Living in Paradise Bermuda-Style

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you lived on a remote tropical island 

Bermuda from the Air © The Gracious Posse

where your daily activities were accompanied by visions like this

scenic view from mLb's neighborhood © The Gracious Posse

and this?

hibiscus and palm in Bermuda © The Gracious Posse

This the life of my sister-in-law, mLb, who has resided with her husband and two sons for 10 years in Bermuda. Last week LDB and I had the pleasure of staying with them and experiencing first-hand the realities of living in paradise: the good, the bad and the gracious.

The Good

If you haven’t visited Bermuda, put it on your Bucket List. On our first visit I suffered from permanent jaw-drop, gawking at the spectacular beauty that surrounded us.

view from Ocean Echo restaurant at The Reefs © The Gracious Posse

Tourists staying in the lush resorts normally miss the lifestyle enjoyed by natives and expats. Among the uniquely-Bermudian experiences, mLb’s family has adopted the island tradition of gathering with friends at Elbow Beach on Christmas Day.

Christmas on Elbow Beach via mLb © The Gracious Posse

Her book club has met aboard a boat puttering around the harbour.

Book club aboard boat via mLb © The Gracious Posse

One son attended a swim-with-the-dolphins birthday party, the likes of which any kid would compare to a Sea World adventure.

birthday party with the dolphins via mLb © The Gracious Posse

The family attended a Halloween party at Bloomfield on the Gosling estate where the kids received tricks while the adults were treated to this spectacular home.

Halloween at Gosling House via mLb © The Gracious Posse

When her boys get fidgety, she takes them around the corner to snorkel.

Adam snorkeling via mLb © The Gracious Posse

Like many on the island, they have embraced the sailing life in Bermuda. Her boys learned to sail at a tender age,

boys sailing via mLb © The Gracious Posse

and as members of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club,

RHADC © The Gracious Posse

which is only 10 minutes from their home and 15 minutes from school, attending daily practices is manageable. Her eldest is now such a skilled sailor that he competes in races abroad.

These are just a sampling of the benefits of living the island lifestyle so long as you have the right Bermudattitude.  

The Bad

Okay, it’s not that bad, but you need a certain mindset and a resiliency to the quirks of living on The Rock, as the locals call the island. Several factors significantly affect the lives of residents, especially the expats.

Employment

Bermudian law states that a non-Bermudian may not displace a local from a job. If a family moves to Bermuda, both of the spouses may work, but both must obtain a work permit, an arduous task. In addition, none of their children may hold part-time jobs, even if they are entrepreneurial in nature, like cutting grass, cleaning pools or babysitting. 

Housing

If you move to the island and want to purchase a home, be prepared to pay more than 43% tax on your property (average price $2,800,000) upon purchase.

Pink House in the Hills

Bermuda wants to keep the land in the hands of Bermudians and makes it mighty difficult for expats to become home owners. Most companies that employ non-Bermudians offer generous housing allowances for rental homes, but that means living in rental property, possibly for a very long time.

Conveniences

If you can’t bear the thought of life without Starbucks, Target and Pottery Barn, this is not the place for you. Bermuda does not permit chain stores to operate on the island. Procuring household goods is challenging due to lack of selection locally and the time and cost to ship from Amazon, et al. Grocery chains fall into the prohibited category.  A few local grocery markets are sprinkled around the island.

Lindo's

Lindo’s (pictured above) has two locations. This one is so popular 

Lindo's parking deck

it features one of the island’s few parking decks.

Transportation

Only one car (at a time) is permitted for each family. At a time means one must sell a car before purchasing another…kinda tricky and inconvenient! Car sizes are limited to very small (see parking deck above), so you’d have to leave behind your favorite sport-utility vehicle. Anyone else wishing motorized transportation must travel by scooter,

JoshScooter

even the 16-to-18-year-olds. One must pass a scooter driving test, which isn’t a gimme. Public transportation is available,

bus stop(even the bus stops are charming),

and many use the ferry system to get to work

Ferry in Hamilton Harbour(ferry crossing Hamilton Harbour).

Walking and biking are options, but the hills and narrow, winding roads are deterrents to those modes for commuting on an on-going basis. 

