Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Judging by the many needles a certain North Carolinian pine tree is currently shedding in my living room I'd say Christmas is officially over. But that doesn't mean we have to stop partying. Have no fear, New Year's Eve is here! So what do folks in Bermuda do to celebrate the champagne-soaked night? Many of us head to the City of Hamilton where we watch a giant illuminated onion plunge to the ground at the stroke of midnight. Yes, you've read correctly. This is no Waterford crystal ball, ala New York's Times Square. It's an onion. More specifically, a Bermuda onion, which if you're wondering is sweeter than most and in fact, makes an excellent bowl of onion soup. The Bermudian tradition began in the east end town of St. George's 13 years ago but dwindling budgets moved it to the island's capital in Hamilton, where apparently, it's inspired other towns to do the same. Case in point: Easton, Maryland, where the blue crab-crazy population now drops a giant illuminated crab, a ceremony invented after two of its residents saw the onion drop to the ground while vacationing in Bermuda. That's it above, and I've gotta say, it's an inspiring sight. Go Easton! And to everyone else out there, Happy New Year! Here's to great things in 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Bermuda

From my fireplace to yours—Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bob Hope in Bermuda

It's Christmas Eve, so I'm reaching into the way-back machine and grabbing a Bermuda Shorts classic. Remember this one? Bob Hope and Dixie Carter singing Silver Bells on Front Street? If you haven't seen it yet then get ready for a Bermudaful holiday treat. The legendary actor, comedian and vaudevillian came to Bermuda in 1990 with friends Dixie Carter, Loni Anderson and Joan Van Ark to shoot a one-hour Christmas special. What resulted was an entertaining and somewhat comical program with Bermuda very much in the holiday spotlight. Go ahead, click the video—just make sure to stay tuned until the 44 second and 1:47 mark when "it's Christmastime in the city," magically becomes "it's Christmastime in Bermuda." And for those of you who want more, don't miss this video where Bob and friends reenact the fateful arrival of Sir George Somers to Bermuda's shores in 1609. It's classic Hope, filled with one-liners, double entendre and clever word play, Like this:

Sir George Somers (Bob Hope): Is there anyone around here besides you?

Princess Lydia (Loni Anderson): Well, just an Indian Tribe. They're called the Hellawi Tribe.

Stranded Settler (Joan Van Ark): How do they know where we are?

Princess Lydia (Loni Anderson): They don't even know where they are. They just run around and say, 'Where the Hellawi?'

You can thank me later.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Now Playing: Tree Frogs!

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to love Bermuda at Christmas—Dunkley’s Dairy eggnog, scooter-driving Santas, a two-story Michael Jackson in colorful lights—suddenly another one bubbles to the top. But of course, I can’t take all the credit for my latest discovery. I found today’s gem on a website called Topless Robot, and no, it’s not what you think it is (although it's worth noting that the site is devoted to "nerd news, humor and self-loathing." Go figure). That said, check out yesterday’s post by blogger Ethan Kaye who lists 10 Totally WTF Christmas Albums. It’s really quite humorous, especially when you get to number seven: Jingle Bermuda Tree Frogs (yes, that’s the actual album cover above). Writes Kaye, “See, Bermuda tree frogs in nature are loud, chirping things that are like crickets mixed with cicadas, but beach-style. Every track has a nice carpet of Bermuda tree frogs chirping tunelessly while musician ‘Duane D’ plays some weak standard on his keyboard over top of them. If Hell exists, and they have taste, there's a special room for ‘Duane D’ and his goddamn tree frogs.” Ouch. But he does have a valid point, especially after giving Deck the Halls a quick listen on iTunes. I’m not sure where Duane D is these days—and I have no clue who John, George, Paul and Eddy are; frogs with names? real people?—but let just hope they've all moved onto bigger and better things.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas?

This will be my second Christmas in Bermuda and the one thing I’ve noticed is the decidedly un-PC holiday greetings flying around the island. This, I should point out, is a good thing. Go shopping in Hamilton, heck, go shopping anywhere in Bermuda and test it out for yourself. Nine times out of ten you’ll be met with a festive “Merry Christmas” rather than the oh-so-politically-correct “Happy Holidays” now so prevalent throughout corporate and commercial culture in the United States. Which begs the question: Why do Americans deprive themselves of the Christmas spirit? The easy answer is the foundation on which the country was built—that it’s not a Christian nation, but a nation made up of many religions. This, I should point out, is also a good thing. But if my Jewish friends said “Happy Hanukkah” to me in early December, I’d reply with a polite “shalom” and be on my merry way. I wouldn’t be offended. Point is, I actually like people sharing their respective beliefs with me, even if they’re in casual conversation. Here in Bermuda churches of all faiths cover the landscape—Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, you name it. There’s an often-repeated (but not quite confirmed) fact that Bermuda has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world. The island is very much a Christian nation, so why not say Merry Christmas when shopping in town? For someone who enjoys the holiday season as much as I do, it’s actually refreshing that December not be veiled in PC rhetoric. So to all of you reading out there, wherever you are and whatever you may be celebrating the season, a hearty Merry Christmas to you. And yes, that indeed is me and Santa clutching our scooter helmets. Only in Bermuda, folks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What The Frack?

Positioned nearly 650 miles off the shores of North Carolina, Bermuda isn't really known for an abundance of natural gas. After all, its an archipelago of volcanic islands in the middle of nowhere. The best hope Bermuda has for producing sustainable energy is capturing the sun or harnessing the wind, which by the way is blowing like gangbusters right about now. Seriously folks, hold onto your hats! But I digress. As many of you know Tuesday brings with it a focus on all things outdoors including adventures, experiences and everything that is the life outside. On today's installment of This Way Out—my Outside Television blog for all you wondering—I'm talking about hydraulic fracturing. Ya know, the controversial natural gas drilling practice that's contaminating water sources across America (and throughout the world). New York's governor recently ordered a temporary moratorium on fracking, something I argue is a good thing. If you agree, or even if you don't, click on over to What The Frack? on Outside Television and give it a read. And to learn more about the ugly truth of hydraulic fracturing—namely, how folks who live near natural gas wells can light their tap water on fire—watch the trailer for the film Gasland above and stay tuned until the very end to see some shocking footage. In the meantime I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming. Happy reading!

Friday, December 17, 2010

At Least We've Got Rainbows...

This may come as a surprise to our friends in the chilly northeast but it does indeed get cold here in Bermuda. Even record breaking cold! According to the Bermuda Weather Service, the island recorded its lowest temperature of the year yesterday when the mercury plummeted to a chilly—wait for it, wait for it—50 degrees Fahrenheit! That beats the previous December low by seven whopping degrees since the old record this month was 57 degrees, set in 1971 (and before that in 1955 and again in 1962). I know, it doesn’t sound very bone-chilling but you try getting on the back of a scooter in 50 degree, rainy, windy weather and see how you feel after a thirty-minute ride, okay? And then of course there’s the wind chill, a factor a Bermuda Weather Service meteorologist said would easily cause islanders to reach for a sweater. “Wind chill is not generally considered significant at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and therefore not officially calculated,” he said. “But, considering the current 25 knot winds at 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, it would feel like 42-49F.” See, 42 degrees. I told you it was cold! And even though we’re nowhere near the chilliest day on record—44 degrees Fahrenheit on February 27, 1950—it’s hard to remember when I could ride my scooter while wearing shorts and T-shirt and still be toasty. Ahh well, rest assured Bermuda’s sunny skies will indeed be returning soon. And hey, at least I don’t have to shovel any snow this weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In The News

The year is quickly coming to a close, which means year-end “best of” lists will be popping up everywhere long before you’re clinking champagne flutes at midnight. Tis the season, I suppose. The most interesting one I’ve seen thus far has been The 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010 (one of my favorites is from @BPGlobalPR, a satire-laden feed created in response to the Gulf Coast oil spill: “Catastrophe is a strong word, let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie daisy”). But of course we’re here to talk about Bermuda so let’s delve into the latest list from Travel+Leisure, its annual World’s Best Hotels list, which was released this week and features the world’s 500 greatest hotels. With a total score of 89.08 out of a possible 100, The Reefs Hotel & Club was selected for the eighth time, this being the fourth year in a row for the beloved Southampton resort (that's the hotel's "Travel+Leisure Terrace," where you can dine next to the ocean). Also on the list, Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa, which is making its T+L World’s Best debut with a score of 90.59. Considering the magazine also chose luxurious Caribbean stalwarts like Antigua’s Curtain Bluff Resort and Cap Juluca in Anguilla, Bermuda is indeed in very good company.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now Playing: Mountainfilm in Telluride

Bermuda is well known for its powdery pink sand beaches and its world-class golf courses, but did you also know that the island mid-Atlantic island also hosts a world class film festival every March? Next year the Bermuda International Film Festival begins on March 19 and plans to feature independent documentary films of all kinds. So why the sudden interest in movies? Mainly because I'm particularly jazzed that my show, Outside Film Festival: Mountainfilm is now airing every week on Outside Television. If you're interested in watching some truly groundbreaking films, then check out my short recap of this week's picks on my Outside Television blog This Way Out and read Now Playing: Mountainfilm in Telluride. One of my favorites? Throw Down Your Heart, a film that follows American banjo virtuoso Bela Flek on his journey to Africa to explore the roots of the banjo (watch the film's trailer). And for those that don't yet have Outside Television go here to watch a few of my interviews that appear on the show. In the meantime I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

Here's one of the best reasons why summer in Bermuda is way better than the chilly winter months: Cliff jumping. Of course one could always dive from an 80-foot-high cliff in December, but let's just say the reception once in the water isn't as pleasant. Care to see some of Bermuda's high-flying adventurers take the plunge from cliffs, bridges and towers across the island? Then check out this super-cool video shot entirely in Bermuda this summer. As one of the jumpers notes half-way through you don't train for stuff like this—you just drink, which is clear since most of them are clutching Heinekens throughout the shoot. Turn up your speakers, sit back and enjoy. And for even more cliff-jumping goodness check out this other video from Burnt House Hill Productions. You can thank me later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

On Holiday

Although beloved in Bermuda and quite successful on the international reggae circuit, Collie Buddz has never been my cup of tea. The Bermudian singer has long performed dance hall reggae, a louder style of music known to attract fans unleashing the full fury of handheld air horns at live concert events. Don't believe me? Google it. But those who know me know that I like to focus on the positive—and what’s more positive than a song about quitting your job and taking a tropical vacation? That’s why I’m loving Collie Buddz’ newest video, which was shot entirely in Bermuda and has a surprisingly good song to back it up. And no, it’s not dance hall. Called Holiday, the song (and video) is Collie’s latest single, released to the masses on Wednesday. Catchy and quite listenable, it’s actually one of my new favorite Collie Buddz tunes even though I’m convinced his accent was stolen from Kingston, Jamaica but that’s a different story altogether. Check out the video above and marvel at some of the beautiful landscape that is Bermuda including shimmering pink sand beaches and blue-water boat trips. Need a holiday yourself? Remember, the island is only two hours away from most east coast gateways. Happy listening!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In The News

