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So Near, and yet...So Near Met Golfer Expanded Content: bermuda

Bermuda’s sapphire waters and pink-sand beaches are just a short flight from the New York Metropolitan Area, close enough for a weekend getaway without the bother of Hamptons traffic. The island is an outpost of British influence in the Atlantic, a place formed by and for pleasure seekers, a semi-tropical escape that welcomes travelers from across Europe and the eastern third of the Americas.

It takes serious effort not to enjoy yourself in Bermuda, but below are a few travel tips for the new visitor or even one who hasn’t been there for a while.

The view from the 16th tee at Port Royal

Getting There and Getting Around:

American, United, Delta, and JetBlue all fly nonstop from New York Area airports to L.F. Wade International Airport in St. George’s Parish, Bermuda, the country’s only international airport.

Rental cars are not available for visitors. Scooters and motorbikes can be rented, but the hilly, winding streets are not ideal for newbie riders. Taxis are available from most hotels or by phone; buses run the length of the island on the major roads and offer a great way to experience Bermuda the way Bermudians do.

Eating and Drinking:

When it comes to cocktails, the country’s two signature drinks both feature Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. A Dark ‘N’ Stormy(R) is made with 4.5 ounces ginger beer over ice, then topped with 1.5 ounces of the syrupy spirit. The Rum Swizzle is a fruity punch considered the unofficial national cocktail, combining Gosling’s Black Seal with amber rum, triple sec, pineapple and orange juices, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and Angostura bitters. It’s as refreshing as it is deadly.

Thanks to its international character, fueled by the many cruise ships that come to the island for a day of play, Bermuda offers a wide variety of dining options for the visitor. Most of them will have on the menu one or the other of the two local seafood staples: fish chowder and fish sandwich. The chowder is tomato based, cooked long to break up the white flaky fish (and the late-added shrimp and clams), and finished with rum and sherry pepper sauce. Fish sandwiches are simple – local fish grilled or fried, with tartar sauce and optional cole slaw, served on toasted raisin bread – and simply delicious, craveable enough to give you reason for a return visit. Discussions of whose fish sandwich is best devolve quickly into near-tribal loyalties, with prominent mentions of Art Mel’s Spicy Dicy in Hamilton, Woody’s Bar & Restaurant on Boaz Island, Seaside Grill on the north shore in Devonshire, and nearly any small establishment with or without tables where the raisin bread is sliced thick and the ginger beer is cold.

Fine dining is represented by the Waterlot Inn, an upscale steakhouse in a 17th-century building; the Fourways Inn and Restaurant, whose premises are a johnny-come-lately dating merely to 1727; the Ocean Club at the Fairmont Southampton; and Marcus Samuelsson’s offering, Marcus’, at the Hamilton Princess. Bermudiana Street in Hamilton offers a surprising number of Italian restaurants: Little Venice is the upscale version with an extensive wine list, while Portofino is ideal for those seeking a trattoria vibe. (Belle Vista, at Port Royal Golf Course, is another Italian surprise, with excellent food and striking views.) And there are pubs aplenty in Hamilton as well; the Hog Penny would look right at home anywhere in the English countryside, with its local drafts, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and dark wood throughout.

Golf

The stars of the show are Mid Ocean Club and Port Royal Golf Course (pictured right), with Tucker’s Point Golf Club and Turtle Hill outstanding in their supporting roles. But if you want a taste of golf the way the locals play it, make time for a round at Ocean View Golf Course. Managed by the same folks who run Port Royal, Ocean View sits on a Devonshire hillside with topography very similar to that of Mid Ocean and Tucker’s Point. It has nine greens with two pairs of tees for each providing different angles and looks for an 18-hole round. You can play all day for $50 and the junior rate is just $12; you’ll likely be the only non-local there, and the people couldn’t be more welcoming. It’s a chance to taste the true local golf culture of this beguiling island nation.

Credits:

Text and Photos by Jeff Neuman

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