 

Cost of Living

As you might have surmised, Bermuda has a sky-high cost of living. The government regulates the price of gasoline, now at $8.10 per gallon (without regulation it could be higher). Clothing, food, home accessories ~everything~ costs more, but the upside is retail sales are not taxed, and without scads of stores full of goodies, it’s difficult to shop-til-you-drop

Water

Water affects the Bermudian lifestyle every day, for better and for worse. Did you know there is a purpose to the white roofs on homes in Bermuda other than to look positively gorgeous?

Bermudian harbour house

The island has no source of fresh water, so rainwater is collected from the roofs which are covered with a chemically-treated white paint to sanitize the rainwater as it runs off the houses (when the roof get grungy-looking ~easy to see on a white roof~ it’s time to repaint).  Collected in cisterns, the water is used for daily needs like drinking, bathing and laundry. Water conservation is ingrained,

Save Bermuda Rainwater card

but it is possible to run out of water (this happened to mLb on Christmas Eve!), thus the need for emergency water trucks to refill cisterns.

Because Bermuda is surrounded by water, a claustrophobic-like feeling can creep into one’s psyche. It’s called Rock Fever, and keeping it at bay requires periodic trips off-island.

The Gracious

mLb welcomes company with open arms. She keeps a pitcher of

Bermuda Pink Slushy

Bermuda Pink Slushy in her freezer for pool-side refreshment. You’ll want to get the super-easy recipe at the end of this post!

She outdid herself with gracious hospitality, including a visit to The Bermuda Perfumery

Perfumeryfor tea. Lili Bermuda perfume is made on the premises, and tea is served on the courtyard’s patio.

Tea treats

Given the heat and humidity, we appreciated the iced Harney tea option. 

Tourist on her own Island

mLb is quite the tour guide and has learned much about Bermuda by taking friends and family all over the island. When I asked if she grew weary of visitors, she replied she was thankful to be a tourist in her own city. Otherwise she wouldn’t have learned so much about her island paradise. Whether we live in Shangri-La or not, we can take  a page from her playbook and enjoy our own hometown through the eyes of a tourist.

salutatione&a

July 30, 2014 

Bermuda Pink Slushy
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres of 7-Up
  2. 12 ounces (1 can) frozen lemonade concentrate
  3. 20 ounces vodka
Instructions
  1. Mix together and freeze for a few hours before serving. Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving to allow the contents to become slushy.
The Gracious Posse http://thegraciousposse.com/

Shopping Events Highlight This Week in RVA

All of a sudden back-to-school shopping ads are dominating the airwaves. While the last week of July may offer some savings for those who are on top of their game, Richmond’s has two shopping events this week that have me looking forward to the beginning of the dog days of summer. So as not to give away all of the delights in the stores, here’s just a sneak peak that should entice you to put both events on this week’s to-shop list.

Sunny Goode Pop-Up Art Show and Sale 

Frame of Mind storefront round © Frame of Mind

One of our favorite local artists, Sunny Goode, whom we profiled as an Artist in Residence last summer, is partnering with that great little frame shop, Frame of Mind, for a pop-up art show this Wednesday evening, July 30th from 5:30-8 p.m.

Sunny Goode landscape round © Sunny Goode

The show provides a great opportunity to see up close and personal Sunny’s colorful oils in range of sizes while enjoying light refreshments.

Sunny Goode trees © Sunny Goode

Sunny will be available to discuss her work and commissions, and if you haven’t yet, you can also meet the talented owner of Frame of Mind, Inge Labuschagne. She has a knack for choosing just the right frame for any piece of art you take to her and also maintains a well-curated inventory of original pieces from local artists like Sunny. Located at 4818 Grove Avenue, Inge’s shop with its front patio makes a perfect spot to get your Wednesday night art fix, but if you can’t stop by then, any of Sunny’s show pieces not sold that night will remain at Frame of Mind through August.

Southern Season Richmond Grand Opening

Southern Season Richmond store © The Gracious Posse

Southern Season Richmond finally opens this Thursday, July 31st, and you know that The Gracious Posse is all aquiver. We have featured this Chapel Hill institution here and here, and even the exterior of the Richmond edition in the new Libbie Mill development has us salivating with anticipation. Like its other two sister stores, Southern Season Richmond will embrace its locale by featuring many Virginia food products amongst its beautiful wares.

