So you call yourself a Bermudian? You can’t claim the status if you haven’t done the time. How many of these Bermuda-focused bucket-list items have you done?
Climb to the Top of the Lighthouse
Standing 362 feet above sea level, Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse is not tall by lighthouse standards, but who can deny that the view from the top is unrivaled? Shining light over the ocean in a 100-mile radius, the historic Southampton lighthouse has protected Bermuda’s coral reefs from shipwrecks for more than 165 years. Although no longer a key navigational tool to guide seafarers through Bermuda’s challenging network of reefs, Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction and a well-maintained historical site. Each year, around 25,000 pairs of feet climb their way to the top and look out at Bermuda in all her glory. It’s unclear how many of those feet are Bermudian, but we’re betting not enough. Take a Sunday afternoon, make the trek and take in Bermuda end-to-end. Trust us: the splendour of seeing such a beautiful sight from on high is enough to regenerate pride in being Bermudian.
Enjoy a Dark ‘N Stormy
It was a dark and stormy night when the Sea Venture wrecked upon the Devil’s Isles, resulting in the colonization of Bermuda in 1610, and it’s a Dark ‘n’ Stormy tradition that Bermudians enjoy 400-plus years later. Made with a devilishly delicious combination of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer, Bermuda’s national drink has been the cause of many births, lost bets and plain drunken shenanigans. In fact, Dark ‘n’ Stormies are increasingly popular on the East Coast after American sailors took the famous recipe home along with the excuse “blame it on the Black.”
Have a Swizzle at the Swizzle Inn
Number-one competitor of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, the rum swizzle was invented in the mid-eighteenth century as a way for locals to enjoy a tipple, forget their identity and take the following day off work. More than 200 years later, Bermudians quaff the drink for the exact same reasons. Although most locals have their own version of the recipe, there’s no swizzle like the one served at Swizzle Inn in Bailey’s Bay. But it’s not just the rum swizzle that’s drawn locals and visitors to the Swizzle Inn. It’s the writing on the walls! If you’re not already a regular, now’s the time to become one and make your mark. Perhaps you can get your name on the wall of champions by besting someone named Jason, who drank 30 glasses of swizzle in one sitting.
Eat Fish Chowder Garnished with Sherry Peppers & Black Rum
Legend has it that Bermuda fish chowder is as old as Bermuda, having become a diet staple of the Sea Venture survivors who unexpectedly landed upon our shores in 1609. Although no longer essential to survival, Bermuda fish chowder is frequently referred to as our national dish, and it isn’t complete without the addition of sherry peppers and black rum. Although many men contend that their mothers cook the best fish chowder on the island, it is incontestable that the best place for fish chowder is The Lobster Pot, which has won numerous best-fish-chowder awards over the years in our annual Best of Bermuda Awards. If anyone can think of a reason not to enjoy a bowl of Bermuda fish chowder, he is, quite simply, un-Bermudian.
Go Deep-Sea Fishing
You’ll savour your Bermuda fish sandwich more if you’ve caught the fish yourself. In today’s Bermuda, where smart phones are more prevalent than fishing lines, it’s easier to buy fish from your local angler than head out at dawn to reel it in yourself. But it’s not nearly as much fun. Honour your ancestors and enjoy a deep-sea fishing trip at least once.
Visit Fort St. Catherine
Located on the most northern tip of Bermuda, Fort St. Catherine stands along the shore overlooking the spot where the Sea Venture crashed upon Bermuda’s reefs in 1609. Built in 1614 by Bermuda’s first governor, Sir Richard Moore, the fort has been renovated numerous times; it was converted into a museum in 1950. A reminder of Bermuda’s seafaring days, Fort St. Catherine is only accessible via a drawbridge over a dry moat. Recently updated, the exhibits at Fort St. Catherine include the history of Bermuda and the fort itself; there’s even a replica of the crown jewels. Beware, though; sightings of the fort’s ghost, George, are neither rare nor uneventful.