This just in from AirTran Airways, a low-cost carrier known for its rock-bottom fares: Starting next spring the airline will begin seasonal service to Bermuda from Baltimore and Atlanta. That means travelers in the Baltimore/Washington area can easily fly to the island from April 7 through October 24 and sun-seekers in Atlanta can eschew Delta’s high-priced fares from May 26 through September 6. The move adds a sixth destination to AirTran’s international lineup including Aruba, Cancun, Montego Bay, Nassau and Punta Cana. All good news indeed, especially since there has been much speculation about what airline may follow suit, namely Southwest since the low-fare king plans to buy AirTran for $1.4 billion. So, will Southwest be the next airline to fly to Bermuda? Consider this: The new AirTran routes depart from Baltimore—a major Southwest hub—meaning the airline could connect flights from other cities including New York and Boston to its new Bermuda service. Considering the move would vastly undercut fares from JetBlue, Continental and American, all of which currently serve the island from the northeast, this latest announcement may indeed be checkmate for the legacy carriers to the island.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remembering John Lennon...In Bermuda

It was 30 years ago today when John Lennon was murdered outside of his New York City home. The former Beatle would’ve been 70-years-old if he were still alive but that doesn’t mean we can’t remember his spirit—or all the time the iconic musician spent in Bermuda. That’s right, folks: Where else do you think he got that groovy T-shirt? Lennon’s time on the island is well-documented, including the CNN reports John Lennon: Living in America and Losing Lennon: Countdown to Murder, both of which discuss a sailing trip the singer took to Bermuda from Rhode Island in the summer of 1980 aboard the 43-foot sloop Megan Jaye. “They got in this big old storm,” said music producer Jack Douglas who told CNN about Lennon’s trip. “This old sailor got really sick. He told John to take the wheel. Torrential rains and waves pounded the boat. Right after this transformative, emotional and physically exhilarating experience on the sailboat he arrived [in Bermuda] with this quiet and this space and it all came through him. John Lennon started making music again.” Making music indeed. After renting a home in Fairylands—a small neighborhood in Pembroke parish—Lennon stayed on the island for several weeks writing songs that would appear on Double Fantasy, his final album named for a Bermuda freesia his four-year-old son Sean spotted while at the Botanical Gardens (listen to the Bermuda Tapes recorded here in June 1980; also, check out this photograph of John and Sean overlooking Spanish Point). “Once I accepted the reality of the situation something greater than me took over and all of a sudden I lost my fear,” Lennon later told then-assistant Fred Seaman of his stormy sail to Bermuda. “I actually began to enjoy the experience and I began to sing and shout old sea shanties in the face of the storm, feeling total exhilaration. I had the time of my life.” Clearly, since Lennon wrote some of his best songs when he got here, even recording some of them with Bermudian drummer Andy Newmark. Lennon joked in the ship’s log that “there’s no place like nowhere,” alluding to Bermuda’s remote mid-Atlantic location, but no doubt it was its beauty that enchanted the singer most.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On The Rocks

If I'm hankering for a cocktail in Bermuda it's no secret that I'd normally grab a Dark n' Stormy. The sweet and spicy mix of Gosling's Black Seal rum and fizzy ginger beer is the country's national drink and can easily be ordered at any island bar or restaurant. If I'm looking for a drink in the South Pole however, I might reach for something a little stronger—ya know, something to warm the bones that also has a long shelf life. Like whiskey. More specifically single malt Scotch whiskey, which has long been the preferred hooch of the world's greatest explorers like Ernest Shackleton. How can I be so sure? Five cases of 114-year-old Mackinlay's whiskey were recently found buried in Antarctic ice beneath Shackleton's Cape Royds expedition hut, a discovery that has delighted whiskey enthusiasts the world over since they've been frozen since 1907. If you'd like to learn more about the literally groundbreaking discovery, then head on over to my Outside Television blog This Way Out and read On The Rocks, about the newest oldest whiskey in the world. In the meantime I'll be back tomorrow with all of your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming. Cheers!

Monday, December 6, 2010

First Rudolph and Now, Muppets!

Thanks to an anonymous commenter, Bermuda Shorts has learned of yet another island connection to a famed children’s classic (ala “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which I wrote about on Friday). According to one of you intrepid readers—and confirmed by a local news story last month—Bermuda’s crystal caves were actually the inspiration for the underground world of Fraggle Rock, the children’s television series co-created by puppet master Jim Henson and Bermudian Michael K. Frith. Reports Bernews: “In a letter included in [Fraggle Rock’s] DVD boxed set, Mr. Frith explains his inspiration for the show came from his childhood in Bermuda, specifically from the island’s exclusive reliance on rainfall as a source of water. ‘And so a water cycle became the center of the Fraggle world,’ Mr. Frith said. ‘The difference being that they didn’t understand it or how each resident of the Rock (and beyond) depended on the others to maintain it.’”

I always enjoyed the Fraggles as a kid, but now their crazy underground world totally makes sense. For example, listen to what Frith had to say in this interview from LongTale Productions (or watch for yourself at the six-minute mark in the interview above): “One of my absolutely most magical memories as a kid was lying in bed at night during a rainstorm and listenening to the water going down through the pipes from the roof down into the tank underneath. It was music. It was just pure music. And it so connected you to this process of being part of the world. The whole idea behind [the Fraggles] was to show both the natural eco system that ties all these different worlds together but also the metaphorical human eco system that ties all of theses disparate groups in ways that they don’t understand. What [the Fraggles] see as differences [are] actually strengths and the strength of each group becomes the strength of the world as a whole. Time after time as I explore this world of the Fraggles I find myself going back to my world and relating from that to this magical place. Because I do believe that Bermuda is a magical place. I think you can find in it an energy, a beauty and a mystery and possibilities that I don’t see anywhere else in the world.”

I don’t think I could've said it better myself.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Like Animated Classics? Thank Bermuda.