Southern Season cheese monger © Southern Season

This 52,00 square foot store includes, in addition to a myriad of specialty grocery and kitchen items, Southerly Restaurant and Patio and a 40-student cooking school and is destined to become a shopping mecca for food lovers of all types.

Southern Season bakery sign © Southern Season

The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 8:40 a.m., and the store will open to the public immediately thereafter. Why not be one of the first to get your feet inside the new Southern Season store?

With Christmas now less than Five Months Away, I’ll be taking my Christmas list with me to both these hot shopping spots. Will I see you there?

salutationa&eJuly 28, 2014

Only Five Months Away, the Countdown is on to Christmas Day!

No need to panic. This is just a friendly reminder that Christmas will be here before we know it. Last year, we spent a week celebrating Christmas in July. Ellen and I thought you would appreciate thoughts of cooler days ahead during the mid-summer heat, but instead we managed to raise some of the posse’s temperatures. Our goal in starting the countdown is to help reduce your stress with a few reminders for things you can do now that will make you happier come December.

Go Through Last Year’s Holiday Cards

Christmas card basket © The Gracious Posse

Every year my Christmas cards end up in a designated basket or bowl that sits out for months. To it I will add post-Christmas cards that more people are sending in lieu of the traditional end of the year greetings in order to keep their lives more sane. I also add change of address cards and return addresses from Christmas cards received from addresses not on my Christmas excel spreadsheet.

Yes, I do keep a spreadsheet that I update at least annually with new addresses. I also go through my cards to note on the spreadsheet whom we heard from in the past year. If someone hasn’t exchanged greetings with us for several years, I will usually take them out of the count for Christmas card order.

finished photo book © The Gracious Posse

The dog days of summer are the perfect time to go though the bowl, make my updates and decide how many cards to order this year. This weekend I also want to fill the red photo album that cFl gave me for Christmas last year after we profiled her Christmas photo card solutions. Ellen received one too, and naturally she has already pulled hers together.

Plan This Year’s Christmas Card Photo Shoot Session

I can’t believe I actually have a photo for this year’s edition.

2014 family photo in Portovenere © The Gracious Posseit’s not this one

Don’t hate me. Usually this time of year I start to think about when I might have a photo-op for my two children. End of the summer and beach pictures always look good in December on bright cards. If your family is like mine, the photo shoot is usually frustrating, but preparing the family in advance and negotiating the time frame can help your kids feel a little more in control over what seems to them a painful process.

Start Looking for Holiday Card Sales

collage of Buoyer family Christmas cards © The Gracious Posse

Between now and the end of September is the best time to find deals. Keep your eyes open. It definitely helps to have your picture already selected. Here’s are Ellen’s recommendation for Planning Your Christmas Cards.

Buy Vintage Christmas Now

vintage Christmas booth © The Gracious Posse

Over the next month or so, you will start seeing the Christmas items come out at local vintage and antique sales. Don’t just walk buy them while you are thrifting.

vintage ornaments on Christmas gifts © The Gracious Posse

Vintage ornaments make the perfect final touch to Christmas gifts.

Speaking of Gifts

Every year I dig out the pocket-sized notebook I used the year before to create the list of people whom we will be gifting this year. I am going in search of it this weekend so I can at least get the list in my purse for reference while I am shopping.

Plan a Family Surprise

Want to do something really special for your family for the holidays? Maybe plan a surprise getaway?

view of Honolulu from summit of Diamondhead © The Gracious PosseHow ‘bout Hawai’i?

Now is the time to begin.

Last year, I gave my family the best Christmas gift ever: a new puppy.

Palmer on Christmas gifts © The Gracious Posse

For a family with older children, he was the perfect gift, and I completely surprised my husband and kids on Christmas Eve. Unless you want to select a rescue dog, start checking out breeders on the q-t for reputation and availability come December.

So we’ve put Christmas on your mind and hopefully without the dread of the holiday frenzy. If you start doing a little planning this weekend, you may actually reduce your stress in a few months. Our aim with this reminder post has been to inspire and not cause you to perspire. Did we succeed?

salutationa&eJuly 25, 2014