Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Post Is Not About Bermuda

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you breaking news in the world of film and television—mountains and film and television, actually. Instead of enjoying Bermuda’s recent spate of sun-kissed weather, I’ll be hosting Outside Television’s coverage of MountainFilm in Telluride, Colorado, alongside pro-skier Lynsey Dyer this Memorial Day weekend.

What? You’ve never heard of MountainFilm? Get ready to be inspired because there’s a reason why the festival’s tagline is “Celebrating Indomitable Spirit.” For a sense of what this amazing collaboration of artists, athletes and activists is all about I strongly encourage you to watch the above video titled “What Is MountainFilm?” (trust me, it’s 4:40 well spent). As artist Chris Jordan eloquently states, "It's a group of awake people doing what they know how to do, to change the world." Now in it's 31st year, MountainFilm is the epitome of globally-conscious filmmaking. So to get you in the spirit, here are three films screening this weekend.

In 1968, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, surfer Doug Tompkins and skier Dick Dorworth drove a beat up van from Ventura, California to the tip of southern Argentina to climb a new route up Mt. Fitzroy—an epic adventure caught on film called Mountain of Storms. Forty years later director Chris Malloy, mountaineer Jeff Johnson and alpinist Timmy O’Neil retrace their journey in 180°South, a high-adrenaline documentary from Woodshed Films (known for surfer flicks like Thicker Than Water) that captures the original film's vast spirit of adventure. Watch the trailer.

Given the love of the great outdoors by festival participants, much of MountainFilm’s documentaries focus on conservation and environmental activism. After all, how can you enjoy nature if it’s being destroyed? Enter films like Flathead Wild, which follows the International League of Conservation Photographers as it documents the Flathead—a pristine river that's home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America—currently threatened by a coal bed methane drilling project in Canada. Says one of the iLCP team, “If people see these images, they’re going to want to do the right thing.” Watch the trailer.

Finally, try not to be moved by a fifteen-minute film called Nico’s Challenge. The short documentary from Steve Audette follows Nicolai Calabria, a thirteen-year-old boy born with one leg as he attempts to summit Mount Kilimanjaro—a.k.a. Africa’s highest peak—to raise money and wheelchairs for Tanzania’s mobility-impaired population. In short, it’s an amazing film and just one of the reasons why I’m so proud to be a part of this uplifting and inspirational festival (to watch the film in its entirety, go here).

So…that’s what I’ll be up to this week. Outside Television officially launches nationwide on June 1, so stay tuned for updates regarding the rollout of the network plus news about Outside Film Festival: MountainFilm, a sixteen-episode show hosted by Lynsey Dyer and yours truly, which will air this fall.

In the meantime, Bermuda Shorts bids you adieu—at least for a little while.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Bermuda Day!

Americans may have to wait another week to get their first three-day weekend of the summer, but here on the island, Bermuda Day is officially upon us. Monday, May 24th marks the official start of the season—a long day of play including a festive parade through the City of Hamilton with floats, majorettes and marching bands; the Bermuda Marathon Derby, a half-marathon road race from Somerset to Hamilton (that's a picture from last year's race); and a flotilla of boats that normally fill picturesque Paradise Lakes. It’s also the first day of the year when local residents traditionally go swimming in the ocean and when businessmen get the green light to don their colorful Bermuda shorts to work. (Consider me way ahead of the curve: I’ve already done both). I guess what I’m really trying to say is that Bermuda Shorts, like the rest of the island, will be closing it’s doors on Monday. After all, I think our hard-working staff deserves a day off, don’t you? Expect a full report on Tuesday, May 25 in addition to a very special announcement for all you cinephiles and mountainlovers out there. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take Two

So much for that experiment. Either I totally stumped the crowd by asking where yesterday’s photo was taken OR no one really wanted to win the fabulous prize I had lined up for the correct guess. Whatever the reason a shiny gold star goes to commenter Andrew, who was the lone wolf in the first inaugural Bermuda Shorts Where Was This Taken? online giveaway extravaganza. Posted by Andrew yesterday: “Well, being that I have yet come to Bermuda I am limited, but, I looked online at maps and my guess is Long Bay. I see you are in a cove from the picture but again I am not sure.” Nice try my friend but unfortunately that’s incorrect. Yesterday’s photograph was taken at none other than Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve, a 36-acre National Park that opened to the public in 1996. Complete with winding hiking trails and secluded little beaches, it’s one of the prettiest spots to be alone with nature (and to spot some of the most exotic species of birds anywhere in the world). That and it’s right next door to Clearwater Beach, easily one of the best spots on the east end to get your toes wet. As for that guess of yours Andy boy, nice work! But it’s worth noting that Long Bay is on the west end of the island—equally as pretty, not nearly as secluded and much, much, well, longer. In the meantime, thanks for playing but it looks like I’ll be keeping that shiny prize behind door number one for awhile.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Where Was This Taken?

