A Cruise Getaway to Bermuda (I)

Recently we accompanied my mother-in-law to Bermuda boarding Royal Caribbean Cruise.  After only two days we fell in love with the island and convinced that we would be back.  And next time bring our children with us.

Our cruise ship left from the port Baltimore, we picked this cruise for the convenient location, this way my mother-in-law could skip the stress of flying on the plane.

DSC04936 (2)

Bermuda is an independently governed British territory in North Atlantic Ocean.  Our cruise ship docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard at King’s Wharf.

There are museums and restaurants in the Naval Dockyard, and a craft market, a clock tower mall, swimming with dolphins, a snorkel park, even a fun golf site, you can easily spend a half day exploring the dockyard.  The one site on the top of the list should be the National Museum of Bermuda.

On our first day on the island we took a mini-bus tour. The bus picked us up from the Royal Naval Dockyard; it took about five-hour to tour the whole island.

The beautiful coast took our breaths away.  Right there we decided that our second day in Bermuda would be a beach day! (see part II for more)

This newly refurbished Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is one of Bermuda’s iconic attractions. There were 185 steps to the top! Just to give you a perspective–the Bunker Hill in Boston is 294 steps. ( I passed out while climbing the Monument, it was in the heat of summer and I was that close to the top. You won’t forget it easily after a humiliating experience like that🤣.)

DSC04931This is the island view at the base of the Lighthouse, just imaging the view from the top! However we were only given 20 minutes, not enough time to climb.  But one couple decided to climb it regardless for the Lighthouse was such an iconic destination!  You guessed right… the whole bus had to wait for them…

Every corner we turned was a photogenic view.  Golf courses there were world class.

The capital of Bermuda is City of Hamilton, lots of people go here for duty free shopping.  If you just want a few souvenirs to take home, our tour guide recommended this store–on the left hand side of the Burnaby Street as soon as we made a right turn from the Front Street, the cheapest T-shirt there was about $8 (on the cruise $10 on sale with fewer selections).

There are lots of churches on the island.  If you throw a rock randomly, you may hit the stained glass of a church! (Legend says so😉)

Here are a few of my favorites.  Heydon’s Chapel is the oldest church in Bermuda, and the smallest and most endearing.  The church was built in 1620.  ‘Sing to God,  Sing praises to His name; Lift up a song to Him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him. Psalm 68:4.’

The Unfinished Church was planned as a replacement for St. Peter’s Church.  The construction started in mid-19th century, but left unfinished when running out of fund.  I wish we had more time to linger there, it would be a beautiful spot for wedding.

DSC05031

And St. Peter’s Church in the Town of St.  George.  This is the oldest continuously used Anglican church in the western hemisphere, more than 400 years old!

St. George is at the eastern tip of Bermuda.  The town and the surrounding fortifications as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Lots of the sites were closed since our bus arrived after 5 pm.  St. George will be our #1 choice of lodging locations if we go back to Bermuda.

Things we might do differently:

Bermuda consists of more 180 islands, totally 20 square miles.  The Bermuda we refer to is the largest island.  You can get away from participating the cruise excursion especially you have friends and family travel together, just do your own tour.  Normally we prefer the freedom of doing our own things than taking tours since we always feel rushed with a tour.  However with a 89-year-old mom with us, bus tour was the next best thing.

At the Royal Naval Dockyard, right outside of our cruise, there were MANY taxis waiting for service.  You could pay the driver by hour, this way you have your personal driver and tour guide for your group.  Our excursion was $100/person, for the four of us we could have hired a driver for the day with a much greater amount of freedom, like climbing the Lighthouse and lingering longer at the Unfinished Church!

View this post on Instagram

Happy first day of summer!! #sailing

A post shared by Aihua (@chasingthewind2016) on

A Weekend of Broadway Show and Sight-Seeing at New York City

New York City is one of my favorite cities, I can’t get enough of her.  Last year alone we were there three times: college tour of NYU in the spring with our daughter, Broadway show in the summer with our son, and parent weekend in the fall. We also visited NYC in the winter months, one year we even attempted to wait for the Big Apple drop at Times Square on New Year’s Eve!  However, our children were not ready for eight-hour without bathroom break, around dinner time we declared defeat.

A friend of mine is planning to visit NYC this summer, I thought to share some tips for her.

IMG_4436

First of all, don’t attempt to drive in Manhattan. When we were there last summer, we parked our car on the Jersey side of Hudson river (Weehawken, NJ), the parking was indoor, very clean, and conveniently located near the ferry dock (Port Imperial Terminal).  Because we purchased the Broadway tickets from the NY Waterway-Your Key to the City, we not only got free round-trip ferry tickets, the deal also included 40% off our Broadway tickets.  Way to go!

IMG_4440

The ferry dropped us at the West 39th street of Midtown Manhattan.  There were public transportation nearby.  However we packed light since we planned to do a lot of walking in the city, it took us half an hour to walk to our hotel on 46th street.

Broadway at Times Square Hotel is only two blocks from Broadway and Times Square.  Great location with walking distance to all actions.  Staying in the center of attractions has always been our strategy when visiting big cities. It may cost a bit more for hotel stay, but the right location save us from the hustle of commute.  Why wastes time and energy on driving and fighting traffic?  After checked in and left our luggage, we were ready to explore the city.IMG_4465_1

Depending on the hours of the day and days of the week, such as crowded evening at the weekend or early morning rush hour of a weekday, Times Square has very different vibes.

IMG_4489

Highly recommend “Something Rotten”! A great musical, very funny!

As always, there are lot of things to see in this magnificent city, too little time. Manhattan is very walkable, and metro was reliable most of the time.

We could easily spend a whole day at Central Park and the nearby Metropolitan Museum.

Know ahead that there is no way you can do it all.  Pace yourself, save something for the next time.

Brooklyn Bridge is a favorite for many.  If you pick one bridge to walk through, make it Brooklyn Bridge! The view is amazing in any time of the day no matter which season. But it is spectacular at sunset.  So linger a bit longer, you will see the brilliant light of Manhattan as the night falls.

We walked cross Brooklyn Bridge in a cold afternoon last spring.  That time we took the New Jersey Transit train to Manhattan. Very nice ride.

One last tip to save money on Broadway tickets: if you don’t mind staying in lines to wait for the same day show, you may visit tkts Ticket Booth at Times Square (or other booths).  You may not have a huge selections, however the catch is you pay only half the regular price!

%d bloggers like this: