Friday, December 30, 2011

That's All Folks!

Remember when I used to write ambitious Bermuda Shorts Year In Reviews every December? Yeah, me neither. But of course that was before my wife and I had a son, which has very much flipped my world upside down. In a good way, but upside down nonetheless (like when I had to visit five pharmacies in search of Vitamin D drops shortly thereafter). Indeed 2011 has been a wild year, one so incredibly busy and filled with momentous events both personal and professional that I only managed to post once in all of November (and it was about how I hadn't posted in most of October, which saw a whopping five entries this year). So, as we reflect on another year gone by—the unsuccessful campaign to sail with Stephen Colbert, the hurricanes that weren't, the naughty neckties—let us look forward to another prosperous year ahead. And no, don't think that means I'll be cobbling together another Best of Bermuda list ala March 2010. But I will do my best to keep you in the loop with your daily dish from paradise. In the meantime a special shout out to my Number One Reader and Ultimate B Shorts Fanboy: CB from West Islip (aka the Guy In The Funny Mask). You da man. I think Petey needs to visit Bermuda very soon. So in closing, let me wish you a Bermudaful New Year! May sunshine fall upon your shoulders and your glasses be half-full.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

As word continues to spread about a massive winter storm hitting the heartland of America, Bermuda too is experiencing a treacherous cold spell. In fact, it's been so cold that I actually had to—gasp!—put on a long sleeve shirt. According to Bernews, Bermuda experienced a record low temperature earlier this week, 54F/12.2C, after gale-force winds pounded the island during the wee hours of the night on Monday. I'm not sure what's funnier, actually. This icy thermometer graphic, which is adjacent to the news report or the story's lead sentence, that Bermuda "became a genuine winter wonderland." And hear I thought it actually had to snow to be a winter wonderland! While it's true that Monday's temp neared the lowest December temperature on record—a chilly 48F/9C just last year—I still find it amusing, even after three years of living here, that 54 degrees makes the news. I guess someone better tell Santa Claus to dress a little warmer this year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bob Hope Christmas Part Deux

In case you haven't had enough of Bob Hope's Christmas Show from Bermuda—ya know, the 1990 variety program I told you about yesterday—here's another taste of the funnyman's island repertoire. In this clip Bob and friends reenact the fateful arrival of Sir George Somers to Bermuda's shores in 1609, when the Sea Venture got caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked on the east end of island. 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?'

Sure, there was no Indian tribe on the island when the British first arrived, and the ship washed up on Achilles Bay (not Horseshoe where the entire bit was shot) but it is an entertaining six-and-a-half minutes. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ask And You Shall Receive

That's right folks, your prayers have been answered. With just five days until Christmas it's officially time to post your most wanted Christmas video ever: Bob Hope's Christmas Show From Bermuda. What? You've never seen this classic variety show from 1990? Well, sit back and do yourself a favor because Bob Hope and friends are about to ham it up Christmas-style. We'll start with this festive holiday classic when the legendary actor, comedian and vaudevillian sings his way down Front Street with his foxy friend Dixie Carter. If you've never seen it get ready for a Bermudaful treat (I especially like when the Silver Bells line, "It's Christmastime in the city" magically becomes "It's Christmastime in Bermuda." Nice work Bob). You can spot The English Sports Shop, Calypso and Gosling's Limited—among other festively lit Front Street shops—plus I also quite like how easy it was to hail a horse. Oh yeah, and pay no attention to the reflection of Christmas tree lights on the screen. Did I mention that I'm not a very good bootlegger?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Now Playing

If you're a casual reader of Bermuda Shorts you probably know that in addition to writing for the New York Times, Caribbean Travel+Life and Jetsetter among others, that I'm also a correspondent for Outside Television. It's a fantastic gig, especially in May when I head to Telluride, Colorado, to host Outside Film Festival: Mountainfilm, a 16-episode show, which airs the finest independent documentary films shown at that year's festival (that's me and my co-host Lynsey Dyer on location near Wilson Peak this year). I've blogged about it again and again, even though it had no real connection to Bermuda but that just changed in a major way. This year's festival screened Matt Morris' fantastic short film Mr. Happy Man, a fourteen-minute documentary featuring Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes. In case you've never heard about Johnny, he's an 80-something bearded Bermudian man who greets Hamilton commuters every morning with a wave, a smile and boisterous shouts of "I love ya!" He's so beloved that Bermuda erected a bronze statue in his honor, which stands just yards down the road from where he greets people each morning. If you're interested in watching the entire film in addition to an interesting chat I had with filmmaker Matt Morris in Telluride, head on over to OutsideTelevision.com where you can view the complete episode. And if you feel like sticking around for more you can also watch The Fall Line, about an injured Iraq war veteran who overcomes great odds on the ski slopes of Aspen and Wild Water, a beautiful short film about big water kayaking. Go ahead, check it out! It's the best fourteen minutes you'll watch all day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luke, I am your Santa

