Turquoise waters and 70-degree breezes will have you trading your winter boots for flip flops in Bermuda. With its proximity to the east coast of the U.S., getting to the island is as easy as a quick flight, making it a great long weekend getaway destination. Consider booking travel from January 17 — February 3, when the island hosts Annual Restaurant Weeks, with flavorful cuisine all over the island to replenish your palette. February is also a great time to visit, with annual Spa Month deals on facials, massages, and other treatments to put the zen back in your winter.
Because there’s no better way to taste the flavors of a destination than by consulting a local, AFAR spoke with resident foodie expert Doreen Williams-James on the best island flavors to explore on your winter getaway.
Wild Flavors Abound
Doreen Williams-James of Wild Herbs and Plants of Bermuda grew up on the flavors of her home island. As a child, her father foraged for prickly pear, cassava root, and stinging nettles to keep her and her siblings not only fed—but healthy. “Everything you need to eat, the island of Bermuda offers. And the most vibrant flavors are often the most healing,” says James. “My goal is to connect people with the wild flavors growing all around them. The nettles on their morning walks, the nasturtiums growing in their backyards.”
James founded Wild Herbs and Plants of Bermuda three years ago and offers private walking tours, cooking classes, and tasting events around Hamilton and St. George’s. Her tours begin with the ceremonial blowing of a conch shell and include guided nature walks where she points out edible plants and their healing properties. The experience is rooted in the natural bounty of the four seasons—and no two walks are ever the same. “You can take my tour in the winter and then again in summer and have two completely different experiences,” James explains. “But winter is especially exciting because what’s growing on the island is naturally suited to keep us healthy. Winter’s nasturtiums are extremely high in vitamin C, just in time for cold season.” No matter what time of year you’re lucky enough to take the tour, something amazing will be growing in Bermuda, and Doreen will be mixing it into recipes such as dandelion chocolate-chip cookies and papaya-leaf iced tea.
Culinary Deep Dives
For a deeper culinary dive, James also offers cooking demos in the 16th-century kitchen of St. George’s Historical Society, where she puts a wild spin on historical dishes such as custard pudding, cassava pie, and the island’s signature cocktail, the Rum Swizzle. Since James is also an advocate of a plant-based diet, she makes her own versions of many meat-based Bermudian favorites. “Vegan food has a reputation for tasting bad, people think it doesn’t have any flavor,” she says. “But fresh-picked wild-grown food actually has the best flavor notes.” Aside from the spicy nasturtiums and other delectable bounties you’ll learn about on her tours, James is also wild about Bermuda’s Annual Restaurant Weeks. This is when Bermuda’s best restaurants celebrate the island’s most lauded flavors, from international dishes to Bermudian favorites such as spiny lobster and black-rum fish chowder.
Bermuda is renowned for its pristine waters and seafood, and this is reflected in its culinary scene as well. “You can’t come to the island and not try a traditional fish sandwich served on raisin bread,” James says. “Hamilton’s Art Mel’s does it best.” Another of James’s favorites is the Bermudian codfish, potato, and banana breakfast. This can be found on brunch menus throughout the island, but James recommends Hamilton’s Grotto Bay Beach Resort for the leisurely vibe and ocean views. “This breakfast is how we start our Sundays here,” she says. “Add a dollop of mayonnaise and the day is looking as good as the weather.”
Stunning Natural Spas
And indulgence isn’t limited solely to the island’s cuisine: Bermuda’s Annual Spa Month in February will have you feeling doubly replenished with special offers on a variety of special treatments. From facials to massages and a host of other wellness offerings, the best part of Bermuda’s spas may be there location: many let you appreciate a view of the sparkling turquoise water as you bliss out. Or venture into an underground cave at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort, where candlelight will illuminate stunning natural pools as a masseuse melts away your stress. Check out the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s spa guide to find your perfect version of serenity.
From its tantalizing Restaurant Week offerings to its world-class wellness options, winter is the perfect time to head to Bermuda for a rejuvenating getaway.