Birthday in the Bahamas

#40 on my birthday list was: Visit the Bahamas.

This was my second trip to a tropical island, and I have to say that I was born to live on a tropical island. I love sun, heat, and baking myself in the sun.

I spent four nights in Cable Beach, a few miles west of downtown Nassau. I rented a little bungalow:










The bungalow was rustic, but I had access to a private deck right on the ocean:








The water was absolutely mesmerizing. I laid out the first day I was there and subsequently learned a lesson: do not lay out the first day you are visiting a tropical island. Having not been exposed to the sun for months, my skin naturally burned in places that I naturally missed when applying sunscreen. So I dealt with burned body parts for the entire trip. All things considered, it was a small price to pay.

Following are highlights:

The Nassau Library

Nassau Library







I read in a guidebook that I could pay a nominal fee for Internet access at the library downtown. I forgot to write down when my return flight was, so I really needed to get online. I went to the library on my birthday and used the computer for 30 minutes.

The library building, formerly a prison,  is an octagonal shape. I wish I could have taken photos, but there was a large sign saying that photography was prohibited. It was the smallest, cutest little library with impossibly narrow aisles and shelves filled with well–worn mass market paperbacks. Decades’ worth of yellowed newspapers bundled with rope were stacked on top of all the shelves. In every section there was a lone office chair, waiting for someone to sit down and read for a while. Loved. it.

Not surprisingly, alcohol was involved in two other highlights:

Pirate Republic Brewing Company

I came across a brewpub that had only been open eight weeks. I took a tour of the brewery, which was given by the co-owner. She and her brother are native Bahamians who enjoyed homebrewing. A few years ago, they decided to open a craft brewery. Funnily enough, before they got their brewery up and running, they contract brewed at a brewery an hour north of where I live! It was awesome to see a brewery in its infant stage.

Pirate Republic Brewing Company







Rum Walking Tour

I was interested in taking a tour given by a local. I had read positive reviews of Islandz Tours, so I booked the Rum-Runner’s Passage Tour. Jason, the tour guide, was awesome, as were the two American couples on my tour. They were college friends who had young children, and they were ready to drink! I did manage to learn a little about rum along the way and had some fun drinks. We stopped at artist Antonius Robert‘s gallery and had a lovely chat wit him after eating some conch fritters and rum cakes. We also walked through a posh five-star resort called Graycliff and popped in at its cigar factory and chocolate shop. We ended up at John Watling’s Distillery, which was started by the Bacardi family. Suffice it to say that I have a new appreciation for rum.

John Watling's Distillery
Samples and cocktails at John Watling’s









Atlantis Birthday Adventure

Last but not least, I have to mention my trip to the Atlantis resort. A bunch of friends chipped in money so I could get a massage and nice dinner on my birthday. It took me 25 minutes to walk to the spa from where the ferry boats drop off people. I was late for my appointment and stressed out. The spa manager took pity on me and gave me the full time for the appointment.

After the massage, I walked around the grounds a bit before having dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was a quiet night at the restaurant, so my waiter came to chat with me once in a while. I mentioned that it was my birthday, and he surprised with me a dessert and “Happy Birthday” serenade from about 10 waiters. The dessert even had a candle.








The Bahamians are really friendly and I enjoyed talking with everyone I met. I would return in a heartbeat. I really need to start buying lottery tickets…







Lake Cruises, Forests, and Bears, Oh My!

At the end of May, Mom and I went to the Adirondacks to celebrate our milestone birthdays. Even though I grew up in New York, I had never been to the Adirondacks.

We spent three nights in the area, so I chose three items for the birthday list.

#36: Took a cruise on Lake George.

Mom prefers to stay on land, so I took a solo morning cruise on the Minne Ha-Ha. It was a bit chilly but sunny. There are 3,000+ lakes in the Adirondacks!














Steam calliope
Steam calliope!








One of many "summer camps" aka mansions on the lake
One of many “summer camps” aka mansions










#37: Visited the Adirondack Museum.

This is an amazing museum! It’s a whole campus with different exhibits housed in different buildings. Visitors can learn about the area’s logging history, camping history, boating history, and recreational history. We spent a few hours there and could have easily spent the entire day there. I’ll definitely return if I find myself in the Adirondacks again. (I hope I do.)