I've told you how festive Bermuda can be around the holidays, what with rum-recipe-adorned Dunkley's egg nog in the markets, mulled-wine-filled walkabouts in historic St. George's and the proliferation of the island's compact Korean cars, many of which are currently sporting puffy red reindeer noses on their grills. That's right folks, it's officially Christmas in Bermuda. Now, before all of you Bermuda Shorts die hards start clamoring for bootleg Bob Hope in Bermuda Christmas videos (all three of you and yes, I'm talkin' to you West Islip, New York; you Mountain View, California; and you Lyndhurst, New Jersey) what's merrier than a Christmas boat parade? Last weekend islanders were treated to a special holiday treat, one that happens every other year and this year's parade was a doozy. More than 70 boats dressed up in twinkling lights and motored their way around Hamilton Harbor—a festive flotilla that culminated in a thrilling fireworks show that glimmered on the water as it danced in the sky. But what about the boats? You'll find many of my favorites on bermuda.com—gold star nominees like Santa's sleigh, Charlie Brown and a floating barge of illuminated gifts—but it was hard to beat the Star Wars-themed boat you see above. May the Christmas force be with you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Expat Life

It's no secret that I enjoy life in Bermuda. Hard not to, really. For an island just a two-hour flight from most east-coast gateways Bermuda feels far-flung and dare I say, even exotic at times. Think about it: Where else can you find such stunning (and accessible!) pink sand beaches, world-class championship golf courses (like Port Royal, which just hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf) and friendly faces (like Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes, who greets Hamilton commuters every morning with a wave a smile and is currently the subject a fantastic documentary short from filmmaker Matt Morris called Mr. Happy Man). And all of this just a 90-minute flight from New York City! Yes it's true, Bermuda is indeed a wonderful place to call home, which is largely the sentiment I captured in my latest assignment for AOL's celebrated travel blog, Gadling. Titled On Bermuda Time, the short commentary is peppered with classic only-in-Bermuda tales—like how my supermarket purchases once popped out of my scooter's rear basket—and discusses how I'll take tropical hiccups like those over big city headaches any day. Read it here or at the very least, click on over to check out a triumphant photo of yours truly perched high upon a south shore rock formation. It's worth it. I promise.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's December. Merry Christmas!

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm officially a naughty blogger. Just one post for all of November? Geez. And by the looks of it, December is not getting any better. It's already the fifth of the month for goodness sake! Sorry folks, I know you're not into lame excuses but life seems to heat up around the holidays, doesn't it? And by the holidays I mean Christmas, because here in Bermuda, it's all about Christmas. No beatin' around the bush either. This being a Christian nation the island is awash in Christmas cheer, which means just about everywhere you go these days you'll be greeted with a festive "Merry Christmas" rather than the oh-so-PC "Happy Holidays." Fine by me. In fact, Bermuda is jam-packed with cheery Christmas activities all month long. Why just last weekend my family and I attended the St. George walkabout, when the historic homes of Bermuda's oldest town open their doors for Christmas merriment (in case you don't know what that means, think mulled wine and rum-spiked egg nog by the fireplace, multiply that by 20 cedar-laden homes, add a dash of rum cake and some dancing in King's Square and you'll begin to imagine what it's all about; see above, that's what Town Hall looked like). A good time for all and no doubt the beginning of more to come—like the Christmas Boat Parade next weekend, when vessels of all kinds get wrapped in twinkling lights and parade around Hamilton Harbor (here's a picture of the giant multi-colored Michael Jackson, which adorned the winning boat two years ago; groovy, I know). So as I conclude, let this be a warning that while my posts throughout December may be sporatic, I'll do my best to keep you filled with as much Christmas cheer from Bermuda as possible.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is it November already?

Weddings, fatherhood, oh my! October sure was packed with personal commitments, but November has arrived with abandon and I'm officially back on the rock (at least for a little while...). So, what's happening in Bermuda? How about egg nog for starters and you know how I love my egg nog. Sure, it may seem a tad early to be spotting the sweet stuff in my grocer's dairy case, but there it was, wedged between the whole milk and the half 'n half: Dunkley's Dairy Egg Nog, with helpful Gosling's rum-laden recipes right there on the carton. It's a sure sign of the holiday season—that, and the festive Christmas decorations currently hanging on the City of Hamilton's light posts—and one that I wholeheartedly welcome each year. Egg nog in early November? I say bring it on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Here We Go Again

It seems like every year I write a post about how Bermuda and/or The Reefs was awarded "Best" this or "Favorite" that. Just dig into the archives at right. You'll see how Bermuda was picked as the top island in the Caribbean/Atlantic in October 2009 and The Reefs, the best resort by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. The same thing happened the following year, when the magazine's readers again picked our fair island and the popular southampton resort for top honors. And sure enough it's that time of year again. The votes have been cast and the readers have spoken: Bermuda is indeed the top island in the Atlantic/Caribbean in front of St. John, Nevis and the British Virgin Islands and The Reefs is the number one resort in the Atlantic, ahead of Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos, One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas and Amanyara also in Turks & Caicos. To read the entire story, check out Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards 2011. But if I were you? Skip the article and book one of the brand new Club Condos at The Reefs to see what true paradise is all about (yes that's the resort's beach and yes, it's that beautiful in person). With endless ocean views, huge spa-like bathrooms, handsome island-inspired furniture and fully equipped gourmet kitchens, they are indeed the most fabulous rooms in all of Bermuda.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Interested in attending this year's PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda? If so, the PGA just announced a sweet new deal. First up, your good news: Buy one ticket to the season-ending tournament, featuring the winners of golf's four major championships and you'll get one ticket of equal value free (for example, if buy one Monday ticket you'll get one Monday ticket free; if you buy one three-day pass, you'll get one three-day pass free). But what's the catch, you say? Here's your bad news: Tickets must be purchased on Thursday, October 13 at the Washington Mall in downtown Hamilton from 11am to 3pm, which means all of you golf fans currently not living on the island are out of luck. Score one for Bermuda, I guess. For details, check out bermuda.com's coverage of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf's latest deal.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cruise News

