travel journal: discover the world
'You go to heaven if you want - I'd rather stay here in Bermuda.' So gushed Mark Twain in the 19th century, and Bermuda's promise of sun and sea still lures vacationers to its shores. These days celebs like Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones call Bermuda home, and millionaire executives pop over for a little R&R. The island makes for a delightful getaway vacation from the hustle and bustle of the office. If you're looking for peace and quiet, Bermuda has pampering resorts to soothe your mind, body, and, soul. Romantics will find atmospheric inns with four-poster beds and candlelight dining. Or perhaps you want to really let loose. Jump on a motor scooter and let the wind whip through your hair. Go out on the town and dance the night away in the seaside capital, the City of Hamilton.
The island is surrounded by a fantastic coral reef that harbors colorful fish unlike anywhere else, and has ensnared scores of shipwrecks, making for memorable diving and snorkeling at spots like Elbow Beach in Paget Parish. Elsewhere, the crystal-clear waters of Southampton Parish provide perfect conditions for kayaking and yachting. The offerings on land are splendid as well. You can play a round at a world-class golf course with sweeping views, hike peaceful trails and sunbathe on glorious pink-sand beaches. Or stroll the crooked streets of the colonial settlement of the Town of St. George, Britain's oldest surviving town in the New World, which is so well preserved it's been made a World Heritage site.
Bermuda boasts a balmy climate that's comfortable all year round and friendly people who readily strike up conversations with strangers. And there's plenty of distinctive local color as well, from a landscape of tidy pastel houses to dapper businessmen dressed in Bermuda shorts. Don't forget to pick up a pair for yourself!
Kings Wharf (your port) & surrounding area
Royal Naval Dockyard (generally referred to by cruise lines as King's Wharf) is home to two docks: King's Wharf and Heritage Wharf. This area makes up one of Bermuda's three ports (which also include Hamilton and St. George's), and it's the port of choice for larger ships calling on the island. Located at the West End of Bermuda on Ireland Island in Dockyard Parish, the port was built for the British Navy as a base between Halifax and the West Indies. The Georgian-style fort later served as a North Atlantic base during both World Wars. Finally abandoned in 1951, its reincarnation gives visitors plenty to do and see, what with the National Museum of Bermuda, the Arts Centre and the Bermuda Craft Market. The parish's isolation is part of its charm, and it translates to romance and privacy with significant others.
King's Wharf is rich in naval history with an endless array of activities for all ages, be it culture, water sports, good food, shopping or kicking back at the beach. In addition to galleries, craft markets and museums, you can include world-class golf courses, parasailing, scuba-diving and dolphin swims on the short list of things to do. Trek up nearly 200 steps to the top of historic Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton; then follow it up with a listen to the lovely Gregorian chants of three nuns inside a teensy 1620 chapel at the Heydon Trust in Somerset. Shop at the Clocktower Mall, or pick up a scrumptious rum cake at the Bermuda Rum Cake Company, hop a ferry to anywhere, or stroll through the Arts Centre to view the works of Bermuda's premier artists.