Forty years’ love for ‘best place on planet’
Peter and Christine Principe never got over their Bermuda honeymoon.
They first came to the island shortly after they married in 1972. Multiple visits followed over the years. The Massachusetts couple now make an annual pilgrimage.
“My mother had a cousin who went to Elbow Beach Surf Club when on their honeymoon,” Mrs Principe said.
“She loved it and talked about it all the time and so, when we were getting married I said, ‘What about Elbow Beach Surf Club in Bermuda?' That's how we ended up there initially.”
It “was not a hard sell at all”, her husband said. He immediately bought into the idea.
“We came and the minute we got off the plane and met our first Bermudian, the taxi driver, we fell in love with Bermuda, its people, its culture and its natural beauty,” Mr Principe said. “Because we were so young at the time and it was our first real trip, we thought the whole of the United States and the world was like that.
“We've found out through the years, as we've travelled through the US and Europe, that, in our opinion, Bermuda is the best place on the planet.”
Although the birth of their children slowed down their travels, the 69-year-olds have come here annually since 1997.
Their trip this month was their 18th time here.
“We found out there was a cruise from Boston to Bermuda and we were thrilled,” said Mr Principe, now retired after working for the US Senate.
“It's too convenient for us not to come on a cruise. It leaves right from Boston, which is about 45 minutes away from us. We just drive and get on boat, we don't have to worry about airports. It's just ideal for us.
“We took the Royal Majesty out of Boston in 1997 and we've been going just about every year since then. This year, we had a wonderful trip as always.
“We have our usual routine of going to Dockyard for the glass-blowing and the rum cakes and Commissioner's House, talking with folks.
“We love every place we go. We love doing a toast to my mother-in-law at Flanagan's, because she's a Flanagan.
“We love to go to St George's and talk to Juliette Hoerrmann at Temptations café. We saw our first cricket match ever, at Cup Match. We were there for the 100th anniversary, in the stands, and it was very lovely.
“The person we miss is Johnny Barnes. He was a treasure and still is.”
The couple regularly read The Royal Gazette online to keep up with what's happening in their “second home”. Their hope is that the proposed St Regis hotel will get off the ground and inject some energy into the East End of the island. Mr Principe said: “Hopefully, it will do something for the town with this new resort.”
The pair met as students at Boston State College.
“It was in the Sixties. It was love at first sight for me. We hung around, we were best friends, played cards in the cafeteria. It was the mini skirts that got to me,” Mr Principe joked.
The couple have already booked their next cruise here.
“We'll be there on September 1,” Mr Principe said.
“Usually we come the last week of May, first week of June, but this year we had so many family obligations we could not do that so we decided to try the first week of September and it was absolutely fabulous.”
The couple consider themselves two of the island's biggest fans.
They've joined the Bermuda National Trust to give something back to the island that has given them so much pleasure.
“We've made roughly 18 trips and we were there in our hearts although we didn't make it on certain years,” Mrs Principe, a retired college professor, said.
Her husband added: “We wear our Bermuda T-shirts all around Massachusetts.
“We're the envy of all our neighbours and friends.”