Cruise fans and Bermudaphiles listen up, because Norwegian Cruise Lines has big news for you. And when I say big, I mean tremendous—like 4,000 passengers worth. According to Travel Weekly, Bernews and numerous sources around the web, NCL's Norwegian Breakaway—a 4,000-passenger, 144,000-ton ship currently under construction in Germany—will operate seven-day cruises from its homeport in New York City to Bermuda from May 12 to October 6 in 2013 (departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda and three days at sea). Not only will the Breakaway be the largest ship to homeport in Manhattan, but it will also be the largest ship to call upon Bermuda's shores in its storied maritime history. In total the new ship will inject an additional $8 million more into Bermuda's economy, as compared to the ship she replaces, which is good news for the island and great news for its tourism partners. Cruises are scheduled to go on sale to Latitudes members (NCL's loyalty program) on October 14 and will be open to the public on October 17. For more information about the Breakaway and its luxurious amenities and staterooms, check out NCL's ship overview. In the meantime, happy sailing!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First hurricanes, now this?

As I've reported over the past several weeks, Bermuda's been threatened quite a few times this hurricane season. There was Hurricane Katia, which left some killer surf in her wake; Hurricane Maria, a fairly large storm that dumped rain on the island for a day; and most recently Hurricane Ophelia, a Category 3 whopper that clipped the east end of Bermuda. No direct hits, but gnarly weather nonetheless. Of course, this is all to be expected when you live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic. Storms happen. But earthquakes? Yep, that's right. According to the Royal Gazette, Bermuda was hit with two minor earthquakes on Monday evening: Two 4.5-magnitude tremors that happened within 20 minutes of each other. Granted, both were pretty far from land—reportedly 80 miles south of Hamilton and about seven miles below the surface (right where that red star is)—but still. Earthquakes? Geez.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Much Ado About...

Nothing. Yes, Bermuda was yet again saved after Hurricane Ophelia skirted by with barely a whisper. Lots of rain for sure, but hardly the punch of a Category 3 storm. So what's next for the island? How about Tropical Storm Phillipe, which is current whirling its way around the lower Atlantic and forecasted to drop some rain on Bermuda later this week. The good news is our cisterns are overflowing, our shrubs are again green and our skies are plentiful with colorful rainbows. You gotta love it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tracking Ophelia

This just in from the Bermuda Shorts weather service: Ophelia strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane early this morning, packing winds of 100 mph as it swirled across the Atlantic. At about 5 a.m. today the storm was approximately 695 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, heading north-northwest at 9 miles an hour. According the National Hurricane Center, strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours and the extended forecast shows Ophelia passing just east of the island, although models from the Bermuda Weather Service predict a pretty gnarly weekend (that's a recent NOAA satellite image of the storm; the tiny green speck above the big white swirl is Bermuda). So much for that picnic on the beach this weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just a Hunch

By the looks of the National Hurricane Center's latest graphic on Tropical Storm Ophelia, which is currently 180 miles northeast of the U.S. Virgin Islands and heading northward at 7 mph with near hurricane-force winds, I have a feeling Bermuda may be getting some rain this weekend. Uh oh.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two Cents Tuesday

Bermuda has officially gone mobile. Well, sort of. According to travel tech watchdog Tnooz, Bermuda tourism is mid-way through its mobile advertising campaign, which means smart phone and iPad users with household incomes of $135,000 and above in key markets along the U.S. east coast are currently getting bombarded with banner ads like the one's you see above. Not seeing the ads, iPhone user? Then clearly you're not making enough money! That, or you don't live in Boston or New York City, two major feeder markets with two-hour flights to Bermuda, which are currently getting the banners. The ads lead to landing pages that provide further information about the island, widgets to connect via Twitter or Facebook and links available at GoToBermuda.com, but unfortunately not to a mobile-optimized site—a real shame and in my opinion, a huge opportunity squandered. Clearly the mobile ad campaign is a step in the right direction for a destination in dire need of tourist dollars—after all, who isn't using their smart phone for just about everything these days?—but if the Department of Tourism spends big bucks on cheeky iPhone banner ads, then those ads should without a doubt take its target audience to a place where potential travelers can spend real tourist dollars in return. And that's my two cents for today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deal of the Day

Leave it to the good folks at JetBlue to pile on the savings to Bermuda. Its latest Bermuda Getaway offers travelers a $400 air credit for a friend when you book a Bermuda vacation package, which essentially adds up to a free roundtrip ticket from New York or Boston. You can find all of the details here, but expect deep discounts at some of the island's best hotels (like the Grotto Bay Beach Resort where you'll get a four-night stay plus airfare from Boston Logan for $685 per person or the Fairmont Southampton where you'll also enjoy a four-night stay for the same price with airfare from New York's JFK). Of course restrictions, taxes and fees apply and you'll have to book by October 25 for travel through October 31, but if you act fact it's one heckuva a deal. Happy jetting and welcome aboard!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Just In

