WITH MORE THAN 400 YEARS OF HISTORY COURSING THROUGH ITS COBBLESTONES AND ALLEYS, THE TOWN OF ST. GEORGE IS QUITE LITERALLY THE CRADLE OF BERMUDA. The founding settlers arrived here on a dark and stormy night in 1609, deliberately crashing into what is now Sea Venture Shoals to keep their vessel, the Sea Venture, from falling apart during a hurricane. Since then, the East End of Bermuda has seen countless historic events that are still palpable in this intensely preserved community. With a heritage closely linked to Colonial America, St. George’s offers visitors a different perspective on the evolution of the English colonies in the New World. In fact, St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, has the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the New World. Much of the town has remained unchanged, with its iconic pastel-coloured homes having become emblematic of Bermuda. As you walk around or make your way to the Town of St. George — which is located in St. George’s Parish — you may hear it being referred to as St. George’s, making it very confusing for the newcomer since it leaves a question as to whether someone is speaking about the town itself or the parish. (The majority of times, however, it is probably the town.) Though rooted in its rich history, St. George’s is by all means a proper modern town, with outstanding accommodations, delicious dining options and remarkable shopping opportunities. At times appearing to be sleepy, St. George’s is always very much alive and becomes a bustling burg whenever a ship arrives in port. A walk down Water Street will reveal wonderful boutiques with special handmade souvenirs, crafts, jewellery and clothing. You’ll also discover top-notch eateries to sate your appetite, whether you’re interested in high-end fine dining or just good grub that’s easy on the pocket. FOUNDING FATHERS To appreciate St. George’s is to know its history, because every corner here reveals an anecdote, a tale of a more romantic era filled with intrigue, colonialism, survival and emerging commerce. The Sea Venture, the English ship at the centre of Bermuda’s founding, was on its way to the Jamestown colony in Virginia as part of a fleet of nine ships carrying settlers and supplies to aid the ailing town but was itself blown off course by a storm. After Admiral Sir George Somers, the father of Bermuda, foundered the Sea Venture about a mile from shore to protect his crew and passengers, they came ashore at Gates’ Bay, near the current Fort St. Catherine & Museum, and spent 10 months here. From the wreckage of their ship, these survivors created two smaller ships, the Patience and Deliverance, with which many of them continued on to Jamestown. A small group remained on Bermuda and continued to subsist in the area where the town now lies. In 1612, the Town of St. George was officially founded by additional settlers who arrived on the Plough, and Bermuda — then known as the Somers Isles — was born. TAKING IN THE SIGHTS Much of St. George’s can be seen on foot, either armed with just a map and a wandering desire or by going on a walking tour. King’s Square is the ideal jumping-off point for this, and it’s also where you’ll be able to join free guided tours. Make sure to stop by the World Heritage Centre at Penno’s Wharf, which offers a bright, welcoming space and a charity shop, Second Hand Rose. 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 splendours of St. George’s and its fortifications. The centre provides a walk-through of Bermuda’s early history, from the Age of Discovery to the U.S. Civil War. Interpretative panels and audios describe Bermuda before the English arrived, when New World explorers used Bermuda as a navigational marker, when mariners dubbed Bermuda the “Isle of the Devils” and when castaways explored its fruitful shores. Bermuda’s historic links to Jamestown and the first settlers are illustrated. There’s a scale model of the town based on illustrations from the 1626 John Smith map and other research, which includes the original State House, St. Peter’s, Their Majesties Chappell, stone and wood dwellings, small bridges, model ships in St. George’s Harbour, and early forts. Upstairs, there is a “time tree,” interactive touchscreens featuring UNESCO World Heritage Site information, fortifications, military bases and the film A Stroll through St. George’s. It is open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-5791, stgeorgesfoundation.org) Walking tours normally start at King’s Square on Wednesday and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. from November to March. After the tour, the mayor of St. George’s welcomes visitors into the Town Hall, which has been a government fixture since 1805, and explains the structure of the town, including its role within the Corporation of St. George’s, formed in 1797. Right on King’s Square, you’ll notice the stocks, pillory and whipping post. In olden times, petty criminals were punished by being placed into these to be publicly humiliated by the community. Today, it provides comic relief for visitors, who are encouraged to step right up and put their heads and arms on these wooden structures for a memorable photo op. Who can resist posting that on Instagram or Facebook? Make sure not to miss the historical re-enactments