By Megan Murphy, AFAR Ambassador
When you need an East Coast getaway—fast—Bermuda is a fantastic option. It’s closer than the Caribbean, yet offers up the key ingredients of an island getaway: luxurious resorts, locavore restaurants, those famously pink sand beaches, and the most crystal clear turquoise waters I’ve ever seen.
I recently set off on my first adventure to Bermuda and, as you can tell, it won me over—with its beauty, multicultural charm, and convenience. My flight from NYC took less than 2 hours, and I was lying on a powder-soft sand beach (Rum Swizzle in hand) by noon on my arrival day.
Take a cue from my trip for an easy, breezy Bermuda weekend of your own.
DINE & DRINK
Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy has garnered a cult following for its legendary fish sandwich. Do as the locals do, and swing by the no-frills takeaway joint in Hamilton for a highly satisfying lunch: well-seasoned, delicately fried fish piled high with tangy coleslaw on fluffy raisin bread. It’s an exceptionally big sandwich, so arrive really hungry or share with a travel buddy. (It’s a bit of a walk from downtown Hamilton, which could help build that appetite, or a quick cab ride.) Don’t forget a round of ginger beer to wash it down with.
I can sum up my dinner experience at Tom Moore’s Tavern in two words: unique and unforgettable. But it’s worth elaborating on Bermuda’s oldest restaurant, a former home dating back to the 1650s. It features old-fashioned tableside preparations and a menu of elegant French and Continental dishes, such as pan-seared foie gras with figs, pasta carbonara, and traditional Bermuda fish chowder, served with sherry vinegar and black rum. The tavern’s charismatic and longtime owner, Bruno, will welcome you in like part of the family.
Another solid spot is Marcus’, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, where I savored sunset harbor views, original artwork by Andy Warhol and Nelson Mandela, and spiced up fried chicken and waffles. They also offer a Champagne brunch. Need I say more?
When it’s time to unwind, order a Rum Swizzle—Bermuda’s sweet, citrusy, rum-based national drink—ideally at the Swizzle Inn in Bailey’s Bay. You can belly up to any local bar for a traditional Dark 'n Stormy® made with Bermuda’s own Gosling's Black Seal rum, ginger beer, and lime. Cheers!
Exciting excursions and activities are offered across the island. Ocean lovers like myself can take advantage of the Tucker's Point Dive & Water Sports Centre, which can set you up to dive, sail, water ski, paddleboard, or rent a speedboat (my choice) for a cruise around Castle Harbor and snorkeling at a breathtaking private beach. My afternoon boat outing was an absolute blast—a highlight of my trip.
I also really enjoyed heading underground on a discovery tour of Bermuda’s Crystal Caves, incredible natural wonders with beautiful formations of all shapes and sizes.
Bermuda’s stunning scenery extends well beyond the shoreline, though. The town of St. George's is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, settled in 1612, where you can easily spend an afternoon. Visit St. Peter's Church (the oldest Anglican church in the Western hemisphere); test your bravery on a Haunted History Tour; and stop at the Bermuda Perfumery to create a custom fragrance with help from Master Perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone. When it’s time for a lunch break, Wahoo's Bistro serves up locally caught seafood specialties, like its signature wahoo tacos, along with panoramic harbor views.
Enthusiastic recommendations from a few friends led me to Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Hamilton Parish. It’s a sophisticated waterfront resort with a private golf club, two freshwater pools, a picturesque pink sand beach, and dining options including a casual beachside spot and an excellent upscale restaurant, The Point (tip: don’t miss the local wahoo ceviche). The ambiance, amenities, and service impressed all around.
Still, there are other appealing places to stay that caught my attention, from chic boutique hotels like Elbow Beach to historic grand dames like The Reefs Resort and Club. With any luck, I’ll be checking in sometime soon! I’ve caught myself daydreaming about being back in this special place—and while I packed more than expected into three days, I look forward to exploring more of Bermuda on my next visit.