Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Heard the news about Ted Kennedy? Of course you have, although you probably haven’t heard how the now deceased U.S. senator spent his younger days on Bermuda’s pink shores. When he wasn’t fighting for human rights, championing health care, or captaining his beloved 50-foot sailboat the Maya, he was here enjoying the very things that make Bermuda such a wonderful place to visit. There was the 1990 stay when he popped up at a Ziggy Marley concert at the Bermuda Athletic Association (go Teddy!) and according to Frommer’s Boston, he was a frequent patron of the Swizzle Inn in Bailey’s Bay, no doubt sipping one of its potent house drinks. Like the Clintons he would relax at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa, a swanky hotel tucked away on Bermuda’s west end and it’s been reported that he and his first wife Joan liked to stroll the beach at Horseshoe Bay. Sounds like a lovely tour to me. In fact when my family paid me a visit just a few weeks ago, that was pretty much our itinerary to a tee (minus the reggae concert, of course). Wanna party like Teddy? Check out this deal from Cambridge Beaches: The resort is offering 25 percent off four-night stays through December 31, but you have to book by September 18. That means luxurious rooms that normally sell for $605 per night are on sale for around $345—still pricey but a hefty discount nonetheless. You’ll have a king sized bed, marble bathroom with whirlpool tub, and your very own private patio with endless ocean views—probably just the way Teddy liked it.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
According to this article in today’s New York Times, Asian automakers were the big winners in last month’s Cash for Clunkers program—officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, the U.S. program offered a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate to people who traded in an old car for a new one with higher fuel economy. Considering automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan specialize in fuel-efficient compact and sub compact models, it’s no wonder more than 41 percent of cars sold in the U.S. last month were made in Asia. Who knew Bermuda was so ahead of the curve? Spend any amount of time on the island and you’re bound to notice a distinct difference between cars on the road here as opposed to those on any U.S. highway. In Bermuda folks drive tiny cars. If ever a sub-sub-compact class went on the market, they’d get scooped up faster than Usain Bolt at the Olympics. And the vast majority of cars in Bermuda are Asian made. Just last week my wife and I bought our own Asian made vehicle—a five-door Daihatsu Charade (see above). It’s probably the best car I’ve ever owned (Full disclosure: The others were pretty sad, actually. There was a 1988 Hyundai Excel, my very first car bought in high school; a 1980s model rusted-out Subaru I bought in St. Croix, U.S.V.I, for $400 cash; and a Mazda B2200 baby-blue pickup truck that needed a firm smack from a hammer just to get started). At any rate the Daihatsu rides like a dream and best of all, it’s totally fuel-efficient. Considering gas costs a whopping $7 a gallon here in Bermuda, that may be the best news of the day.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
According to CNN, Hurricane Bill is about 425 miles south of Bermuda with tropical storm conditions expected for the weekend. It’s hard to tell just by looking outside—after all, it’s another beautiful day here in Bermuda—but there are indeed signs that a big storm is on the way. Just this morning I stopped at Church Bay to peek at the ocean on the island’s south shore. Long lines of waves were crashing in, chest-high rollers my surfer buddies back home would’ve loved to paddle out in (see above). It’s crazy. On any given day that bay is totally flat. We’ve had ominous thunderstorms too—deep clangs from dark clouds that seem to shake the Earth. There are less natural indicators too, like the front-page headlines from the Royal Gazette, our local newspaper. Yesterday’s was “Island Prepares for Hurricane Bill,” with repeated recommendations from the Bermuda Weather Service to buy water, canned goods, flashlights, and more. The radio’s been abuzz too, with hourly updates on the storm’s progress and public service announcements regarding ways to stay safe. And I already told you about the scene at the hardware store—lots of panicked shopping. So consider myself warned. I’ll be spending my Friday morning taking in patio furniture, taping up the windows, and making sure we’ve got the essentials: Water, flashlights…rum. I think it’s time for a dark n' stormy.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last week I told you about JetBlue’s All-You-Can-Jet pass, basically a ticket for unlimited travel wherever the airline flies for $599 (not including taxes and fees for international flights, which means about $57 for a roundtrip flight to Bermuda). Today’s deal is from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, more specifically, the Fairmont Southampton on Bermuda’s beautiful south shore (see above). For a limited time the hotel is booking rooms for $99 a night for travel good until March 31, 2010 (some blackout dates apply). The catch? You’ve gotta book by August 22. That means you’ve got about four days to decide when you’d like to visit Bermuda’s powdery pink sand. The $99 rate will buy you a moderate room (meaning no view); $139 will get you a Fairmont room (partial views of the golf course and/or harbor); and $169 will put you in a Deluxe room (with full views of the golf course and/or harbor), all of which don't include taxes and fees. It’s a Cinderella deal but don’t delay. On Saturday at around 11:50pm EST that chariot will surely turn into a pumpkin. For booking information go here or call (888) 920-7077 and ask about the $99 for 99 hours promotion. Happy travels!