Things To Do In Bermuda In January
January is well within the "low" season in Bermuda and with visitors' footfalls down to a bare minimum now, the island is left in much of its pristine form. With winter setting in, in full swing and the weather being quite chilly, you will find a lot of activities and tours inoperative. However, the charms of this amazing island destination knows no bounds and you will find various other attractions to woo you to this great escape.
Partake in Epicurean delights
Bermuda literally has much to bring to the table when it comes to their culinary expertise. The Bermudian cuisine is a culmination of various local and international flavors along with basic island produce, that have mingled over the years to where it stands today. Much of it is naturally based on seafood, though there is much more on offer.
Exploring the unique food and drinks of the island is a great way to experience its motley culture and heritage. Although the flavors are quite diverse with British, African and Caribbean influences, they are all blended together into distinct Bermudian specialties.
Start your day with a sumptuous Codfish breakfast. This is an island specialty and one that is very typical to this part of the world. It is mostly a Sunday morning treat for many households here and comprises of a plate full of boiled/steamed cod with vegetables and fruits. There are several restaurants that offer Codfish breakfast like the Speciality Inn on the south shore or Bouchee in Hamilton City.
The Fish Chowder made with a variety of fish and has distinct flavor brought about by the local black seal rum and sherry peppers, the Bermuda Fish Sandwich and Fish Cake are all quite unique to the island and something you should not miss. In fact the fish sandwiches at Art Mel's Spicy Dicy in Hamilton City has been quoted by many as one of the best in the world !
This is also that time of the year when you will find fresh spiny lobster in most of the local restaurants. It is a delicacy that is served in various forms. Blu Bar and Grill in Warwick parish and Lobster Pot in Hamilton City are some of the many places that dish out great lobster preparations.
There are several other fish and other seafood preparations made with fresh "catch of the day" in each restaurant. These include the gray snapper, yellowtail and the universal rockfish. Wahoo is another ubiquitous feature on a Bermudian menu and nothing would beat a well prepared wahoo steak. Mussels, scallops and conch are also common in the form of pies, fillings and other traditional preparations. There are several big and small, casual and fine dining places on the island where you can find them.
Experience Bermudian classic afternoon tea
Winter is a good time to indulge in some afternoon tea, which is also a delightful ritual on the island reminiscent of the Royal influence over it. This traditional affair is maintained at various local hotels, restaurants and even homes. You can either partake of it by the pool in casual attire or go for the more English style formal tea served in glinting silver or delicately fine china at tables laid with immaculate white linen and dressed right for the occasion. This is often accompanied with pastries, scones and sandwiches. This is also a good time to bring out those chic gowns out of your suitcases. Men can go smart casual.
There are several places that serve the traditional afternoon tea like The Dockyard Pastry Shop, Jasmine Lounge at The Fairmont Southampton and The Crown and Anchor at The Hamilton Princess and Beach Club. In fact, at the Hamilton Princess, they also offer something called the Children's Afternoon Tea because they believe "It's never too early to introduce your kids to life's more civilized pursuits". Sweet P at The Bermuda Perfumery is also a well liked place for some great afternoon tea which is sometimes served in the courtyard if the weather permits. Try their hot-from-the-oven scones with jam and Chantilly cream from a divine experience.
Drink the best the island has to offer.
Indulge in exotic island cocktails
Bermuda offers some unique drinks and cocktails which you must try when here. It wouldn't be wrong to pronounce that Bermuda's spirits and cocktails define its culture. In fact, two of Bermuda's cocktails Dark n Stormy and Rum Swizzle have gained international popularity over the years and have been mentioned amongst some of the top best sellers in the world. You will find these drinks served at most, if not all, of the pubs and restaurants in the island.
Another popular local drink is the Ginger Beer which is also sold at duty free shops at the airport. The Swizzle Inn and Frog n Onion are some of the famous pubs on the island that serve the best beer and cocktails. On the premises of the Frog n Onion Pub is the Dockyard Brewing Company. You can take a guided tour of the brewery where you get to see how the local hand crafted beer is prepared and also taste some of it.
When it comes to rum, the island's very own Gosling's Black seal rum is what lends the distinct flavors in not only its cocktails but also ice creams, cakes and several other dishes. You can visit their store in the City of Hamilton to pick up a bottle of your own.
Explore what Supermarkets offer
There are several special foods on the island that are worth not only tasting but also buying a jar or two to take back home with you.
A bottle of the famous Bermuda pepper jelly is worth every penny you spend on it. The spicy sweet jam can be slathered over your morning toast or scones. You will find several varieties of hot and sweet jams as per your liking. You can pick them up from various gift and souvenir shops or the supermarket in Hamilton.
The Bermudian honey is another great buy when you are here. They are quite special because of the distinctive vegetation that the bees feed on and are very sought after.
