THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE ON THE ISLANDS OF BERMUDA THAT YOU’LL WANT TO RETURN AGAIN AND AGAIN TO EXPLORE IT ALL. Whether you’ve arrived by air or ship, by now you’ve surely seen enough of Bermuda’s astounding beauty to be intrigued. This is no ordinary island; it is pure oceanic wonder: a small paradise tightly packed with more history, culture and character than you can imagine. This 21-square-mile archipelago has more than 500 years of history that are still palpable in the many sites that are open to the public. Bermuda prides itself in the preservation of its heritage. Historic buildings, primeval marshes and woodlands, and even entire villages from another era remain nearly intact. And that’s just what’s on the land. Below the surface thrive some of the healthiest reef systems, teeming with sea life that can be viewed up close, as well as numerous shipwrecks that have now been claimed by their marine resting places. AU NATUREL Upon arriving in Bermuda, the first thing that will impress you is its natural wonders. The beaches take top prize, of course; but the rest of the landscape is equally breathtaking. There are a number of nature preserves on the island, with each offering a distinct presentation of the endemic flora and fauna. Those looking for an introduction to many of Bermuda’s most beautiful spots, contact Hidden Gems of Bermuda Ltd. Their informative tours explore exquisite natural locations, perfect for the adventurous and inquisitive traveller with an appreciation for all things Mother Nature. Amongst Bermuda’s natural wonders is Gilbert Nature Reserve in Sandys Parish near Somerset. It has five acres of walking trails and impressive specimens of Bermuda cedar trees. This type of cedar was once prevalent on the island, but a blight of scale insects that began in the 1940s nearly extinguished the tree population and, with it, several animal species that depended on it. The surviving trees have proven resistant to the destructive insects and are now part of a carefully monitored restoration programme. Nearby is Heydon Trust, a 43-acre property with well-manicured gardens surrounding one of the oldest churches on the island. More like a chapel, this tiny house of worship was built in the 1620s and continues to offer services Monday through Friday. The recently opened Vesey Nature Reserve is an eight-acre site that is home to two quarries, a natural limestone sinkhole and a variety of natural habitats. It is located off Middle Road between Evan’s Bay and Rockaway in Southampton. Farther east, you can visit Warwick Pond, a nine-acre preserve that has the second largest freshwater pond in Bermuda. Closer to Hamilton you’ll find Paget Marsh, which comprises 25 acres that reflect the island’s ecosystem as it was centuries ago. Because it is largely a peat marsh, an elevated boardwalk takes visitors through the various habitats, offering them a closeup view of what the island was like when settlers first arrived. This and Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, on the south coast of Smith’s Parish, offer great bird-watching opportunities. Spittal Pond encompasses 64 acres of wetlands along the south shore and is home to a variety of resident, migratory and rare bird species. It is also the site of the oldest evidence of human activity in Bermuda. Along the coastal path, look for the Portuguese Rock. Formerly called Spanish Rock, this slab of limestone features the carved initials “RP” and the date “1543.” Long believed to have been inscribed by Spanish sailors, research has revealed that it was actually Portuguese mariners who arrived here after their ship crashed against the reefs. They spent a few months on the island, building another ship that they used to reach Puerto Rico — this rock was their passing but bold claim on behalf of the king of Portugal (Rex Portugaliae, or RP). In Hamilton Parish, you can visit Walsingham Nature Reserve, more commonly known as Tom Moore’s Jungle. Its nearly 12 acres of privately owned land is open to the public, and it offers some of the most fascinating hikes in Bermuda. Its popular name derives from the famous Irish poet Thomas Moore, who lived in nearby St. George’s for three months in 1803 and often wrote under a calabash tree on this property. The main attraction here is the Blue Grotto, a large limestone pond with deep blue water. This area of Bermuda harbours an extensive system of limestone caves. Many small ones can be seen from the trails. For a more controlled and safe descent into the darkness, you’ll want to visit Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves, in nearby Bailey’s Bay. Crystal Caves opened in 1907 after two children looking for a cricket ball stumbled upon the underground system. In Fantasy Cave, startling white crystal formations are brought to life with a stunning guided tour through a floating walkway above the underground lakes. Another way to commune with nature whilst learning about the area’s history, flora and fauna is on a walking tour. Don’t miss the Bermuda Railway Trail, a walking and bridle path divided into seven sections with each requiring a few hours to explore. It follows the old track of the former local train service, which ran from 1931 to 1948. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the native flora and the scenic views, as well as the warming sun. You can also join the locals in the Walking Club of Bermuda for an informal six- or seven-mile outing on Sunday mornings. This is primarily an exercise club for locals, so you’ll be in good company with folks who are happy to share details about their island home with those who show interest. Bring your water bottle, sunscreen and walking shoes. For a current schedule, visit walk.free.bm. NATURE ON DISPLAY Beyond the hiking trails and self-guided nature tours, you can have a closer look at Bermuda’s environmental makeup through various institutions and venues. Just at the east entrance to Hamilton, you can experience the wonders of the sea at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). This world-class interactive museum focuses on marine ecosystems, with sophisticated multimedia demonstrations that bring visitors closer to the depths. Climb into their simulated Nautilus-X2 — a state-of-the-art submersible — or venture into the shark cage if you dare. Here you can experience the wonders of the ocean without getting wet! Visit one of the largest shell collections in the world and discover rare and precious artefacts in the Treasure Room and Teddy Tucker Shipwreck Gallery. Fun for all ages, every nook of the museum is designed to teach and enrich. You can also learn about local wildlife at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) located at 40 North Shore Road in Flatts