Interested in attending the 2011 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at beautiful Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda? Tickets are now officially on sale for all you golf lovers out there and this year's tournament is sure to be a good one. Featuring an all-rookie field including Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and Open champion Darren Clarke both from Northern Ireland, and from the United States, PGA champion Keegan Bradley, the three-day tournament begins on October 17 and will be televised to millions live on TNT (if you can't make it to sunny Bermuda, of course). It's $50 to attend the entire event (including the pro-am on day one) or $20 a ticket for each of the competition days. And if you're 17 or younger, admission is free when accompanied by an adult ticket-holder. Wanna check out championship golf in paradise? Then purchase tickets at Port Royal's pro shop or by contacting To-A-Tee (441/295-4640, pgagrandslamofgolf.com). You know you wanna watch someone don Bermuda's famed pink jacket (that's Ernie Els, from last year's tournament, if you're wondering).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tracking Maria

Here we go again. Despite limited damage from Hurricane Katia, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Jose, all of which blew past Bermuda's shores this month, another storm is forecasted to impact the island this weekend. Looks like it's time to stock up on triple-A batteries. Again. According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Maria is expected to skirt the island sometime on Thursday afternoon, with current top winds strengthening up to 60 miles per hour. The system, traveling north northwest at 10 miles per hour, is 605 miles south southwest of Bermuda and is forecast to strengthen considerably in the next two days. Which all just means that it's time to go to Gorham's and start buying the non-returnable fear currently lining its shelves. Rope? Sure, why not. Tarps? Umm, I guess so. Five more flashlights? Sure thing, but don't bother saving that receipt because hurricane preparedness products are indeed non-returnable. Imagine if Home Depot tried to pull that one over on its customers. Welcome to Bermuda, folks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

If you've found Bermuda Shorts because you've just watched my chat with Huffington Post's Paul Brady about Bermuda, then welcome! Bermuda Shorts is indeed your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the island. Currently we're tracking Hurricane Katia, celebrating the start of lobster season and enjoying sand sculpture competitions on Horseshoe Bay. But if you've wandered onto my site and haven't seen today's live chat about Bermuda, well, what are you waiting for? Head over to AOL's Huffington Post Travel where you can watch a short interview from my surfboarded office in Southampton (or just click play below). Among other insider tips, you'll learn where to score a great Bermuda rum swizzle, how to best explore the island from the water and a few of my top secluded pink sand beaches. Enjoy, and thanks for watching!










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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Buy it. Broil it. Devour it. Repeat.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Lobster season in Bermuda is Poseidon's gift to our palates and today marks day one of the seven-month stretch when we're legally allowed to dig in. If you're looking for one in town, don't miss the newly renovated Lobster Pot or even Port O Call, which broils 'em up nicely but charges handsomely. Alternatively, don't miss the side-of-de-road value from the local fisherman who haul in the sweet, clawless wonders each day (expect to pay around $30 for a one-and-a-half pounder on Trimingham Road. Yes, I know, that's still crazy expensive but this is Bermuda). Happy lobster season!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tracking Katia

Bermuda has had a slow hurricane season this year—until the last couple of weeks, that is. Hurricane Irene recently whirled by before punishing the east coast of the U.S. and Tropical Storm Jose provided some killer surf, high winds and thick rain soon thereafter. And now there's a new storm forming. Introducing Tropical Storm Katia, which by all estimates will be a hurricane later today as it gains strength over the mid-Atlantic. The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph today just short of the hurricane threshold of 74 mph, but according to the National Hurricane Center and the folks at CNN, Katia should be much stronger and nearing our area sometime early next week. But who knows? Remember Hurricane Bill back in 2009? Otherwise known as The Storm That Wasn't, it came within 150 nautical miles of Bermuda and fortunately, left little damage in its wake (despite this windblown Al Roker-esque video I shot from Church Bay. Dramatic much?). Ahh well, it looks like it's time to buy more batteries, bottled water and of course, Gosling's Black Seal rum for my impending Dark n' Stormy party. Hunker down Bermuda!

Monday, August 29, 2011

That's Sandtastic!

As if the arrival of September didn't bring with it enough wonderful things—75-degree days and the beginning of lobster season for starters—we islanders and even those visiting the island will have one more event to look forward to next month: The 16th Annual Sand Sculpture Competition. Held each year at Horseshoe Bay, the competition draws hundreds of artists hoping to showcase their creativity for sand castle glory and, a few bucks. The creation above is by a Florida-based team called Team Sandtastic, which by the looks of its historical recreation of Sir George Somers' fateful arrival to Bermuda's shores in 1609, has a pretty good shot of winning the top prize. But there's good news for the rest of you: Cash prizes will be given to the best amateur sand sculpture in the competition, in addition to a grand prize award of $1,000 (second place gets $500 and third place scores $250). The competition begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3rd, and participants will be given a theme and a 12-by-12 foot building area. For more information—like how to enter—check out Bermuda Tourism's signature events. Time to dig out those pails and shovels!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book. This. Now.

Leave it to the notoriously whimsical folks at JetBlue to come up with a deal as good, and as wacky, as this one: $335 per person for a three-night trip to Bermuda in September, including roundtrip airfare from New York or Boston and hotel accommodations—but just which hotel is the big question. Yes, it's time for JetBlue's Top Secret Sale valid today only and good for travel between September 12 and 30th.

So what can you expect from your mystery hotel? Here's the description from JetBlue's website: "Discover old-fashioned British charm, lush gardens, shimmering pink sand beaches and some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling at this tropical oasis. Activities like golf and tennis are at your fingertips along with award-winning cuisine at six restaurants. All rooms feature a private balcony or terrace allowing guests to take in the striking vistas."

