After stormy start, couple cruise back to island 23 times
When Glenn Lappin married his bride he knew exactly where to take her for a romantic honeymoon.
But when a tropical storm shook them up on the cruise over, he worried it had tainted Isabel’s first impressions of his beloved Bermuda.
His worries were for nothing. The Lappins have visited the island together 23 times.
They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary here on Monday.
“When we were married that day in 1992, we sailed for Bermuda less than 24 hours after tying the knot and have not stopped coming back since,” Mr Lappin recalled.
“We were enchanted by the island’s beauty and friendliness of its people and have returned over 20 times.”
The couple from Long Island, New York manage Bermuda Bound, with Kath Heytink and Pat Hepfer.
The Facebook group of nearly 5,000 members was set up to assist tourists with helpful information.
They met Ms Heytink on a cruise two years ago and jumped at the chance to contribute.
“We said, ‘absolutely’, because we’ve been coming to Bermuda for many years,” said Mr Lappin. “It’s growing exponentially.
“Last September, we only had about 3,000 members.
“We help give advice — how to get here, how to get there; what’s good to do, what’s good to eat; helpful suggestions with transportation; which ferry to take and how to get from A to B. Everybody loves it.”
Mr Lappin’s first taste of the island was in 1977 on a cruise with his parents. He next returned in 1981, on Home Lines’ M/V Atlantic.
“I married Isabel in 1992 and took her here on a cruise and that was on [Norwegian Cruise Lines’] MS Westward.
“I didn’t think that she would come back because on the way to Bermuda from New York we hit Tropical Storm Danielle and got thrown around and I thought she would never cruise again, but when she came to Bermuda she fell in love.”
The pair typically travel by boat, but this time they settled at the Grotto Bay Resort for their five-day trip.
“It’s our first time staying at the Grotto Bay and I’m so impressed with this hotel, the staff, the service,” he said.
“We were always on ships. We’ve pretty much been on all of them including all the little ones that used to come into St George’s and Hamilton on a regular basis.”
Their son Keith was born in 2000. Travelling as a family cut short their two-wheeled adventures — an activity they’ve enjoyed picking up again on their anniversary trip.
“Now he’s old enough to stay home, we’re back on the scooter and we’ve been all over,” Mr Lappin laughed.
“He’s been here about 20 times.
“I think he’s a little upset that he’s not here with us now, but he knows that he’s got to go to school.”
They first brought Keith here in 2004. At 4, he was just old enough to try helmet diving with Hartley’s Undersea Adventures, one of Bermuda’s oldest tourist attractions.
Over the years they’ve made quite a few friends, including Gregory Hartley and harbour pilot Wendell Burchall.
While here, they paid their respects to Johnny Barnes’ St George’s grave.
“He blessed us a couple of times as we’ve passed by on the scooter,” Mr Lappin said. “One day Keith and I got off the scooter and we met [him]. He gave us a little postcard that says ‘I love you’.
“I miss that guy. We’ve seen him for years and years waving from his little post and gave him a beep, but [that] day I had to stop. Johnny shook his hand and we took a picture with him. It’s just a sweet memory.”
While the New Yorkers love cruising the Caribbean, they’re grateful for the proximity of their “number one, go-to spot”.
“We see so many British tourists because that’s the motherland, but they have a six-and-a-half-hour flight. Our flight is only an hour and 45 minutes. We’re fortunate to be so close.
“To get to the end of Long Island it takes about two hours in traffic.
“Meanwhile, you can fly to Bermuda in less time. It’s just so convenient. Especially when you can just jump on a ship.”
He said “the beauty and the people” keep him coming back.
“Everyone is so friendly,” he laughed.
“We try to be that way in New York, by the way — it’s not everything you hear about.”
•Facebook: Bermuda Bound
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