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50 years on: US couple renew their vows

They call themselves ‘Longtails’ — because they keep flying back to the Island, year after year.

Fifty years after their Bermuda honeymoon, dedicated US visitors John and Barbara Buckley, 73 and 70 years old respectively, came back to mark the occasion with a renewal of their vows.

“We fell in love with Bermuda — we’ve been coming here since 1963, and we’ve probably been to the Island 75, maybe 76 times,” Mr Buckley told

The Royal Gazette.

Ardent fans of The Reefs Hotel, the Buckleys gathered with family and friends this weekend to celebrate their 50th anniversary, along with 40 years of staying at the Southampton hotel.

The Cape Cod, Massachusetts residents also commemorated 50 years together with a ceremony on Saturday at St Anthony’s Church.

Asked what kept the ‘Longtails’ coming back, Mr Buckley didn’t hesitate: “The people. People are so nice, and friendly. The people are wonderful; the Island’s so beautiful — it’s a treasure.”

The Buckleys aren’t the only ones: there’s an extended community of repeat returners who call themselves ‘Longtails’, and they hail from all across Massachusetts.

“There’s a group of us that stay here at the hotel, people who’ve been coming here 40, 25, 20 years. We always come back at the same time.”

Two of their four children honeymooned in Bermuda. All came to the Reefs with their spouses for this latest trip with the Buckleys,

Close friends as well with the hotel’s staff — some of whom have stayed with the Buckleys during visits of their own to Cape Cod — the couple listed “Mervin, Leanmae, Rochelle and Claudi” as particularly dear to them.

Over the years, they have seen the departure of many old-time staff.

Mr Buckley said they regretted not being able to get picked up by cabby legend Anson Simmons, who passed away at the age of 83 earlier this month.

The Buckleys have made The Reefs their “second home” across the decades, but there are few local hotels they haven’t enjoyed.

Fifty years ago it was the Briton, a bygone establishment on Langton Hill once famed for its panoramic views.

The Buckleys don’t have a favourite spot for enjoying the Island’s beauty; trying to come up with the most scenic part of Bermuda, Mr Buckley listed taking a whaler around St David’s, slipping down to Jobson Cove with his wife, and climbing the steps of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse to take in the view.

The biggest change?

“The amount of cars,” Mr Buckley said. “When we first started coming, we rode up and down every road on the Island.

“We haven’t ridden bikes for a number of years now. That’s the biggest change — the traffic on the roads. But the Island has maintained its cleanliness and its beauty.”

John and Barbara Buckley are here on the island for their 50th anniversary, as they have visited the island 76 times. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 29, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 29, 2013 at 12:49 am)

50 years on: US couple renew their vows

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