If Greece and Hawaii had a baby, that baby would be Bermuda. Bermuda is a small island in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Carolinas. Although not as popular as other Caribbean islands, Bermuda has charm and a flavor that will knock your socks off. The ocean is a blue-green color that I haven’t encountered anywhere in the world. Houses are adorable and colorful, with white roofs of limestone. Little towns and quiet streets allow visitors to amble along and experience the charm of the island. And everywhere you look, bright blossoming flowers and plants engulf you.
My family has been vacationing in Bermuda for years, since before I was even born. My grandparents and uncles have stories from this island that still fascinate me. I first visited when I was seven years old, and had a magical time. During my first trip I walked among moon gates, played in the ocean with the locals, was captivated by a waiter at my hotel who performed magic tricks with packets of sugar, and even got to pilot a horse during a horse and carriage ride (although I kept on navigating the horse to the right side of the road, while Bermudians drive on the left). I returned to the United States, and proceeded to write a six-page essay on the first day of school about my trip (foreshadowing, much?).
That trip was 17 years ago. I haven’t been back since then because my mother is deathly scared of flying. She barely made it to and from Bermuda when I was seven, and she can’t get on planes anymore. Finally, in 2013, when I graduated from grad school, I told her that I wanted us to go on a cruise to Bermuda. It was a way that my whole family could be together and visit someplace we hadn’t been in so long but loved so much.
So, last week, I was able to be with my family on a 7-day cruise to Bermuda. The cruise experience itself was amazing, and I will write about that soon, but first, let me tell you about Bermuda. I had less than three days to experience Bermuda; I wish I had longer. Here is a breakdown of everything that we did.
Day 1: Horseshoe Bay/Hamilton/The Flatts
Our original plan once we got off the ship was to rent scooters to drive around the island. Scooters would give us unlimited access to the island’s many hard to reach coves. However, ultimately we decided against it. We got so many warnings on the cruise ship about riding the scooters. One person said that every single cruise at least one person gets hurt. His advice turned out to be correct, we saw several people in wheelchairs and covered in bandages from those scooters, so in the end we just bought a combo bus/ferry pass. For $35 you get unlimited ferry and bus access for three days around the island.
The first place we decided to go was the very popular horseshoe bay. Horseshoe Bay is Bermuda’s most famous beach with good reason. It is a beautiful beach, complete with awesome rock formations. If you walk down the beach to the left, you can climb these formations. There are many nooks and cranny’s to explore, each one leaving you more breathless than the last.
After Horseshoe Bay we went over to Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. To be honest Hamilton didn’t really do a lot for me. I didn’t find it particularly beautiful, it wasn’t ugly, just not anything spectacular. We didn’t have much of an attack plan for Hamilton, so we ended up just wandering around but we did get to see some pretty cool stuff, including the Cathedral of the most Holy Trinity. I’m not Catholic, but something about the smell of Old Catholic churches, with their stained glass windows, wooden pews, and elaborate sculptures and depictions of Christ, speak to me.
Par-le-Ville park was next on our jaunt. I liked it because there was a semi-moon gate, which I had been looking for the entire trip. But the sculptures and flowers were a nice site as well. The park wasn’t very big, but it was well kept and serene.
The Bermuda national gallery and the Hamilton City Hall & Arts Center provided us with some welcome air conditioning and a chance to see the work of many local Bermuda artists.
Other than that we just walked along front street, snapping pictures as we went.
Our last stop of the day was at Flatts village. I saw a picture of Flatts village in a travel guide of Bermuda and instantly wanted to go. However, besides a pretty bay, harbor, and houses, there is nothing really in the Flatts. There are no sidewalks, so you have to walk along the road, which is extremely dangerous (drivers in Bermuda are a bit…crazy). We didn’t stay long, just enough to capture a picture replicating the travel brochure, and then we were on our way back to the cruise ship.
Day 2: St. George/Tobacco Bay/Gibbs Lighthouse
Day two in Bermuda was a bit more organized. Day one was not planned, at all, in the slightest. Which, is sometimes a good thing, but sometimes a bad thing. We had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. So I made a conscience effort to study all the guides I had picked up at the local visitor’s center and map out a plan for us. Most of day two was spent in St. George.
St. George is on the exact opposite side of Bermuda from where we were docked, so we elected to take a 45-minute ferry ride as opposed to an hour and a half bus ride. The ferry ride over was an event in itself. The views that we were lucky enough to see stunned me into silence.
St. George was Bermuda’s first town, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The town itself is very quaint, with cute cafés and little shops lining the streets that back up to brightly colored residential houses. One could get lost wandering on all the beautiful little paths.
After spending some time shopping and wandering around, we made our way to Tobacco Bay, only a ten-minute walk from the city center. Tobacco Bay is a great place for snorkeling. I had the chance to see coral and an assortment of different fish that weren’t afraid to come right up to me and nibble on my fingers.
We spent a good bit of time in Tobacco Bay before going back to the cruise ship for showers and dinner. But we weren’t there for long! We headed out again to see Gibbs Lighthouse and a bit of South Hampton.
We had stayed at the South Hampton Princess when we were last in Bermuda, so walking around brought back a lot of memories. We hiked up the hill to the lighthouse and were rewarding with a stunning view of the island, right across the street from the lighthouse.
And of course the lighthouse itself wasn’t bad either.
And on the way back from the bus stop we saw a moon gate! And it was a full moon! It is said in Bermuda that a couple who kisses under and passes through a moon gate will have a long and happy life together.
The night ended with a round of margaritas and laughs at a little restaurant that is right on the way up or down from the lighthouse called Henry VIII.
Day 3: Elbow Beach
Our last day in Bermuda was spent at Elbow beach, and it was my favorite day. The water here is a crystal clear, blue-green color. We spent the day walking up and down the beach, swimming in the ocean, and looking for sea glass on the shore. Lunch consisted of hot dogs and chips purchased from a little stand right on the water. It was a lazy, relaxing day, filled with beauty.
I didn’t want to leave Bermuda, I wanted more time. I felt like I didn’t have the chance to learn a lot about Bermuda’s history. And I didn’t have a chance to interact with the locals. But still, I’m glad that I was able to admire the beauty of the island.
Mom and I are planning another cruise to Bermuda for next year. Maybe instead of a 7-day cruise we’ll choose a longer one.