Today is it, today is my birthday. Today we are docking at Nassau, The Bahamas and I have to decide what to do. As I mentioned before we have been here several times each time doing something different with one constant. Each time we came to Nassau we stopped at our favorite spot Señor Frog’s.
Last year we were in Nassau with our friends Bob and Sandy and found a small beach and the Tiki Bikini bar not too far from the shadow of the cruise ships where we enjoyed some cold beer and a Bahamian favorite dessert called Coconut Duff.
But what to do on this visit? As we were walking around town I remembered Dick and Joyce mentioning a restaurant they had discovered on a previous trip that was just wonderful. Problem was I could not remember the name so we asked a very nice woman on the street, and while she couldn’t remember the name either she pointed and told us to walk a few blocks, turn left, go past the Dunkin’ Donuts and walk up the hill. Well, off we went. It was a pretty easy walk at first until we reached the hill. Oh, my, it was a bit steep and the sidewalk was in disrepair. But we kept going until I saw a building across the street with a very small sign saying, “Graycliff”. “That’s it,” I said and we quickly crossed the street.
Graycliff was everything Dick and Joyce said it was and more. It was before noon when we arrived so we decided to look over the grounds before sitting down to lunch. We walked out the back door into a lovely palm tree shaded garden with three ferocious looking weathered wood carvings of lions. We continued our walk discovering a beautiful tiled-bottom pool, crossed a little bridge over a coy and turtle pond to the beer garden. At the beer garden we walked into an open-air building furnished with overstuffed couches and chairs where several guests were working on their computers.
A few stairs to the left led us to the Graycliff Cigar Company. Just as we arrived a tour guide was escorting two women into the production area and we were invited to join. It was really amazing watching this group of cigar rollers (torcedores and torcedoras) working with the tobacco leaves, spraying them with water, rolling then cutting them with a chaveta knife. They were amazing to watch. My son-in-law Kevin enjoys smoking a cigar once in a while so I stopped in the gift shop and after many questions settled on one I thought he would enjoy.
Lunch time rolled around so we headed back to the restaurant. The hotel/restaurant dates back to Captain John Howard Graysmith who built the hotel in 1740. As we walked through the rooms I felt as though we were stepping back in time to a more elegant time of crystal chandeliers, rich wooden floors and ceilings and tables set with fine china, sterling silver and crystal goblets.
When traveling I love to order dishes that reflect the tastes of the island or country I am visiting. So, today Randy and I started with a wonderful rum punch with a combination of banana and coconut rums and delicious fruit juices. I started with a wonderful caprese salad, followed by a simple salad of greens, julienne carrots, grape tomatoes, red onions, yellow peppers and topped with a creamy dressing.
I chose a local favorite the Bahamian Grouper for my main dish. The grouper was cooked perfectly in a wonderful tomato sauce with thinly sliced red, yellow and green peppers. It was served with one of my Caribbean favorites, red rice and beans and a variety of vegetables. Every dish was wonderfully delicious! Randy enjoyed a cup of Conch soup and a beautiful house salad.
The service was impeccable with every need anticipated and taken care of. The maître d’ visited our table and was quite pleased we were eating a local favorite for lunch. As we readied to leave she introduced us to the owner and suggested that we take a tour of their famous wine cellar. What a wine cellar. It seemed as though we walked a long way looking left and right seeing bottles lining the walls from floor to ceiling. As we readied to leave we were shown a room in the cellar where guests could enjoy a dinner experience like no other. We thanked everyone for their kindness and made our way back to the ship.
On our way we stopped at Randy’s favorite stop the Straw Market. As we excited the market we noticed there was some commotion on the other side of the street and stopped to see what was happening. We watched as a man, concentrating very hard, was slowly walking along checking shot glasses filled with colorful liquid that would represent Senor Frog’s attempt at being put into the Guinness Book of World Records as having accomplished the world’s longest domino drop shot. Unfortunately the contest was the next day so we did not get to see it but I learned after we returned that they had indeed broken the previous record dropping 3,500 shot glasses. We would have loved to have seen that.
Needless to say, when dinner time arrived we were both full from our wonderful luncheon experience and just ate a small salad. After dinner we made our way to the theatre and enjoyed a very funny magic and comedy routine by John Ferrentino.
Today was absolutely perfect! I loved every moment and will be holding each detail of my birthday in Nassau and the Graycliff in my memory and heart for a very long time.
Tomorrow we will be at sea and enjoying a day poolside.