Gnomeversation: Small Talk with a Bahamas Expert
Gnome’s Note: Hello chaps, it’s the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Even though I have a rather impressive list of travels under my belt, globetrotters like me still fancy a few new travel tidbits now and again. That’s why I’m interviewing Travelocity’s very own destination experts. Meet me here every Wednesday to learn about a smashing new place.
Dear, oh, dear. I can’t stop thinking about conch! Conch salad! Conch fritters! Cracked conch! Conch soup! Conch chowder! Just talking to Sara Fried, Travelocity’s expert on The Bahamas, has stirred up quite the appetite.
You know, they say that one of the best ways to experience a destination is through its food, and Sara tells me that conch is the must-try local dish on Nassau/Paradise Island in The Bahamas. This lady sure does know her way to a Gnome’s heart!
As if the conch fritters weren’t enough to get me to the island, Sara went on to tell me a bit about Bahamian culture and some of the sites I can see while I’m there. Although, our conversation seemed to find its way back to food quite often.
Here’s Sara at one of her favorite spots – a restaurant! I do believe she and I would be fabulous travel companions.
Sara at Graycliff
Roaming Gnome: So what’s the latest and greatest thing happening in Nassau/Paradise Island?
Sara: The Bay Street Straw Market is the largest and most well known in the Bahamas. People can find any kind of Bahamian keepsake that they are looking for at this market. This market was destroyed by a large fire in 2001 and is in the process of being rebuilt. It should be completed by the end of this year and back to its former glory!
Roaming Gnome: Tell me something about Nassau/Paradise Island that most people wouldn’t know. Anything particularly surprising about it?
Sara: The most visited attraction in Nassau is the Queen’s Staircase. This staircase is 65 steps, which was recently renovated, carved out of solid limestone by slaves between 1793 and 1794. It is reported that slaves were forced to cut through rocks with axes and other sharp hand tools. This 102 foot staircase was named in honor of the 65 years of Queen’s Victoria’s reign. Construction of this monument is still regarded as remarkable. For practical purposes, the staircase provides a shorter route to and from Bennet’s Hill.
Roaming Gnome: Where do all the locals go? I’m looking for a place I can blend in. Well, as much as one can blend in when one is a small ceramic Gnome.
Sara: All of the locals go to Arawak Cay, which is known to them as the Fish Fry. It is just west of downtown, within walking distance or just a short bus ride away from Cable Beach. The Fish Fry is a row of restaurants that are painted different tropical colors. They all pretty much serve the same food, which is made-to-order local seafood, daiquiris and beers. My personal favorite is Goldie’s, where I normally get the cracked conch or conch fritters with either a Kalik Light or Sands (local Bahamian beer). The portions are huge and the prices are reasonable.
Roaming Gnome: Go on, you can tell me: what’s the one thing you wouldn’t do in Nassau/Paradise Island?
Sara: I have been snorkeling with sharks, but I would never actually go swimming with them! For the brave adventurers out there, you can do Stuart Cove’s Shark Adventure, a 2-tank dive program which introduces thrill seeking divers to wild sharks and provides you a close up look at these magnificent and misunderstood creatures. This is something that I won’t do!
Roaming Gnome: What do you think most people think of when they think of Nassau/Paradise Island? Are they right or wrong?
Sara: Most people think of The Atlantis and that it’s the only place to stay and only thing to do when visiting Nassau/Paradise Island. While it is a phenomenal resort, the destination is much more than just that. You can go to Dolphin’s Cay and play with Sea Lions and Dolphins, go to Stuarts Cove and go to some great diving sites, do some shopping, enjoy Cable Beach, try the fabulous cuisine, and much more!
Roaming Gnome: As I’m sure you know, I love getting a little bit of the local flavor when I visit a destination. What are some of your favorite hangouts?
Sara: Graycliff provides dining pleasures unmatched anywhere in the Bahamas, if not the world. Graycliff Restaurant is a 5-star fine dining experience with Bahamian influenced Continental cuisine where Humidor Churrascaria serves Brazilian Rodizio with a Bahamian flair in a South American steakhouse setting. In addition Graycliff has an exclusive Wine cellar containing more than 180,000 bottles and worth more than $20 million! Another great option is The Poop Deck – which is casual dining on the waterfront with amazing fresh fish options.
Roaming Gnome: I love taking pictures when I’m on vacation. Where’s the best place for a smashing photo op?
Sara: Atop Fort Fincastle there is a great view of Nassau itself, along with The Atlantis and the bridge to Paradise Island. Each direction you turn to has a different view.
Roaming Gnome: As much as I love my mumsy, I also love Mother Earth as well. Any green initiatives going on in Nassau/Paradise Island that travelers should know about?
Sara: Sandals Royal Bahamian has been awarded the coveted Green Globe Award for environmental stewardship. From recycling to conserving, ecological responsiveness is a Sandals commitment. Because at the resorts made for love, loving the environment has become second nature.
Roaming Gnome: Say I want to go to Nassau/Paradise Island. When’s the best time to do it?
Sara: Every season has its own appeal to travel to Nassau/Paradise Island. The Bahamas’ temperatures are moderated by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and because the Bahamas are closer to North America they are more easily affected by North American cold air systems, so they are slightly cooler than other Caribbean islands. The average temperatures in the Bahamas range from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Although the Bahamas is located in the hurricane belt that lies across most of the Caribbean, many storms bypass the island chain and instead circle below it before heading north toward the United States. Of course, the islands are equipped to respond to a storm if one does hit.
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My name: The Travelocity Roaming Gnome
How I earn my keep: I roam the world finding great deals, upholding the Travelocity Guarantee, and looking rather handsome while doing it.
What kind of traveler I am: A small and perfectly-formed one.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Just because you can climb into the overhead baggage compartment and stay there for the rest of the flight, doesn’t mean you should.
Travel ambition: To never again miss my plane because I’ve stopped to take a photo with a fellow traveler who’s spotted me. Ah, it’s tough work being a charmingly lovable travel mascot, I’ll tell you that.
First thing I do in a new place: Make friends.
When I’m not traveling: I’m browsing the SkyMall catalogue, toasting crumpets, testing beard conditioners, and planning my next trip.