Bermudians often refer to the “Real World” as if theirs isn’t. Perhaps it’s truer to say the island is “Another World,” as local crooner Hubert Smith and his 1960s band the Coral Islanders sang in what is accepted as Bermuda’s unofficial national anthem. He was right, of course—there is definitely an ephemeral, cotton candy element to the 21-square-mile island with its hallmark hue of confectionery pink that brands buses, hibiscus, cottages, and those legendary linen shorts.And when you head back to that Real World you live in, you might just wonder if it’s all been a brilliant figment of your own imagination.
That element of pure fantasy has attracted visitors here for centuries, and this British Overseas Territory’s charms cast just as strong a spell today. Arriving over impossibly turquoise bays, so translucent you can almost spot the parrotfish frolicking beneath the silky surface, is to experience a suspension of disbelief normally reserved for Hollywood make-believe. The trilling tree frogs, wobbly scooter rides, perfumed breezes, and laid-back lifestyle probably won’t do much to shatter the illusion.
For Bermuda’s 64,000 residents, this little piece of paradise is home—a quirky combo of British, North American, West Indian, and Portuguese influences that feels alternately sophisticated and small-town. Petty politics shares daily mind space with world-stage triumphs, all wrapped up in the scope of nine tiny, stunning parishes. But it’s the people who will win you over most of all. With their heritage of pioneers and pirates, islanders embody a pragmatic stoicism, jaunty pride, and wicked humor wrapped in an easy friendliness that relaxes you faster than your first rum swizzle.
Bermudians go with the flow literally: the Gulf Stream—the warm current, not the private jet, though there are plenty of those here to—has shaped their destiny. The Atlantic island’s balmy temperatures, its storm patterns, and much of its flora and fauna, including the Sargasso Sea and the most northerly coral reef in the world, owe their subtropical nature to the swift gyre that ties Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland.
Bermuda’s allure is truly unforgettable. Mark Twain likened Bermuda to heaven. John Lennon discovered Double Fantasy here. And when you head back to that Real World you live in, you might just wonder if it’s all been a brilliant figment of your own imagination.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Bermuda.