I was especially interested in the logging exhibit because my second great-grandfather was a well-known log driver in central Pennsylvania. It was a dangerous job back then!

Log jam!
Log jam!








A typical hunting camp
A typical hunting camp








Mohawk basketry exhibit
Mohawk basketry exhibit









#38. Saw a black bear.

Mom and I left the Adirondack Museum around 5:00 pm. It is an hourlong drive from Lake George on two-lane highways. We were about 20 minutes into the trip back when we came upon a serious car accident. We ended up having to turn around to take the only other route that would bring us back to Lake George, which was two hours out of the way. We were pretty frazzled and worried about the people who were involved in the accident. We stopped at a gas station for dinner (hot dogs) and to buy a printed map, since we only had verbal directions from an emergency crew worker to go on.

So we’re driving along. We drive by deer crossing signs, which works Mom up because she’s had some deer run-ins before. Then we see a bear crossing sign and have a chuckle. Really, bears?

And it wasn’t too long until, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a large four-legged animal loping off the road into the ditch. Um, it was a black bear that seemed to come out of nowhere. I chirped, “Mom? Was that just a bear?”

“Yes,” she chirped back. Lots of sighing and gasping ensued. The next day, we went shopping in Lake George and noticed that many of the stores had entire black bear figurine sections. So we each decided to buy one to commemorate our first-ever black bear sighting.

The Adirondacks is a great getaway and I hope to return someday. Have you been?

Beer and a Tragedy

I have six more birthday list items to report on. Four are travel-related, so I will go out of chronological order to share the other two:

Some friends and I went to the Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville a few weeks ago. We trekked through residential areas of Cambridge and Somerville and arrived at our destination in what looked like a warehousey/industrial complex.








We entered the large, bright room and snapped up the lone available table. Everyone seemed like they were having a good time. People were playing card games; some people had their children with them. The staff were friendly and the beer was solid.

I tried a couple of “sample” sizes…a pale ale called A Session with Dr. Nandu and ? I can’t recall what else. The brewery had a nice vibe, so I will definitely return.

I really cut it close with the list this year. My final list item is always my annual birthday trip. This year, I had a 6:00 am flight, which meant waking up at 3:00 am. Guess what I was doing until midnight?

Cramming in a movie! I watched #92 on the AFI’s top 100 movie list: A Place in the Sun. It was a good movie but it sure was tragic! But I guess tragedy is inevitable when someone is in love with two people at the same time…

Speaking of tragic, I hadn’t seen a picture starring Montgomery Clift before. I thought he was great, so I read about him. Heart attack at age 45! What a shame.


Closing the Book on A–Z

I went to the Bahamas; I saw 40 barreling toward me; I conquered…?

There’s still lots to catch you up on, but let’s first close the book on the A–Z bar list.

The list ended with a fizzle because I ran out of time. I had E, U, and Y left, and I just couldn’t manage to get to new bars for all of them.

Y was for Yardhouse, which I had been to once before. But at least I tried some new beers—again just based on their names: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Firestone Union Jack. Both were quite tasty. If you are a beer drinker, get thee to Yardhouse, because the draft list is extensive.









U was for UnderFire, which only exists on the Internet. I had read that the owners of a restaurant called Fire and Ice bought the space underneath the restaurant in order to turn it into a bar space called UnderFire.

The host I talked to looked at me like I had 10 heads as I asked about UnderFire, and I saw no sign anywhere that it was called UnderFire. Oh well.

No UnderFire to be seen...
No UnderFire to be seen…









I tried another beer based on its name: Illusive Traveler.

Wow, it tasted like grapefruit juice. Which is great if you like grapefruit juice, as I do. I could probably drink four in a row and then fall out of my chair and take a nap on the floor. But if you don’t like fruit beers, this one is not for you.








I found myself needing to visit a bar that started with E the night before my trip. Enter Elephant & Castle because it’s right around the corner from my office.

Elephant & Castle









I didn’t even attempt to look for a beer I hadn’t tried before. “A Boddingtons, please,” I said to the bartender.










I’ve been to E & C a few times; even though it’s a chain, I’ll keep going back because the decor reminds me of an English pub and it has a few good British beers on tap.

So that’s a wrap, folks. Thanks to everyone who joined me on these 26 outings!