Bermuda is a 20-square-mile island in the Gulf Stream that first became popular more than a century ago when well-to-do New Englanders sought refuge here from the rigors of harsh northern winters. The island was relatively close to the great East Coast cities, a critical factor in the days before rapid air travel and the development of resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. Nowadays, of course, winter vacationers want more than just a temperate climate, opting instead for tropical destinations where they can take a morning dip in the ocean and dine outdoors with the hummingbirds. To enjoy that privilege in Bermuda, you must visit between May and October. That said, Bermuda remains a distinctive place of quiet beauty that lends itself well to a relaxing midsummer-autumn escape.