond films across three different generations. The Bahamas is as firmly ingrained in the minds of Atlantic vacationers as maple syrup to Vermonters.
The popularity of the Bahamas has been celebrated since it was settled in the early 18th century. Part of the allure is its proximity to the U.S. and the fact that all the creature comforts of home are available on its sandy white shores. On Nassau, travelers will find the Atlantis Resort, a fantastic hotel and casino that features a number of man made lagoons and other luxuries that exist right on the cusp of the Atlantic Ocean.
Nassau is also home to the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center. This is an excellent area to view some of the native species of the island chain. The large collection of birds, including flamingos and a multitude of parrots, must be seen to be believed.
Those wishing to see a piece of this area before it became heavily populated can get a glimpse of a bygone era in Historic Nassau. This is the original center of the city and where most of the large ships come to dock. Shopping is available in many of the quaint old buildings that still remain, as is fantastic dining with the ocean's bounty as a main ingredient in many establishments.
While in Historic Nassau, visitors can take a journey up the Queen's Staircase. The steps leading to Bennet's Hill were hand-carved out of the sandstone cliffs by early settlers. From the top of the stairs vacationers can visit Fort Fincastle. This landmark was constructed in 1793 by Lord Dunmore, an eccentric who decided to build this fortification on the island's highest point. The site is now a lighthouse which towers 200 feet high and offers spectacular views of the city and harbor.
Those eager to continue the adventure can follow a small footpath from the fort down to Prospect Ridge. This area, which used to divide the two classes of citizens, is a classic example of architecture from the late 1700's and early 1800's as many mansions from this era are sprawled upon the shoreline. Nassau offers a great many other sites to enjoy for those who wish to walk and simply enjoy this island which exists in the lap of luxury.