Saturday, February 18, 2012

Off Peak Travel – Bermuda

Jenni and I just returned from our second trip to Bermuda. We found a great deal through Groupon, the ubiquitous coupon company. What would’ve been an out of reach vacation during Bermuda's high season turned out to be just right for February. Sure the winds were blowing and the beaches were empty, and maybe there was just a hint of the Shining at our nearly abandoned resort, but we were on a first name basis with the staff and the pool was all ours. “Table for two, Mr. Benson?” “Why yes, Augustine, that would be lovely.” To be honest it turned out to be one of the best travel experiences that we’ve had.
Though traveling in the off season can have its ups and downs, if you’re looking for savings and you don’t mind a few inconveniences, it can’t be beat. Bermuda, might be cool in the winter, but it certainly isn't cold by Midwestern USA standards.

We were 2 of only 15 guests staying at the sprawling Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa. The staff did a great job making us feel welcome and provided us with topnotch and personalized service. When we checked in we were told our room had been upgraded to an ocean view suite. Though a breakfast buffet had been included in our deal, with so few guests, we were told we could order from the menu at no charge. They also seemed more than happy to have the kitchen create vegetarian meals for us.

Besides the lucky fringe benefits we received from the resort, the best part of our trip was having time to talk to Bermudians. On our way down to catch the bus to Dockyard a nice couple picked us up and gave us a lift. After asking us where we were from, the woman told us she was heading to Chicago for a conference in a couple weeks. She asked me what the weather would be like. She was afraid it would be too cold. I recommended she purchase a coat. Then while waiting to catch the ferry to Hamilton, Jenni and I hung out in the visitor’s center talking to the woman who worked there. She was a friendly, part time gospel singer when she wasn’t selling souvenirs. She shared a whole slew of information about island life and a healthy amount of gossip as well. And it was like that time and time again. 

Though this was just a short getaway; we had a great time relaxing in Bermuda. We putted on our lonely putting-green, took afternoon tea, walked down the low walled lanes of Somerset village, and meandered around Hamilton to our heart’s content. We also took advantage of the Cambridge Beaches Spa and had our share of rum swizzles beneath the clouds. It was a nice off-peak break.

Highlights: juice n' beans - vegetarian restaurant in Hamilton. The Frog and Onion Pub - Pub grub in Dockyard. Fort Scaur, one of Bermuda's many forts, along the Railway Trail.
Resources: Moon Guide: Bermuda, Rosemary Jones

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Jenni and I took off for a quick visit to Bermuda in February. The trip wasn't about seeing everything and being on the go. This one was more about taking some time, relaxing, and wandering around. We confined most of our trip to Somerset Island in Sandys Parish, but we made it down to Dockyard a couple times and caught the ferry into Hamilton for bite to eat at Juice 'n Beans cafe and the Hog Penny Pub. Not much happening in Bermuda in February, so its a great opportunity for off-peak deals. More on that later. Meanwhile enjoy some nice photos of the ocean. 
Bermuda has a rocky coast, with a 280 mile square-mile reef platform. Home to hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries, it's no wonder Bermuda was 'discovered' by shipwrecked English colonists. The water was a bit too chilly for me this time, but I was brave enough to snorkel the last time I was here, November 2009.
It's funny to hear the sound of the surf crashing on the beach punctuated by roosters crowing first thing in the morning. But you get used to it.

The Clocktower building in the Royal Naval Dockyard. Once part of the islands' defenses Dockyard contains shops, a cinema, museums and restaurants and the popular Dolphin Quest interactive experience.
Pastel cottages at Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa
I spent a morning walking a paved section of the 22 mile long Railway Trail
Another shot of Bermuda's rocky shoreline and the reef beyond.