Back in my hotel room, I get dressed. Navy sport coat. White, French-cuff shirt. Red-white-and-blue tie. Black loafers. Navy socks. And, finally, the gray shorts. I look at myself in the bathroom mirror when I’m done tying the tie. I can only see myself to the waist. You know what? I look fantastic. I could definitely do some offshore tax avoidance in an outfit like this. A few steps later, though, I arrive at the room’s full-length mirror and see the full Monty. Truth is, I look ridiculous. It’s like I’m living out one of those dreams where I’ve forgotten to wear pants.
I walk out on the balcony where my wife, who has come along with me on this trip, is sitting. Graciously, she doesn’t laugh. Still, I tell her that I don’t think I can leave the room dressed like this. “Oh, we’re leaving,” she says, leaping to her feet and grabbing me by the hand, literally pulling me out the door.
On my way out of the hotel, I catch the eye of two women who are on their way in. They look me up and down. I, too, feel objectified. But then, they smile. Suddenly, as I head out toward downtown and my knees see sunlight for the first time in decades, I am reminded of something William Griffith told me about those dressy shorts. He whispered it, leaning in over the top of my Dark ’n Stormy. “This is the truth about those shorts,” he said. “Chicks dig them.”
A man would have to be a real lunatic to argue with that kind of logic.
If You Go...SITES TO SEE
St. George’s Town With its multicolored buildings, this town — a UNESCO World Heritage site — has been continuously occupied since 1612. Must see: St. Peter’s Church, the oldest Anglican church outside the British Isles.
Crystal Cave A 55-foot-deep electric-blue lake was discovered in a Bermudian’s backyard in 1905 and has been a major island attraction ever since. The lake is spanned by floating walkways, allowing visitors to pass under stalactites and over the stalagmites rising up through the clear water. www.caves.bm
By bus Visitors aren’t allowed to rent cars in Bermuda — only scooters — but regularly scheduled buses are a convenient way to get around. The buses run on a loop around the islands, with stops near all the major sites and beaches. One-way, daily, weekly or even monthly passes are available for purchase at most hotels.
By ferry Locals and tourists alike hop between the many small islands that make up the country of Bermuda by boat. The ferry network runs to and from central Hamilton Harbour to the far ends of the islands. Buy tickets at hotels and post offices. www.seaexpress.bm
EATING AND DRINKING
The Frog & Onion Pub Housed in an 18th-century cooperage adjacent to the cruise ships and tourist attractions at Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard, this restaurant serves its own house-brewed beer and pub fare, such as fish and chips. www.frogandonion.bm
Little Venice Wine Bar This upscale, quiet bar in downtown Hamilton specializes in wines from France and California, with more than 700 available by the bottle. winebar.littlevenice.bm
Lido Restaurant Part of a complex of eateries on the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s property on Elbow Beach, Lido offers Mediterranean cuisine, including simple seafood dishes, in a glass-enclosed dining room with ocean views.
Waterlot Inn Just past the dock on Jews bay, this elegant and expensive restaurant with wood-beamed ceilings has been serving Bermudian food at the Fairmont Southampton for more than 340 years. Both the interior lounge, with antique furniture, and the outdoor terrace and gardens are excellent spots for cocktails. www.fairmont.com/southampton
PLACES TO STAY
Rosewood Tucker’s Point Adjacent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Bermuda residence, this resort has 88 rooms, is situated on a hilltop and boasts a private beach.
Fairmont Southampton The hotel is set on 100 acres on the southern shore of Bermuda, including miles of pink-sand beaches and its own golf course. www.fairmont.com/southampton
THINGS TO DO
Shipwreck dives More than 300 ships have run afoul of Bermuda’s coral-reef system, and snorkelers can visit dozens of them, from wrecked schooners to dashed warships. Fantasea Bermuda offers diving trips to those of various experience levels. www.fantasea.bm
Golf Bermuda offers more courses per square mile than any other country on the planet, and golfers will definitely find a green to their liking. Contact the Bermuda Golf Association to reserve tee times at any of the country’s courses. www.bermudagolf.org
The best beaches Elbow Beach, with nearly a mile of beachfront and three nearby hotels, is one of the most popular beaches on the island and often features a cadre of windsurfers. Many families prefer Horseshoe Bay, because it has a lifeguard on duty during the season. For a more isolated, tropical-island feel, try Warwick Long Bay, where tall grass gives way to pink sand.
Frequent American Way contributor JOSEPH GUINTO has not worn his Bermuda shorts Stateside. But he does sometimes wear the knee socks.