I’m a sucker for cheap animation and of course, for evergreen characters like Hermey the elf who instead of making toys just wants to become a dentist (you go Hermey!). A cheerful narration by Burl Ives doesn’t hurt either. Nor does a slate of original Christmas tunes like “Misfits,” which you can watch on the short video above. So what does this all have to do with Bermuda? Well my friends, I’m happy to report that “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the 46-year-old, much-beloved holiday special was created by none other than Arthur Rankin Jr., a native Bermudian who also created animated favorites “Frosty the Snowman” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” The special originally aired on December 6, 1964 on NBC and it remains the longest-running highest-rated show of its kind in the history of American television. In fact, with an estimated 11.9 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings, it just beat out the oh-so-popular Fox program Glee when it aired on CBS last week. I guess Santa Claus knows where Bermuda is after all! I told you it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bermuda, From a Distance

It's a considerably slow news day here in sunny Bermuda so I leave you with this—your official photo of the day. It was taken from approximately 700 kilometers above Earth by NASA's Landsat 7 satellite on August 14, 1999. Have a good long look and start counting those dots because contrary to popular belief, Bermuda is not one island but an archipelago of over 180 islands and cays. Ya know, in case you need a conversation starter at your next cocktail party. You can thank me later.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

It's December, which means the halls are being decked, eggs are getting nogged and my Christmas tree will soon be delivered to my front door (Seriously. I can't get a large pizza delivered to my home, but a balsam from North Carolina? No problem!). This weekend also welcomed Bermuda's annual Christmas parade, complete with high school marching bands and the island's famous Gombeys—traditional Bermudian folk dancers in brightly colored costumes. That's them in the photo above and with a full calendar of holiday events slated for December no doubt we'll be seeing more and more of the festive troop throughout the month. In the meantime for more pictures of Bermuda's Christmas Parade check out Bernews. Only 24 days left till Christmas, folks!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Back: Florida!

It sure has been awhile, although I guess that's what happens when one is off galavanting in Florida, which is exactly where I've been for the past week. Among other inspired adventures while in the Sunshine State I was privileged to take a cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas, the newest and largest ship from Royal Caribbean. In case you're wondering what life is like on the ship in addition for ways to stay active while aboard (like the dual rock-climbing walls; that's me up there!) check out my Outside Television blog This Way Out and read Aboard the Allure of the Seas. And yes, I'll be back tomorrow with all the news that's fit to print from Bermuda, where it's currently 75 degrees and sunny. Ahh yes, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Whether you live in Bermuda or not, there's a good chance you'll be flying somewhere within the next few days to visit friends and family. So how do you avoid the holiday travel crush? Read This Way Out for starters. This week my Outside Television blog is all about how to fly smart (for example, did you know there are only three words that will get you past those controversial new TSA scanners?). If you want to learn how to cut the line at your rental car agency or figure out ways to get little Johnny's present to grandma's house then read Fly Smart: How to Avoid Holiday Travel Hiccups on Outside Television. In the meantime, I'll be back right after the holidays with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In the News

Just as Bermuda was featured in the New York Times last week, the island has received accolades from yet another venerable publication—this time from National Geographic Traveler, which rated 99 Coastal Destinations in its November/December issue. To the magazine’s credit each watery destination was thoroughly reviewed. A panel of 340 experts in “sustainable tourism and destination stewardship” rated this “geographically and culturally representative sample of the world’s waterside locales,” writes Jonathan B. Tourtellot, Traveler’s geotourism editor who devised the destination stewardship survey in 2003. That means experts in a variety of fields including historic preservation, ecology, indigenous cultures and more weighed in on six criteria: Environmental and ecological quality; aesthetic appeal; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; quality of tourism management; and outlook for the future.

So how did Bermuda stand up to the pack? With an overall score of 72 out of a possible 84, the island is officially “Doing Well” and panelists generally had a positive impression. Here’s what some of them had to say:

"One of the best managed small islands. Good public transport and strong zoning keep tourism under control."

"Bermuda is an endless pink suburb. Pastel building with white roofs that catch rainwater. All is manicured; most open spaces are golf courses or parks. Tourism is tightly controlled, though there are perhaps too many cruise-ship visits."

"History and nature both have their place on this long-settled island."

"Has an excellent bus-and-boat public transportation system. A number of visitors use it, and the tourist board would be wise to promote this to visitors even more. Government has limited most households to one car; no rental cars are available. So traffic in and out of Hamilton isn't as bad as it could be. The downside is the high number of mopeds. While fun, they are also noisy and polluting."

Fair and balanced comments across the board, especially that bit about our public transportation system, which I believe is among the best in the world. On an island known for its ritzy glam and pricey hotel rooms it’s nice to know you can get pretty much anywhere for around three bucks. Plus I’ll gladly wait at a bus stop that has unending views of the Atlantic.

Doing well? I think Bermuda is doing just fine indeed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Island Time

It takes a certain kind of person to live on an island. A love of rum always helps, as does an affinity for the water, which as March-born Pieces I've always had. Of course when your hobbies also consist of surfing, snorkeling and scuba-diving it's always a bonus when you live close to shore. That's why I loved reading last month's issue of Outside, which had a great package on island-inspired adventures titled Cay Party. Like Outside's editors and contributors, I too have done my fair share of island travel, so in case you need even more suggestions for great excursions within eyeshot of the water then head on over to my Outside Television blog, This Way Out and read On Island Time, about four of my favorites around the world (yes, one of them is right here in Bermuda and no, that picture is not local; click on the links above to find out where that stunning slice of sand is). In the meantime I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

For all of you who may have missed my weekend radio interview with travel expert Peter Greenberg, have no fear. For one week only you can hear Peter and I chat about how to make a Dark 'n Stormy and learn about how I got to Bermuda in the first place by heading over to PeterGreenberg.com and clicking on the free web stream (it'll say The Latest Show on the right side of the page). And don't worry, you won't have to wait too long to hear yours truly: I'm Peter's very first guest so you can tune me in around 10:30 into the broadcast. In the meantime you can read all about my island favorites—like where to get the best fish chowder or how to find hidden east end beaches—on Peter Greenberg's Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Bermuda.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Live From Bermuda: Me & Peter Greenberg!