Sounds like a lot of hotels in Bermuda but given one key fact we can narrow it down to two contenders (although as you'll see, I think someone got his or her math wrong). The magic fact? Six restaurants. Newstead Belmont Hills has two spots to dine, so it's out. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Grotto Bay, Cambridge Beaches, Pompano Beach Club and the Reefs Hotel & Club all have three restaurants so they're out, leaving us two conspicuous choices (although neither have six restaurants): the Fairmont Southampton with eight on-site restaurants and Elbow Beach, which boasts five places to eat. Both are on pink sand beaches, have tennis courts and provide access to golf, however it's the outdoor space that leads me to believe the mystery hotel is the Elbow Beach Hotel from Mandarin Oriental (that's the beach above; if you go don't miss Mickey's, a great oceanfront cafe on the other side of the blue awning). JetBlue's description says all rooms feature "private balconies or terrace," but there are no terraces at the Fairmont Southampton, only balconies. So, Elbow Beach it is! And hey, even if it's not you're still getting one heckuva deal. Don't forget JetBlue's Top Secret Sale ends tonight at midnight so book now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deal of the Day

This just in from the bargain-hunters at Travel+Leisure: The Reefs Hotel & Club is currently taking 25% off the normal price of its über-spacious two-bedroom Club Suites—2,500-square-feet of oceanview vacation paradise complete with two master suites, full-size kitchens, oversized bathrooms with soaking tubs and rain showers, washer/dryers, plus private verandas with whirlpool tubs accessible from the living room and bedrooms. Built just one year ago, they're the Reefs newest and most luxurious rooms and the good news is they're on sale until October 25. So what's the deal? For $7,857 you'll get five nights' accommodations in a two-bedroom Club Suite for up to four people; daily breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner; four $100 vouchers good for treatments at its La Serena Spa or for rounds of golf at Riddell's Bay, Port Royal or the Fairmont Southampton; roundtrip airport transfers; four 3-day bus/ferry passes; dessert and a bottle of champagne; plus all government taxes and gratuities. Sure, it might sound like a lot of cash but if you do the math that's $1,571 per night or $392.75 per person, per night if traveling with four people, which is a heckuva deal in notoriously expensive Bermuda. For more information visit The Reefs packages and specials page or call 800/742-2008. And don't forget, you have until October 25 to book your vacation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Wilt In Bradley

Alright, fine. I lifted that deliciously punny headline from the official PGA Championship website, but it was just too darn good to pass up. No Wilt in Bradley? Well done PGAers. But let's get to the meat of the story, shall we? In case you're clueless as to who Mr. Bradley is and how this has anything to do with Bermuda let us take a trip in the wayback machine beginning with this video I shot and hosted at Port Royal Golf Course from last year's PGA Grand Slam of Golf. In addition to watching me drink multiple Dark n' Stormies, you'll see why Port Royal is the island's premier golf course and certainly one worthy of hosting the Grand Slam, a season-ending tournament featuring the winners of golf's four major championships. Which brings us to that witty headline, since virtual unknown Keegan Bradley just won the 93rd PGA Championship in a thrilling three-hole playoff, earning a spot in this year's PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal in Bermuda. Makes sense now, right? The 25-year-old rookie will join Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and British Open champion Darren Clarke as they play the two-day tournament at Port Royal on October 18 & 19 (televised live on TNT). So, congrats Keegan Bradley and all of golf's 2011 major champions! Here's hoping there's enough Black Seal rum for all of us.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Movie Night

I'll keep this short and sweet mostly because the content speaks for itself and I have a feeling my little guy's nap will soon be over! (Stay-at-home-dad-ness is officially in full swing). Like movies? Love the beach? Then don't miss Movies on the Beach at Horseshoe Bay when family-friendly films will be playing at Bermuda's most beloved bay through August. On deck: Rango, an animated movie featuring the voice of Johnny Depp and The Adjustment Bureau, a romantic thriller starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. The event starts at 7pm on Friday, August 12 and the first feature begins at 9. And best of all, it's free!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bermuda Soup

Lots of random bits to report on today—otherwise known as, Bermuda Soup (which of course, is best enjoyed in a fancy Bermuda fish chowder mug; keep reading to learn how to own one yourself). According to Travel Weekly, tourism on the island is bouncing back. Reports the travel trade mag: "Air arrivals totaled 80,462 passengers from April through June, up from 77,512 in the same period the year before," which basically amounts to a 3.8% increase in the second quarter. Nice work Bermuda! Even the Royal Gazette agrees. But let's just make sure none of those incoming tourists pick up sea lice when they're swimming in our waters. Itchy rashes? Yuck! In other news, the Department of Tourism recently launched its Bermuda iPhone app, a free island travel guide that when downloaded from the Apple Store, will enter you into a contest to win a trip for two to Bermuda from Boston or New York with a four-night stay at Elbow Beach Bermuda. Score! And of course, everyone is still winding down from Cup Match, last week's two-day cricket tournament that was won by the team from St. George's in a spectacular finish. And finally, it looks like Bermuda will be spared the wrath of Tropical Storm Emily, which is currently barreling its way towards the U.S. eastern seaboard and will pass, at closest, 762 miles west-southwest of the island at approximately 6am this Saturday. Time to get out those surf boards! Oh yeah, and if you're interested in owning that fancy Bermuda chowder mug, just buy it on eBay.