that take place on the square Monday to Thursday and Saturday at noon from May to October (Wednesday and Saturday at noon from November to April). These live sketches from history include the infamous Dunking Stool, which used to dunk nagging, gossipy women into the water as punishment. The Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel, on the northwest corner of King’s Square, is a great way to see the history of St. George’s up close. The stately building dates to 1699 and once belonged to Governor Samuel Day; later, during the American Civil War, Confederate Norman Walker lived here and directed blockaderunning operations. Today, its second floor tells the tale of St. George’s, focusing on the 19th-century events through detailed displays of artefacts in its permanent exhibit, “Rogues & Runners: Bermuda and the American Civil War.” (297-1423) Near the square, you’ll catch sight of a life-size vessel across the bridge on Ordnance Island. This is a replica of Deliverance, one of the two ships built from the wreckage of the Sea Venture, which took settlers from Bermuda to the Jamestown colony in Virginia. Maintained by the St. George’s Foundation, the attraction is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. REMNANTS OF THE PAST What sets St. George’s apart from many other cities and towns is that its buildings are not replicas. Most of the colonial homes and structures are original. Though not many remain from those early days in the 1600s, you can still view some 17th-century structures, the oldest being State House. The site of Bermuda’s first legislature and courthouse, it was built in 1620. Since 1820, it has been rented by the Freemasons as the site of their lodge for the annual sum of a single peppercorn, which is presented with much pomp in an annual ceremony that usually falls around April 23. Also from this era is St. Peter’s, Their Majesties Chappell. Though much of this iconic building was rebuilt in 1713 after the original structure was destroyed in a hurricane, parts of the church — including the pulpit and chalice — date back as far as 1625. In 2012, in honour of St. George’s 400th anniversary, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed it the title “Their Majesties Chappell,” an ancient term dating to 17th century. When you visit St. Peter’s, don’t forget to stroll through its graveyard, where many protagonists of Bermudian history are buried, including Pilot James Darrell, the first black Bermudian to own a home. As a freed slave in the late 18th century, he became a Kings Pilot for the royal navy, was quite esteemed by his peers and fought to gain property rights for blacks in Bermuda. His home, 5 Aunt Peggy’s Lane, is in what is currently Pilot Darrell’s Square. (297-2459) Other notable homes to visit are Tucker House located on Water Street (297-0545) and the St. George’s Historical Society Museum, Printery and Garden (297-0423). Both contain small museums that reveal the lifestyle of the early Bermudians. Beyond the residential part of town lie St. George’s various fortifications, the most notable being Fort St. Catherine & Museum, which houses a museum. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-1920). And don’t miss the Unfinished Church on Folly Lane. This remarkable structure provides incredible photographic opportunities. TAKING IT HOME As you wander through the town’s alleys and streets, you’ll want to stop by the quaint shops and boutiques that are just as unique as the town’s heritage and bring back a little piece of St. George’s. Nestled in St. George’s, at 6B Penno’s Drive, is Bermuda Beauty Crafts, a treasure trove of items for everyone by local artists, artisans and the like. BBC’s Sun Shop offers UV-protection clothing, hats and accessories for those wanting superior protection from such brands as Tilley Endurables, Coolibar and Panama straw hats. (297-1605) The Bermuda Perfumery welcomes visitors to its location at Stewart Hall, in St. George’s. Since 1928, the Perfumery creates and blends fine fragrances for women and men under the brand Lili Bermuda. Come for a unique olfactory experience and to discover how perfumers create fragrances. During the summer Lili Bermuda will enchant you with its new fragrances and complementary bath line. Lili Bermuda’s line of unique fragrances is the perfect gift for yourself and your loved ones. Lili Bermuda’s fragrances are exclusively available in Bermuda. They are open Monday to Saturday, 9 a. m. to 5 p.m. in summer, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter. (293-0627, 1-800- 527-8213, toll-free in U.S. and Canada; lilibermuda.com) Take a step back in time in historic St. George’s. Bermudiana Memories takes a small moment to enjoy showcasing handmade local artwork with displays of unique glass jewellery, cedar, ceramics, painting, prints, silk art and authentic Banana Leaf Dolls. There is the music of the tree frogs and quiet island ocean sounds natural music Cds and a little local culture. (297-8104) When walking down York Street, don’t miss the aptly named Churchill’s for your wines, spirits and cigars. With the only walk-in humidor on the island, this is the place to stop for your Cuban cigars, fine wines, cold beer and sodas. Winston Churchill said, “I am easily satisfied with the very best,” and now you can be, too. They offer the finest selection of cigars, fine wines — over 250 references — gifts such as cigar cases and cutters, lighters, glasses, decanters, wine openers, and the Clef-du-Vin, the wine-ageing tool. (297-1650, bermudawines.com) Davidrose has a growing reputation as one of Bermuda’s most exciting jewellery boutiques. They carry an exclusive collection of fine jewellery and silver collection whilst specialising in bridal and custom pieces. Davidrose is located in the old historic Town of St. George. They boast one of the most unique luxury shopping experiences with a spectacular view of the harbour. (293-7673, firstname.lastname@example.org) Located just off King’s Square is Dockside Glass & Rum Cakes Shop, a satellite store of the Dockyard Glassworks with a display of handmade Studio Glass Art collectibles, plates and sculptures. Samples of famous Bermuda Rum Cake Company offerings from the Dockyard micro bakery are available. Everything in the store is made in Bermuda. (297-3908, dockglass.com) Wander up Water Street in the 400-year-old Town of St. George and find the lively shop Frangipani. From the cheerful batik sundress in the window to the dramatic wall of jewellery inside, you will be delighted at the eclectic range of beautiful and elegant clothing, shoes, bags and gifts found within. Whether you’re stepping off a cruise or relaxing at a resort, be sure to take the time to visit, as they’re open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during season, and Saturdays and Sundays in the winter. (297-1357, email@example.com) The Island Shop is a must-visit for unique ceramic and linen products, all designed by Barbara Finsness. Resident and visitor comments include, “Finally a beautiful shop to buy our gifts,” and “I want to buy everything in your store.” Barbara’s designs are colourful and tropical, reflecting the best and lasting images of Bermuda. Each item is specially made and labelled with her signature. The Island Shop won Best of Giftware in The Bermudian magazine. New designs are continuously added to the collection. (297-1514, islandexports.com) Located between York and Water Street, Robertson’s Drug Store provides a relaxing and enjoyable shopping experience with friendly staff and pharmacists for expert advice. The store stocks local items and imports from over 100 overseas companies, many from the U.K. This allows Robertson’s to offer a unique range of merchandise to their customers. (297-1828, firstname.lastname@example.org) Beachcomber Kelly Diel has a treasure trove of unique handcrafted gifts in the heart of St. George’s. Seaglass Studio is where Kelly creates one-of-a-kind jewellery and ornaments from sea glass found on the local beaches. You can see the rarest colours of sea glass in orange, red and yellow. She also uses driftwood, sea pottery and other sea debris to create decorative signs, mirrors and ornamental sculptures. Visit Kelly at her studio on Water Street where you can find that special, unique gift to take home. (297-4819, bermudaseaglassbykelly.com) Located at 7 and 20 Water Street in St. George’s, Vera P. Card offers jewellery, watches, figurines, crystal, clocks and gifts from around the world at duty-free prices. Selections are varied, and prices are guaranteed to offer savings over stores in the United States. Jewellery is “value-guaranteed” against an appraisal of your choice. Vera P. Card features the largest collection of Lladró, M.I. Hummel and Nao-by-Lladró in the Caribbean, along with the complete Swarovski silver-crystal collection. The shop also has a wide collection of fine crystal and glass. The jewellery collection emphasises unusual, highvalue stones, as well as exceptional workmanship in gold and sterling silver. There is also a wide collection of beautiful gemstone globes, which are shipped free to North America. (297- 1718, email@example.com) ACTIVE PURSUITS Even in quiet St. George’s you can find exciting and heartracing activities to enjoy. Get ready for the time of your life with K. S. WaterSports (Thrill Adventures & Tours), Bermuda’s No. 1 watersports company for fun and adventure, offering Jet Ski rentals and tours out of the Town of St. George and Royal Naval Dockyard. Experience an adventure of a lifetime on one of their amazing Jet Ski Adventures, where you splash and dash throughout Bermuda’s aqua-blue waters, passing many beaches, shipwrecks, forts, historic landmarks, famous homes and much more. Some of their Jet Ski Adventures even stop off at a shipwreck to feed fish, at a pink sandy beach area for a short swim or near hidden coves to spot sea turtles. Regular Jet Ski Adventures are 65–75 minutes long. Lowest Jet Ski rates in Bermuda with several Jet Ski Adventures to choose from. Instructions are provided to all participants. Customised and longer Jet Ski Adventures available upon request. All ages welcome. You must be 16 years or older (by law) to drive a Jet Ski in Bermuda. Located at the White Horse Pub & Restaurant, King’s Square, St. George’s. (1-441-297-4155, or book online at kswatersports.com) It’s also fun to rent a scooter at Oleander Cycles, whose shop is located on York Street. Oleander is Bermuda’s number one cycle livery and offers quality scooters at competitive rates. You will receive safety instructions in a private