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!