Monday, August 1, 2011

And the Award Goes To...

When was the last time you did something 14 years in a row? Or received an award year after year for over a decade? Probably never, I'm guessing (and no, that perfect attendance certificate you got in fourth grade doesn't count either). That's why the recent announcement of Travel+Leisure's World's Best Awards is so darn exciting. For the 14th consecutive year—14 years in a row people!—the magazine has named The Reefs Hotel & Club among the Top 25 Resorts in the Caribbean, Bermuda and Bahamas alongside luxurious stalwarts like Curtain Bluff in Antigua, the Nisbet Plantation Club in Nevis and the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas (one of the hotel's I checked in for my Caribbean Travel+Life feature, Road Map to Romance). Even better, The Reefs' La Serena Spa made its debut on this year's list being named among the Top 10 Best Hotel Spas in Caribbean. Considering the brand new wellness center features the finest relaxation room in Bermuda—a bamboo-floored sanctuary with floor-to-ceiling Atlantic Ocean-facing windows that's just perfect at sunset—frankly, I'm not that surprised. A hearty congrats to The Reefs for 14 years of excellence!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your Guide to Cup Match

In case you hadn't already heard, it's Cup Match weekend here in Bermuda, which means everything pretty much shuts down for four days so islanders can gather with friends and family for a long holiday weekend. There's also a widely anticipated two-day cricket match played between teams from St. George in the east and Somerset in the west. This year's game will be held in St. George—so to help any of you who might be attending the festivities this year, don't miss this article from the Bermuda Sun, which has some great tips for how to best enjoy Cup Match 2011. A few of my faves? "Try Bermuda delicacies including conch stew, mussel stew and, if you are really lucky, shark hash. Sample a dark 'n' stormy—black rum with ginger beer—but go easy in the heat." All great points, although that shark hash might be pretty hard to find, unless of course you head to the Black Horse Tavern in sleepy St. David's just a quick cab ride from the action. The über-local dish is savory, hashy and delicious. Another good suggestion: "Set aside a few dollars to play Crown & Anchor; known colloquially as 'the stock market,' it's a fast-moving, cash-only game of chance." And Cup Match is the only time of the year when legal gambling is permitted in Bermuda (check it out, that's a packed Crown & Anchor tent above). Finally, my very favorite of the bunch: "Don't be afraid to ask any locals you happen to be sitting next to for pointers on what is going on [during the cricket match]. They will happily explain who they think is the best bowler or batsman." Because of course, the game of cricket continues to baffle populations around the world, but mostly those from the States who no doubt will be scratching their heads this Cup Match season wondering, "What the eff is going on?" For you, I say have no fear! Cricket is a friendly sport with friendlier spectators and fortunately Dark 'n' Stormies will be served near the grandstands if you get bored. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And, We're Back!

Wowsa, talk about a hiatus! But clearly my 10-day absence has inspired some worthy conversation about the stunning image I posted on July 14. Writes RumShopRyan, a Caribbean rum-lover who runs the über-tropical website RumShopRyan.com, "A beautiful photo indeed. Some of the best shots I've seen do include dark storm clouds off in the distance while the sun is still shining in the foreground. Islands are beautiful, period." Agreed! Looking forward to sipping some Gosling's Old Rum with you one day soon buddy. A few days later Marc Morgan of RumandRelaxation.com wrote, "That photograph is gorgeous and truly evocative. I agree with you, even though there is no shortage of beautiful shots available in the Caribbean, that one is a gem among gems!" Here, here! No doubt the photographer himself would be glad to know that he's touched so many Bermuda Shorts readers. Replies the one and only Terence Luk, amateur photog extraordinaire: "Thanks for the mention. I live in Pembroke [Parish] but have yet to explore Southampton and Dockyard with my camera so stayed tuned for more photos." Fantastic! I can't wait to see your latest images (speaking of images, that's one I took while picnicking on the southwest shore). In the meantime, you can expect your daily dose of Bermuda Shorts right here since there's presently lots happening on the island—most notably Cup Match, a four-day weekend that revolves around a heated cricket match between teams from St. George and Somerset. It all kicks off tomorrow, so stay tuned for the latest tropical news and island updates.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Strike a Pose

It's not every day that you come across a stunning image even when you live in a place as beautiful as Bermuda. After all, you'd think on an island with so many tangerine sunsets, powder blue horizons and craggy coastlines that amateur and professional photographers alike would spend days on end snapping away. Of course, I'm sure they do. But until I found this picture posted on Flickr by a local photographer named Terence Luk, never have I been so moved by Bermuda's beauty, even with menacing skies above. Want to see more? Then check out Luk's Flikr photostream, which features some amazing island images like the view from Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and an artful portrait called Clouds, Rocks & Beach, among others. And if you're hankering for even more, don't miss these gorgeous Bermuda seascapes and aerial images from pro photographer Gavin Howarth (who's also available for weddings for all you love birds out there). In the meantime, I'll be combing the island for some memorable shots of my own—so don't get worried if I get lost for a little awhile. Until next time, my friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WTF?

