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After setting new records for tourism last year, Bermuda’s hot streak shows no signs of waning. In fact, in the first quarter of 2018, the island nation saw double-digit gains in both the number of leisure travelers arriving and visitor spending — and that was before Rosewood Bermuda unveiled its sparkling $25 million renovation, marking the second consecutive year of major hotel news here. (The Loren at Pink Beach, the first newbuild luxury hotel in Bermuda in 45 years, opened in 2017.)
From a milestone museum anniversary and conservation success stories to the fresh appeal of the New World’s oldest town, here’s what’s new and notable in Bermuda right now.
The Rebirth of St. George’sWhile nothing can tarnish St. George’s status as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the New World — the original Bermudian capital city was founded in 1614 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site — there was a time in the not-too-distant past when the storefronts lining its charming streets mostly carried the typical tourist trappings or were shuttered altogether.
But a wander through St. George’s today reveals more than a few surprises, thanks to a grassroots movement championing adaptive use of the town’s historical spaces. One such example is Long Story Short, set in the historic Tucker House. Part bookstore and part artisan shop, it’s also the starting point for owner Kristin White’s walking and bicycle excursions, which include a haunted history tour.
Also not to be missed: a visit to Lili Bermuda Perfumery, which ages and bottles all its fragrances by hand on the premises. Time your visit to indulge in the perfumery’s biweekly afternoon high tea, or to create your own scent using locally grown botanicals at one of the perfumery’s scent workshops (offered biweekly November through April).
Masterworks Museum Turns 10 Founded with what was considered an impossible vision and a dozen paintings, the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art is now considered one of the country’s cultural treasures. Its permanent collection includes more than 1,500 artworks inspired by and depicting life and landscapes in Bermuda — works by Bermudian artists as well as artists of international acclaim who have found inspiration here, including Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keefe. A stroll through the galleries demonstrates how one subject can be depicted in such different ways, yet all the works maintain a distinct sense of place.
Pro tip: When your clients visit, let them know they might be able to get a peek behind the scenes at the art storage facilities. If Tom Butterfield, the museum’s founder and creative director, is on-site, there’s a good chance he will happily oblige.
Conservation Is Paying OffOnce hunted to the brink of extinction, humpback whales are plentiful in the waters around Bermuda during March and April, when they pass by on their annual migration from the Caribbean toward the North Atlantic. Bermuda sits on top of a seamount that provides a rich feeding ground for the humpbacks, so they stay offshore for several days to refuel before continuing onward.
But perhaps the island’s greatest success story is that of Bermuda’s national bird, the cahow, or endangered Bermuda petrel. One of the world’s rarest seabirds, the cahow was thought to be extinct for hundreds of years until a few pairs were discovered nesting on some of Bermuda’s remote islets. Thanks to rigorous conservation efforts, avid birders have better odds than ever of spotting this ultra-rare bird in November, when the cahows put on soaring aerial courtship displays, or in late winter and spring, while the adults tend to their nests.
For more information on Bermuda’s conservation programs and tours, contact the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS), or book select BZS tours directly through Island Tour Centre.
The DetailsBermuda Tourism Authoritywww.gotobermuda.com
Bermuda Zoological Societywww.bamz.org
Island Tour Centrewww.islandtourcentre.com
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Artwww.bermudamasterworks.org