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Frequent flyers rejoice! JetBlue just announced its brand new All-You-Can-Jet Pass, a ticket available for purchase now through August 21 good for unlimited travel between September 8 and October 8. Yes, you read right—unlimited travel to and from anywhere JetBlue flies. For all you Bermudaphiles out there, that means you can fly from New York City and Boston as much as you’d like for an entire month for the price of two roundtrip tickets. The catch? International flights don’t include taxes and fees, but after a little checking around I’ve learned that Pass holders would pay $57.77 on a roundtrip flight to Bermuda from Logan or JFK airports. Not bad considering the mid-Atlantic island is only a ninety-minute flight from the east coast. Interested? Get the details here.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
According to this report in yesterday’s BusinessWeek, Bermuda’s economy is looking bleaker than ever: Visitors are down 12%, tourism spending is off by half, and worst of all, the country’s financial service industry—the bread and butter of long-term economic health—is being threatened by proposed anti-tax-haven legislation in Washington. I’m not worried about tourism numbers, after all, what leisure travel destination hasn’t been effected by the global economic downturn? But it’s that last part that really has corporations concerned (and others, like Tyco and Accenture packing its bags altogether). The biggest stink is over the Neal Bill—introduced by Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in July, the proposed bill would limit the ability of U.S. companies incorporated in Bermuda to shelter overseas profits. This includes limiting tax deductions by major reinsurance affiliates, which would no doubt cause major damage to the local finance-dependent economy. I’ve never been one to publicly go to bat for the corporate dollar, but these companies are a big reason why Bermuda is such a special place to live. Tax deductions mean profit and profit means incentives—basically huge reinvestments in island infrastructure, education, and community outreach. Without these local tax loopholes the flow of cash would largely be cut off and that’s no good for Bermuda. For the island’s sake, here’s hoping President Obama and the other folks in Washington agree.
Monday, August 10, 2009
There’s been much ado about four suspected terrorists who were recently transferred from the federal prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to their new homes here in Bermuda. I’ll spare you the details of their arrival and tales of the parliamentary protests that followed, but by all accounts it looks like the island’s newest ex pats have settled in quite nicely. Last week the New York Times reported the four men now have jobs as groundskeepers at Port Royal Golf Course—not a bad gig considering they’ll be clocking in on one of the most beautiful public courses in the world. Check out the sixteenth hole for example (see above). It just doesn’t get much prettier than that. Whether the community at large accepts these men into daily life has yet to be seen, but I for one applaud the decision to give them jobs at this public gem of a course. Nothing builds pride and self-confidence quite like a good day’s work and it seems the Uighurs will be getting just that, one ocean view hole at a time.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Apologies for the brief hiatus, however I’m hoping this oh-so-cute picture of my nieces enjoying the Bermuda aquarium is reason enough for you to forgive my lack of writing. Why the delay? You guessed it: I’ve been entertaining family from out of town—a six-day, beach-hopping, face-stuffing stint that proved to me Bermuda is yet indeed a wonderful place for families. Did you hear that all you nay-sayers? I’m talking to you authors of Fodor’s Bermuda. When I first moved here three months ago I read a page in said guidebook that declared Bermuda not kid-friendly because “there isn’t a single water park on the island.” Huh? Last I checked the south shore was chock full of them; I think they’re called beaches. Horseshoe was a hit, Elbow didn’t disappoint, and Long Bay, with its natural rock outcroppings and powdery sand was spectacular as ever. The book also lamented the lack of rental cars, adding how difficult it was for families trying to get around. Sure, we paid a bit more than we wanted for taxis here and there, but nine times out of ten we were greeted by a kindly cabbie who happily escorted us on our way (not to mention, my niece, Isabel, loved the bubble gum colored busses which run frequently and cover much of the island). Entertaining guests also allows you to be a tourist in your own home, something I enjoyed whole-heartedly during subsequent visits to the aquarium and Bermuda’s famed crystal caves. The kids loved them too, which is exactly the point. Bermuda might be for deep-pocketed sun-seekers, but it’s without a doubt well-suited for families searching for a break from the norm. I just can't wait to do it all over again.