I’ll admit it: I knew little about Bermuda before joining AFAR Experiences there this spring. What I discovered was a beautiful, diverse island just 90 minutes from NYC—in the Atlantic, not the Caribbean—with a unique sense of style and an artistic tradition. Here’s a closer look.
Artists of Bermuda
A key moment that will stay with me was spending the afternoon with Tom Butterfield, founder of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. When I spied his stylish attire, including colorful sunglasses and purple shoes, I knew I’d found a member of my tribe. I was also taken by his stories of the museum’s journey from concept to realization in 2008. It’s well worth a museum visit to admire island scenes by artistic greats including Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe.
I also loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at how a best-selling perfume is bottled with Master Perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone of Lili Bermuda. It was an intimate conversation with a passionate, accomplished but still very humble artist about her work and her life in Bermuda. When you visit Lili Bermuda, I suggest requesting original personalized scents—a meaningful souvenir for the important women in your life.
A trip wouldn’t be complete without one of my favorite activities: shopping. And Bermuda has plenty to offer on that front. I was thrilled to find a huge selection of local artists and designers with a range of products: artwork, jewelry, beauty, home furnishing, prints, and of course, clothing. It doesn’t get much better than a day of leisure shopping on an enchanting island.
The AFAR Experiences programming included a pop-up market with folks from boutiques across the island that are browsing on your next visit. I have fond memories of the ladies of Hamec, a tropical resort wear brand named after the founders’ kids. Their energy and positivity was infectious—some of the sweetest ladies I have met—and super chic! If you’re looking for distinctive island products, I’d also recommend the illustrations of graphic designer Avarie Graham and the body soaps and scrubs of Aura.
Barring language barriers, I have always felt that traveling without having conversations with locals is an unfortunate mistake. You miss out on so much about a place if you don’t talk directly to its people. During AFAR Experiences, we always had locals with us along the way, including the Gosling family (behind Bermuda’s own Black Seal Rum).
Whether they were explaining the inexplicable Bermudian accent, detailing the official length of Bermuda shorts, sharing how they raise their families, giving tips on where they like to brunch on Sundays, talking about the one car per family rule, or revealing how they take their boats out late at night to watch glowfish.
Whatever brings you to Bermuda, I’m confident you’ll find a warm welcome and locals who are happy to strike up a conversation or reveal an insider tip.