Traveling with a baby can be very daunting, so sticking to nearby locales with a flexible itinerary can reduce some of the anxiety that comes with stressing about your unpredictable bundle of joy. That’s the appeal of a place like Bermuda, a lush and beautiful island that can be explored at a leisurely pace and is only a 2 hour flight from NYC. Even though it is close by, it somehow feels further away because it is technically another country with British traditions. Plus it’s only an hour ahead of New York so there wouldn’t be any drama of messed up sleep schedules, which is especially critical when your baby has finally mastered something resembling sleep training. And while Bermuda has its own currency, U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere, which is very convenient. An exotic getaway just a few hours away that doesn’t involve too much advance planning sounds baby friendly, indeed.
Bermuda can be very different depending on where you stay. You can either have that big resort experience where you basically never leave the hotel premises, or you can explore a small town like Hamilton or St. George’s that has a proper main street with shops, bars and restaurants. The following itinerary mixes it up so that you can balance out beachy, outdoorsy excursions with a little city living.
Day 1 – Hamilton
Where to Stay:
Royal Palms Hotel // 24 Rosemont Avenue, Pembroke HM 06, Bermuda // +1 441-292-1854
Drop off your bags at The Royal Palms, a boutique hotel with a quaint B&B feel that’s just a few minutes walk from the heart of Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. The staff here is friendly and will be happy to set your room up with a crib, if requested. They also hold wine happy hours so that you can enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks in the garden without ever having to leave your baby’s side. Breakfast is also free and includes a waffle bar that makes your stay even sweeter.
Devils Isle Cafe // 19 Burnaby Street, City of Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda // +1 441-292-3284
Bermuda’s local cuisine isn’t known for being the healthiest, but Devils Isle Cafe is there to change that with its menu of seasonal and wholesome food items. If you’re in the mood for a kale salad or a green juice, or if you want to stick to your Paleo diet, then this is the place to go. The sandwiches are fantastic, and the tuna bowl that I had was hearty, fresh and filling. They also serve proper coffee at the adjoining cafe, although they tend to run on island time, so don’t be surprised if they run out of beans or take a long time making your drink.
After you’re finished with your meal, you can browse the small shops along the main drag and walk along the boardwalk. Maybe you can indulge in your desires for a Rolex watch or marvel at the existence of a United Colors of Bennetton storefront. There’s even a Marks and Spencer in the area, although it’s quite small in scale compared to the ones in the UK. If you wander off on a side street, you’ll stumble upon a small but lovely park called Queen Elizabeth Park that’s worth a visit. If anything, you can catch some Pokemon there.
One thing with babies on vacation is that a new environment and a lot of stimulation will probably affect their sleep schedule. My little one, for instance, didn’t nap at all on our trip and just took small little cat naps in his stroller. But a few days won’t undo all that hard earned sleep training. You’ll have to be flexible and maybe be a little creative as to how you get them to sleep in a new place, but when you return home things will eventually go back to normal.
The Hog Penny // 4 Burnaby St, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda // +1 441-292-2534
Dinner with an infant is a little tricky. Do you have a really early dinner at around 5 so that you can put your child back down in the crib at 7? Or do you want to have dinner at a normal time and put your child down later at the risk of overtiring him? We went with the latter, rocking him to sleep in his stroller and taking him with us to dinner at The Hog Penny to try some local classics. They are famous for their Bermuda fish chowder, which is a tomato-based broth that resembles a red Manhattan clam chowder with a kick. The rest of the menu consists of standard pub fare like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips, meaty, starchy dishes that go well with a pint of beer. Our baby did wake up once during our meal, but it wasn’t a big deal as the lively din of the bar muted out his cries.
Day 2 – St. George’s
This is a great day to explore St. George’s, the former capital of Bermuda. During the off-season, you can take a 45 minute bus ride from the Hamilton bus station to St. George’s, while during the peak season there’s a ferry that can take you there. The bus drops you off near the town square, which retains much of its historic, colonial charm. It almost feels like the American equivalent of walking through a revolutionary town. The tourist center can provide you with a map for a suggested walking tour, which you can probably finish in about 30-45 minutes.
Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio // 36 Water St, St.George’s GE05, Bermuda // +1 441-297-1307
Our favorite meal of our trip was lunch at Wahoo’s, a seafood restaurant in St. George’s. 11 am was definitely made for the baby crowd, as indicated by the presence of several strollers on the outdoor patio. The fried conch fritters were fantastic and the rock fish rib meat, a special item of the day, was mind blowingly good. The Bermuda fish chowder, while solid, was not as good as the one at Hog Penny, and you can probably live without the fish tacos.
A short 20 minute walk from town–some of it uphill, which can be a little challenging with a stroller but it can be done–leads you to the pretty and placid waters of Tobacco Bay, which is great for swimming in with children. If you’re there in the off season, the bathrooms and beach bar will be closed, but you are still welcome to take a dip in the water. The cruise ship crowds were nonexistent in February, which probably helped to preserve the peaceful vibe of the area. On the way back into town, stop by the picturesque ruins of the Unfinished Church.
Just 24 at Royal Palms Hotel // 24 Rosemont Avenue, Pembroke HM 06, Bermuda // +1 441-292-1854
If you’re staying at The Royal Palms, you can either have a fancy dinner at Ascots Restaurant or a more casual meal at Just 24. Clearly we didn’t want to kill the nice mood at Ascots with our baby so we opted for Just 24. In case you were curious, we put our baby to sleep in the car seat, draped him in a blanket which served as night shade curtains, and brought him with us to dinner. He did wake up once but remained asleep during our meal.
Our server at Just 24 was so helpful and her recommendations were all spot on. I was a little skeptical of the chilled banana soup, but it was creamy and delicious. It really did taste like a thinned out and elegant banana puree. I was so happy to get some greens in with the hot mushroom and chicken salad, and since the chef was Nepalese, we ordered the Nepalese chicken curry, which came with a side of homemade roti and was one of the highlights of our meal.
Day 3 – Southampton
Where to Stay:
Fairmont Southampton // 101 South Shore Road, Southampton SN02, Bermuda // +1 441-238-8000
For our last day in Bermuda, we stayed at The Fairmont Southampton, a huge, sprawling resort that has everything you could ever need in one place. It has its own private beach, tennis courts, golf course, spa, workout facilities and ten different restaurants on site. A shuttle runs throughout the day that can take you from your hotel room to different points on the hotel property. Each guest’s room comes equipped with a complimentary Dark ‘n’ Stormy drink, a signature Bermudian libation that mixes Gosling’s Black Seal rum with ginger beer, which you can sip outside while taking in the views from your balcony.
We had a quick lunch on the outdoor patio at the Jasmine Cocktail Bar & Lounge before taking the shuttle to the tennis courts. The hotel will lend you racket and balls if you don’t have your own, although keep in mind that their equipment is very well worn. I learned this the hard way when an aggressive backhand tore through the strings, and I had to take the shuttle bus back to borrow a kid’s racket. The tennis courts, on the other hand, are very well kept, and you don’t have to book ahead to reserve one. We parked our stroller off to the side while rallying, and for the most part we were able to keep it going for 45 minutes before the baby had a meltdown.
Near the courts is the oceanfront beach club, where you can pull up a lounge chair and a beach towel to relax on the pink sand beach. It’s an especially choice spot for taking in a glorious sunset. When it got dark, we took the shuttle to Boundary Sports Bar & Grille, which, true to its name, is a casual sports bar that has high def games on all throughout the restaurant. We were there with a very clear view of a riveting Winter Olympics curling match while eating a decent plate of bbq ribs.
The next morning, we reserved a seat on a complimentary shuttle back to the airport, where we checked in for our flight back. In no time at all, we were back in New York. Short but sweet, it was the perfect weekend trip that felt like a true getaway for us and our little one.