There are two things that you should know – right off – about Bermuda: #1 is that it’s relatively close and #2 it’s not in the Caribbean. It takes only two-and-a-half hours to fly from New York City to Bermuda (vs. four-and-a-half hours to fly from New York to Barbados). I’m comparing these two islands because they’re both very British.
A beach in St. George’s parish, Bermuda – photo courtesy of Travel & Leisure
Since Bermuda is situated in the Atlantic Ocean its climate is different from islands in the Caribbean. Be aware of this if you plan to visit during the Christmas season. We went bike riding in Bermuda with shorts and T-shirts, but no swimming – it was too cool for that.
Barbados, which is over 2,000 miles from NYC, is blistering hot in December so wear layers on the plane that can be removed when you disembark. (We were dressed head-to-toe in wool flannel and cashmere. Guess what? Our luggage went to Orly Airport in Paris! That’s a harrowing tale for another time.)
One thing that stands out in my mind about Bermuda was seeing beautiful bright red poinsettias growing outside of homes painted in white or vibrant pastel colors such as pink, green, yellow and peach. Up until I saw this I’d always assumed that poinsettias were only to be found in flower shops and nowhere else.
Of course, with Bermuda, Barbados and Nassau in the Bahamas (also very Brit) you’ll find dishes such a fish and chips (eaten the English way with malt vinegar and mushy peas). Full disclosure: I have never understood the point of peas pulverized to a pulp. Fortunately, this horror is usually served separately so one can push it aside. Or leave it for one of the hungry locals. We once saw a waitress at an outdoor cafe in St. Thomas feed French toast to a little green lizard – he loved it.
In Nassau be sure and sample the conch (pronounced konk) fritters when having a pre-dinner drink. And, if you have a hankering for the Brit version of comfort food then Shepherds Pie with its delicious topping of fluffy mashed potatoes is just the ticket. Also, if you’re in the mood, do take Afternoon Tea between 2:30 and 5:00. Scones with Devonshire clotted cream anyone?
In the April 2018 issue of Travel & Leisure I came across an excellent article, Bermuda, Back in the Groove, by Jacqueline Gifford, the travel director at the magazine. Since she has just made a recent trip to this island I’d like to pass on a few of her tips and suggestions.
SOMEONE ELSE DOES THE DRIVING
Gifford writes, “By law, tourists can’t rent cars in Bermuda. They can, however, ride mopeds, which can be a hair-raising experience, thanks to traffic and twisty roads. There is also the TWIZY, an electric car outfitted with two cockpit-style seats – fun, but it only works if you’re traveling as a couple. I suggest the public bus or taxis, the latter especially for the convenience factor.”
The TWIZY – how cute is this?
FOUR RESTAURANTS TO KEEP IN MIND
Here are Gifford’s dining spots, all recently sampled.
Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio is a casual restaurant in St. George (the main town at the eastern end of Bermuda). It specializes in spiny, clawless Bermuda lobster – sweeter than Maine lobster, but just as incredible with drawn butter and fries.
The Rock (Spiny) Lobster
Art Mels Spicy Dicy is a no-frills storefront outside Hamilton (Bermuda’s main port) that serves fish sandwiches piled high with lightly battered grouper or “wahoo” (in Hawaii this fish is known as “ono”).
Woody’s Sports Bar & Restaurant on Boaz Island has picnic tables and serves its wahoo fish sandwich on raisin bread with lettuce, tomato, fried onions and a delicious tartar sauce.
Village Pantry is in the seaside town of Flatts Village. Gifford says, “This is a winner. We ate fish tacos on the patio while our toddler flirted with two older girls in the yard next door.”
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