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Mayleen Ramey at the One & Only Resort, Bahamas.

Here she is!

Ask Audrey contributor, relationship expert and all-around amazing Audrey It-Girl Mayleen Ramey has been bopping around the world for her new gig on the Tennis Channel. Talk about a dream job!

Mayleen’s been with Audrey practically from the beginning, but she’s been a bit busier than usual of late. The Chinese-French American not only hosts and produces Destination Tennis, a travel show on Tennis Channel, she is also an entertainment correspondent for E! News Now and host/producer for entertainment news website, Radar Online. Oh, she co-hosts Red Bull’s Pushing Boundaries on the CW, too. Phew!

Mayleen’s latest romp has been to the Bahamas (again, hello dream job!). Here are Mayleen’s top five picks on the “land of perpetual June.”

Fave Place to Stay– One & Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island

Nothing combines the beauty of Bahamian beaches with ultimate luxury like this resort. I adore the simple elegance of the plantation-style architecture and unsurpassed attention to detail. From the private treatment villas at the spa to a gorgeous Versailles-inspired gardens, this resort fuses together elements of splendor and relaxation from around the world, truly living up to its name.

Highlights: personal hammocks, the beach (look at the water!), adults-only pool for peace & quiet, access to Atlantis Water Park for some big-kid fun! And, of course, the world-class spa…private treatment VILLAS, hellooo!

Local Grub Spot– Arawak Cay, Nassau

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Stone Crab House.

Known to locals as “the fish fry,” Arawak Cay is an unassuming strip of restaurants where Nassau residents and well-informed foodies come for authentic, no-frills Bahamian flavor.  I headed to The Stone Crab House for a cornucopia of conch– conch fritters, cracked conch, conch salad … oh yeeeah! Wash it down with my local drink of choice, Sky Juice (a strong mixture of gin, coconut water & sweet milk) for a true taste of the islands that will send you soaring with joy amongst the puffy white Caribbean clouds.

About half a million pounds of conch is consumed in the Bahamas each year. It’s a delicious island staple that’s rumored to be an aphrodisiac, and must be tried! But if it’s your first time, my general rule about conch is– taste it before you actually see it.  Once it’s chopped up, battered or fried, you’ll have no idea that the tasty dish you’re consuming is quite possibly one of the ugliest sea creatures on the planet!

Wine & Dine Splurge– Graycliff, Nassau

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Graycliff, Nassau.

This historic mansion, transformed into the Caribbean’s first 5-star restaurant, is famous for its sophisticated Bahamanian-inspired cuisine and 250,000 bottle wine cellar (3rd largest in the world). But the 6th shining star at Graycliff is Chef Elijah Bowe, a larger-than-life personality whose charisma and charm is as abundant as the magnificent flavor in his dishes. I had the honor of cooking alongside Chef Elijah at Table One, a demonstration and private dining area in his kitchen. This was one of the most memorable and fun experiences of my life! We (ahem, yes I assisted) whipped up stone crab in a lovely cream saffron sauce and feasted on a number of foodgasmic Chef Elijah creations, plus bottles of heavenly wine and a 6-way dessert sampler. Oh, what a night!

Sealife Encounter– UNEXO Dolphin Experience, Grand Bahama Island

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UNEXO Dolphin Experience.

Get up-close and personal with these magnificent sea creatures in their natural environment. I was amazed by the physical strength, calming demeanor and intensely-focused intelligence of these gorgeous dolphins. UNEXO Underwater Explorers Society also offers shark encounters, as well as scuba and wreck diving. Fun for nature-lovers and kids of all ages!

Sounds & Sunset– Bikini Bottom Bar & Grill, Grand Bahama Island

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Bikini Bottom Bar & Grill.

Nothing feels more right than being on an island and watching a glorious sunset, while live Caribbean music fills the air. My favorite spot on Grand Bahama is Bikini Bottom, a casual place with the coolest Rake ‘n’ Scrape band in town– the Island Boys. Rake ‘n’ Scrape is an genre of music that originated in the Bahamas with distinct sounds created by goat skin drums and scraping a hair pick along a carpenter saw. It instantaneously fills you with funk, happiness and the overwhelming urge to get up and dance! I had to opportunity to learn how to play the instruments and jam out with The Island Boys, probably not the most enjoyable experience for the customers that night, but something I will never ever forget. Rake and scrape, yaaaaaw!

Mayleen Ramey

Photos courtesy of Mayleen Ramey.

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