The Cloisters on Paradise Island, Bahamas

 

Island Travel is amazing… white powder-sand beaches, clear turquoise water, peach-colored sunsets, blue skies with wispy white clouds, and, of course, yummy drinks. Paradise Island has all of these things… and more.

Having a father who used to teach history, I have become accustom to travel that involves some sort of history lesson. This schooling, however, has the benefit of taking place in paradise.

The French Cloisters is located in the One and Only Ocean Club’s Versailles Gardens. It overlooks Nassau Harbour. The Cloisters is what remains from a 14th century French Monastery and is made of stone.

 

William Randolf Hearst, a US newspaper businessman, originally purchased the Cloisters. It was later bought from his estate by Huntington Hartford and shipped to the Bahamas. The stones were not labeled properly; as such, it took artist/sculptor, Jean Castre-Manne, two years to make it look similar to the original.

All history lessons aside, The Cloisters is also a perfect wedding site.. you can certainly see why. My husband and I are are already plotting our points to convince at least one of our children to get married there.

The Cloisters is an easy supplement to your hopefully nonexistent schedule in order to add some history to your beach vacation on Paradise Island.  It is definitely worth the short walk to check it out.

What about you? Do you try to add a little history or learning even when you are on a sun-and-sand trip?

Have I convinced you to visit The Cloisters? Here is a pin to save this info for your next trip.

 

Resources:

http://www.bahamas.com/vendor/cloisters

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paradise-island/attractions/the-cloister

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

007 in the Bahamas

Are there any other Sean Connery fans out there? Let me tell you a story about my childhood… I was raised on James Bond. Now, I was not allowed to watch Jem or Growing Pains, but for whatever reason, 007 was a-okay. And what’s not to love about this spy series? There is mystery, intrigue, action, and beautiful scenery. I’m not sure how many James Bond movies were filmed in the Bahamas; I’ll have to ask my brother the next time we talk and get back to you on that one. However, I do know that, being the super fans that my parents are, his name came up just a few times during our last visit to Nassau and Paradise Island. Here are the 3 places we visited and the corresponding movies…

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau is the site of the Never Say Never bar… you know, the one where there is flirting and water skiing… all of the things good island banter is made of. Unfortunately, the bar is no longer there. I remember when it was. Yes, my family may have gone on a little James Bond escapade when I was younger. Maybe even stopping out at Lyford Cay and taking a picture in front of Sean Connery’s gate. Moving on…

Another Bond movie great, Thunderball, was also filmed at the Hilton in the lobby; apparently, a few things were rearranged for the movie, so this doesn’t look exactly as it did in the movie. Coincidently, this lobby is also where we all sat in the lobby during our vacation because the 4 year old got a little ambitious “just sticking his toes” in the water and ended up drenched (there are air hand dryers in the bathrooms and the gift shop does sell size 4 swim trunks, in case anyone needs to know).

I’ve saved the best for last… The One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise IslandHaving never had the opportunity to stay here, I’d love to roll my eyes or make some snide remark, but, wow, this place is everything it claims to be. It is gorgeous and immaculate and the staff is spectacular. I have so many memories here. My brother taking lessons from the pro, Leo, who still remembers my family and greets us with his warm smile. Or, my mom taking me to The Courtyard Terrace for dinner and my first official drink (White Zin, of course… it was the 90s) . Pictures of my parents on dates there while my grandmother watched us. The first time my husband and I went there for drinks or when we left our kids with their grandparents for our date nights at Dune. Ahhh… just so.many.memories. But, I guess we aren’t really supposed to be talking about me…oops! Back to the handsome man in the suit. While he’s not Sean Connery, Daniel Craig is a close second. And, he fits in well at The One and Only in Casino Royale. Here are some more pictures because it’s hard not to just keep snapping. It is beautiful!

