Stay, Play & Relax: Bermuda Beckons

Steeped in British tradition yet with its own distinctive charm, Bermuda is a fish-hook shaped cluster of islands anchored in the Atlantic Ocean. Less than three hours from the east coast, lovebirds can leave in the morning and be on the beach in the afternoon. From shipwrecks and steel pan to knee socks and golf courses, Bermuda tempts with the brilliant blues of the sea, pink beaches and the pastel-pretty storefronts in Hamilton. Mark Twain said it right when he noted, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”

Pretty in Pink

Photo Courtesy of Bermuda Dept of Tourism

Although many islands lay claim to the purity of their sandy shores, few have beaches that are carpeted in pink sand courtesy of tiny scarlet protozoan and crystalline quartz, a mineral transported via migrating birds.

Beaches along the south shore ooze romance and are amongst the most photographed in the world while favorite slivers in the West End include Astwood Cove where long tail birds nest in the cliffs and newlyweds covet quiet time together. Chaplin Bay is a lovely spot to finish that novel or top up the tan and on the east end, John Smith’s Bay teems with fish easy to spot in the shallow waters.

Guilty Pleasures

Perfecting the fine art of rest and relaxation, the spas of Bermuda are a treasure trove of Caribbean curatives and island-inspired treatments from body scrubs and massages to rub-downs par excellence.  Skilled therapists use grains of pink sand for a wonder scrub that exfoliates the skin to baby softness and eucalyptus to soothe tender muscles and tired feet.  Herb-infused baths with the fragrant aromas of lemon grass, hibiscus and rosemary relax the mind and the body, jojoba hydrates dry skin and natural aloe is celebrated for relief of sunburn. Even rum has its therapeutic benefits with creative masseuses improvising with a splash of the potent brew.

Sitting pretty at Bermuda’s highest point, Fairmont Southampton’s Willow Stream Spa is the largest wellness haven on the island elevating pampering to new heights.   Popular with pleasure-seekers, the spa offers fifteen treatment rooms and an indoor heated pool with a sun deck. Leading the pack of must-haves, the “Hip Honeymooners” treatment combines rose petals and rose oil for a side-by-side sensual massage. Visit www.fairmont.com.

Say I Do

Photo Courtesy of The Reefs

Crowning a limestone cliff overlooking a pink sandy beach, The Reefs welcomes honeymooners, wedding parties and couples celebrating anniversaries with suites that overlook the sea and gourmet fare prepared with flair by new Executive Chef Jason Koppinger.  Adding pizazz to the menus with inspiration from his worldly travels, Chef Jason marries global flavors with fine finesse.  “I am influenced by the flavors of Asian cuisine, which I blend into locally-sourced foods and seasonal offerings,” he smiles zipping around his pristine kitchen, “we are delighted to prepare gourmet feasts for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, intimate dinners for two and everyone else celebrating special events.”

Family-run since 1947, The Reefs boasts a sixty percent visitor repeat rate with couples returning to celebrate anniversaries and other special occasions.  “We love hosting weddings here,” smiles David Dodewell, resort manager, “but we’ll do only one wedding a day because the sunset is too perfect to share with more than one couple.” Visit www.thereefs.com for romance packages.

Have Your Cake & Eat It Too

Custom dictates that Bermudians have two wedding cakes: a plain pound cake covered with gold leaf for the groom and a tiered fruitcake covered with silver leaf and topped with a miniature cedar tree for the bride. The tiny tree is planted on the day of the wedding to symbolize the hope that the marriage will grow and mature like the tree. The rest of the first tier of the bride’s cake is frozen until the christening of the first child.

Retail Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Bermuda Dept of Tourism

With no sales tax, the price you see is the price you pay. On Front Street in Hamilton, Walker Christopher Goldsmith’s stocks a cache of gifts from gold doubloons to silver pieces of eight salvaged from sunken galleons including the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sunk in 1622.

Housed in a historic building at the Royal Naval Dockyard, the Craft Market is chockablock with affordable jewelry, ceramics and glassware designed by local artisans. Easy to get to by ferry and bus, the market is the ideal spot to wile away a sunny Bermudian afternoon and the perfect perch to scour for a gift for your sweetie.

Time Travel

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic town of St. George is world-recognized for the diversity of its former military fortifications. Meander along roads with names like Featherbed Alley and Old Maid’s Lane, peek into pocket gardens bright with frangipani and hibiscus and pick up a few tidbits about island history in one of its many museums.

Housed in the grand Commissioner’s House, National Museum of Bermuda salutes the islands military history with exhibits dedicated to the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and World War II. Worth the climb, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse was built in 1844 to alert ships to the dangerous reefs surrounding the island.  Bring a camera for snaps of the spectacular vistas from the top.

Getting Married in Bermuda

Photo Courtesy of M. Reffes

Couples must file a “Notice of Intended Marriage” with the Registry General, accompanied by a fee of $243, plus $42 for the certificate in the form of a bank draft or money order, not a personal check. Make the draft to “The Accountant General and mail or deliver it in person to the Registry General, Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament St., Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda – www.registrygeneral.gov.bm.

Department of Tourism offices in Atlanta and New York distribute “Notice of Intended Marriage” forms, or you can call 1- 800-BERMUDA and a form will be mailed.

Once the Registry General receives the “Notice of Intended Marriage,” it will be published in any two of the island’s newspapers. Assuming that there is no formal objection, the registry will issue the license 15 days after receiving the notice. Airmailing your completed notice to Bermuda takes 6 to 10 days, so plan accordingly. The marriage license will be mailed and will remain valid for three months.

Make a Date

April – October: At the Royal Naval Dockyard, Snorkel Park Island Beach parties are held every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at 8:30 pm.  Digging into sunset barbecues, sipping potent Rum Swizzle cocktails and dancing the night away are sublime ways to celebrate another day in Paradise. Visit www.snorkelparkbeach.com for more information.

May 1 – 6: Bermuda International Race Week: Top skippers from around the world race in the Great Sound. Spectators welcome. Visit www.GoToBermuda.com.

June 24- 26: Bermuda Billfish Release Cup:  Awards, prizes and parties for game fishermen and their fans. Visit www.bermudareleasecup.com

Click or Call
Click www.GoToBermuda.com or call 1-800-BERMUDA.



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One Response to Stay, Play & Relax: Bermuda Beckons

  1. Takeshi Chiba says:

    We live in North Carolina and often see fare sales to Bermuda but thought
    the island was a bit too expensive for us. After reading this entertaining story,
    my wife and I are reconsidering as we would like to plan an island trip to celebrate
    our anniversary . Thank you for the good ideas .

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