March 31, 2015

Paradise Island, Bahamas

When it came time to selecting a getaway destination, several factors came into play. It had to be relatively close, we didn’t want to be gone for too long (That sentiment changed once there!) and there had to be a mix of relaxation and action. (How fun is a choose your own adventure blog when the choice is sitting on the beach all day or sitting on the beach all day?)

The Cove Atlantis fit perfectly.

Thankfully, you thought so too.

If you want absolute isolation and solitude, this is not the place for you. If you want anything else, it is. A big group with mixed interests? Kids of all ages? A husband who won’t sit still? A woman who is turning 36 but refuses to grow up?

We had our share of kid-friendly fun. Dolphins. Rock climbing. Water slides. We laughed till our cheeks hurt and then went to the adults only pool to have an adults only beverage- or three. It was the perfect mix. We had so much fun. And really reconnected. It was no longer Mommy and Daddy. It was husband and wife, best friends.

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The grounds are immaculate and they’ve done a fantastic job of landscaping and ventilating the entire place so even on the hottest days, there’s a lovely breeze and some shade.

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One of my favorite things to do when on vacation is book time at the spa within hours of arriving. It really sets the tone. I used to wait until the last day- rookie mistake.

You chose massage and I couldn’t have been happier. We made it a couple’s one, which always provides some comic relief. Less romance, more laughs but that’s our style anyway.

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I highly recommend Cain at the Cove, the adults only pool. The setting is nicer, the furniture more comfortable, food more upscale… There’s a DJ, outdoor gaming, private cabanas. It can get slightly rowdy (think Vegas day club) in the late afternoon, especially during weekends but grab a spot away from the DJ and you should be set. That’s my kind of clubbing anyway- daylight, plenty of space, sitting down and still in bed by 10pm! If nothing else, it makes for incredible people watching!

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Remember that thing I said about a lack of isolation? That doesn’t apply if you’re first at the pool (We usually arrived at 9am. We’re old.)…

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Or at the beach any time. It felt like our own private island. And this was during peak season. Can’t imagine how amazing it is during the off season!

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My favorite thing on the poolside menu? The beef lettuce wraps. So good, I had them twice. Just order a bit earlier than you normally would as they take a while to cook.

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The view from our Deluxe Ocean View Suite beats the one of our NY street.

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We only made dinner reservations for one night as we hate to be too committed on vacation. (I love nothing better than staying at the pool till late in the afternoon, grabbing a cocktail and taking it to the beach or up to the room and just chilling, watching the sunset and then slowly getting ready- or not getting ready at all and staying casual or getting room service.) So we took our chances with dinner. Most nights we sat at the bar, something we love to do when it’s just the two of us. Bobby Flay‘s Mesa Grill was one of those perfect nights. I’m still dreaming about the shrimp and corn tamale.

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While it’s possible to never leave the resort (so many dining options, activities and places to lounge), I find it unacceptable to travel to another country and not get a feel for the culture. And the colors! The Bahamas are such a vibrant place, an extremely welcome departure from the one-note grayness that is the Northeast right now. And the people are so welcoming and friendly. We had many a great conversation with locals.

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Including the woman, a mother of five ranging from 3 to 25 years, who makes this jewelry.

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 We went to Junkanoo Beach and Bay Street.

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 Even the trash cans were cool.

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 It’s also important for me to try the local cuisine (from a neighborhood, no frills place, not a tourist attraction). And in the Bahamas, it’s all about the conch.

The top-rated restaurant there is Bahamian Cookin’ so naturally that’s where we headed. It’s a bit off the beaten path and takes some asking to get to but it’s worth it. We arrived at 11am and they didn’t start serving till 11:30. But the sweet staff opened their doors and started cooking for us despite our early arrival. That would never happen in New York!

We tried their famous conch fritters and the cracked conch (think calamari). It was fun to compare the two and was the perfect snack.

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