Watch the Sunrise on a South Shore Beach
Watching the sunrise with the sand between your toes is the perfect way to spend time with family. Bring along a delicious picnic breakfast of hot-cross buns and warm tea and enjoy the sounds, smells and sights of Bermuda at dawn. Enhance your tradition with a family photo taken each year. It’s a great way to document family togetherness and a good start to an album that will be treasured forever.
Explore Bermuda’s Reefs
Bermuda wasn’t chosen as the setting for The Deep because Hawaii was busy. Truth be told, Bermuda has long been one of the most fascinating places in the world for underwater exploration. Although we’ve always valued our underwater world, it wasn’t until Dr. William Beebe descended into Bermuda waters in his bathysphere in 1930 that the floodgates opened and the world wanted to explore Bermuda’s reefs. Since then, the 200 square miles of coral reefs surrounding our island have been studied, filmed and enjoyed too many times to count. This summer, take a trip overboard, explore Bermuda’s coral reefs by SCUBA or snorkel and experience their breathtaking beauty for yourself.
Watch the Sunset in the West End with a Lover
Watching a Bermuda sunset with a lover is the ultimate gesture that leaves palms sweaty and hearts skipping beats. Where to go? We’re spoiled for choice: the picturesque sands of Whale Bay, Watford Bridge, on a boat gently rocking in Western Blue Cut or Church Bay. The warm glow of a Bermuda sunset is the perfect backdrop to an unforgettable proposal.
See Graham Foster’s Mural
On November 25, 2009, Queen Elizabeth opened the Hall of History at Commissioner’s House (National Museum of Bermuda) an impressive mural—the masterwork of local artist Graham Foster—that depicts 400 years of island history. How large a canvas does an artist need to paint 500 years of history? One thousand square feet, to be exact. It took Foster 7,000 hours of research and painting to complete the two-story mural. Foster says “It was the chance of one in a million for an artist,” and it is a rare opportunity to enjoy a magnificent piece of local art and history all rolled into one.
Visit the National Museum of Bermuda
We know it’s all the way in Dockyard and there’s a heap of reading in each exhibit. And, really, on a day off you just want to sit and relax. But it’s sad that more tourists visit the National Museum of Bermuda than Bermudians do. So we’re putting forth a challenge: can Bermudians top the admission list at the Bermuda National Museum or will tourists continue to learn more about our culture and history than we do?
Make a Bermuda Kite
There are rites of passage that signal the passage from carefree child to responsible adult. In Bermuda, that rite of passage is making a Bermuda kite. In the weeks before Good Friday, young Bermudians practice birdie kite flying while watching their fathers piece together a traditional Bermuda kite for the holiday. Choosing the colour and design of a Bermuda kite may be the most important decision a Bermudian makes all year. Indeed, kite flying in Bermuda is serious business, so serious, in fact, that it is not rare for Bermuda kite wars to begin early on Good Friday. Ultraserious kite flyers attach a razor blade to their kite string, hoping to cut the strings of interloping kites that stray too close. For those who are less aggressive, crafting a traditional brown-paper kite with fennel sticks and string is easy.
Go Line Fishing Off the Rocks
The smell of salty sea air as we choose our special spot, the sound of the water gently lapping against the rocky shore and the warm feeling of spending leisurely time with a loved one—well, the experience never gets old. Fishing off the rocks is as Bermudian as it gets.
Tour Crystal Caves
We’ve all heard the legend: two Bermudian boys in the early 1900s were playing cricket when their ball fell down a hole. When the boys went to retrieve the ball, they discovered it had fallen into a deep cavernous space underground. It was only when they descended into the hole that they understood the significance of their find, which we know today as Crystal Caves. For those who have visited before, it is no surprise that Crystal Caves have attracted famous visitors for over a century, including American poet Mark Twain and music superstar Beyoncé. And the stunning caves are not all for show, either; they provide an interesting lesson in Bermuda geology and a fascinating look at the change in sea level over the years. If you aren’t persuaded to visit Crystal Caves for their beauty or history, go for the cave “kisses”; they really are something special.
