With all the haggling, hustling, and partying going on, visitors tend to overlook the historic beauty of downtown Nassau.
War and militia shaped Nassau, from the fleeing of British Loyalists to the island after the Revolutionary War to pirate battles, forts, and Civil War involvement. The British built four forts to protect the town, some of which never saw a lick of action.
One, Fort Nassau, is the foundation for the British Colonial Hilton on the harbor. The rest remain standing. Other beautiful colonial architecture has survived the years and hurricanes, including Balcony House, Vendue House, the building holding the national art gallery, Nassau Public Library, Graycliff Hotel, John Watling’s Distillery, and dozens of other beauties.
Many visitors never make it off shopping strip Bay Street — their loss. Take a narrow side street and see where it leads you — past lovely churches and up a hill to architectural gems.
Big plans for restructuring downtown Nassau are in the works. Bay Street eventually will become a pedestrian mall and all of downtown will undergo reconfiguration to make it more visitor-friendly.