Text by Lisa Truesdale • Photography by Jim Bathie
After one glimpse of Bermuda’s jewel-toned waters, clear blue sky, and pink-sand beaches stretching along 75 miles of coastline, you could easily forget the place has anything in common with Great Britain. But this idyllic, fishhook-shaped chain of 138 islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean became Britain’s first colony in 1612. It remains one today, although instead of “colony,” it’s now referred to by the more politically correct term “British Overseas Territory.” Author Mark Twain was a frequent visitor to Bermuda in the late 1800s and early 1900s; he called it “a happy little paradise” and was quoted as saying, “You can go to heaven if you want to, but I’d rather stay right here in Bermuda.” Although Bermuda has definitely developed a unique island charm and a character all its own—think Bermuda shorts and black rum cake—British influences persist, from cricket matches and bright red Londonesque phone booths to classic English pubs and regal images of Queen Elizabeth peering back from banknotes. Getting to Bermuda is quick and easy; it’s a two-hour flight (or less) from cities along the East Coast. Once you explore the eight main connected islands, you’ll want to experience another Bermudan tradition with another undeniably British influence: classic afternoon tea.