1503, the Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez dismissed this subtropical oasis as the
"Isle of the Devils," but in subsequent centuries his namesake evolved into a
masterpiece of civilized bliss. On this prosperous British outpost, manners are as
gracious as the shorts are long. The standard of living is among the highest in the world,
the setting among the prettiest and most colorful. From crisp white yachts to
canary-yellow mansions, from the crystalline aqua surf to the hot-scarlet blooms of tall
poinsettia trees, the entire island resembles a sublimely cheerful decorating scheme.
Nature is lush but tamed, the tenor of life happy but staid.
location. 500 miles east of North Carolina, makes its climate cooler than that of its
Caribbean cousins, but the Gulf Stream waters are delightfully warm, and its accessibility
- just a couple of hours by air from New York and other East Coast cities - is a major
attraction. Repeat visitors are those who like their comforts convenient and plentiful;
who like their sea tranquil, their nightlife cozy, their dress code dapper, their meals
predictably genteel. Golf and tennis are a widespread obsession, played on numerous
top-notch courses and courts. Except in mid-winter, the swimming's excellent, too, on the
seemingly endless carnation-pink coastline. And thanks to the surrounding coral reefs that
grind out that famously gorgeous sand (and once wrecked many a ship), scuba and snorkeling
are also a must; farther out, sport fishing's the rage.
A less strenuous pastime is shopping, since
many European goods are available for prices lower than those in American stores. In
Hamilton, Bermuda's orderly capital, the shops clustered along Front Street sell an
overwhelming array of fine china, jewelry, French lace, and British woolens (here's the
place for newlyweds to scope out that coveted crystal at close to half-price).
actuality, Bermuda is not one island but a 25 mile paisley-shaped chain of 150 mini-isles,
cheek by jowl, supporting quaint pastel villages, palm cloaked villas, birdwatching
haunts, and clubby resorts. Getting around is fairly easy, thanks to the efficient buses
and ferries, but car rental is nonexistent because of traffic concerns. Renting a moped is
de rigueur , but be warned that Bermuda's narrow, scenically walled lanes have
sent many a tourist home in plaster.
petty hazards aside, this land is a justifiably classic favorite among a wide range of
savvy travelers: hardcore honeymooners, family ensembles, and everyone who loves
ultracivilized luxury in a package as pretty as a rainbow.