|Winter in Bermuda|
The spectacular islands are nearly 800 miles north of the Bahamas, 650 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 800 miles south of New York City.
This 21-mile cluster of islands has a rich history -- dating to the early 1600s -- and is a major international business center for banking and insurance, known as well as a corporate and tax haven.
Yet the misconceptions about Bermuda persist. I recently returned from a winter getaway, and my friends at home expressed surprise at my lack of a tan. I knew in advance this wouldn't be a snorkeling or sunbathing vacation, though. Unlike high season (April-October), winter temperatures in Bermuda are springlike and, to me, ideal. Besides the temperate climate, the best aspects of a winter trip to Bermuda are the smaller crowds and lower costs. You may spend more time soaking in the sun and swimming if you visit in summer, but the humidity and thick crowds can be unpleasant. In contrast, here's what you can expect this time of year: little difficulty snagging prime restaurant reservations, reasonable hotel rates and airfares, easy access to the famous spas and quiet enjoyment of the island's amazing historic sites and beautiful beaches.
Flora and FaunaUpon arriving, the visitors will note the charming uniformity of Bermuda's colorful limestone buildings and distinctive white-terraced roofs, which collect rainwater, the islands' main source of drinking water. The Town of St. George, established in 1612, has a fascinating collection of historic buildings and churches. Hamilton is the island's busy commercial hub. However, don't expect to find bargains among the Hamilton boutiques; Bermuda has steep value-added taxes and is not a duty-free destination (like many Caribbean islands) for U.S tourists. Bermuda hosts two notable art events during the winter. The seven-week
Fortified SightsFor four centuries, Bermuda -- England's sole remaining colony -- played a central military role in defending the interests of British merchants and the Royal Navy, especially against Americans, Spaniards and pirates. Today, many of the island's parks are former forts. At the island's far east end, near St. George, is
Luxe LodgingsLodging in Bermuda falls into four categories: resorts large and small, boutique hotels, cottage colonies and bed and breakfast inns (check out the
|Wallowing at the Willow Stream Spa|
Travel TipsSeven U.S. airlines operate daily flights to Bermuda, mostly from East Coast cities. The cruise line companies that haul hordes of tourists from the U.S. don't operate in the winter months (what a relief). In a recent policy change, U.S. visitors are required to possess passports for entry. U.S. currency, both bills and coins, is accepted and is equal in value to the local currency, the Bermuda dollar. Bermuda has a strong cultural identity and conservative norms. Modest attire is required; many restaurants expect men to wear jackets and ties at dinner, even in the blistering heat of summer.
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