Eight couples and their Bermuda love affair
A group of tourists have notched up a total of 256 years of visits to Bermuda.
The eight couples, from the United States and Germany, have been visiting the island for more than 20 years.
Peggy Slade and husband Scott, from New England, have been annual visitors for 34 years.
Mrs Slade said: “We celebrated our 20th anniversary here and have been coming ever since.”
She explained that they met the other couples, who now call themselves the Long Tales, when they stayed The Reefs hotel in Southampton.
They hit it off and the group, with people between 40 and 90 years old, started to plan their vacations for the same time each year.
Mrs Slade said: “As we leave, we sign up to be here at the same time next year. Some of us are in touch when we are not here.
“We have always been pleased with The Reefs’ hospitality and the country.”
She added: “The things that keep us coming are that there are minimal changes at The Reefs so it feels like we are coming home.”
She said some staff members at the hotel were there when they made their first visit.
David Dodwell Jr, general manager at The Reefs, said: “It’s always a pleasure to have all our guests, but it’s a real pleasure to have repeat guests.
“We always enjoy seeing them every year and enjoy helping them to have a great Bermudian experience.
“We feel so honoured that they chose to vacation with us. This speaks to the hard work and commitment of the staff.”
Mrs Slade said the safety of the island and the short journey from New York was an attraction for many of the couples.
She added: “The island being as safe as it is, my husband and I always have a scooter so we cover much of the island.”
Mrs Slade said some of the Long Tales visited Bermuda more than once a year.
She added two of the couples had health problems last year and considered missing this year’s trip but “pushed” themselves to join their friends.
Mrs Slade said: “It speaks highly of the attraction of Bermuda and the desire to be with the group.
“We have become quite close and look forward to seeing each other.”
She added the group had grown to love Bermuda and that a German couple got married here seven years ago after years of visits.
Mrs Slade said that the couples hoped to continue the tradition of the annual visit for years.
She added: “There have been others who have passed, but hopefully we will continue this group for the next few years.”
She said the group also organised a special reunion dinner at The Reefs every year.
Mrs Slade and her husband added they also attended services at the Anglican church of St Anne’s in Southampton while on the island.
Nora Bell Kast, who is from Southampton and met the Slades at church, said: “They have been coming for 34 years. I thought that a record. I was thrilled to have been able to meet them.”