Visit the Aquarium
“To inspire appreciation and care of island environments” is the mission of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), which opened in 1926 when the Bermuda Government recognized an opportunity to boost the island’s rising tourism industry. The original exhibits were basic, and local fish were the most exotic creatures on display. Fast forward to present day and BAMZ is a leader in environmental education and conservation, presenting locals and visitors with opportunities to learn more about Bermuda’s natural history and ways to preserve our island for future generations. Long gone are the days of simple tanks. BAMZ is on par with the best aquariums and zoos in the world, boasting, among other things, a 12,000-gallon Northrock tank, the new Madagascar exhibit and a state-of-the-art natural-history museum. With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that 15 percent of Bermudians are BAMZ members.
Dance with the Gombeys
When the Gombeys start playing, every Bermudian within earshot stops abruptly, listens carefully to determine where the drumming is coming from and sets off to join the celebration. Although known for performing during cultural festivities, the Gombeys are perhaps most exciting when they spontaneously hit the streets. The show is extravagant, with glittering costumes and the hypnotic beat. Meanwhile, the delighted crowd grows bigger. Our island would be a little less colourful and festive without the Gombeys and all their drums and whistles.
Pick Loquats & Eat Them Right Off the Tree
It’s a treasured part of every Bermudian’s childhood: an afternoon spent in the loquat tree, half hanging on, half trying to consume the delicious fruit. It seems no matter how things change, the loquat tree remains an integral part of Bermuda tradition. The sweet scent, the dark-green leathery leaves offering shade and loquat juice running down our arms as we pit and eat the golden fruit—all make loquat picking a memorable experience. And every Bermudian knows the best time to pick loquats: when the dog is tied up, of course!
Make a Cassava Pie
Long before codfish cakes and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, a Bermudian tradition was born: the sweet and savoury cassava pie. The first settlers grew cassava, which originated in South America, and continued use of the staple culminated in the delicious dish that Bermudians consider as traditional as roast turkey on Christmas. For tradition’s sake, this Christmas, get down to your Bermudian roots and enjoy a delicious cassava pie you made yourself.
Watch the Regiment’s Beat the Retreat
If you’re unaware of this seventeenth-century British Army ritual, the Retreat involved a few drummers playing drum taps in the street after sunset as a warning to soldiers to return to their barracks by the time darkness fell. Today, Beat the Retreat is a historical re-enactment with additional performances by the Band and Corps of Drums of the Bermuda Regiment and Bermuda Islands Pipe Band. Beat the Retreat is held once or twice a month between May and October and draws curious visitors and Bermudians who wish to venture back in time. It is our duty as Bermudians to keep the tradition alive so future generations may be presented with the choice to do the same.
Go to Cup Match for Opening Bowl
Some argue that Bermudians are born with Cup Match colours flowing through their veins. Either red and blue or blue and blue, one’s Cup Match team is not so much a choice but a tradition determined by family heritage. Cup Match has been played each year since 1901 when two groups of men, one from St. George’s and one from Somerset, met to play a friendly game of cricket to celebrate the emancipation of slaves in Bermuda. Although Bermudians enjoy a range of activities over the Cup Match holiday, cricket is the focus, which is why it’s crucial for Bermudians to suit up in their colour-coordinated outfits and attend Cup Match both days and for opening bowl, too, at least once in their lives. After all, it’s the ultimate show of support, not just for your team but also for Bermudian tradition.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
One mile from the bustling City of Hamilton is a quiet place of plants and butterflies, flowers and fields. The Bermuda Botanical Gardens have been Bermuda’s most popular national park since its inauguration in 1898. Boasting an impressive mix of parkland, greenhouses, architectural buildings, woodland and horticultural collections, the Botanical Gardens are a popular spot for locals looking for rest and relaxation. If cooling out under a tree isn’t what you’re after, join a free 90-minute walking tour of the expansive 35-acre property, visit the popular aviary for a glimpse of the peacocks or take a tour of Camden, the official residence of Bermuda’s premier. With so much going on, we will not accept the Annual Exhibition as your only reason for visiting.