Want to save this for your very own future 007 self-guided tour? I have a pin for that…

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Top 4 Best Spring Break Beaches

Well, we are in our home stretch! Spring is almost here, and to be quite honest, this winter wasn’t even that bad (I think I may be scarred for life from the Polar Vortexes we had a few years back). You may have noticed that I have been posting quite a few beach pictures over on my Instagram lately, just to get in the mood.  So, let’s talk Spring Break Beaches. Specifically, let’s look at 4 super doable beach vacations. No 8-hour flights for our crew this year!

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina- This island is incredibly easy to get to and could even involve a quick road trip if you live on the eastern half of the US. There is something for everyone here. The beaches are beautiful for running, playing, sunbathing, and, yes, especially biking… they go for miles and miles! Just don’t get overzealous like we did and remember that you do have to ride back to the hotel. If you are wondering what else there is to do, I wrote about it here.

Naples, Florida- Another beach town that is quite easy to get to. A quick flight or a longer drive, but, nonetheless, doable. The beach is beautiful and again goes for miles and miles (can you tell this is a major requirement for me?). The sand is soft and easy to nap on or go for a long stroll. There are several different hotels, with hotel bars, along the way, so if you get thirsty, you will have options. 

Dana Point/Laguna Beach, California- Ahhhh… one of my favorites. Even if you don’t surf, it is amazing to watch all of the surfers getting their waves on (is that a phrase?) early in the morning. Our hotel overlooked the beach with gorgeous cliffs in the background- it almost felt as though we were in a different county. To the right on the beach, was an expanse of sand leading to some rocks and cliffs. To the left were extraordinary homes all stacked one on top of the other and fabulous nonetheless. Just as I was picturing our family living in one of these modern beach homes, we discovered the also-extraordinary pricing. I guess we will just have to look forward to hotel stays at this West Coast “must.”

Paradise Island, Bahamas- My happy place. I’ve been walking this beach since I was about 8 years old and will never, ever tire of it. It exudes calm and peace and a sense of timelessness. The water is so clear that you can see to the bottom and the sand is so white and powdery that even if you are one of those “no sand on my toes” kind of people, you won’t mind it. Everything is so clean and bright that you need sunglasses but really don’t want to wear them because you don’t want to dim all of that brilliant color. Again, you can walk forever on this beach and lose yourself in thought without much effort at all. This is my forever beach and I really hope you are able to experience it because it is much too beautiful not to share. 

I want to know…Do you have a US/Caribbean beach that you love? What is your favorite beach activity? Are you a solo or company beach walker?

Already have Spring Break plans but want to save these suggestions for next year? I have a pin for that 🙂

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation… Thank you!

 

Island Travel Interviews- Caribbean, Take 4

Photo Credit- Pixabay

Tired of the Caribbean Islands yet? I’m not! I’m super excited to share these interviews from The Wayward Walrus and Diaries From the Window Seat. Guess where we are going this week?! Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Not. Too. Shabby.

FIRST UP…. PUERTO RICO!

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL

 The Wayward Walrus

www.thewaywardwalrus.com

Photo Credit- The Wayward Walrus

Which Islands Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Puerto Rico, my first introduction to the Caribbean! Many times the island gets overlooked by travelers for the Bahamas and Jamaica on many cruise routes and other prominent luxury island destinations like Aruba, the Cayman Islands, or the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico offers the same beautiful tropical Caribbean experience but with budget friendly options for any traveler. It’s also a very easy island to visit for Americans since English is widely spoken and they use the U.S. dollar.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

            Anywhere from 4 – 7 days.

Photo Credit- The Wayward Walrus

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

There are so many! However horseback riding in the tropical rainforest of El Yunque and taking a boat to the secluded island of Isla de Culebrita were two of my favorite memories.

Photo Credit- The Wayward Walrus

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Hiking through El Yunque National Forest, exploring the beaches on the mainland, taking a boat to an uninhabited island, trying out the local cuisine, night life in San Juan, exploring old San Juan historical Spanish colonial buildings.