It's not every day a prolific author, celebrated television correspondent and respected radio host knocks on your door to ask for your advice, but that's just what happened this week when none other than travel maven Peter Greenberg requested my company on his syndicated radio broadcast. What? You've never heard of Peter Greenberg? Well my friends, there's not much Peter hasn't done: Currently he's the Travel Editor for CBS News, making frequent appearances on The Early Show and Evening News with Katie Couric, but he's also "the consummate insider when it comes to reporting the travel business as news," as his online bio clearly states. Trust me, I wouldn't have quoted his own website if it wasn't completely true. He's won Emmy awards while at NBC, written multiple New York Times bestsellers including The Complete Travel Detective Bible, plus he hosts the nationally syndicated Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show, broadcast each week from a different location around the globe and heard on over 400 stations and counting. This week's destination? You guessed it: Bermuda, which is exactly where I come in. If you'd like to listen to me and Peter talk about how to make a Dark n' Stormy or hear me spill the beans about how I got to Bermuda in the first place (hint: It all began in Fire Island, N.Y. where Peter has long been a volunteer at the Ocean Bay Park Fire Department) then tune in this Saturday, November 13, to catch our brief chat. To find out what time the show will air in your area check out this handy station finder or to listen online, go to PeterGreenberg.com and click on the free web stream, which begins Saturday morning at 10am EST. And don't worry, you won't have to wait too long to hear yours truly. I'm his very first guest so you can tune me in at exactly 18 minutes into the broadcast.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dive Into the New York Times

It looks like the Grey Lady has come calling again, this time to shine a bright light on Bermuda’s world-class diving scene. The small piece in last Sunday’s New York Times Travel section is a departure from the newspaper’s larger coverage of the island, namely 36 Hours in Bermuda written by yours truly and an unflattering portrayal of the island called Hurricane Season, Bargain Hunting in Bermuda penned by Seth Kugel. As I’ve stated before I found his story grossly unfair and vastly under-reported, but in the writer’s defense at least he left a thoughtful comment clarifying his intentions. Ahh well. Today is all about diving and so onto the New York Times’ latest piece titled 6 Action Adventures in the Caribbean. Now before you jump on the snark bandwagon, complaining that Bermuda is not actually in the Caribbean, that it’s a mid-Atlantic archipelago, blah, blah, blah, consider the story’s first two sentences. “O.K., so Bermuda is not technically within the Caribbean Sea, but it is part of Caricom, the political alliance of Caribbean nations. And with more than 300 shipwrecks and one of the healthiest coral reef systems in the world, the island is ripe with diving opportunities.” Boom! Alright New York Times, you got it right from the start this time, but what else do you have to say about my fair island? “From June through October, Triangle Diving offers a night-diving excursion to the King George, a dredger built for the Bermudan government. In 1930, the ship was sunk off the coast, and it remains fairly intact, more than 45 feet below the sea.” Awesome fact, but you do realize it’s November, right? Anything else you’d like to say for yourself? “The marine life encountered on a night dive may look more frightening than during the day, but Mr. Christmas said there is little danger and that seeing sharks inside the reef is very rare. ‘Generally speaking, don’t poke it, and it won’t poke you,’ Mr. Christmas said.” Excellent advice my merrily-named friend. If you’d like to learn more about diving in Bermuda—and see a picture of yours truly in a tight-fitting wetsuit—then head on over to my Outside Television blog This Way Out where I’ve written all about a recent dive on Bermuda’s south shore. And yes, that picture above was taken in Bermuda's waters, just not by me (thanks New York Times photographer, Mike Nagle!).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Way Out

Everyone who knows me knows that I love living in Bermuda. Heck, what's not to love? We've got powdery pink sand beaches, world-class golf courses and some of the best diving anywhere in the world. You know what else I love? The lack of mosquitos. Sure, the island has lizards and tree frogs and ants galore, but unless we're talking about a 30-minute window at dusk, Bermuda is blissfully mosquito free most of the year. As you'll see, this is a very good thing considering three-time world surfing champion Andy Irons died last week reportedly of complications from dengue fever, a mosquito born virus that infects as many as 100 million people annually worldwide. It's a nasty disease, as I know full well since I contracted it about five years ago after hiking in Grenada's Grand Etang National Park. Care to learn more? Then head on over to Outside Television and read my blog This Way Out (formerly known as The Life Outside). Today's post titled "Remembering Andy Irons: Was It Dengue Fever?" is all about the legendary surfing star and suggests ways to stay safe while you're on your next trip to the tropics. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random Thought

Why is it that with each passing year the holidays seem to come earlier and earlier? It's mid-November and already lite-music radio stations are cranking out 24-hour-a-day Christmas tunes, one-day sales are flashing across the television screen and enthusiastic next door neighbors are wrapping colorful blinking lights around their palm trees. Well, at least mine are. I'm all for the celebrating the Christmas spirit—excuse me, the holiday spirit—but can't we all just relax and enjoy a few weeks in November without painting them red and green? Take my weekend grocery shopping trip for example. It must be Christmastime in Bermuda because Dunkley's Dairy egg nog has officially hit the shelves. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a bonafide egg nog lover as last year's tribute to the rich and creamy candy-in-a-glass clearly states, but come on people. I've still got pumpkins on my front porch! Albeit pumpkins next to sun-drenched lizards, but expensive imported pumpkins nonetheless. Ahh well, it looks like I better pre-order this year's Christmas tree before they all sell out, ya know, because that's what you have to do when you live in Bermuda. Happy November, people. Happy November.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Deal of the Day (Part Deux)

This just in from the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Bermuda’s landmark harborfront hotel celebrating its 125th anniversary this year: Deluxe rooms including breakfast for two are currently on sale for $149 a night for stays through March 31, 2011. Sure, blackout dates apply and it’s not valid for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night stays, but do the math and you’ll see that it’s a whopper of a deal. Deluxe rooms at the hotel normally cost $419 a night, which means you’ll be saving $270 a night not including breakfast daily (a meal that normally costs around $50 for two, including tax and gratuity). The catch? You have to book your room within the next six days since the Seven-Day Sensational Sale officially started yesterday. I’m just thinking out loud here, but if I lived in Toronto I’d be all over this: A $49 flight from WestJet, a $149 room at the Hamilton Princess, free breakfast—folks, Bermuda is officially on sale.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deal of the Day