Play Crown & Anchor at Cup Match
A Bermudian tradition for centuries, the game of crown and anchor is simple: place your bet on the symbol of your choice and roll the dice. If the dice shows the symbol you put your money on, you win. Crown and anchor is only legal at Cup Match or county cricket games, leading to speculation that many spend more time at the table than they do watching the game.
Body Surf on the South Shore
Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke. You’re swimming hard and fast as a perfect, turquoise-coloured wave rolls toward you. You’re just in time, you push off, throw one arm over the other and close your eyes as you feel the wave pull you toward shore. There’s no denying it: it’s summertime in Bermuda. We’re sure that every Bermudian has enjoyed this summery pastime without having to be persuaded, but for the sake of this list, we couldn’t leave it off.
Ride the Ferry
Bermuda’s first ferries were simple: one guy in a rowboat. Today we have an old version that chugs along on the Paget–Warwick route, and the very latest fast ferry that zips its passengers from Hamilton to Somerset or St. George’s in no time. Whatever ferry route you prefer, there is simply no better form of public transportation than sitting on a Bermuda ferry, taking in the sights and arriving at your destination peacefully.
Walk, Cycle or Ride the Railway Trail
Once upon a time Bermuda was a quiet island. There was only one form of motorized transportation besides the motorcycle, and Old Rattle and Shake was her name. Built in 1931, the Bermuda Railway was the Bermuda government’s answer to providing mass transport for locals and visitors without cars disrupting the peace and quiet tourists had come here to find. For 17 years, Bermuda’s little train made dozens of trips per day from Somerset all the way to St. George’s, providing riders with the most exquisite views of the island. Sadly, due to low ridership, the Bermuda government shut the railway down in 1948. Fast-forward to 1984 when the government converted the old railway lines into picturesque trails for walkers, cyclists and horseback riders. Those who commit to travelling the entire trail will not be disappointed; the views take in the coastal shoreline, Bermuda’s stunning beaches and natural woodland with canopied paths.
For only $5 you can immerse yourself in Bermuda art at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, exploring artists such as Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keefe and Henry Moore who drew inspiration from our island. Masterworks is also dedicated to providing our island with accessible local art. In addition to the Charmin Prize, an art competition that encourages Bermudian artists to showcase their work, Masterworks Museum features local work in its Rick Faries Art Gallery every other Friday year-round.
Visit Bermuda National Gallery
I know we’ve just detailed the importance of supporting local artists, but don’t forget to add the Bermuda National Gallery to your list of to-dos. The Bermuda National Gallery aims to broaden Bermuda’s view of art by exploring different mediums, styles and eras and displaying both local and international artwork. Think of the Bermuda National Gallery and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art as complementary. Visiting the Bermuda National Gallery is free, so you can go as many times as you like.
Stand in the Stocks in St. George’s
Hear ye, hear ye! If your loved one has wandered off the straight and narrow path, lock him (or her) in the wooden stocks in St. George’s Square. Though we joke about it now, that was the purpose of the stocks and pillory in long-ago Bermuda. Anyone committing a petty crime stood with his head, wrists and ankles between hinged planks of wood as a form of embarrassment and discouragement. Nowadays, you’ll find tourists playing with the stocks for fun, but rarely does a Bermudian over the age of 10 step in. Come on and give it a go—we’re certain your spouse can find a good reason to put you there!
Visit St. Peter’s Church & Graveyard
Bermuda’s oldest building, St. Peter’s Church, was built in 1612 by Bermuda’s first settlers looking for a place to worship. Then it was a simple wooden building with a thatched roof, which proved too insubstantial, and the building was rebuilt in stone in 1713. Everything in and around this church dates back centuries; the church’s chalice dates from 1625 and the church’s furniture is the among the oldest in Bermuda. Of course, with old churches come old graveyards, and St. Peter’s provides a resting place for many of Bermuda’s most famous individuals, including Pilot James Darrell, the first black Bermudian to own a home, and Midshipman Dale, the last American to die in the War of 1812.