Photo Credit-The Wayward Walrus

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Luquillo Food Kiosks across from a beautiful local beach. The kiosks offer a wide range of local food to select from. 

Photo Credit- The Wayward Walrus

What Surprised You About this Island?

It’s mountainous! I never expected a tropical island in the Caribbean to have a backdrop of beautiful mountains to hike in. 

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g.,where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

I’d definitely stay somewhere around San Juan, in either an Airbnb or hotel. Old San Juan is gorgeous but limited on hotels in the area so Airbnb would be a great option. Downtown San Juan offers a great selection of hotels but is a bit touristy, although still a great home base to venture out to all the spots on the mainland.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

http://www.thewaywardwalrus.com/puerto-rico-archipelago-surprise

NEXT UP… the BAHAMAS!

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Eryn MacGillivray

Diaries From The Window Seat

https://www.diariesfromthewindowseat.com/

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Eleuthera, Bahamas

I chose this island because I have been fortunate enough to go there several times. This allowed me to get a good feel for the island and really explore.

Photo Credit- Diaries from the Window Seat

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

I would recommend staying on this island for a week to two weeks. It depends on whether you need to have activities each day, or if you like to relax at the beach and do nothing. If you can relax, you will be able to last much longer than someone who needs things to do. There aren’t a ton of activities other than playing on the beach or in the water.

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

The beaches! We drove down this sketchy dirt road for half an hour into the middle of nowhere in search of a secret beach. We heard this was the best beach on the island so had to check it out. After parking the car we walked for about 5 minutes and came out onto the most beautiful beach we had ever seen! It was like a movie!

Photo Credit- Diaries From the Window Seat

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Take a ferry to Harbour Island. This island is a short ferry ride away and is great for a day trip! Lots of stuff to do and things to see! It’s a tourists dream town!

Also, if you’re on the island over Christmas, you need to check out a Junkanoo! They are these parades that the towns put on and they all compete against each other for the best costumes, floats and dances. So much work goes into this event and it’s a ton of fun! I even got pulled into the parade one year!

Photo Credit- Diaries From the Window Seat

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

You need to check out Tippy’s! It’s got a great vibe and is located right on the beach. They have amazing food as well. No matter where you eat, make sure you try the conch fritters and cracked conch! I would live off that stuff if I could!

What Surprised You About this Island?

How rural it is! I had never been to a Caribbean Island before so I was expecting large cities like Hawaii. The most you’ll find on these islands are small towns. Although you wouldn’t want to be stuck somewhere without a car, I love how much character each area had!

Photo Credit- Diaries From the Window Seat

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

If you have the funds, I would recommend renting a house on Windermere Island. It’s a private island connected to Eleuthera by bridge. The houses are beautiful and many famous people have stayed in them or owned them. We stayed in the house Princess Diana stayed in for her honeymoon!

You also need to have a car on this island, but don’t get your hopes up for anything fancy! We rented two cars and both were…. interesting! One had no air conditioning and the windows wouldn’t go down (it got hot in there to say the least). The other looked like a tiger had been trapped inside and shredded the entire interior! They got us around the island though, so that’s what really matters!

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I have a section on my blog dedicated to my travels in the Caribbean. Here’s the link!

https://www.diariesfromthewindowseat.com/category/travel/thecaribbean/

 

Perfect… Just reading this puts me in a more relaxed and fun mood! And weren’t the pictures gorgeous?! I am nearing the end of the Caribbean section of Island Travel Interviews… Is there an island that I am missing that you were hoping to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section, and don’t forget to pin this one for later…

Photo Credit- Pixabay, cropped by Mackinaw Road

AND… don’t forget to make sure you are on my subscribers list by entering your name and email to the left and tagging a friend over on Instagram in order to win this beautiful, inspirational sign by Angela from Angtiques. (Read all of the rules here.) 

**Yes, again… this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.