I recently returned from an incredible all-women trip to Bermuda with ‘Women Who Travel’, an exciting new program from CNT to encourage global exploration in carefully curated trips for women. The island was beyond beautiful and held history that was largely unknown to me previously, which was explained perfectly (& with much fantastic personality) by our talented guide, Kristin White. So a quick history:
Bermuda was originally discovered in 1503 by Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez though there are few details around that journey. Bermuda's real history started in 1609 when a group of British colonists landed ashore after their ship got wrecked at a nearby reef while en route to Jamestown, Virginia. Admiral Sir George Somers had set sail with a fleet of nine ships from Plymouth of England towards the new English colony, and as the chief, Somers was aboard the flagship Sea Venture along with some 150 sailors and settlers, and a dog. After the ship got wrecked on the reefs, but all on board were able to come on shore safely, and the survivors later built two new ships - The Deliverance and the Patience. The ships were constructed mainly from plenty of available Bermuda cedar and the materials stripped from the Sea Venture itself, with all of them setting sail again for Jamestown after 10 months. But Somers left behind two volunteers so that the British claim on the island could continue. And since then, Bermuda has been continuously inhabited. Following the 1707 unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain, the islands of Bermuda became a British Crown Colony.
This all made sense given the many English pubs on the island, but unlike the British territories down in the Caribbean (The Bahamas, Barbados, Anguilla, Grenada, Cayman Islands…), Bermuda has a culture and feel all of it’s own. Given my many years living in NYC, I was shocked I had not been before given its close proximity right off the coast - about 1.5 hours gate to gate, which accounted for the many NY & Connecticut country club types, tennis rackets in had, ready to board for the islands (also, just how many weddings happen there annually? There were three bridal parties on my flight alone). Our (three day) trip was organized by the fabulous female-forward El Camino Travel, and out spectacular itinerary included:
Evening: The weekend will officially kick off with welcome cocktails at the The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club—get ready to meet your fellow travelers for the weekend, plus our local host Kristin White, and on-trip Traveler editor. After, we'll head to a private al fresco dinner with local forager and chef Doreen Williams-James. The one-woman-show behind Wild Herbs 'N Plants Bermuda, she's known for finding obscure endemic ingredients and using them to create innovative farm-to-table meals—but her stories about foraging across the island, and family tales of how traditional dishes were developed, are reason enough to share a meal with her.
*Included: Airport transfer, welcome cocktails, dinner, accommodation
Saturday, June 8
Morning: Breakfast is on your own terms today. Grab something to eat in town (tap our on-trip editor for their favorite spots), or opt-in to the spread at The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Then, throw on your best beach hat and grab a book, because we're hitting the water for a few hours on a private catamaran. We'll explore the island from coast to coast, with stops at secluded beaches, snorkeling over a shipwreck, and, for the adrenaline junkies onboard, the chance to cliff jump at Admiralty Park. Plus, local female-owned cafe Salty Lime will be serving a fresh, Mexican-influenced lunch and drinks onboard. Is there a better way to spend Saturday morning? Nope, we didn't think so.
Keep an eye out for the former Royal Naval Yard, in Bermuda's west end.
Nhuri Bashir/Courtesy Bermuda Tourism Authority
Afternoon: Back on dry land, we'll have a few hours of free time before dinner. Head into town for a couple hours of exploring (your guide will have plenty of tips), or stick around and enjoy the hotel. A few local events will be going on as well, such as the annual Rosé Festival (yes, really) in the Botanical Gardens.
Evening: The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is known for its dining offerings, the crown jewel of which is Marcus, a restaurant from Chef Marcus Samuelsson, best known for New York's
Red Rooster. Our set menu will highlight the best of Samuelsson's menu—think fresh produce, seafood, and meat with distinctively Bermudian spices—which will be finished with a dessert course from pastry chef Fhonthip Jones. Come ready to spend a few hours lingering over the meal with your fellow travelers.
*Included: Catamaran excursion, lunch, dinner, accommodation
Sunday, June 9
Morning: We'll hit the town bright and early, as our guide Kristin is going to take us for a walking (and eating) tour of the east end of the island. First, we'll get to taste a traditional cod fish breakfast before Kristin weaves us through St. George's most notable sights. Good thing we have that photographer on board, because this town—a UNESCO Heritage Site—has no shortage of gorgeous architecture and colorful buildings.
Depart: After checking out and saying our goodbyes, transportation will be arranged to take everyone back to the airport for the journey home. Hopefully, with some new memories—and future travel buddies—under our belts.