See the Glowworms
On the third night after a full moon, precisely 56 minutes after sunset, the usually uneventful life of a female glowworm starts to get exciting. She springs up from her home on the ocean floor and heads for the surface of the water, where she radiates an amazing green light to attract her mate. Take your kids to watch the glowworms one summer evening, three nights after a full moon and precisely 56 minutes after sunset. The best places? Ferry Reach Park, Flatts Inlet and Shelly Bay.
Go to the Annual Exhibition
Bermudians know exactly what the Annual Exhibition is, even if they still call it the Ag Show. Since 1938, the Annual Exhibition has been a part of our lives, giving Bermudians of all ages a reason to practice handicrafts, bake, garden and raise farm animals, all in good fun and for healthy competition. If it’s been years since you’ve attended the celebrated community fair, head down to the Botanical Gardens on April 19, 20 and 21 of this year, grab yourself a cotton candy or a snowball and join a Bermudian tradition, unchanged over time.
Dive Up a Sea Pudding
We don’t know of anyone who has never been tempted to dive up a sea pudding. The squishy creatures that inhabit the sea floor are extremely important to our underwater ecosystem, filtering and mixing sediment on the ocean floor, so if you choose to pluck a sea pudding from it’s sandy home, don’t be that jerk that squeezes one too hard—it is an animal after all.
Spot a Whale
Living in Bermuda, we can become blasé about the world of underwater creatures, but the humpback whale is a different story. Every March and April, the humpbacks travel from the Caribbean to Canada, passing by Bermuda’s South Shore along their way. Often escorting their newborn calves, the female whales can breech dramatically, providing land creatures on the South Shore beaches and cliffs a fantastic show. Of course, if you want a really good view, going out on a tour boat is your best option and one we fully encourage. With the captain’s expertise, boats are sometimes able to get within five feet of the magical creatures. Now comes the challenge: seeing the whales and not getting emotional.
Visit Portuguese Rock & Enjoy Spittal Pond
Covering 64 acres, Spittal Pond is a place of natural splendour. As Bermuda’s largest nature reserve, it is without doubt one of the best places to observe Bermuda’s array of plants and animals in their natural habitats. From the rocky coastline to the eight-acre brackish pond, it’s no wonder why Bermudians love it so much. Another group of people who appreciated Spittal Pond? Shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, who in 1543 (the earliest evidence of human life in Bermuda) carved the initials RP along with the date into the limestone rock. Whether you go for the birds, the trees, the pond or Portuguese rock, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that every Bermudian should visit Spittal Pond.
Go By Boat Under Somerset Bridge
The Bermudian magazine’s archives are full of photographs of sailboats making their way under Somerset Bridge, while locals on land carefully guide the mast through the small gap between planks of wood. Imagine the look on tourists’ faces when they saw this wonderful event taking place—a true sign of small-island living and Bermudians helping one another. Except…if they looked longer, they might have seen young Bermudians seeking a laugh: occasionally they pulled up the planks without a sailboat approaching, and the next car to cross the bridge would get an unexpected surprise!
See the Unfinished Church in St. George’s
The story of the Unfinished Church begins in 1874, when parishioners of St. Peter’s contemplated replacing their church, which had been severely damaged in a storm. But the churchgoers couldn’t reach a consensus about whether to replace or rebuild. From there, controversy and ill-fate plagued the grand church that could have been. In the end, they decided that St. Peter’s Church would remain the place of worship for the Church of England in St. George’s, thus leaving the Unfinished Church, well…simply unfinished. Today, the Bermuda National Trust owns and maintains the controversial cathedral; it was officially named a World Heritage Site, insuring that the ruin remains unfinished forever.
Riddell’s Bay, Mid Ocean, Port Royal, Tucker’s Point: they are magnificent golf courses that lure thousands of locals and visitors annually to play 18 holes, and the players are rewarded with spectacular views and challenging holes. Bermuda has more courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world, which means that Bermudians should not only be taking advantage of the opportunities found in our own backyards, but we should also be PGA-worthy! Of course, many believe that Bermudians favour the nineteenth hole above all others.