That's right folks, it's time for the inaugural version of the fun-for-the-whole-family-game, "Where Was This Taken?" Considering we at Bermuda Shorts are still searching for an official sponsor, there's no guarantee on what you'll win if you guess correctly, but let's just say it'll be a one heckuva prize. What? You want a hint? Sorry, but Bermuda is only twenty-one-square miles—if you've ever been beach-combing in BDA, you should probably know where this powdery slice of sand is located. Ready? Let's all say it together now: Where. Was. This. Taken! Consider the ballots open.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

Hot on the heels of the temporary closure of Elbow Beach Resort, which shuttered 60 percent of its 235 rooms last November and has since rebranded as an intimate luxury hotel, the west end retreat 9 Beaches has announced it too will close for the 2010 season. Of course it’s not all bad news. As reported by the Royal Gazette (and Bernews and the Bermuda Sun, for that matter) the hotel plans to invest $80 million into the property, upgrading its overwater bungalows and beachside restaurant, in addition to building 64 mixed-used units, meaning 9 Beaches seems to be going in the direction of hotels like The Reefs Hotel & Club and Newstead Belmont Hills Resort & Spa, which added partial-ownership options last year. No doubt this is a good thing for the hotel—reports suggest 9 Beaches took quite a beating during Bermuda's stormier-than-normal winter—but it’s a shame that such trailblazing property has to close its doors at all. Where else besides the South Pacific can you stay in an overwater bungalow and watch the turquoise waves roll in beneath your plexiglass-layered floor? The hotel says it will reopen in May 2011 as a first-class Bermudian-themed property (whatever that means). Let’s just hope it keeps its rates down and the vibe as relaxed as always.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Don't Worry, It's Not A Pipe

Traveling to Bermuda this June? Then you’ll be pleased to know about the Preferred Visitors Card from bermuda.com, otherwise known as the PVC. Its unfortunate plumbing-inspired acronym aside, the card—which can be purchased for just $15 on bermuda.com—will provide the holder a slew of discounts and freebies good from June 15 through June 30. A full list of what’s offered can be found here, but in the meantime here are a few deals to whet your appetite: Free golf club rentals at Tucker’s Point, Belmont Hills, Mid-Ocean and Port Royal golf courses (up to a $20 value for one round); certified one-tank SCUBA dives with Fantasea Bermuda for $99 (normally $150); 10% off your bill at Henry VIII (currently my favorite spot in Southampton for traditional Bermuda fish chowder and expertly prepared sushi, although not necessarily in that order); $5, 20-ounce pints of locally brewed Dockyard Brewing Company beer at the Frog & Onion Pub (try the Trunk Island Pale Ale or the Black Anchor Porter); and 10% scooter rentals from Oleander Cycles (which has locations island-wide). Remember, the card is only $15—so if you’re planning on hitting the links or exploring popular island attractions this June, it’s definitely worth the spend. To purchase the card visit bermuda.com—but from now on, let's call it the Bermuda Card, shall we?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Good News!

