Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Things to Do: John Watling's Distillery; Nassau, Bahamas


John Watling's Distillery  17 Delancy St., downtown, in historic Charles Towne area.  Daily 10am-6pm, F to 9pm.  Free tour & tasting.  A tour of this historic rum distillery and the beautifully restored and Buena Vista mansion is a delight.  Founded in 1789, it will appeal to anyone who enjoys rum mixed with a little history.  Set on more than two acres of lush tropical gardens and named after a pirate, the distillery also offers tastings of their handcrafted small-batch rums.  Premium rums include a pale herbal version, a vanilla-nutty amber, a smooth single-barrel, and the rich, fruity Buena Vista.  Allow time to enjoy a leisurely cocktail (available for purchase) in the Red Turtle Tavern or outside on the verandah. 

exterior of Buena Vista mansion at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
exterior of Buena Vista mansion at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


fat chickens at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
fat chickens at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


welcome tasting at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
welcome tasting at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


colorful buildings at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
colorful buildings at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


rum barrel sniffing at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
rum barrel sniffing at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


gift shop at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
gift shop at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas


Red Turtle Tavern at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
Red Turtle Tavern at John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas



More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Things to Do: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas


HALF MOON CAY
Located about 100 miles from Nassau, and about 18 miles from Eleuthera.

I wasn’t much impressed by the fact that most Caribbean cruise lines have their own private island until I experienced it first-hand on my Holland American Line mini cruise aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam.

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, in the foreground, Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam ship in the background
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, in the foreground, Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam ship in the background

On the December day my ship went to Half Moon Cay--the island HAL shares with its Carnival sister ships--Black Santa was on board the spacious tender that delivered us to the island.  He got lots of attention and provided quite a contrast with the brilliant turquoise Caribbean waters but still found a few minutes to check his e-mail.  The ship anchored scenically off shore while the tenders continued transporting guests to and fro all day.

Black Santa on Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam ship tender
Black Santa on Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam ship tender

In 2017, Holland America Line celebrated 20 years of sailing to Half Moon Cay.  And also that year, Porthole Magazine’s readers voted the island the best cruise private island--again, as they have done for 17 years in a row.  Formerly known as Little San Salvador Island, it was renamed Half Moon Cay in a nod to its gorgeous 2.5-mile-long, crescent-shaped beach. 

Half Moon Cay beach in Bahamas
Half Moon Cay beach in Bahamas

We started our visit with a Calypso Island Tram Tour through the island’s palm tree-lined back road.  It took us from one end to the other, past a natural 700-acre lagoon, and with visits to the horse stables and the manta ray lagoon where some of our shipmates were in the water busy petting the flapping creatures.




Half Moon Cay in Bahamas
Half Moon Cay in Bahamas

Activities available here at additional cost include a glass-bottom boat ride, several bike tours, and horseback riding in the ocean.  Rentals are available for every kind of water sports equipment, including sailboats, catamarans, paddle boards, water bikes, kayaks, snorkeling gear, and wave runners.  It is even possible to rent a private villa with beach boy butler service.  Private clamshells can be rented, too, but plenty of free lounge chairs line the beach making it easy to just sit back and relax and do some wading in the warm, clear, gorgeous water.

water activities on Half Moon Cay in Bahamas, Holland America Line's Niew Amsterdam in background
water activities on Half Moon Cay in Bahamas, Holland America Line's Niew Amsterdam in background

On board beverage packages don’t apply here, which probably helps keep some people from drinking excessively.  But there is nothing quite like a frozen pina colada or a nice cold beer to put a chill on the heat, and Captain Morgan’s Bar inside a faux shipwreck is just the place to go for that.  Back in from the beach, a complimentary barbecue buffet lunch includes burgers, potato salad, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages.  However, many passengers opt to pay an additional fee and head to the ocean-front, open-air Lobster Shack for delicious fresh grilled lobster with Caribbean beans n' rice.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers sips a pina colada on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Carole Terwilliger Meyers sips a pina colada on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Captain Morgan's Bar on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Captain Morgan's Bar on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

lobster plates at Lobster Shack on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
lobster plates at Lobster Shack on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Passengers return to the beckoning ship whenever they are ready, which, if the ship didn't have such wonderful amenities, might be never.




More cruises.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.

images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers