Bermuda is both popular and small -- but that doesn't mean that you can't escape the crowds and find peace and serenity in a lovely spot, hopefully with someone you love.
Hamilton Parish -- The Bermuda National Trust (tel. 441/236-6483; www.bnt.bm) administers 25 hectares (62 acres) of land at Walsingham, along Harrington Sound Road in Hamilton Parish. Bus no. 1 or 3 runs to the site, and hours are daily dawn to dusk, with no admission charged. The site of Walsingham that visitors, especially bird-watchers, find most appealing is called the Idwal Hughes Nature Reserve, which takes up only .5 hectares (1 1/4 acres) of the lush Walsingham wilderness area sometimes called "Tom Moore's Jungle" by islanders. Walking is rather challenging here, but rewarding because of the scenic landscape and the bird life. Access to the Idwal Hughes Nature Reserve is from the road leading down to Tom Moore's Tavern off Harrington Sound Road. Access is also possible through Blue Hole Park (take bus no. 1, 3, 10, or 11 to the Grotto Bay Hotel bus stop), which features its own trails for bird-watching and a wooden deck where you can view a water-filled sunken cave.
Sandys Parish -- Visitors don't seem to spend a lot of time here, but for wandering about, getting lost, and finding enchanting little vistas, Sandys is without equal on Bermuda. Where Daniel's Head Road meets Cambridge Road, paths will take you to Somerset Long Bay Park, where you can swim. After that, take one of the unmarked trails to the Bermuda Audubon Society Nature Reserve, a gem of nature. The place is often deserted on weekdays. When the white-eyed vireos and the bluebirds call to you from fiddlewood trees, you'll really feel close to nature.
Southampton Parish -- In this windswept, tourist-trodden parish, you'd think there was no place to find solitude. Not so! Signposted from Middle Road, a trail goes 1km (2/3-mile) down to the entrance to Seymour's Pond Nature Reserve. Under the management of the Bermuda Audubon Society, this 1-hectare (2 1/2-acre) site attracts the occasional birder as well as romantic couples looking for a little privacy. Just past the pond, you'll spot pepper trees and old cedars that escaped the blight; you might encounter bluebirds and an egret or two as well. After traversing Cross Church Road, you'll come upon the old Bermuda Railway Trail, where in summer you can see fennel growing wild. In the distance are panoramic views of shipwreck-clogged Black Bay and Five Star Island.
Warwick Parish -- With its beautiful pink-sand beaches, seaside parklands, natural attractions, and winding country lanes, this is one of the most charming parishes for exploring and escaping the crowds. Even many longtime local residents haven't seen some of Warwick's beauty spots. The place to head is Warwick Pond, a sanctuary for several rare species of birds. Administered by the Bermuda National Trust, it's open daily from sunrise to sunset. You can reach it by following the Bermuda Railway Trail until you come to Tribe Road No. 3; climb this road for a few hundred yards before it dips down a hill to the pond. You might spot the occasional birder in search of a kiskadee, blue heron, or cardinal. The pond, fed by a subterranean channel from the sea, reminds us of Thoreau's Walden Pond.
St. David's Island -- Part of St. George's Parish, St. David's is Bermuda "the way it was." Virtually unknown to the average visitor, it awaits your discovery. This is real down-home Bermuda -- it's said that some St. David's Islanders have never even visited "mainland" Bermuda. You can begin your walk at Great Head Park in the eastern part of St. David's, southeast of the cricket fields. At the end of the parking lot, follow the trail into a wooded area filled with cherry trees and palmettos. After about 225m (738 ft.), bear right at the fork. Eventually you'll spot St. David's Lighthouse, an octagonal red-and-white tower in the distance to the southwest. The trail forks left until you come to a ruined garrison with a panoramic sea view. It's one of the remotest, loveliest spots on the island -- and, chances are, you'll have it all to yourself.
Devonshire Parish -- This parish is off the beaten track but home to some lovely spots -- if you're adventurous enough to seek them out. Old Devonshire Church on Middle Road is a landmark; almost directly across the road lies Devonshire Marsh, a natural water basin still in an untamed state. You'll also find two nature reserves, Firefly and Freer Cox Memorial, on some 4 hectares (10 acres) of marshland. The Bermuda Audubon Society has set aside this protected area as a bird sanctuary for many endangered wild species. You can also see some of the most unusual Bermudian plants, including orchids. The marsh is always open to the public.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.