Sunset at Elbow Beach resort
I just returned yesterday from my first visit to this stunning island with a unique location in the Atlantic Ocean (I was lucky enough to stay at the fabulous Elbow Beach resort), and am already planning my next visit! Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. The flights
Total time from takeoff at New York's JFK airport to arrival at LF Wade international airport on Bermuda? 1 hour and 35 minutes! My only complaint? Such a short flight meant that I did not get to see the last 5 minutes of the movie I was watching on the seat-back screen. Ah, I suppose there are worse problems...
Coming back, I flew from Bermuda into Atlanta. Even with headwinds and about 50% more distance to cover, I was still in the air for under 2.5 hours.
For travelers in the Midwest, and especially on the west coast, getting to Caribbean islands can be tedious and time-consuming, often requiring overnight flights or long layovers due to most flights leaving in the morning from the East Coast. But thanks to a couple of evening flights from Boston and New York, travelers coming from further west can easily get to Bermuda the same day with just one simple connection!
2. The Bermudians
From the moment you go through customs and immigration in Bermuda (where the booths sit next to a paneled English fireplace topped with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, natch), you notice the huge smiles and genuine friendliness of the Bermudian people. Rightfully proud of their island, they are welcoming and gracious hosts, full of wonderful stories and information, and from what I could tell, love to share a hearty laugh! And they love their cocktails - making them definitely my kind of people! Which brings us to...
3. The national cocktails
Pick your poison - rum swizzle or dark n' stormy? The former is my personal favorite, but that did not stop me from sampling (for research purposes only, of course) quite a few of the latter as well. Islanders and visitors alike may disagree on where to find the best, and it seems like most locals will say no one makes them like mama, but rest assured that it's hard to find a bad rum swizzle or dark n' stormy anywhere on-island! For my money, dapper, charming Danny at Elbow Beach (see photo above) wins the award for the most delectable rum swizzles (and best stories - he's been at the resort since 1959)!
4. The beaches
I was blown away by the (approximately 63) stunning beaches here! Unfortunately I only got to visit a tiny fraction during my short stay, but that's a great excuse to go back! Warwick/Long Bay was my favorite on the island. With a long stretch of pink sand backed by dramatic rock and lush greenery and lapped by crystal clear turquoise and royal blue water, enough wave action to keep things fun without risking your neck, and portions where I did not see a single soul, what's there not to like? If you climb up over the rocks at one end (there's a little trail as well), you can also reach a tiny grotto in the rocks that acts as a natural swimming pool. A tiny concession rents umbrellas $15+$10 deposit) and sells some simple food items (hot dogs, fries, chicken fingers) and water/soda, but if you prefer your beach day to include beer or rum, be sure to bring your own!
As an island nation, of course seafood tops the list of things to eat in Bermuda. And they do a fantastic job with it - everything from locally caught tuna made into delectable tartare to pecan crusted swordfish, enormous shrimp, and the (elusive but apparently incredibly lobster-like) hogfish. But the restaurant scene in Bermuda offers so much more as well - whether you're in the mood for Italian, French, Asian, English pub grub, or just about anything else, you can find it here! Be sure to check out the Ocean Club at Fairmont Southampton (and request a table next to the railing for incredible views), Lido at Elbow Beach (go early enough to enjoy the sunset from the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows), Sul Verde at Rosewood Tucker's Point (the antipasti buffet and mozzarella bar alone are worth the trip), and Swizzle Inn (a Bermuda institution, now with 2 locations and an especially delicious pizza - aptly named "The Favorite").
View from Ocean Club (with rainbow)