Bermuda is famous for its pink sand beaches and lush vegetation. Both times we’ve visited this group of one hundred eighty islands, we cruised there from New York City. I hope to fly there someday and stay at a resort, perhaps one like the Grotto Bay Beach Resort my talented blogger friend, Gwen Hernandez enjoyed with her family last winter. (I was unable to link directly to her article, but it’s called “Holiday in Paradise” and worth a look.) Until then, here’s a snapshot of our experience in beautiful Bermuda.
Our First Visit – 1998
The first time we traveled to this British territory in the Atlantic Ocean about 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina, our daughter was seven and our son not yet born. We enjoyed spectacular views from atop Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and played in the turquoise waters off Horseshoe Bay Beach. Our daughter and her two cousins appreciated the aquarium and petting zoo, as we traveled from place to place via public bus–an adventure in itself on the island’s narrow roads. We also shopped in Hamilton and walked the streets of Kings Wharf, explored the history of Fort St. Catherine and cooled off with a swim at Tobacco Bay.
Our Second Visit – 2012
This time, our ship was docked for only one-and-a-half days in Royal Naval Dockyard and we traveled with both our adult daughter and our teenage son who is autistic. We didn’t explore Bermuda as much as fourteen years ago, yet took a forty-minute ferry ride from our port to revisit Tobacco Bay Beach, a taxi ride’s distance from King’s Wharf. (The ferry ride was $8 roundtrip per adult. Expect to pay $2-$3 per person for your ride, and more if you don’t fill the taxi. We shared our ride with other tourists to avoid paying more.) This public beach has a concession stand with restrooms and a shaded eating area. There are snorkel sets and a limited supply of umbrellas and beach chairs for rent. Arrive early for a good spot and if interested in renting beach items. Families with young children will especially like this beach, as the waters are tranquil and comfortably shallow. You may spy a variety of tropical fish near the rocks, too as the children did the day we were there.
Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
After dinner that evening, six of our party trekked off the ship into Dockyard to soak in the Bermudian atmosphere. There was a street fair that night, complete with Goombay dancers and photo ops. Our enthusiastic photographer had difficutly getting my Nikon to cooperate. (Oh well, it’s a fuzzy photo from a fuzzy night.) If you look carefully, you may see our cruise ship in the background of this first photo.
After browsing the vendors, we headed toward the Frog & Onion Pub. On the way, we stopped by the Dockyard Glassworks. The store was open but demonstrations had ended for the day. The displayed pieces were exquisite. In spite of the summer heat the following day, our daughter, her cousin, and aunt returned there to be mesmerized for an hour. She later told me, “For a moment there, I questioned why I plan to attend med school when I could return to Bermuda and learn the art of glass blowing instead.” I guess she liked it.
One of our group bought the Big Mama, a forty-five ounce margarita meant to be split between two or three. What do you think? Could you down that baby by yourself?
Clocktower Mall in Dockyard has a mix of upscale, kid-friendly, and local artisan shops. The air conditioning is a huge plus in the summer, especially for those individuals sensitive to the heat and humidity like our special-needs son. There were places to sit and rest, ice cream shops, and reasonably priced toys. All good.
See those jet skiers in the harbor. If you recall my recent adventure in Key West, you’ll understand why I wasn’t even tempted to go touring around the island with them. Don’t let those jet skiing myths fool you!
Well, that about sums up our ventures in Bermuda to date. We plan to return. Maybe then we’ll bike through island gardens, walk underground in Crystal and Fantasy Caves, play at Snorkel Park and enjoy a rum swizzle or two.
What have you been up to this fine August month? Working or playing, or a bit of both? We’d love to hear about your adventures.