Remember Tim Finnegan? The guy who entered the Reefs Hotel & Club "Show Your Love" contest and won his parents a second honeymoon to Bermuda more than 40 years later? The Maine resident is making news for doing so in his hometown paper, the Newburyport Daily News. Reports the newspaper last week: “When Tim Finnegan learned the Bermuda hotel where he and his wife honeymooned in 2007 was giving away a free vacation to a lucky couple, he immediately jumped at the chance to return to the turquoise waters and pink sand beaches and relive their romantic trip. But then, his mind quickly turned to a couple far more deserving of a tropical escape—his parents." Feel free to read his entry here but here’s the gist of the story: Tim’s parents, who first stayed at the Reefs over four decades ago, have lived a life of hardship, having six kids, some of them ill, some of them taken unexpectedly. And because of their unceasing dedication to their family—i.e. constantly putting their children’s needs ahead of their own—the pair have barely taken a vacation since. So Tim wrote in on their behalf, petitioning for his parents who are very much in need of a sunny break. Heartwarming indeed. The newspaper reports Tim’s folks will be arriving the island in July to celebrate their 42nd anniversary. Said Tim’s dad about his upcoming stay at the hotel, “They’ll probably treat us like royalty.” Yes, they probably will Mr. Finnegan—and not because the hotel provides stellar service across the board—because you deserve it. See that infinity pool? That's gonna be all yours very shortly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Calling the Guinness Book

It’s no secret that Bermuda is a quick hop from NYC—about 90 minutes by plane, actually—but boater Chuck Arnold wants you to know that you can get here pretty fast by sea, too. The Contender Boats salesmen is planning to attempt breaking the New York to Bermuda high-speed record with a nonstop run on his 37-foot center console Contender this spring (it's like the blue-hulled boat above, but about ten feet longer). The current record stands at 29 hours 30 minutes from shore to shore, so to break it, Arnold plans on running his boat 44 knots from the Statue of Liberty to Bermuda nonstop. If he does it, he’ll be in the record books for sure, but I have a feeling it’s less about the record and more about the free swag: In addition to three passengers also aboard the boat, Arnold will be hauling a full complement of electronics, navigational equipment, underwater lighting and other gear supplied by Win-Tron Elelctronics. Said Arnold in a recent press release, “This kind of trip places maximum demands on everyone on board, as well as the equipment needed to accomplish the task. We know we could count on Win-Tron Electronics to provide us with the best electronics systems on the market to help ensure our success.” And what if you don’t make it to Bermuda, Chuck? “Well, then it’ll be totally Win-Tron’s fault.” No, he didn’t utter that last sentence—after all, the guy sells Contenders not nautical electronics—but you see what I’m saying, right? A boatload of free navigational equipment will make a man do anything—even motor through the night to reach pink sand paradise. So to you Chuck, I say best of luck! If I see you on the shore I’ll be the first guy to buy you a Dark n Stormy, because after 29 hours at sea, I have a feeling you’ll need one.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From the Links

Any casual reader of Bermuda Shorts knows that I’m a big fan of Port Royal Golf Course. Not only do I try to play eighteen holes as often as I can—big stress on the word try—but I covered the Robert Trent Jones-designed course extensively when it hosted last year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf. There was this video showcasing all four major champions playing the cliff-hugging 16th hole, then I created this video, which followed Lucas Glover’s winning approach on 18 to win the trophy and the $600,000 purse. Back in March I covered this segment shot by Voyage.TV, a fancy travel site (of which I am the Bermuda Resident Editor) that features smart HD videos. And then there was a chance to win a three-night trip to play unlimited golf at Port Royal last week, a contest that’s unfortunately now closed. Ahh well, in case you missed your chance to enter, there’s one more way to get your Port Royal fix. This past Sunday saw the premier of Global Golf Adventure, a new NBC travel show that features great golf courses around the world. It’s hosted by commentator and golf expert Mark Rolfing and it’s the latest bright light to shine upon Bermuda’s best known championship golf course (that's Rolfing talking to Premier Dr. Ewart Brown on the patio of Port Royal's restauarant, 64 degrees). What? You missed the show? Have no fear: You can watch Global Golf Adventure in its entirety, with minimal commercial interruption, right here on its website. My favorite part of the show? Mark Rolfing’s interview with 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink, who played Port Royal at the Grand Slam last year. Said Cink about the course, “Being in an environment like that is just good for your soul.” Stewart, I couldn’t agree more. Here’s hoping we see you again at the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf this October. Fore!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cruise News

