Where beachy fantasies finally come true
Please welcome Brette Sember, author of more than 50 books. She blogs about travel, travel shopping and food. When Brette Sember went to Bermuda to celebrate her 25th anniversary, she soon discovered that she might have stumbled upon island perfection.
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Brette’s beautiful Bermuda
I've been to a lot of Caribbean islands (and elsewhere in the world) and confess I still search for the fantasy tropical getaway. You know what I'm talking about – lush greenery and fragrant flowers, soft, isolated beaches with warm air and water, friendly residents and enough to do so that when you tear yourself away from the beach there’s fun to be had. Sadly, the fantasy hasn't become a true reality for me yet.
So many islands are lush, flowering and green ... until you leave the resort. Often the “real” island is bare dirt or scrubby brown grass and houses disintegrating in the tropical air. What’s more, too many islands are not truly friendly and language barriers can be challenging. But now I think I've come close to finding it.
12 reasons Bermuda might be the perfect island
Beaches. I'm a true beach lover and Bermuda's beaches might be the best in the world. The south shore beaches are pink sand. Pink! Because of the coral reefs offshore, tiny bits of pink coral have colored the sand. It has a delicate pink sheen, most visible when it's wet. The sand is soft with no shells, making it perfect for walking or swimming. The water is as clear as glass (stand up to your neck and look down and see your feet!) and from a distance has the most astounding colors of turquoise, blue, and green you’ll ever see.
Sold yet? Wait, there's more. Start at the south shore, just because, and start walking. Paths behind the beaches link them and you’ll discover tiny, private, secluded coves, sheltered by magnificent rock formations. You can easily find a private cove of your own with no one else there to disturb your paradise. As if all of this were not enough, Bermuda also has a sea glass beach – a beach covered with beautiful sea glass.
Locals. I've never felt so welcomed on a tropical island as I did on Bermuda. Since you can’t rent a car, the only transportation options are public (unless you dare rent a scooter). The cab drivers see themselves as tour guides – one even stopped to take our photo at a scenic stop. We found wait staff and shopkeepers to be warm and personable as well. And everyone speaks English, which eliminates struggles to communicate.
Manageable size. At only 24 miles long and 1 mile wide, this is an island you can fully explore in a few days.
Scenery. Bermuda is incredibly green. It's lush and full and there are flowers in bloom everywhere, making the entire island feel like a beautiful garden. To add to this perfection, all the homes on Bermuda are similar in style, painted in lovely pastels with white limestone tiered roofs (used to collect rainwater for drinking). This architecture makes the island feel like a planned community, making it pleasing to the eye.
The island also offers harbors, lakes and little islands inside the harbor. It has more nooks and crannies than an English muffin and provides many opportunities to imagine yourself buying a tiny little private island just a few minutes away from the larger island.
Whistling Frogs. At home in New York state, we’re used to hearing cicadas in the late summer and early fall. In Bermuda, tiny little whistling frogs sing all night, every night, lulling you to sleep with their harmonies. Bliss.
Moon Gates. Throughout the island you’ll find moon gates, rounded entries through walls. These are a special symbol of the island, incorporated in the 19th century based on Asian influences – it’s traditional for newlyweds to walk through a moon gate to ensure good luck. They’re sprinkled throughout the island, often in unexpected places and they secure the island's status as a honeymooning paradise.
Smallest Lift Bridge. We got a kick out of the adorable little Somerset Bridge – the smallest lift bridge in the western hemisphere. No longer operational, the lift part of the bridge is only 22 inches wide, just enough for the mast of a sailboat to fit through. You can stand on the bridge and see where the opening would be.
Variety. Bermuda truly has something for everyone. If you love history, head to the original settlement area of St. George's. Snorkeling, snuba, and scuba as well as fishing abounds. There are two aquariums and a lovely botanical garden, as well as a marsh. The island also boasts the Crystal Cave, a stunning underground cave and lake system. There are plenty of walking trails (some on the old railroad path), swimming spots and a variety of restaurants.
Climate. Because Bermuda is on the same latitude as North Carolina, it has temperate weather. In the winter, the mercury hangs out around 68 during the day but July and August bring mid-80s.
Shopping. Shopping in Bermuda – just enough without feeling overwhelmed. Front Street in Hamilton offers galleries and department stores with a few gift shops. The Dockyard has several talented artisans in residence, t-shirt shops, and a shop featuring items made on the island. If you're eager for more, head to St. George's for perfume makers, galleries and gift shops. The larger resorts also have some shops for exploring.
Unique flavors. An island is not an island without some indulgence, and Bermuda offers this in spades. Enjoy a Rum Swizzle or Dark and Stormy, two unique cocktails of this beautiful place. Bring home some rum cake. Fill up on fresh local fish. Don't miss a few scoops of Bailey's Ice Cream, a way to cool off from the sun.
Convenience. Bermuda is a 2-hour direct flight from New York or Boston and 3 hours from Miami. This beats the plane hopping necessary to see much of the Caribbean. You can be checked into your Bermuda hotel and on the beach with a cold drink before mid-afternoon.
About Brette Sember
Brette Sember grew up fascinated with the treasures her grandparents brought back from their travels as they visited every continent but Antarctica. Her passion for travel includes unique shopping finds, local foods, and breathing in the air of new places. Sember is the author of more than 50 books about food, divorce, organizing, credit, business, pregnancy, parenting, as well as college textbooks. She is also a professional indexer, ghostwriter, and freelancer. She blogs about food, travel, organizing, decorating, and gardens at PuttingItAllontheTable.com. She lives in Clarence, NY with her husband, two children, two golden retrievers and tortoise. Catch up with Brette on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook.