It’s hard to ImagIne a rIcher bounty of sIghts than those you’ll fInd on the Islands of bermuda. A treasure trove of experiences awaits for those who are eager to explore. Comprised of a series of islands linked together by bridges, the remote mid- Atlantic paradise of Bermuda rises like a surprise from the sea. Its cosy 21 square miles are tightly packed with more history, culture, character and natural beauty than you can imagine. There is so much to see here that you’ll want to return again and again to explore it all. Bermuda’s natural Beauty has Been preserved for generations to come. As one of Britain’s oldest colonies, the island has more than 400 years of history and, thanks to thoughtful preservation policies, the architecture to prove it. Visitors can’t resist strolling the colonial streets of the Town of St. George, Britain’s oldest surviving town in the New World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory and primarily English in its traditions, you’ll find a fascinating fusion of cultures here. When afternoon arrives, Bermuda, like Britain, pauses politely for tea. African influences, whilst subtler, can be seen in the food and music. Portuguese ties also run deep because of the nearest island group, the Azores. And Bermuda’s proximity to the United States gives it a New World flavour in spite of its unbroken ties to the crown. There’s no better way to explore the island than to rent a bicycle or scooter. Head out on your own to discover picturesque streets, historic churches and landmarks, and magnificent views of rosy beaches, enigmatic bluffs and protected nature reserves. You’ll find a well-marked network Of roads and trails traversing through valleys, hills and channels. To explore some very different sides of Bermuda, you can delve into the depths of an underground cavern or explore the ocean surrounding the islands. Glass-bottom boat tours are perfect for observing marine life, and a whale-watching trip will get you up close with the gentle humpback whales that migrate through these waters. You can even stroll along the sea floor with a helmet diving tour and actually pet the fish that thrive in the reefs. From any and every perspective, it’s obvious why Bermuda has come to be known as “Jewel of the Atlantic.” Communing with nature Bermuda’s natural beauty is simply breathtaking. Luckily, a wide variety of beaches, bays, ponds, parks, gardens, caves, forts, lighthouses, scenic overlooks and hiking trails have been preserved for generations to come. Bermuda is said to be home to the world’s first environmental laws, dating back to the 1600s. To see Bermuda as the early settlers did, visit Paget marsh, a 25-acre preserve of palmetto and cedar forest with distinctive mangroves. Explore the primeval beauty via an elevated wooden boardwalk that carries you past the pond and its peat marsh, providing opportunities to see a wide array of wildlife and birds. Like the humans, many species of birds migrate from North America to spend their winters in Bermuda. To catch a glimpse, birdwatchers flock to Spittal Pond nature reserve, on the south coast of Smith’s Parish. The 64-acre reserve features trails and footpaths through wetlands and along the south shore. The woodland habitat hosts a great variety of resident, migratory and rare birds. It is also where you find the oldest evidence of human activity on the island. Along the coastal path, look for Portuguese Rock. Carved on it are the initials “RP” and the date “1543,” believed to have been carved by a Portuguese sailor who had wrecked on the reefs 66 years before the first English settlers. Whilst the egrets roost at Spittal, the great blue herons are found along Great Sound. Pied-billed grebes settle around many ponds, and double-crested cormorants fish the inshore waters. The National Audubon Society of the United States has held a Christmas Bird Count for more than 100 years, and the Bermuda Audubon Society has taken part since 1974, averaging 90 species per count, with an overall total of 200. Grab your binoculars and look up. You can also learn about the local wildlife by visiting the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) located at 40 North Shore Road in Flatts Village. One of the oldest continuously operating aquariums in the New World, its exhibits include native fish, local reptiles, pink flamingos and a giant replica of a living coral reef. Experience the wonders of the sea at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI), on the harbour east of Hamilton. Sophisticated multimedia demonstrations, which introduce visitors to little-known marine creatures, aim to inspire awe. “The more information visitors have about the ocean environment, the more we are able to protect it,” says Director Wendy Tucker, daughter of famed undersea archaeologist Teddy Tucker. Need a break from the sun? Then go underground. The limestone that capped The islands’ volcanic origins left them crisscrossed with caves and caverns. Each of the 150 caves found under the islands has its own impressive display of stalactite and stalagmite formations. Two great places to learn about underground Bermuda are Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves, at Bailey’s Bay in Hamilton Parish. Crystal Caves opened in 1907 after two children stumbled upon the cave system looking for a cricket ball. In Fantasy Cave, startling white crystal formations are viewed from a floating walkway above underground lakes. Other caves accessible to the public are Prospero’s Cave and Cathedral Cave, beneath Grotto Bay Beach Resort in Hamilton Parish. Regular “cave crawls” take place for interested guests. Prospero’s beautiful underground lake alone is worth the visit. If you enjoy hiking, check out the four-mile walking trail from Dockyard to Somerset. The path crosses Gilbert Nature Reserve and passes the Royal Naval Cemetery, which dates to the 19th century. The hike allows ample opportunities to take dips in the ocean along the way and enjoy fabulous views of Great Sound. Another way to commune with nature whilst learning about the area’s history, flora and fauna is on a walking tour. You can join locals for an informal six- or sevenmile jaunt on Sunday mornings with the Walking Club of Bermuda. Members range from doctors to directors of art galleries,So you’ll be in good company with locals willing to share details about the island to those who show an interest. Bring your water bottle, sunscreen and walking shoes. Find a schedule at walk.free.bm. The Botanical Gardens, in Paget Parish, are simply magnificent. Here you can immerse yourself in species that range from lush, subtropical foliage and ferns to cacti. Established in 1898 at Camden House, the garden is open without charge from dawn to dusk. Orchid enthusiasts and other plant lovers also should take time to explore Firefly Nature Reserve and Freer Cox Memorial Reserve in Devonshire, home to many animal species as well. Blue Hole Park, part of Hamilton Parish’s Walsingham Nature Reserve, is known for its palm groves and a veritable carpet of elephant ears. HeRitaGe SiGHtS Part of the fun of exploring a new setting is discovering its past. Both Bermuda’s natural formations and historic buildings provide a unique peek into the lives of the people who made these islands what they are today. Devil’s Hole was Bermuda’s first bona fide tourist attraction. As the water rises and falls, eerie noises that emanate from the sinkhole near Harrington Sound spooked 19th-century tourists, who went away imagining they had heard the moans of Satan. In the 17th and 18th century, the devil seemed to be as busy in Bermuda as in the rest of the English colonies; a fear of witchcraft swept across the islands. When you visit St. George’s, stop by the Old State House, where Gov. Josias Foster condemned Jeane Gardiner on charges of blinding a woman using the dark arts. Gardiner was “thrown twice in the sea... She did swim like a cork and could not sink,” according to reports, but ultimately she was drowned. Other witches were burned at the stake on Gibbet island, near Flatts Village. Almost any cottage or house in Bermuda that dates back more than 100 years can harbour a (friendly) ghost. Several have a literary bent. Noel Coward reportedly wrote his famed play Blithe Spirit based on his Bermuda encounters with a beautiful French ghost. Playwright Eugene O’Neill also reported “unusual events” whilst living in Spithead, a lovely old house built by 18th-century privateer Hezekiah Frith on Harbour Road in Warwick. In St. George’s, the Old Rectory welcomes a musical spirit rumoured to play an invisible harpsichord. In Camden, the official residence of Bermuda’s premier is where some have spotted the ethereal former wife of a government official strolling the grounds on moonless nights. Built around 1710 and especially interesting to students of American Colonial history, 301-year-old Verdmont has had plenty of time to collect ghosts. An exemplar of Georgian architecture still in pristine condition, it was used as a private residence until opening as a National Trust museum in 1956. Virtually no structural changes were ever made. The former owners never even added electricity or plumbing. The house is renowned for its wonderful collection of antiques, including the pint-size furnishings and period toys that fill its upstairs nursery. An early 19th-century piano was imported from England, but many pieces are made of local cedar crafted by Bermudians. A fine china coffee service on display was supposed to be a gift from Emperor Napoleon to U.S. President James Madison but was seized by a privateer and brought to Bermuda. Devonshire Parish offers views deep into Bermudian history. On Middle Road, look for Old Devonshire Church. Its present foundation was laid in 1716, and its first incarnation dates back to 1624. An explosion on Easter 1970 destroyed the tiny building, but it was reconstructed and now serves as a national icon. Also worth a look is Palmetto House, one of the few remaining examples of an early-18th-century cruciform home. Don’t miss the Bermuda Railway Trail, a walking trail and bridle path divided into seven sections that each take a few hours to walk. It follows the old rails of the former local train service, which ran from 1931 to 1948. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the native flora, scenic views and warming sun. In Paget Parish, Waterville, now headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust, dates to 1725. It was home for the Triminghams, whose descendants operated the biggest department stores in Bermuda for more than 150 years. Waterville’s drawing and dining rooms are full of antiques, china and art. Gracing the well-tended grounds is a lovely Victorian rose garden. Walking tours through the grounds and to the Paget Marsh preserve offer insight about traditional gardens and unusual plants. For a primer on Bermuda’s 400-plus years of history, stop at the Bermuda Historical Society Museum, on Queen Street in Hamilton, to see artefacts from the life of Admiral Sir George Somers, who led the settlers. The museum also houses an impressive collection of antique Bermudian silver and cedar furniture. Whilst on Queen Street, pop in at the Perot Post Office, headquarters of 19th-century Postmaster William B. Perot, who produced the first Bermudian postage stamp. Only 11 of these “Perot Provisional” stamps are known to exist, and each is worth more than $100,000. Sessions House, an 1819 Georgian-era building with a striking clock tower, is where the House of Assembly and Supreme Court meet. Visit the Parliament Street landmark Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 2 to 5 p.m. In the downstairs court, Bermudian judges still wear wigs and red robes, carrying on a tradition that dates to the 17th century. In Sandys Parish, Scaur Hill Fort and Park affords visitors majestic views of Great Sound and Ely’s Harbour. The British Army built the fort from the 1860s to the 1880s to protect against feared American attacks. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Designed in London and opened in 1846, the cast-iron Gibbs Hill Lighthouse — 117 feet tall and 362 feet above sea level — still towers over Southampton Parish. The modern 1,000-watt lamp can be seen 40 miles out and by planes 10,000 feet above. The 185 stairs to the top are challenging, but the panoramic views of Bermuda are well worth the effort. For visitors interested in military history, there are three can’t-miss structures in Bermuda: Fort St. Catherine, which includes a museum and towers over the beach where the Sea Venture survivors washed ashore in 1609; Fort Hamilton, a 19th-century fort offering great views of Hamilton and its harbour; and The Keep, the largest fort in Bermuda, at Royal Naval Dockyard. After the American Revolution, Royal Naval Dockyard became the headquarters of the British Navy in the western North Atlantic. It now houses shops, cafés, recreation, attractions and the National Museum of Bermuda, located within The Keep. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children under 13. This museum is home to the most extensive collection of maritime and other artefacts. A walk along the ramparts also offers panoramic views of the ocean and coastline. In the Town of St. George, stop by the World Heritage Centre at Penno’s Wharf, where visitors can see interactive exhibits about Bermudian history. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ArT And SouL Over the centuries, Bermuda has been at a crossroads of culture, amassing a large collection of music, art and literature, with elements from Great Britain, Africa and the Americas. The Bermuda National Gallery, located in the City Hall and Arts Centre in Hamilton,Provides ample evidence of the islands’ multicultural history with both temporary and permanent art exhibits. The gallery believes art is for everyone, so admission is free. Join free tours each Thursday at 10 a.m. Call to confirm. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p. m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on public holidays. The Masterworks Foundation and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art concentrate on Bermuda-inspired works. Besides Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe, visiting artists have included Marsden Hartley, Albert Gleizes and Charles Demuth, whose works are amongst 1,200 in the museum’s growing collection. An artist-in-residence programme spotlights visiting artists through exhibitions and selling shows, and there’s the Homer Café on-site where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea or a sandwich. The museum and café are open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. General admission is $5. Learn more about Bermudian art, culture and history by perusing the shelves of the Bermuda National Library in Hamilton. Amongst its collections are rare books and current periodicals from Bermuda and abroad. Dolphin Quest National Museum of Bermuda, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Tel: 234-4464 / 1-800-248-3316 E-mail: email@example.com Website: dolphinquest.org Dolphin Quest is a place where you can swim with beautiful dolphins in their ocean-water safe haven, within the old stone fortress now home to the National Museum of Bermuda, one of the world’s most extraordinary naval history museums. Feel the thrill of a lifetime as you touch, swim with and even kiss a dolphin! Enjoy a wide range of encounters for adults, children, families and groups. Dolphin Quest is open daily all year round from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reserve your encounter online or by phone. Elbow Beach Cycles Ltd. At Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort & Spa 60, South Shore Road Paget Tel: 296-2300 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: elbowbeachcycles.com Why follow the crowd when you can discover Bermuda’s hidden coves and dazzling pink-sand beaches for yourself? And in high style. Pick from the island’s newest and most advanced rental fleet, and then put yourself in the laid-back island mood with their industry leading YouDrive™ tuition. For the widest choice of gas scooters, electric scooters, hybrid electric bikes, and mountain bikes, and the most reassuring safety record on the island, book online or call today at Elbow Beach Cycles. Ladyboats Tel: 236-0127 E-mail: email@example.com Website: ladyboats.com See breathtaking views of Bermuda’s shoreline whilst cruising in total luxury. Celebrate weddings, anniversaries and birthdays like never before. Invite a couple hundred of your closest friends, or keep it intimate with just you and someone special. Ladyboats may be the largest and most experienced charter company in Bermuda, but the staff of the family-owned-andoperated fleet still believe it is the personal touch that counts. Let them work for you. MV Venetian Tel: 704-3000 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: venetian.bm MV Venetian is luxuriously Equipped to ensure that any event, ranging from a private social soiree to a fancy corporate affair, is a spectacular success. Lavish, wellappointed staterooms and stateof- the-art communication systems provide the perfect setting for a relaxing day cruise or an overnight voyage. The well-established catering service offers the finest cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, supported by the best crew available in Bermuda. National Museum of Bermuda 1 The Keep, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Tel: 234 -1418 Website: bmm.bm Explore 500 years of local history and culture displayed in British military buildings of the 10-acre Keep citadel, including the awardwinning restored Commissioner’s House. Learn about Bermuda’s connections with the West Indies and the Azores, trans-Atlantic slavery, underwater archaeology, and the Island’s defence heritage. Don’t miss local artist Graham Foster’s spectacular 1,000-squarefoot Hall of History mural. Bastions, cannons, shipwreck artefacts, local watercraft, maritime art, spectacular sea views and dolphin encounters are all found in Bermuda’s largest fort. Winter hours, November through March are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last admission 3 p.m.) Summer hours, April through October, are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission 4 p.m.) Free for children under 13, $10 Adults. Oleander Cycles Valley Road, Paget Tel: 236-2453 Gorham Road, Hamilton Tel: 295-0919 York Street, St. George’s Tel: 297-0478 Cockburn Road, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Tel: 234-2764 E-mail: email@example.com Website: oleandercycles.bm Bermuda’s No. 1 scooter livery offers quality scooters at competitive rates. You will receive five-star service and a safety demonstration with their friendly staff. Oleander’s reputation is the best in Bermuda and has been earned since opening in 1964. They have locations at each end of the island in Dockyard and St. George’s plus two in the centre of the island including Hamilton and Paget. Free delivery or transportation via their courtesy vans to and from your hotel is available no matter where you are on the island. They are open seven days a week. They accept cash; however, a major credit card is also required. Wheels Cycles Moped and Scooter Rentals 117 Front St., Hamilton Tel: 292-2245 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: wheels.bm When visiting Bermuda, the only Way to see and enjoy the true beauty our tropical island has to offer is on a scooter from Wheels Cycles. Their cycle rentals allow you to explore Bermuda at your own leisure. The quality of product and excellent service record has earned Wheels Cycles a reputation second to none with visitors around the world. All drivers and passengers are given comprehensive instructions and personal training in the handling of their scooters before you are allowed to set out on your journey. Wheels Cycles want all their visitors to experience a safe and happy vacation as well as return home with fond memories of this paradise we call Bermuda. The World Heritage Centre Penno’s Wharf (next to Penno’s Cruise Ship Terminal), St. George’s Tel: 297-5791 Website: stgeorgesfoundation.org The World Heritage Centre offers a bright, welcoming space with a large reception desk. Visitors can proceed to the Orientation Gallery, the Gateway to Bermuda exhibit, and upstairs to more exhibits and the Theatre. Large photo installations illustrate the splendors of St. George’s and its fortifications. The Centre provides a walkthrough of Bermuda’s early history from the Age of Discovery to the U.S. Civil War. Interpretive panels and audios describe Bermuda before the English arrived, when New World explorers used Bermuda as a navigational marker, when mariners dubbed the island the “Isle of Devils” and when castaways explored its fruitful shores. Bermuda’s historic links to Jamestown and the first settlers are illustrated. There’s a scale town model based on illustrations in the 1626 John Smith map and other research, which includes the original State House. St. Peter’s Church, stone and wood dwellings, small bridges and model ships in St. George’s Harbour and early forts. Upstairs there’s a Time Tree, interactive touch screens featuring World Heritage Site info, fortifications, military bases, and much, much more! Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Published by HCP Media. View All Articles.