Last I checked it was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit in Toronto, Canada and according to weather.com, it feels like 24 up north. I don’t know about you but that’s pretty darn cold. Sure, my blood has probably thinned since moving to the tropics but I’ve never really been a winter guy. So what’s all this weather talk have to do with Bermuda? How about an amazing airfare sale courtesy of WestJet, a Canadian low-fare carrier that’s selling flights to the island for as little as $48 (or 49 CAD, if you're paying in Loonies). That’s right Canadians, from now until November 12 you can book a roundtrip flight from chilly Toronto to balmy Bermuda for around $200, including taxes and fees (a total of $110 if you’re wondering). The catch? The sale is only good for travel between November 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011, which is actually a perfect time to visit considering golf and spa season will be in full swing. Care to book? Just enter promo code PCR42 and coupon code TGZ1VQH when searching for flights at WestJet.com. Don't forget: You have until November 12 to book. In the meantime, I’ll be sending all you Canadians warm thoughts. Happy travels!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Life Outside

Heard the news? Thanks to some fancy new antennas recently installed near Mt. Everest base camp, climbers can now text and make cell phone calls from one of the world's most remote destinations. Is this a good thing? I'm not so certain as my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside, attests today. If you're interested in joining the conversation—and listening to the very first phone call recorded from the summit of Mt. Everest—then head on over to Outside Television and read today's featured post, "Can You Hear Me Now?" If not, then stayed tuned until tomorrow when your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming will continue.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Slow News Day

This is what happens when you attempt to carve a pumpkin while participating in Bluewater Divers' annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest in Somerset, Bermuda. Not exactly fine art, but a worthy attempt nonetheless. Thanks to Bernews and Sergey Goncharov for the photo, because honestly, there's not much else to report on today. Happy November, folks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

When It Rains, We Pour!

Heading to Bermuda this weekend? Then hold onto your hats because there’s another storm brewing. According to the National Hurricane Center, Shary has dressed up as a tropical storm for Halloween and she’s headed directly for Bermuda. As of 8am today the depression had maximum sustained winds of 40mph—so no need to batten down the hatches just yet—but the island should see at least one to three inches of rain plus windy conditions over the next 24 to 36 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service has also issued a small-craft warning for all boaters out there—so it's best to stay inside, find a lime, some ginger beer and the nearest bottle of Gosling's Black Seal rum, because clearly it's time for a Dark 'n Stormy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The People Have Spoken

At least some of them have. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about whether or not to build a beach bar on Bermuda’s Warwick Long Bay comes thoughtful critique from a number of sources both on and off the island. First an insightful comment from RumShopRyan, the self-proclaimed Mr. Beach Bar who runs a Caribbean-inspired website called The Coconut Connection (A.K.A. RumShopRyan.com): “If I were the entrepreneur looking to build a beach bar and really wanted it to get done I'd probably just choose a different beach instead of the iconic Warwick [Long Bay]. Then I would also say to the island regulatory boards that a beach isn't evil! It will bring tax dollars in and give people another way to enjoy the island. It's all about compromise.” Here, here! Next comes an eco-friendly perspective from Steve Bennett, one half of the Crucian duo behind Uncommon Caribbean, a website devoted to offbeat island culture: “My affinity for beach bars is well-documented but I’ve gotta say this one sounds like a bad idea. The ecology of the island must come first, always! Seeing as how the same developer with the same idea has been denied before, I can't imagine it's in Bermuda's best interests to green light this now.” Agreed. Now let's turn our attention to Twitter, where I received these two gems yesterday. First a Tweet from @Blonde_In_Bda, an English ex-pat living in Bermuda “experimenting in being a computer geek but lacking all necessary skills,” according to her bio. Her take on the proposed beach bar? “It will just lead to litter, fighting and shooting. I don't trust the Ace Boys not to ruin anything at the moment,” that last bit alluding to a surge in island gang violence and a valid point at that. Finally, my favorite comment of the day and another collected from my casual Twitter poll. This from @p_brady, a travel writer and former colleague who recently visited the island and had this to say when asked if the beach bar should be approved: “Nope. I prefer the canned (‘tinned’?) beer on Horseshoe Bay to a relatively fussy bar setup.” Tinned it is! Like any good beachside cafe, that beer sits until it sells. In the meantime, it looks like our intrepid entrepreneur better find a new place to set up shop.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Beach Bar or Not To Beach Bar?

I’ve long held the opinion that every island should have at least one good beach bar. Like the Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke or Sunshine’s in Nevis, there’s something to be said for sipping a cool rum cocktail with your toes in the sand. But of course, Bermuda is not like every island. As I’ve said time and time again Bermuda is not the “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” Caribbean. It’s not even in the Caribbean for goodness sake, so I’m unsure why some people think an addition here or a tweak there will suddenly make it spring break in Jamaica, which brings me to today’s story: According to Bernews, a local entrepreneur has re-submitted his application to develop a beach bar on stunning Warwick Long Bay and not surprisingly, a leading environmental group is not too happy about it. Wrote the Bermuda Environmental & Sustainability Task Force in a recent press release, “It may help for residents and the public to remember that a previous application for the same location by the same developer was turned down by the Development Applications Board, was negated by the Independent Inspector, and the appeal to the Minister was quashed by the Court. Unless the application is substantively different, it is difficult to see it as other than a waste of everyone’s time and energy to go through this exercise again.” But alas, here we are debating about a proposed beach bar on one of Bermuda’s most pristine slices of sand yet again. I’m not exactly sure where I stand on this one—after all, a Dark n Stormy within eyeshot of the surf sounds pretty good to me—but perhaps the developer could find a smaller sandbox to build his bar on as opposed to one of Bermuda’s most iconic pink sand beaches (see above). Got an opinion yourself? Lemme hear it in the comments below. In the meantime, I think I need a drink.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Taking Waves

