Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Bermuda: Off the Beaten Path

With its blue sky, pink sand, and azure water, its obvious why there are so many cruise ships lined up at Kings Wharf, Bermuda between April and October!  Whether you’re cruising to Bermuda for the first time this year, or returning yet again, we’d like to suggest some places that will take you off the beaten path, allowing you to discover a different side of Bermuda.

Spittal Pond is a national park located in Smiths Parish. This 64-acre reserve, which stretches along the coast, provides a diversity of habitats having several freshwater ponds with surrounding marsh and woodland areas.  It’s Bermuda’s largest bird sanctuary, so remember to bring your binoculars.  Spittal Pond has unique geological features too, such as the checkerboard, a formation of marine limestone with a distinct pattern of cracks. Look for the ""Spanish Rock"", (also known as ""Portuguese Rock"") which carries the initials of a sailor and the date 1543! The initials are the earliest evidence of human presence on the island.  It is thought that a marooned sailor, while looking out for a ship from the cliff top, carved the rock.  Today the spot is still offers the perfect vantage point for some views!  The reserve can be easily explored by following the well-marked loop trail that starts at the parking area.

Cricket is the most popular sport on the Bermuda and there’s no better way to immerse oneself in the island’s culture than attending a match! Although the game play and rules are very different, the basic concept of cricket somewhat resembles that of baseball. Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team's innings. Cricket is played during the summer with the season culminating with the Bermuda Club Match. During this two-day holiday the whole of the island turns its attention to the game that opposes teams of each side of the island, the Somerset Cricket Club in the west and the St. George’s Cricket Club in the east.

Tom Moore’s Jungle (also called The Walsingham Nature Reserve) is found on the North East of Harrington Sound in Hamilton Parish. It was named after Thomas Moore, an Irish poet, who in 1844 wrote some of his famous works here, supposedly while resting under a calabash tree. The jungle, often described as a “time traveling experience”, transports you back to the 1500’s when Bermuda was an uninhabitable, uncharted piece of land. The most convenient entrance to the jungle is a dirt path to the left of the entrance to Tom Moore’s Tavern. The entire jungle can be accessed by one of two main trails. There’s a lovely trail that sticks closer to the shore, and a more difficult wooded trail with multiple tributaries that winds throughout the inland parts of the reserve.  Under the dense cover of trees hikers will pass through mangroves, forests and pools of water. There are amazing caves all throughout the walk, one viewable from a wooden deck. There is a hard to find swimming grotto with clearly defined steps leading to the water, but remember you are entering at your own risk.

Horseback riding is a beautiful way to experience Bermuda.  Horses cannot be hired and ridden without supervision, as Bermuda has very strict laws regarding horseback riding in public areas, however there are several equine facilities available for group trail rides. No riding experience is necessary, just a wish to experience the beauty of Bermuda on horseback.  The stables offer group horseback riding along the historic railway trail, through quaint villages and on the dunes of the south shore beaches. Trail guides share a wealth of information about Bermuda peppered with entertaining folk tales, making it a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

 So if you’re cruising to Bermuda this summer, and looking for something other than another blissful day at Horseshoe Bay, we hope you find these suggestions helpful."

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