Bermuda, that oft-forgotten island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and less than a two hour flight from Charlotte, is a popular cruise ship port, but also attracts significant vacation attention from those in the northeast. As one of the closest island destinations to North Carolina, it is the perfect weekend getaway or vacation hot spot. Aside from relaxing by the resort pool or crystalline blue water beach, there are plentiful cultural attractions for visitors. The Royal Naval Dockyards is an excellent starting point for those looking for lots of excitement in one place.
This is where most of the cruise ships dock when in port, and most passengers venture into Hamilton or to the beach by bus or ferry. Those staying on the island can easily do the reverse and enjoy the eclectic shopping and entertainment in the dockyard area as well. A convenient shopping mall, Bermuda Craft Market, and Bermuda Arts Centre (traditional and contemporary art gallery) offer excellent bargains on locally produced souvenirs.
Visitors can also check out nearby stores where hand-blown glass is twisted into beautiful creations at Dockyard Glassworks’ hot glass art studio and hand-painted ceramics and pottery are turned into masterpieces at Bermuda Clayworks. Historians will find the National Museum of Bermuda to be an eye-opening experience especially now that it has incorporated the dramatic finds of the Bermuda Maritime Museum into its collection. The history of the island and its rocky past relationship with the United States can be explored here where the island’s largest fort, 30-foot high defensive ramparts, and underground storage chambers are located.
Another popular locale is the Commissioner’s House, which dates back to 1823, and is under a major restoration project by the island to restore it to its historic importance. Inside are exhibitions on Bermuda’s cultural history, local slavery and military history, and rare shipwrecked treasures of coins and maps.
But, for those with more casual interests at heart, the Dolphin Quest attraction does not disappoint. Visitors can swim with and feed the dolphins in the surrounds of the historic dockyard buildings.
Open-air concerts and special events often take place here. Be sure not to miss the flavored rum cake samplings at Bermuda Rum Cake Company before catching the ferry to Hamilton for a bite to eat and more shopping adventures.
While most visit Bermuda for the paradise views and relaxation, it is worth venturing into Hamilton and the Dockyards area to experience a slice of local flavor and take in the island’s British heritage.
US Airways offers weekend flights between Charlotte and Bermuda; connecting flights are available on Air Tran, American, Continental, Delta, and jetBlue.