Bermuda's not necessarily known for its surfing—a trait mostly due to the healthy barrier reef encircling the island—but when certain friends come to visit, that doesn't stop us from trying. The picture above is from a mushy day on Horseshoe Bay, a break which pales in comparison to waves found in the South Pacific and beyond. So why all the surf rhetoric you ask? It's Tuesday, which means I'm blogging on The Life Outside, my Outside Television blog about my adventures in the great outdoors. Today I'm talking about surfing in Fiji; more specifically about new legislation making all surf spots within the South Pacific archipelago open anyone. If you're interested in learning about the sport's newest destination now open to the public, then click on over to The Life Outside and read On Taking Waves. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Live From Port Royal

It's been an interesting two days at the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell hit a ball while standing barefoot in a lake on the 17th hole, PGA Champion Martin Kaymer spent most of his time on the beach (ya know, in the bunkers). 2001 PGA Champion David Toms shocked the gallery by pitching in from the fringe. Twice. And three-time major champion Ernie Els wowed the crowed with a tremendous birdie on 16 and a triumphant march to victory two holes later. I'll have a full report from the event shortly, but in the meantime, check out this video I shot and edited from Port Royal. As you'll see, it's one of the greatest golf courses anywhere in the world and not just because the bartenders serve a mean Dark n' Stormy (but they do, as you'll soon see). Sit back, turn up your speakers and watch as I tour Bermuda's finest golf course.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf

It's a busy day here in Bermuda: Today marks the first official day of the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf so I'll be covering the event all day at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton. I've have a complete report of the tournament in the days to come, but in the meantime, you can read my round up of Bermuda's top three public golf courses over on my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside. Fore!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shocker: Regis hates his Bermuda shorts!


Clearly the readers of Conde Nast Traveler aren't the only one's jazzed about Bermuda. As Bermuda Shorts reported yesterday, the island was recently voted the best in the Caribbean by the magazine's well-heeled readers—so to celebrate this grand achievement Bermuda and its tourism officials were presented an award from none other than talk show host extraordinaire Regis Philbin. He and Kelly Ripa gabbed about the awards presentation on yesterday's show talking about "love nobs" and "low-hanging" parts among other sexual innuendos. My favorite bit? When Rege describes the island as, "kinda British, very clean, friendly people," with jazz hands. Oh yeah, and that pair of Bermuda shorts he received as a gift from a tourism official? I have a feeling they're not his favorite.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And The Award Goes To...

Bermuda! And The Reefs! Again! For the second straight year the readers of Conde Nast Traveler have selected Bermuda as the top island in the Caribbean and Atlantic (over St. John, St. Barts and the British Virigin Islands, respectively) and The Reefs Hotel & Club as the top resort in the Atlantic (over Atlantis in the Bahamas, Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos and One & Only Ocean Club also in the Bahamas). More than 25,000 readers participated in the much-anticipated survey, which has now included The Reefs on the Gold List for six consecutive years. Considering the beachfront resort recently invested millions of dollars to build a brand new fractional ownership property including its gorgeous new La Serena spa and upgrades to its restaurants and other areas around the hotel, the accolades from these well-heeled readers are well deserved (see above; that's The Reefs gorgeous pink sand beach in case you're wondering). That, and I just enjoyed a lovely dinner at Coconuts, the resort's open-air restaurant where you can listen to the waves crash on shore as you feast on an expertly prepared three-course meal. Divine. Care to experience it all for yourself? Then check out The Reef’s fantastic Endless Summer Deal, which includes five nights at the resort for the price of four. For more information check out the Reefs Specials. And don’t forget—Bermuda is only a two hour flight from most east coast gateways. Happy travels!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So Much For An Awesome Foursome

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf—a 36-hole tournament that tees off next Monday at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda—just got some very bad news from one of its star players. According to multiple sources including the PGA, Golf Digest and the Press Association, British Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen has pulled out of the tournament citing an ankle injury. Said a statement on the South African’s website: “Louis turned on his ankle while he was in South Africa for Charl Schwartzel’s wedding. He was doing some hunting during the trip and stepped in a pothole and damaged ligaments in his left ankle.” You just can’t make this stuff up. To make matters worse, Oosthuizen has been replaced by David Toms, a Shreveport, Louisiana resident who hasn’t collected a major victory in nearly a decade (his only title being the 2001 PGA Championship). If Toms’ PGA blog is any indication, clearly the 43-year-old golfer is thrilled to receive the elite tournament nod. Heck, if I was invited to compete on a beautiful island for a piece of a guaranteed $1.35 million purse I’d be pretty stoked too. But considering the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was recently dissed by Masters Champion Phil Mickelson—who turned down Port Royal’s invitation even after I wrote an impassioned open letter to persuade him to compete in Bermuda—this is the latest blow for the exclusive year-ending event. Which all just means we’ll be seeing U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell, PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, three-time major champion and Mickelson replacement Ernie Els and the aformentioned David Toms compete on Monday. Dear Ernie: It looks like the pot is all yours for the taking.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Take a hike. No, really.

