February has ended and now it is March; it is the arctic and it is COLD. For the last several weeks the weather has been around -35C to -40C with windchill as low as -56C. With the weather being so cold, we have been thinking about our warm weather trips that we have done in the past and Bermuda came up as one of our favourite places that we have visited so far. We visited Bermuda in June 2017 and arrived not the usual way but as crew on a sailboat called Sea Dragon.
In our last blog, we left the sailboat Sea Dragon when we arrived in Bermuda and we spent five wonderful days exploring the tiny British Island territory. Bermuda is located in the North Atlantic Ocean and is known for its pink-sand beaches. We ended up seeing almost all the beaches in Bermuda in that short time period and they were all lovely. The best way in our opinion to get around Bermuda is by scooter. Bermuda doesn’t allow tourists to rent cars, only scooters, or you can rent a driver/vehicle; so we did what any crazy tourist would do… we rented a scooter and yes it was crazy and scary (at least for me (Sophia) as the passenger). Every person we met (including my sisters) thought we were nuts; apparently tourists have a bad reputation for doing stupid things on scooters and getting killed. Also, rumour has it that the Canadian Navy several years back abused the scooter rental thing and are banned from Bermuda; go figure, sailors (probably Bos’ns).
We actually travelled around the island in one day and let me tell you that we were exhausted by the end of the day! We based ourselves just on the edge of St. George at a nice one-bedroom studio called Hard-A-Lee which we rented via Bermuda Accommodations. The studio was very beautiful, in a great location and within walking distance to town.
As mentioned, Bermuda is a tiny island; only 56 kilometres (21 square miles) in total land area and because of its location Bermuda has played a crucial naval partner to its allies in past wars. Giving it the nickname, Gibraltar of the West. There are over 17 forts and battery’s and many of the older ones were built to defend against possible Spanish attacks. We did not get to visit them all but Rob may disagree as it felt like we visited at least 2 to 3 a day. But I think he really liked visiting the forts, the batteries and even the Royal Naval Dockyard as it brought some perspective to the islands naval history.
East End: We did not just visit historical sites but also visited old towns, lighthouses and beaches. We started out in the east end of the island in the Town of St. George, Bermuda’s former capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This historic town has centuries-old brick streets and many historical buildings dating from the 1600’s. The most interesting structure in town is the Unfinished Church, which is an elegant edifice begun in the 1870s but it was never completed. So St. Peter’s Church was renovated and remains the oldest Anglican Church in the western hemisphere.
Near St. George, lies Tobacco Bay which is a beautiful beach but for us it was too busy and we preferred visiting St. Catherine’s Beach (next to St. Catherine’s Fort). And apparently, the bay was also deep enough for cruise ships to pass by as they made their way to other islands.
The east end of Bermuda has also the oldest house on the island, Carter House Museum, and many natural settings including Cooper Island Nature Reserve with a cozy beach called Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay, several Crystal Caves, the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo, and the Spittal Pond Nature Reserve . The best part at Spittal Pond is that I got to see the Portuguese Rock which is a memento of a potential Portuguese visit in 1543.
Central: Central Bermuda is home to the capital City of Hamilton, a harbour town known for its blend of global sophistication, vibrant nightlife and local flavour. We visited the town a couple of times as we really liked it (cough… it had a good coffee shop) and of course the other reason was to watch part of the 35th Americas Cup races. The central part of Bermuda also has the Botanical Gardens, Paget March and the Arboretum but we did not visit any of these places. Instead we drove as far west as we could on the northern side of the island in one day and ended up at Stovell Bay, a cove within Bermuda with views of all the reefs to the north of the island. Beautiful!
South: If you are short on time or don’t want to travel too much while visiting Bermuda then south Bermuda is the place to be. We visited the Royal Naval Dockyard and spent several hours walking around the historical site learning all about the important naval history Bermuda played since the 1800’s. We also climbed up Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for panoramic views of the south. I had to cling to the walls to take the photos but it was worth it!
The other best part of south Bermuda is the many beautiful beaches. We visited Church Beach, Horsehoe Bay Beach, Warwick Long Bay and…I can’t remember but I think there were more and we still did not visit them all. We visited Church Beach twice to go snorkelling and I got nipped by some little fishies a few times. The first time it happened, Rob said that he never saw me swim so fast to shore!
As much as we tried, throughout our stay we could not find any good food in Bermuda. Not for the lack of trying but the food wash just plain boring; nothing exotic except for the rum drinks. We eventually found two restaurants that we really liked; Tempest Bistro and The Beach House, both located in St. George. The best bar in St. George was was Wahoo Bistro and Patio and of course we had to try several different rum drinks including Rum Swizzle at Swizzle Inn. We also found a few good coffee places and our favourite coffee places were Rock Island in Hamilton and Conscious Vibes Cafe in St. George.
We definitely enjoyed our time in Bermuda and the weather was great the whole time we were there for our time in June. We were told though that we kept missing the rainstorms that seem to hit St. George when we travelled around the other parts of the island. ~Sophia & Rob