See Where Sir George Somers’s Heart Is Buried
If it weren’t for Sir George Somers, perhaps we wouldn’t be here today. Indeed, after the famed Sea Venture wrecked off Bermuda’s shores in 1609, its captain, Sir George, petitioned England that Bermuda would make an excellent colony, and he volunteered to stay instead of following the rest of the survivors to Jamestown, Virginia, their initial destination. Sadly, Sir George died only a year later. After his unexpected death, his body was taken back to England and buried, but his heart remained in Bermuda, as it should have. People still visit the official resting place of Sir George’s heart in Somers Gardens, St. George’s, although few know that the heart’s actual resting place—thanks to the vicissitudes of time and changing road patterns—is somewhere in the middle of York Street.
Go Around the Island by Boat
Whatever the vessel of your choosing, seeing the whole of Bermuda by boat all in one day is an amazing feat that every true Bermudian must do. Never will it be as clear to you how unique and amazing our island is until seeing it from the water. Appreciating Bermuda fully must sometimes mean looking in from afar.
Party in Paradise Lake
Coolers of swizzle, people clad in bathing suits and lots of good music: it isn’t officially summertime unless you’re partying on a boat in Paradise Lake. Indeed, venturing out to the lake in the heat of summer is serious business: one must never leave land without plenty of sunscreen, a great group of friends and, of course, an ample supply of flotation devices for when things get really rowdy. For the most serious of Paradise Lake revelers, the trip begins on a Friday evening and doesn’t end until Sunday evening, when partiers return to land sunburned, bleary-eyed and vowing to never do it again, which, of course, they do, the very next weekend.
Experience Castle Harbour by Boat
Beautiful Castle Harbour is one of Bermuda’s most picturesque locations. A large body of turquoise water surrounded by a chain of islands and rocks, many with ruins of forts once used to protect Bermuda, Castle Harbour is anyone’s dream of a day on the water. This summer, rent a boat from Grotto Bay or Tucker’s Point and putter around, exploring and enjoying the little bays and coves that make Castle Harbour so magical.
Ride a Moped
Not until the ripe old age of 16 does a Bermudian get to experience the feeling of riding a bike down the road with the wind in their face and their hand on the throttle. Usually, this local rite of passage also includes an introduction to road rash; in fact, one wouldn’t be considered Bermudian without it.
Watch the Round the Island Boat Race
For the thrill-seekers among us, the annual Round the Island Power Boat Race is a fun event that all enjoy, whether participant or spectator. It is common for locals to pull up along Ferry Reach, bring out their barbecues, mix a cocktail and wait for the winners to cross the finish line.
Jump Off the Rocks
Bermudians have always used the rocks at Admiralty House, Horseshoe Bay and Diving Board Island as springboards for high dives, back flips and cannonballs, but it wasn’t until a group of young Bermudians created a series of videos called Falling off the Rock that cliff jumping became the “it” thing to do. Since the first video in 2009, Bermuda’s Falling off the Rock videos have earned more than 800,000 views on YouTube. Cliff jumping has always been a part of growing up in Bermuda, but who would have thought it would garner so much attention that it has become a marketing tool of Bermuda’s Department of Tourism. It’s proof that nobody can sell Bermuda better than Bermudians.
Cook Guinea Chicks
Less celebrated than spiny lobster or rockfish, guinea chicks are equally delicious but less common. A guinea chick is simple to cook: cut in half, remove the centre vein and grill for about seven minutes.
Eat a Codfish Cake in a Hot Cross Bun
It doesn’t get any more Bermudian than a codfish cake in a hot-cross bun. This delicious combination is something every Bermudian looks forward to on Good Friday. Well, every Bermudian except Dale Butler, the Master of Codfish Cakes himself, who told The Bermudian in 2011, “I prefer to eat the cake alone, bread is too fattening for me. I will try just one bun for tradition’s sake.” For the rest of us, a couple more inches to pinch is a small price to pay for such a delicious tradition.