I'm an active guy, which is one of the many reasons I love living in Bermuda. A few weeks ago I told you about SCUBA diving alongside some of the island's submerged shipwrecks and if a good friend is in town, I almost always rent a small boat so we can go snorkeling at our own leisure. One of my favorite island activities? Hiking along the stunning south shore, ducking into secluded pink sand beaches and climbing over challenging rock formations along the way (see above). In fact, I go hiking pretty much wherever I travel, which is why I was so shocked to hear the story of American teacher Sarah Shourd, who was recently released from an Iranian prison after allegedly crossing the border while hiking with friends Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. The story's been all over the news lately, so I thought I'd take a crack at advancing Sarah's cause with a short piece about hiking safety on my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside. If you're interested in staying safe while on your next outdoor excursion, read all about it here. And if you'd like to help Sarah get her friends home, sign the petition to release Shane and Josh over at FreeTheHikers.org. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The weather's nice here. That's it.

For some reason Monday tends to be a slow news day—unless of course a major hurricane blows through the previous weekend or ten couples get married on an iconic day of the year. Wait, what? Ten couples got married on Bermuda yesterday? On 10/10/10? So much for the lack of newsworthy events, but the good news is the couples who won the Department of Tourism's Perfect 10 contest had a beautiful day to tie the knot: 79 degrees and sunny, as we like to say here on the island, a Bermudaful day. Thinking about getting married in Bermuda? Then check out bermuda.com's new Weddings page. In the meantime I'm gonna enjoy another blissful day in paradise.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And Don't Forget The Rice

Visiting Bermuda this weekend? Staying at one of the island’s big hotels? Guests hoping to relax poolside, beachside or harborside at their favorite Bermuda resort this weekend might have to make new plans: This Sunday is the culmination of the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s much-touted Perfect 10 contest, when ten brides-and-grooms-to-be will walk down the aisle at one of ten all expenses paid destination weddings on October 10, 2010 (ten couples on 10/10/10, get it?). For the ten lucky couples it’s one heckuva deal since the BDOT teamed up with The Knot and JetBlue to give each pair a five-night stay at one of ten participating hotels, airfare from the U.S. for ten people and a dream wedding based on one of ten island-inspired themes. Back in June I was pulling for Garison & Danielle, a couple who originally pledged to named their first child “Somer’s Island” if they won the contest. Unfortunately the young pair didn’t win one of the weddings, even after Garison’s mother told Bermuda Shorts that her son was baptized with Bermuda water, her daughter was named for an island parish and that she and her husband gave blood at King Edward Hospital the last time they vacationed here. Seriously, talk about island love. But the good news is they’ll be tying the knot in Connecticut next August. Best of luck you two! In the meantime, here’s hoping for sunny skies on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Remember when I told you about Hurricane Igor? How the storm ripped through the island leaving thousands of customers without power, some for about 20 hours (ahem) and some for more than a week? Well, we're officially still feeling the storm surge since BELCO—Bermuda's electric company—has been fixing downed lines islandwide long after the storm's departure. Case in point: This report from Bernews, which says they'll be no power in the Church Road area of Southampton on Saturday including St. Anne's Church, Turtle Bay Lane, Welcome Place, Port Royal Lane, Admiral Lane and the related portion of South Road. Which also means that yours truly will again be without power all day on Saturday. Southampton residents, fill up the coolers and get out the generators—and make sure to drink all the beer before it gets warm.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Life Outside In London!

Considering I have nothing to report on from days two and three of the Bermuda Music Festival—all I really needed was a little Ziggy in my life—I'll make today's post short and sweet. As many of you know, Tuesday has long been reserved for my Outside Television blog, The Life Outside, which in past weeks has covered golf in Scotland, hiking in Aspen and diving right here in Bermuda. Today's post is all about what you should do if you've got 24 Hours in London. As you'll see, I spent the majority of my time wandering the city by foot, touring free museums and eating in jammed Chinatown restaurants. All in all a successful day spent in the British capital. If you're interested head on over to The Life Outside to read all about it. In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Friday, October 1, 2010

BMF 2010: Reggae Review

You know when you wake up with a song in your head? Maybe it’s random, maybe it’s from the night before—whatever the reason, you just can’t shake it? For me that song is Love is My Religion, one of the many reggae hits played by Ziggy Marley at the Fairmont Southampton beach club last night. So you see, I really don’t have much to complain about. As expected the first night of the Bermuda Music Festival was off-the-charts good. At least Ziggy was, but I’ll get to him in a moment.

The night kicked off with a performance by Uzimon, Bermuda’s own self-described “reggaelutionary.” If you don’t understand what that means, well, that’s just the point. With a faker-than-fake Jamaican accent, Uzimon was squarely at the crossroads of comedy and reggae, performing songs like “Nasty Foot Gal” and “Steven Seagal,” purportedly about his childhood idol. Some of it was amusing, some off-putting, but at least I could sit through his schtick. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the next Bermuda-based act—an abrasive group of dance hall wannabes called Homegrown. Now before you go jumping down my throat for trashing local artists let me say this: Ziggy Marley was the headliner. Ziggy Marley plays what’s called conscious reggae. So why not tap an opening act that has a similar style? Was Mishka not available? He’s from Bermuda. And he plays the exact same style of reggae Ziggy does, which really would’ve been perfect. Instead, the crowd endured the tired rap of another lead singer with a faked Jamaican accent plus a tweaked out bass that was so loud and so uncomfortable I physically had to leave my seat.

Ahh well, they all can’t be as good as Ziggy.

And so we get to the main act: the legendary Son-of-Bob. To say he didn’t disappoint would be a vast understatement. Ziggy rocked it, on a stage dare I say, is Bermuda’s finest open-air venue. Note to concert promoters: Putting ticket holders on the sand, under palm trees, next to the ocean is a very good thing. Job well done. As for Ziggy, he played just about every hit in his collection including True to Myself, Tomorrow People and the aforementioned Love is My Religion, which is still in my head in case you’re wondering. Of course, the reggae superstar couldn’t leave the stage without performing a few of his father’s tunes, and for that, the crowd roared. We got This Is Love, Get Up Stand Up and about a half dozen others that kept the audience swaying on its feet. All in all a fantastic start to the beachside festival, but if anyone has any suggestions for a new song to stick in my head, I’m all ears.