If you are not familiar with Bermuda, imagine picturesque pink beaches, turquoise ocean waters, bright blue skies , colorful architecture and a fascinating history, combined with British elegance and lush flora and fauna (Bermuda’s stunning natural beauty has been protected by the world’s first environmental laws, circa 1600).
During the taxi ride from the airport to the Castle Harbour Resort (now known as Tucker’s Point) I never knew any place could look or smell so beautiful.
I used to love browsing through the well-heeled Smith and Trimingham’s pastel-colored department stores lining Front Street in Hamilton and buying authentic British and Bermudian souvenirs. Both stores are long gone, replaced with designer boutiques, investment banks and insurance companies.
Nowadays when the mega ships sail weekly from New York, New Jersey and Baltimore (typically May through September) the Royal Naval Dockyard, the City of Hamilton and Town of St. George can become quite crowded.
It is still a popular honeymoon destination, offering charming BBs and full-service luxury resorts – and everything in between. But beware: Bermuda can be an expensive destination, so it’s best to get expert advice and ask about hotel packages.
As I’m writing this, the Fairmont Southampton resort is offering a “Get Out of the Cold” promotion — up to 40% off — through April 10, 2019. Bermuda Tourism is also offering a “Bermuda Golf Around Getaway Package” happening now.
Here are ten things you should definitely do or check out if you plan on visiting the island.
Rent a scooter/moped or an electric bike and explore the less crowded roads and alleyways from St. George to the Royal Naval Dockyard.
(Pay attention and be careful on the busy roads heading in and out of Hamilton and on the roundabouts.) Indulge in an authentic “Dark’n Stormy”, “Rum Swizzle” or “Bermuda Triangle” cocktail at one of the scenic hotel lounges or friendly pubs.
(Friday happy hours, particularly in the summer, are super-popular for locals and tourists – one of the best is at the Hamilton Princess.) Serving guests for over 320 years, splurge for dinner at the historic Waterlot Inn and take in the dazzling sunset on the terrace.
Spend some quiet and grateful moments inside the Heydon Trust Little Chapel, circa 1620, and then take a stroll around the peaceful and undeveloped Heydon Trust grounds in Somerset. Walk through both the Royal Naval Cemetery, circa 1700 and Scaur Hill Fort and Park, circa 1860, offering outstanding views of the Great Sound and the Dockyard.
Ride a bike or walk along the Railway Trail taking in some of the most stunning scenery throughout the island. Cars are not permitted.
If you want to see how everyday Bermudians live, hire a taxi or ride a scooter and go to St. David’s Island.
While there, check out St. David’s Lighthouse, the Lost at Sea Memorial and Coopers Island Nature Reserve.
Tour Crystal Caves and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (fun for families). Climb the 185 steps inside Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (circa 1846) and then follow up with a relaxing massage at the terrific Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Southampton.
(Enjoy a cup of tea while overlooking the beautiful South Shore from the Willow Stream patio.)
If you’re thinking of cruising to Bermuda in 2019 or 2020, cruise lines such NCL , Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity Cruises offer easy homeport sailings from Baltimore, New Jersey and New York.