As someone who’s been lucky enough to spend more than my fair share of time on exclusive islands around the world, and more specifically, summer getaway destinations in the Northeast—Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, coastal Maine, and the Hamptons—a recent trip to Bermuda has rocked my world.
In fact, I’m going to come right out and say it. Bermuda is simply the ultimate (and easily accessible) island escape for anyone who lives on the east coast. And it’s a must-visit destination for everyone else. Here’s why.
First of all, flights on all the major airlines from the East Coast are quick and affordable. And Bermuda is the only island that combines English sophistication, a temperate climate, and impossibly blue water that’s only a short 2 hour flight from NYC, Boston, or Washington DC!
And in addition to the famous pink sand beaches, exclusive golf courses, high-end resorts, and shopping that this tiny island has always been known for, it’s also the site of the 2017 America’s Cup (going on now) and is way more hip, and active, and exciting than you’d ever imagine.
In fact, the refreshing “hipness” of Bermuda became apparent when I saw the Jeff Koons mirrored sculpture “Monkey (Blue)” hanging over the fireplace in the lobby and the other modern art at the newly remodeled Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, before I’d even checked in. The hotel also features fanciful work by Andy Warhol, Banksy, and other well-known contemporary artists that complemented the water view from the balcony in my comfortable room overlooking the marina perfectly.
The art was a wonderful surprise, but I’d come to Bermuda for more active pursuits starting with the 75-minute jet ski tour we embarked on almost immediately after we got there. Our guide brought us out to the wreck of the H.M.S Vixen where the water was teeming with fish, and speeding around the west end on a jet ski was a great way to get oriented to the island.
Bermuda is also a well-known destination for sailors, but now that the Cup competition is in full swing, Bermuda is the absolute epicenter of all that is “hip” in the ultra-exclusive world of high-performance hydrofoil sailing.
The America’s Cup may be ubiquitous, but I also saw firsthand that Bermuda has way more to offer, especially if you’re into exercise and endurance sports other than sailing. So, if you’re into stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), Surf SUP Bermuda in Somerset can rent you a board and a paddle.
If you’re into bike riding, there were plenty of serious, lycra-clad-local cyclists riding on Bermuda’s narrow and hilly roads (usually in groups early in the morning), but I found the ride we did on rented mountain bikes along a portion of Bermuda’s Railway Trail (that runs along secluded trails almost the entire length of the C-shaped island) was much more conducive to safety and sightseeing.
And if you are one of those crazy people who are into Tough Mudder-type obstacle course racing, Bermuda has you covered there too. After getting acquainted with part of the Bermuda Triple Challenge obstacle course that runs through the island’s stunning South Shore Coastal Nature Reserve I can report two things: 1. Running through beach sand and climbing over plywood obstacles is wicked hard. And 2. The Bermuda Triple Challenge may be the most aesthetically beautiful obstacle course race in the world!
Thankfully, Bermuda is also home to more than a few spas, and any of the soreness I acquired during our runs, and rides, and SUP tours, and workouts with America’s Cup teams disappeared after my wonderfully restorative deep-tissue massage at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Southampton.
And last but not least, no trip to Bermuda would be complete without a discussion of Bermuda’s national drink. The Rum Swizzle. Bermudians love their “Swizzle.” It’s made with Bermuda-based Goslings Rum and most of the locals have their own distinctive recipe. You’ll just have to go and try one for yourself. You won’t regret it.