Watch the Dinghy Races & Catch a Capsizing
Stevie Dickinson and Glenn Astwood would be proud if every Bermudian made it a priority to watch the Bermuda fitted dinghy races every year. A tradition that has gone on for centuries, dinghy racing has become a competitive class; it can get dramatic, as crewmen throw themselves overboard to either lighten the vessel’s load or help push the boat forward. This is legitimate—rules allow a boat to cross
the finish line with fewer crewmembers than when it started.
Watch the May 24 Marathon
Bermuda hosts numerous road races throughout the year that welcome participants from all over the world, but on Bermuda Day there is a special race strictly for Bermudian athletes. Locals suit up and hit the pavement to compete in this traditional half-marathon. The best part? It’s not just the runners who get in on the action: nonparticipants line the streets with lawn chairs and wait for the runners to approach; when they do, it’s a screaming-clapping-pat-on-the-back kind of chaos.
Watch the Christmas Boat Parade
Every other year, thousands of Bermudians line Hamilton Harbour to watch boats adorned in dazzling Christmas lights parade their way around the harbour. One of Bermuda’s most popular, and unique, holiday events, the Christmas Boat Parade features approximately 80 boats and draws crowds up to 20,000. Attending the Christmas Boat Parade is a must, but we’re sure that no one really needs convincing.
Watch Any Parade
When pomp and pageantry take over Hamilton, Bermudians set up their lawn chairs, replace the batteries in their portable fans and rope off their very own VIP section of the sidewalk, all in anticipation of the street festivities. Choose the Bermuda Day Parade with its elaborate floats, the Santa Parade or the Queen’s Birthday Parade; it doesn’t really matter which one you attend as long as you choose to join in.
Experience the Madness of the Non-mariners Race
Imagine, thousands of boats rafted together in Mangrove Bay with even more people clad in bathing suits, swimming, dancing, drinking and hopefully not drowning. It can only mean one thing: the Non-Mariners Race is in full swing! Notorious for its outrageousness, the Non-Mariners Race wouldn’t be as popular without the crazy non-floats and the chaos that ensues from sun up to sun down on the Sunday after Cup Match. Amazingly, it seems that each year the boats get bigger and more people join the party, yet rarely is there trouble. It goes to show that, better than anyone, Bermudians can unite for a good time and a good tradition. Although the official race has been retired, locals still gather in Mangrove Bay for unofficial celebrations.
Visit Government House
“‘Ello Govna!” you will say as you greet Governor Sir Richard Gozney on your first official visit to his magnificent residence, Government House. Upon entering, you are given a drink and a tour and told to make yourself feel at home, which of course you do. After a light lunch of fish and chips, you spend the afternoon watching football and reminiscing about the Royal Wedding. Before you know it, it’s time to leave, and as you’re getting in your car to go home, you say, “See you next weekend, and give Elizabeth my best!” Even if your visit to Government House doesn’t go exactly like this, it’s worth a visit anyway.
Attend a County Cricket Game
Cup Match is one of Bermuda’s most popular events, but Bermudians tend to forget the smaller county games. At these cricket matches, a carnival atmosphere prevails, as people from the neighbourhood come out to support their team and enjoy the small-scale festivities. Of course, no Bermudian cricket game would be complete without a Crown and Anchor table, but even so, the madness of Cup Match is replaced with a family ambiance and good Bermudian culture.
Witness the Peppercorn Ceremony
Talk about cheap rent. When Bermuda’s capital moved from St. George’s to Hamilton in 1816, the Old State House was rented to the Freemasons for the price of one peppercorn per year. Since then, the occasion has been marked with excessive grandeur as the governor arrives in a horse-drawn carriage, the peppercorn is presented on a velvet cushion atop a silver platter and the regiment executes a 17-gun salute. Makes you wonder what they would do if the rent were increased to two peppercorns.
Walk the Paths from Warwick Long Bay to Horseshoe Bay
Although the paths and dunes that separate Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay are popular with horseback riders, walking is the best way to experience the natural wonder of the seaside trails. Getting sand between your toes and breathing in the salty air makes the walk pleasant at any time of the year. During the springtime, however, when the temperature is just starting to warm and you are beginning to anticipate summertime, you are likely to stop, take a deep breath and think how lucky you are to live in such a wonderful place.