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Just Because it's Bermuda, Don't Assume it's an Onion Ring.


For my their 50th anniversary, Lou and I accompanied my parents to Bermuda to help them celebrate. We stayed in a cottage at the Salt Kettle House bed and breakfast across the bay from Hamilton (the capital). Our cottage was only a 2 minute walk from the ferry dock. The ferry and the buses (and our own little feet) served as the mode of transportation since rental cars are not available on the island. In fact, even residents are restricted to one car per family, due to concerns about pollution.


We arrived in Hamilton around 4pm, unpacked and went straight to the Hog Penny Pub for some dinner. Lou was dying to try the highly recommended fish chowder. After dinner and a quick walk around Hamilton to get acquainted with the city, we thought it best to head back to the cottage and get some sleep so we could begin the next day well-rested.

Of course, Lou's primary concern on any vacation is golf (food is a close runner-up), so he spent his first day in Bermuda playing golf, while Mom and Dad and I shopped in Hamilton and walked up to Fort Hamilton for a great view of the harbor. That night for dinner we ate at the Monte Carlo (a Fancy French Joint.) This is the place where Mom ate the infamous squid "onion ring". Not knowing that the onion ring was really calimari, she woofed it down only to be vexed when we informed her she had eaten squid. I had pumpkin gnocci (terrific) and Lou had an incredible mussel dish. For dessert I had profiteroles with strawberrys and chocolate sauce. I recall that Lou indulged in two desserts, but can't remember what they were.

The next day I took a bus to check out one of the historic houses midway between Hamilton and St. Johns. I also got to spend some time down by the incrediblely blue water (see pictures below). No, I did not alter the color in any way--the water really is that blue!

The third day we spent touring the gardens of The Perfumery, had a drink at the famous Swizzle Inn, and took a walking tour of the city of St. George's (the capital city during Bermuda's early days). The town had the most impressive examples of local architecture on the island. There was an intriguing mixture of Spanish, English and Bermudian architecture. We saw the Town Crier at City Hall, the first Parliament building, St. Peter's Church and the Rectory, as well as the Unfinished Church. Dad and I also took the opportunity to visit Fort St. Catherine, one of the best preserved and oldest of the forts on the island. This is where we saw a huge tropical fish in the bay--we learned afterword that it was probably a Mahi-Mahi (a type of dolphin).

Then came horseback riding! The four of us--some more willingly than others--went on a trail ride that wound through one of the neighborhoods and down by Warwick Long Bay, one of Bermuda's most famous pink beaches. Dad drew an exceptionally stubborn horse named Dino. Both Mom and Dad proved to be fine horsefolk, and even the "city boy", Lou, did just fine. One of the most striking portions of the beach is called Jobson's cove (see below) where our guide told us many of the local families go for a day at the beach.

While Mom and Dad took a day of rest and did some leisurely shopping at the Irish Linen Shop, Lou and I visited Spital Pond Nature Reserve (where we saw a pink flamigo) and the National Botanical Gardens. We also saw Verdmont House and Carter House, both examples of early Bermudian architecture.

On the last day, Lou and I went to see the Gibb's Hill wrought-iron lighthouse and took a stroll along Warwick Long Bay. Somewhere during this mad-capped adventure Mom, Dad and I found time to visit the National Gallery of Bermuda, City Hall, the Anglican Church, eat meat pies in Victoria Park (famous for its enormous gazebo) and mail some postcards from Perot's Post Office.

For Mom and Dad's big anniversary dinner we took them to Waterloo House, one of the most recommended restaruants on the island. I had foie gras and a lamp chop (superb) and everyone else had beef or pork. As a lovely touch, there was live piano music in the dining room and Dad requested "It Had To Be You" for Mom. For dessert we managed to save enough room for a pear tart in puff pastry and a glass of soutourne. All in all, one of the top five meals we have ever had.

We took our trip during the "shoulder season", which was great because accomodations were more reasonably priced, and the attractions much less crowded. If you are looking to go scuba diving, April is probably a bit too chilly. Keep in mind that no matter when you visit Bermuda, eating out is always going to be very expensive. Take advantage of eating in when possible. Depending on how leisurely you like your vacations, 7 days is plenty in Bermuda--since the island is only 22 miles square, we nearly exhausted our sightseeing possibilities in a week. But we had an amazing trip!


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