A Snapshot of Bermuda


Kings Wharf, Bermuda

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

Fort St. Catherine, St. George, Bermuda

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.

Tobacco Bay Beach

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.

Giggling with the Goombay Dancers

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.

Drinks at the Frog and Onion

The Big Mama of Margaritas!

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.

Clocktower Mall in Dockyard, Bermuda

A view of Dockyard’s harbor from our ship balcony

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!

A Fish Hook Shaped Chain of Islands

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.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gwen Hernandez
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 20:49:25

    Thanks for the mention, Jolyse! We loved Bermuda, but I’d like to go back when it’s not a national holiday (two back-to-back actually) so more things would be open. I have a photo of the main street along the water in Hamilton with literally not a single person on the street!

    It looks like you had a great time. I’m glad you got a chance to visit again. :-)

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 09:01:02

      You’re welcome. I wouldn’t suggest visiting in August either–very crowded and incredibly HOT. My son complained he couldn’t breathe. We’re unsure whether that was due to his extreme anxiety being in an unfamiliar place or an asthma-like reaction to the heat and humidity. Either way, that cut back on our touring even more. I feel like we barely dipped our toes into Bermuda’s culture, and definitely hope to get back one day.

      Enjoy the end of your summer! :)

      • Gwendolyn Petrarch
        Aug 23, 2012 @ 09:37:00

        Nice seeing you at Patty’s book signing Jolyse! The pictures are lovely and bring back memories of our visits to Bermuda. Our last was up on Daniel’s head. We had a great time but the island is not as idyllic as it was when we went on our honeymoon 150 years ago (tehe). I think if I were to visit again it would be on a cruise ship. I’m glad you enjoyed your cruise. Gwen

        • Jolyse Barnett
          Aug 23, 2012 @ 14:33:43

          Nice seeing you as well. It was a fun event, in spite of the heavy topic of her book. If I were to return to Bermuda via cruise, I’d want to be docked longer. The Norwegian Dawn sailing from Boston was there for almost four days, as opposed to our ship’s one-and-a-half. I really want to explore the island more. Someday. :)

  2. Marcia
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 20:59:42

    It looks beautiful there, Jolyse. Love the shots of the ocean! My big adventures for the month of August? Writing, 2 porch sales, my kids visited for a few days and babysitting my 3 yr old granddaughter this week. We end the month with a short trip to my stepdaughter’s house 3 hrs away for a couple of days to celebrate my s-in-l’s 40th birthday and grandson’s 11th b’day. Fun stuff but not exciting. In Oct though we plan to drive down to NC to look at a few different cities with an eye toward moving there in a couple of years!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 09:10:06

      I’m a water photo freak too, Marcia, so there are plenty more where those came from. Your end-of-summer is filled with family fun and writing. That’s wonderful! Your October plans sound exciting! (Be careful though. We have relatives who moved to NC and they get hit with lots of thunderstorms. Maybe consider researching the weather patterns if you haven’t already.)

      Have you been able to accomplish your writing goals this summer? I’ve been plugging away, working hard to get this second novel finished by December. :)

  3. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 10:13:37

    What a beautiful place. The Goombay dancers looked like a lot of fun. Glad you had a great time.

  4. Julie Glover
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 10:47:51

    I’ve never cruised, and it’s on my life list. This looked awesome!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Aug 22, 2012 @ 13:39:57

      Hi Julie! I haven’t cruised often, but my favorite so far was the Eastern Caribbean. Our itinerary included Ft. Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Nassau Bahamas. I blogged about it awhile back.

      Relatives of mine who’ve cruised extensively say the Alaskan cruise was their favorite (and they’ve cruised Hawaii and the Mediterranean!) I also hear Norwegian Cruise Line is especially fun for families, without the espense of a Disney cruise. (Although I look forward to a Disney cruise one day. I adore anything Disney!)

      Thanks for stopping by, and keep working on that life list. :)

  5. Tuere Morton
    Aug 23, 2012 @ 06:20:40

    The pics are beautiful. What a lovely island. Especially love the pics of the drinks. They looked delic! Not up to a whole lote this summer except catching up on much needed writing ;) It was great seeing you @ Patty’s book launch and meeting your little one. Hope you don’t mind me entering you in a challenge on my blog @http://tueremorton.wordpress.com/ Enjoy :)

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Aug 23, 2012 @ 08:56:43

      Hi Tuere! Thanks for stopping by. Good for you, focusing on the craft this summer. I look forward to hearing about your stories soon.

      I’ve focused on the writng routine as well, but the three getaways in one summer did carve quite a chunk out of my time. It’s all good though, since life experience gives us more material. Right?

      I’m off to check out your blog. :)

  6. Trackback: Summer’s End « JOLYSE BARNETT'S Margarita Moments & Other Escapes
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