practice area. The St. George’s location is open seven days a week. (297-0478, oleandercycles.bm) GETTING THERE Take advantage of Bermuda’s excellent public transportation, arriving in St. George’s by taxi, bus or ferry. Sea Express ferry offers six daily trips to St. George’s (from Hamilton, via Dockyard) from April to November only. In addition, there are four high-speed catamarans that serve these routes (295-4506, seaexpress.bm). Or take a Bermuda Breeze bus ride from Hamilton via routes 1, 3, 10 or 11. The one-way fare from Dockyard is $4.50 for adults and $2 for children ages 5–16. The one-way fare from Hamilton is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 5–16. Ages under 5 years old ride for free (292-3851, bermudabuses.bm). You can also try the Transportation Pass, which is good for unlimited rides on the bus and ferry system. Passes cost $12 for one day, $20 for two days, $28 for three days, $35 for four days, $45 for seven days and $55 for one month. TRANQUIL RETREAT Perched on Rose Hill overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town is The St. George’s Club, a cottage hotel and vacation ownership resort. Seventy-one Bermudian-style one- and two-bedroom cottages are set in about 12 acres of landscaped gardens with three swimming pools, three tennis courts and a scooter rental facility. They have two restaurants: Griffin’s Bistro & Bar and The Beach House. (297-1200, firstname.lastname@example.org, stgeorgesclub.com) SAVOUR ST. GEORGE’S Following a walking tour of St. George’s museums and shops, or a day of fun in the sun, a great meal or round of drinks is well deserved. In St. George’s you’ll find some of the best bars and restaurants in Bermuda. The Beach House (formerly Blackbeard’s), located at Achilles Bay, is in the shade of historic Fort St. Catherine & Museum, the most easterly point of the Bermuda islands. Check out their new lunch menu and sip their signature cocktail, the “Sunset,” or elect to have your own keg of cold Heineken at your table. The Beach House is your own personal place to unwind and have a cocktail or two and watch the sun go down. The Beach House then transforms to an upscale eatery with a great Mediterranean menu with local influence, impeccable service and a select wine list that has something for everyone’s taste and budget. Chef Piero and his team look forward to hosting you at one of the most unique spots on the island. (297-1400) Overlooking the UNSECO World Heritage Old Town of St. George, Griffin’s Bistro & Bar is located within The St. George’s Club, a cottage hotel and vacation ownership resort. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Piero has transformed the bistro with a new menu and a selection of great wines to satisfy both taste and budget. If you want to try something different, the Branzino done in sea salt and plated at the table or the pasta with lobster served family-style are personal favourites. (297-4235, stgeorgesclub.com) Enjoy harbour-side seating and cosy romantic dining yearround at the Tavern by the Sea. The menu reveals culinary skills from their international chefs, offering fresh seafood, juicy meats, healthy salads and signature comfort meals. Try their delicious local lobster specials with a savoury stuffing prepared to your liking. (297-3305) Temptations specialises in great-tasting, affordably priced food to satisfy any appetite. Enjoy a hearty breakfast bagel, delicious homemade soup, the best sandwiches in town, sinful desserts, ice creams and sherbets, or a piping-hot cup of tea or cappuccino. Eat in or take out, open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-1368) Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio is centrally located in the heart of the historic Town of St. George and boasts panoramic views of the harbour. It offers a wide range of menu choices guaranteed to satisfy any picky eater, from the famous locally caught fish items, including wahoo nuggets, rockfish Picasso and, of course, the award-winning fish chowder, to the delicious schnitzel sandwich and ever-changing pasta special. Bring your family for a nice relaxing meal, or come for a romantic dinner overlooking the moonlit harbour. (297-1307) The White Horse Pub & Restaurant is Bermuda’s favourite pub and seafood restaurant in St. George’s, well known for its creative and colourful dishes, friendly service and breathtaking views of St. George’s Harbour. The pub offers inside dining, covered waterside dining and an outdoor waterfront bistro area. The White Horse serves a wide selection of fresh local fish, flame-grilled steaks, as well as popular English and Bermudian pub favourites. Great food, great prices, great menu selections, all in a relaxed and casual atmosphere for you to enjoy. Fancy something cool and refreshing? Then sit back and relax whilst sipping on one of their signature cocktails, mojitos or frozen drinks made especially for you. For all you sports fans out there, this is Bermuda’s No. 1 sports bar in St. George’s. Come enjoy wallto- wall sports coverage of your favourite teams from morning to night. The White Horse is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; bar open until 1 a.m. or later. Takeout is available. (1-441-297-1838, whitehorsebermuda.com)
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