Those who prefer to travel to Bermuda by sea instead of by air got a welcome surprise last week, when Carnival Cruise Lines announced that it would be significantly expanding its presence to the mid-Atlantic archipelago. According to USA Today's Cruise Log with Gene Sloan, Carnival will increase its Bermuda departures from one this year to 16 in 2011, the most the cruise line has ever offered. In addition to offering itineraries from New York, Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia, Carnival will also begin sailing from Charleston where the line would be the first offering Bermuda cruises from the South Carolina city. Even better, the expansion allows Carnival to offer six, seven and eight-day cruises from its east coast ports from April through November: From Baltimore, the Carnival Pride will offer seven-day cruises; from New York, the Miracle will offer seven- and eight-day departures; from Norfolk, the Glory will offer six-day cruises; and from Charleston, the Fantasy will offer six-day sailings. All 16 cruises will dock at King’s Wharf on the island’s west end, which means you'll be within walking distance of the Bermuda Maritime Museum (where you can explore the fully restored Commissioner's House), Dolphin Quest (where you can swim with live dolphins in a sheltered lagoon) and the Frog & Onion Pub (where you can sample handcrafted beers from the Dockyard Brewing Company). For more visit Carnival.com/Bermuda.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This Is My Post About Cinco De Mayo

It was inevitable really. A B-level holiday rolls around and we writers gravitate towards related events or news pegs that seem to matter in our respective slices of the blogosphere. Although I’m surprised. Not even Google has decked out its logo, as it usually does, with whimsical graphics to celebrate the day. No lime stuck in the O, no sombrero-wearing G. Just plain old multi-colored Google—although two colors of the Mexican flag are shown on the L and the E, so I suppose in some weird way that counts for something. At any rate, this is where I make the transition from the topic of the day to Bermuda, because ultimately, it’s always about Bermuda isn’t it? Consider this your fun fact of the day: There’s one, count ‘em, one Mexican restaurant on the entire island. It’s called Rosa’s Cantina and not surprisingly, it advertises World Famous Margaritas (if I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen that one, I’d be a rich man). I used to think a place called Tio Pepe’s was a Mexican joint—after all it means Uncle Pepe in Spanish—but as it turned out it’s Italian. Go figure. I’ve still never sipped one of those “famous” margaritas, but I’m guessing they’ll be some kind of fiesta going on over at Rosa’s today. As for me, well, I think I’ll go for a swim instead. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Best. Cupcake. Ever. UPDATE

It’s not every day Bermuda Shorts gets picked up by the local news, but that’s just what happened yesterday when island news site Bernews.com began its Bermuda Heritage Month coverage with a story about Dark n Stormy cupcakes. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be groundbreaking news—a story about cupcakes? What gives?—but Bernews found that gem of a recipe over on my corner of the web and decided to host an island-wide taste test. In a story title “Researchers Required: Dark n Stormy Cupcakes,” Bernews gathered the island’s top politicians, businessmen and whoever else would volunteer to test a batch of homemade Dark n Stormy cupcakes in the City of Hamilton from 10am-1pm yesterday. I unfortunately was not on hand to participate in this very scientific study—yours truly had much more pressing matters to attend to, of course—but no doubt those who did were pleased. Said a local PR professional in her Twitter feed yesterday: “Doin vital @bernewsdotcom research tasting #darknstormy cupcakes made with @theblackseal thx to @davidlahuta tip-off. My survey says yeeesss!” For more, stay tuned to Bernews.com for updates on the big cupcake taste test. In the meantime, you’re welcome Bermuda.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Win A Golf Getaway!

It’s Giveaway City here in sunny Bermuda! First I told you about a pair of destination wedding contests for bride-and-grooms-to-be who are tying the knot this year (hurry, there’s still time to enter). And now there’s this from Port Royal Golf Course—home of the 2010 PGA Grand Slam of Golf—the luxurious Fairmont Southampton and Bermuda.com: Name Port Royal’s original course designer and you’ll be entered to win a fabulous golfing getaway for two including a three-night stay at the Fairmont Southampton, unlimited golfing for two at Port Royal Golf Course plus a one-hour lesson with one of the club’s golf pros. So, who is this mysterious golf architect? I won't give you the answer—this is a contest after all—but I will tell you two places to find it. Tune in to Global Golf Adventure on NBC at 1:30 EST on May 8th, when host Mark Rolfing visits Bermuda’s own Port Royal OR just pop on over to Port Royal’s website, where in addition to booking tee times and learning about the golf club’s fabulous new ocean view restaurant called 64 degrees, you can read about who indeed designed this world renowned golf course. To enter visit Bermuda.com. But hurry: Submissions must be received by May 10.