The Barritts Ginger Beer, also available at various supermarkets across the island is a very popular local soft drink that you must try. It is also very famous because it is one of the mail ingredients in the island's indigenous drink the Dark n Stormy.
Enjoy your solitude in bird watching
Winter time in Bermuda sees it inviting a large species of birds who migrate here to escape the bitter cold of the Americas. Hence it provides a beautiful opportunity for bird lovers ( and nature lovers, if you are not particularly interested in bird watching) to spot some exquisite varieties. Besides, the weather around this time being cool, unlike a more hot and sticky summer day, it is great to venture outdoors to witness firsthand, the island's lush greenery.
There are various locations on the island that are good for bird watching like the Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, Hog Bay Park etc.
Disappear in nature reserves
The Railway Trail
spans the island from end to end and is a nice way to cover the island while looking out for some beautiful spots and "hidden gems" along the way. You can walk or cycle along the trail that offers breathtaking views on the island.
The Cooper's Island nature reserve
is one of the most beautiful places on the island with an abundance of spectacular views of the Bermudian coastline, migratory birds, the native cedar trees and huge land crabs.
Tom Moore's Jungle
with its with its beautiful caves and mangroves is another place to head to in your quest to see nature's bounty here. Seymour's Pond offers its peaceful shores for a quiet picnic while you imbibe the views of the farmlands and forests around. The Botanical Gardens in Paget parish has a large variety of plantations that you can explore.
There are several other places around the island where you can lose yourself in the laps of nature.
Make the most of the beautiful beaches
The famous Bermudian beaches, best known for their beautiful clear waters and pink tinged beaches are mostly at your disposal this time of the year. Without its season crowd to mob you, take a long romantic unhindered walk along the shoreline. Note that you will hardly find any beach rental or shack except for a couple of beaches like the Horseshoe Bay Beach. Swimming and snorkeling too would be difficult given the cold water temperatures, however you can always wear a wet suit if you are keen on it.
You can also set off on a little picnic at any of the picnic areas around most of the beaches in Bermuda.
Head for some sport
The island provides ample opportunities for golf and tennis with quite a few golf courses and tennis courts here. The weather too is ideal to indulge in some outdoor activity without getting too hot. With beautiful ocean views, the game can take a completely new dimension when you play on the island as compared to anywhere else. Besides, with the number of visitors considerably reduced during this time, it is also easier getting your tee time at the various clubs across the island.
Go back in time
The beauty of the amazing beach destination lies not only in the bounty that nature has endowed upon it, but also in its rich cultural heritage and history. Take a tour along the African Diaspora Heritage Trail which is also a part of the UNESCO's slave route project. This will give you an insight into the advent of the Africans on the island until the abolition of slavery.
The town of St. George is steeped in history with its various churches, museums and other places of interest. You will discover a distinct part of the its culture as you walk along the brick paved alleyways past the architecturally rich edifices in this little town tucked in the eastern end of the island. There are some great avenues for shopping here including the famous Bermuda Perfumery where you can see how some of the exotic island fragrances are captured and bottled. The town is also dotted with umpteen cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy some delicious local fare.
The City of Hamilton, right at the center of the island is ironically like its beating heart. It is the capital and the commercial hub of the island. As you take a tour along the Front Street, you will see shops and restaurants housed in beautifully painted buildings, each with its own architectural significance. Hamilton too boasts of some important churches, forts and museums which have their very own stories to tell.
The Royal Naval Dockyard is a mini cosmopolitan hub of the island. Visit the island's craft hub here to see some of the local talent and their lovely creations. You can also participate in the making of some of these items under the guidance of the artisans. Beautiful products made of cedar wood, glass, ceramic etc can be found here which you can buy as keepsakes to take back home with you. There are also several pubs and restaurants here where you can enjoy a good drink or a hearty meal.
There are various other attractions and places to visit around the island that remain open all year round. The Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo
is a nice place to spend an afternoon at watching the wonderful marine life around the island along with the unraveling of the mysteries surrounding the Bermuda Triangle.
The Crystal and Fantasy Caves
in Hamilton parish is a subterranean wonder of amazing limestone formations. Shrouded its own history of how it was formed right up to its discovery, the caves have their own appeal.
The National Museum of Bermuda
in Dockyard is a great place to explore the nautical history of the island. At the Dolphin Quest within the museum complex, you can have an exciting time watching the training of dolphins.
Bermuda public events in January
Bermuda International Race Weekend: Runners from all over the world along with locals participate in this Bermuda International Race Week-end.
Historical Re-enactments at Kings Square
: During the months between December and March, this free show takes place twice a week at noon at King's Square, St. George. It is a re-enactment of historical events especially the way misdemeanors were dealt with in the days gone by.
Bermuda Regional Bridge Tournament: The Bridge Club of Bermuda holds this tournament around the end of January each year. It is usually held at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. You can also contact the club to find you a place on the tournament. (Contact : 441-541-0551).
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