I'll admit it: I had no clue what "planking" was until I read this article in the Royal Gazette. But as it turns out, the practice of making one's body flat and lying horizontally on random objects while snapping a photo of your odd contortion is sweeping the globe and apparently, just arriving in Bermuda. "You get creativity points for planking in odd places like tree branches or escalators," reads a description on Facebook from the local group called 'Planking in Bermy.' "The more wild you get the better the picture will be." The Gazette has tons of wacky photos depicting people planking across the island—ya know, folks atop public phone booths, belly-flat in city fountains, and yes, perched over the Cabinet Building chimney—but the one above is currently my favorite. Who knew that Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes could ever carry such a heavy load?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Deal of the Day

In case you're in the market for a dreamy beach vacation—one that includes pink sand romping, golf club swinging, fresh fish eating and perhaps, adventurous pursuits like deep sea fishing and underwater diving—look no further than the Bermuda Department of Tourism's latest deal. Called the Endless Summer Offer, visitors who book a minimum of four nights at one of 14 participating hotels will get a free roundtrip flight from New York, Boston, Atlanta or Toronto or a $400 air credit good for travel from other cities. The catch? You have to book your trip through a Bermuda Tour Operator (not the end of the world, really) and travel from August 23-October 31, 2011. Available hotels range from the historic and relatively wallet-friendly Fairmont Hamilton Princess (with rooms starting at $299 a night) to the ritzy Pink Beach Club, a historic cottage colony where I recently stayed on the Fourth of July, with rooms starting at $645 a night (that's one of its private beaches above; not too shabby). Interested? Then head on over to GoToBermuda.com and book its Endless Summer Offer before October 25.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cruise News

Anyone in the New York metropolitan area looking for an inexpensive luxury cruise to Bermuda? If so, then check out this latest deal from Crystal Cruises as reported on USA Today's The Cruise Log with Gene Sloan. On Wednesday the luxury line announced it was cutting fares on its October 25 sailing of the Crystal Symphony out of New York to under $3,000 per person—a hearty savings considering the ship is at sea for 12 days and hits other luxe islands including St. Maarten, Antigua, Aruba and Grand Cayman in addition to a stop in Bermuda. The sale fare includes Crystal's traditional $1,000 per couple shipboard spending credits—basically cruise line funny money, to spend on whatever it is you wish while on board—but availability of the fare is limited and subject to change. Bottom line, if you're interested in a luxury cruise at a basement bargain price, book it pronto through Crystal Cruises or your favorite travel agent.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ahoy There!

Given Bermuda's propensity for attracting all things luxurious—like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's private jet, which visits the island regularly—it's no surprise that the world's largest and most luxurious single masted sailboat is currently on its shores. Say hello to the Mirabella V, a 247-feet sloop large enough to hold a double-decker bus in her hull; a boat that pulled in charter fees between $250,000 and $420,000 per week prior to its sale last month; and one that's currently hanging out west of Bermuda's Spanish Point according to Bernews. Says the local news site, Mirabella V was built for an estimated $50 million and incorporates nearly every conceivable luxury. "The yacht has a full beam owner's suite, six staterooms with big windows and full size en-suite bathrooms, entertainment systems everywhere and even a hot-tub and dip pool on the sailboat's foredeck. The yacht also boasts a gymnasium and sauna...plus a dining room capable of seating up to 12 guests in comfort." All well and good but here's my favorite part: the toys. "Mirabella V also carries a small fleet of watercraft to keep passengers occupied during cruises. For motorheads, there's a 29-foot Hinckley with 400hp engine (complete with waterskiis, wakeboard, kneeboard and tube), a 21-foot Castoldi with 240hp engine, a 17-foot rigid-inflatable boat and two SeaDoos. There are also four Laser sailing dinghies, two windsurfers, a two-man kayak and a rowing skull. And for those who get their fun below the water, there's full SCUBA equipment and a compressor for unlimited diving." Wowsa. When I saw the ship sailing outside of Hamilton harbor just the other day I knew it was big, but not that big! I'd be happy to own the boat aboard the boat, thank you very much. To learn more about the Mirabella V check out this video, which originally aired on the Travel Channel in 2007.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Birthday America

Just because I live in Bermuda doesn't mean I didn't get to celebrate the Fourth of July. After all, I am a proud American—a sun-kissed, lucky-as-clover American, but an American nonetheless. Unlike my first year on the island when I celebrated with my wife on Church Bay or last year, when apparently I wore the exact same shirt to toast the U-S-of-A's independence, I spent July 4th sipping wine and watching east end fireworks from the oceanfront balcony of my room at the Pink Beach Club, a ritzy cottage colony in Tucker's Town (yes, that was my actual view). I was there on assignment, so instead of scooping my own story I'll just tell you this: If you're looking for a high-end hotel that guarantees seclusion, solitude and a killer water view, you should seriously consider the Pink Beach Club, featuring 94 spacious rooms and suites on Bermuda's stunning south shore. I'll have more about the hotel in the near the future, but for now, know that this American had one heckuva time in Britain's oldest colony.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's a Party 'Yall

You know what's so great about a destination wedding? Living in the destination where the wedding is being held, which is yet another reason why living in Bermuda is so darn great. The people come here, cased closed. That's why I'm particularly jazzed to be attending a family wedding at the historic Fairmont Hamilton Princess, which turned 125 years old last year. The entire wedding party is currently flying and cruising down to Bermuda and all I have to do is hop in my Daihatsu and drive on dahn de road (in Bermuda parlance). Don't get me wrong—I'd travel to the ends of the Earth for a good party—but there's something to be said for attending a ceremony in one's backyard (one that should look something like the one above; that photo was taken at a Fairmont Hamilton Princess wedding last year). So, if you're wondering where I'll be the next couple of days, here's your answer: Partying in BDA.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Way Out

