New Providence and Paradise Islands Feature
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Off the Beaten Path: Eastern New Providence
New Providence Island's eastern end is residential, although there are some interesting historic sites and fortifications here. From East Bay Street, just beyond the Paradise Island bridges, it's a 20-minute scenic drive to Eastern Point. Take Eastern Road, lined with gracious homes (and during the early summer months, the red and deep orange blooms of the Royal Poinciana tree). The following are worthy sights to see.
Fort Montagu. The oldest of the island's three forts, Montagu was built of local limestone in 1741 to repel Spanish invaders. The only action it saw was when it was occupied for two weeks by rebel American troops—among them a lieutenant named John Paul Jones—seeking arms and ammunition during the Revolutionary War. The small fortification is quite simple, but displays a lovely elevated view of Nassau Harbour. The second level has a number of weathered cannons. A recently renovated and restored public beach looks out upon Montagu Bay, where many international yacht regattas and Bahamian sloop races are held annually. East of Bay St. on Eastern Rd., Paradise Island, New Providence Island. Free.
The Retreat. Nearly 200 species of exotic palm trees grace the 11 verdant acres appropriately known as The Retreat, which serves as the headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust. Stroll in blessed silence through the lush grounds, and be on the lookout for native birds. It's a perfect break on a steamy Nassau day. The Retreat hosts the Jollification—the unofficial start to the Christmas season—the third weekend in November. Carols, festive food and drinks, a kids' holiday craft center, and local artisans selling native and Christmas crafts make this a must-do event. Village Rd., Paradise Island, New Providence Island. 242/393–1317. $2. Weekdays 9–5.
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