I know, I know. This has nothing to do with Bermuda. But it's been awhile since I kept you in the loop about what I've been up to with Outside Television. Remember when Bermuda Shorts was out of commission for two weeks? I was in Telluride, Colorado filming my Emmy-nominated show Outside Film Festival: Mountainfilm. (Yes you read correctly and no I won't be taking home the golden statuette if we win; that goes to the producers. But at least I got to hang out in front of Wilson Peak for awhile. Check your Coors Lights cans people. That's the one!). Since 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride has debuted hundreds of socially conscious films and today I covered a handful of 'em on my Outside Television blog, This Way Out. Interested? Then click on over to Just Back: Mountainfilm in Telluride and read about some stellar documentary films one of which ironically stars Bermuda's own Johnny Barnes (it's called Mr. Happy Man by director Matt Morris and it's fantastic; view the trailer here). In the meantime, I'll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled Bermuda Shorts programming.

Monday, June 27, 2011

From The Deep

Just when you thought Bermuda's waters couldn't get more interesting, a team of underwater explorers uncovers a case of 150-year-old hooch within the shattered iron bones of a sunken shipwreck called the Mary-Celestia. The find was a major discovery within SCUBA diving circles and certainly one that has generated lots of local attention since the American Civil War blockade ship sank off Bermuda's southern coast in 1846. Likely thought to be fortified wine, the five bottles were retrieved by an international team of archaeologists working with Bermuda's Department of Conservation Services (to watch the recovery effort, including some amazing underwater footage of the wreck check out the video above). Which really just begs the question: How does it taste? "After undergoing laboratory analysis and preservation treatment, the wine and our other finds will tell their story to Bermudians and the rest of the world thanks to modern science," said Dr. James Delgado, who was part of the dive team that made the discovery. Translation: He's not sure, but I'm guessing it's yummy, boozy and delicious.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cruise News

Cruise-loving Bermudaphiles rejoice! There's a strong possibility that "a new and exclusive cruise line" will be visiting our shores very soon. According to the Royal Gazette—and re-reported on USA Today's The Cruise Log with Gene Sloan—Bermuda's transport minister told the local House of Assembly that a new cruise line may be calling upon the island next year. Said Transport Minister Terry Lister, the unnamed cruise executives were "very impressed with everything they saw," and that he was discussing a deal that would be "very attractive to Bermuda." Considering the island currently draws 385,000 cruise passengers a year despite a sagging tourism infrastructure, the increased business will be a welcome addition indeed. But which cruise line is on the way? Let's see. We've already got Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line. My money's on Cunard and it's made-for-Bermuda Queen Mary 2—luxurious, elegant and a worthy heir to ships like Furness Lines' Queen of Bermuda, which visited the island regularly from New York City's Pier 95 in the early 1900's (that's the ship docked on Front Street circa 1950). Happy cruising!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Kid Is Coming To Bermuda

Leave it to a 22-year-old wunderkind to shake up the Tiger-less PGA—because that's just what Rory McIlroy did at the U.S. Open this weekend, earning his first major championship and an invitation to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. If you're a golf fan or even if you're not, his decisive win was an amazing record-breaking feat: The Northern Irishman set a U.S. Open scoring record with an unbelievable four-day total of 16-under-par 268 and by leading the entire tournament from day one, McIlroy is one of six golfers in history to claim a wire-to-wire championship. Which really just means Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel will have his work cut out for him when he tees up alongside the young champ at the Grand Slam in October. Interested in attending the three-day golf tournament yourself? Then check out this short video I shot, edited and hosted live from Port Royal last year. Fore!

Friday, June 17, 2011

In The News

With its powdery pink sand beaches and there-before-you-know-it access from the U.S.—less than two hours from most east coast gateways, thank you very much—Bermuda has long been a favorite among folks looking for a quick romantic getaway. And apparently CNN agrees since its latest story, Five Hot Honeymoon Destinations, includes Bermuda among exotic locales including French Polynesia, Fiji, Italy and Bali. Reports CNN: "A small island, Bermuda gives off a close-knit community feel while providing an exotic flavor. Pastel-colored buildings and crystal blue waters give the scenic impression that you're far from home without the long journey. For couples taking a "mini-moon" and compensating with a longer honeymoon when time allows, Bermuda provides a special weekend getaway where you can still make it back to work on Monday." Here, here! Of course, if you can stick around awhile longer the island has tons to offer. For tips, suggestions and useful Bermuda itineraries—since, quite frankly, CNN did a less than stellar job of telling readers what to do once they're here—check out 36 Hours in Bermuda from the New York Times or Jetsetter's The Many Faces of Bermuda, both written by yours truly.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

At least he spelled Bermuda correctly...

This just in from the Department of Education and Irony: A "Bermuda Goverment" van was spotted on the island's roads this week, which has raised more than a few eyebrows on Facebook since the person who affixed the sign forgot to include the letter n. Commenter Oba Swan asked, "Does it say Ministry of Edumacation on the side?" While Shelia Marshall suggested the sign-smith may have gone to "the Department of Edu-vacation" for his or her schooling. Both valid points, although lets just hope the same guy wasn't painting signs on Fire Department vehicles, unless of course Bermuda is in need of folks extinguishing pine trees (Fir Department, get it?).