Village. Founded in 1926, it is one of the oldest continuously operating aquariums in the western hemisphere. Focusing on the special nature of island species and on the ecology of Bermuda, BAMZ’s exhibits include indigenous fish, local reptiles, pink flamingos, ring-tailed lemurs, Galapagos tortoises and a giant replica of a living coral reef, to name a few. In Hamilton, you may want to take a rest or a leisurely stroll through Queen Elizabeth Park, formerly Par-la-Ville Park, a refreshing oasis within the capital’s business district. In addition to the plentiful flora and gorgeous landscaping that undulates across multiple staircases, you’ll see large rubber trees at the entrance, which were brought from Guyana and planted in 1857. Mark Twain is said to have marvelled at these enormous trees upon his first visit. For more communing with nature, visit the Botanical Gardens in Paget Parish. At this largest of all public gardens in Bermuda you can view hundreds of flowers, trees and shrubs amongst a number of horticultural exhibits. Also on the grounds is Camden, the official residence of the premier, which itself boasts a lovely rose garden. However, the ideal destination for rose lovers in Bermuda is Waterville, an estate that dates back to 1725. It was once the home of the Trimingham family, who established department stores in Bermuda beginning in 1842. Today, it is the headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust, a nonprofit that preserves natural, architectural and historic sites. Guided tours of the home and gardens are often combined with walking tours of nearby Paget Marsh, offering visitors a complete and thorough look at the evolution of life in Bermuda. Farther east, in Devonshire Parish off the South Road, is Palm Grove, a private estate whose gardens are open to the public. So named for the large variety of palms there, the centrepiece of the garden is a lily pond with a grassy bas-relief map of Bermuda. In St. George’s you’ll find a number of small gardens, parks and cemeteries. Don’t miss Somers’ Garden. This tranquil spot in the middle of town contains various plant species, but it is more famous for being the final (albeit partial) resting place of Admiral Sir George Somers. According to legend, he loved Bermuda so much that he requested to be buried there. But when he died in 1610, his nephew only fulfilled part of Somers’ request; he buried Somers’ heart in Somers’ Garden but took the rest of the body back to England in a barrel of rum for burial. Near St. George’s in Ferry Reach, make sure to stop at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). This working research station, founded in 1903, has a state-of-the-art exploration vessel and is world-renowned for its ongoing oceanographic studies. You can tour the laboratories and campus on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and also check out the vessel when it is docked to learn about the current research being conducted on Bermuda’s undersea ecosystems. STEP BACK IN TIME Whilst Bermuda’s natural attractions provide glimpses into life on the island, the exploration of Bermuda’s heritage isn’t complete without visiting the homes, buildings and forts that have witnessed the growth of this British Overseas Territory. IN ST. GEORGE'S YOU'LL FIND A NUMBER OF SMALL GARDENS, PARKS AND CEMETERIES. A large portion of these sites are found in the historical Town of St. George. Near where the original settlers of Bermuda arrived, St. George’s was the territory’s capital until 1815. One of the oldest buildings in Bermuda is the State House. Built in 1620 as the House of Assembly, this building has been rented to a Masonic lodge since 1816 for the annual price of one peppercorn. In Broad Alley, you’ll find the Old Rectory, a cottage built in 1699 that exemplifies the architecture of the day but which is better known for the harpsichord-playing ghost who haunts it. The rectory, however, may be viewed only from the outside; so chances are that you will not see or hear the phantom. Near the Old Rectory is the north entrance to St. Peter’s Church, Their Majesties Chappell, a regal title conferred by Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the Church’s 400th anniversary in 2012. The church is open to the public on weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are welcome to attend service on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Of particular note is the unique 17th-century silver communion set on display in the vestry. It was given to the Church in 1697 by King William III. Up the hill on Church Folly Lane is the Unfinished Church, a massive Gothic structure once intended to replace St. Peter’s Church, which was considered beyond repair. Construction began in 1874 but was halted on various occasions because of financial difficulties and dissent within the clergy. Finally, in the 1920s a hurricane damaged the structure enough for the city to abandon the project altogether. Remaining funds were used to restore St. Peter’s instead. Until recently, one could enter the unfinished structure, but it was closed indefinitely in 2010 because it posed imminent risk to its visitors. It is still viewable from the outside, however, and should not be missed. East of the Unfinished Church is Fort St. Catherine & Museum, towering over the beach where Bermuda’s first settlers washed ashore in 1609. This 19th-century fortification houses a museum with military exhibits and a weapons collection. Visitors can also see historical exhibits at the World Heritage Centre in Penno’s Wharf. With an orientation gallery and the Gateway to Bermuda exhibit, amongst other exhibits, it also offers visitors a walk-through of Bermuda’s early history, from the Age of Discovery to the U.S. Civil War. In Smith’s Parish, you’ll find Verdmont, a beautiful example of Georgian architecture still in pristine condition. Built around 1710, virtually no structural changes had been made, and so it remained in its original condition until recently without electricity or plumbing. Famous for its antique furnishings, the house is chock full of lavish artefacts made from the once-abundant Bermuda cedar, as well as fine period pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries. In the City of Hamilton, make sure to visit the Bermuda Historical Society Museum for a dose of Bermudian history. Located on Queen Street, this museum complements the exhibits in St. George’s with artefacts from the life of Admiral High-Tech Tours Sir George Somers. 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 currently, and each is worth more than $100,000. As you make your way through Hamilton, you’ll see Sessions House, an 1819 Georgian building with a striking clock tower and façade. The House of Assembly and Supreme Court currently meet there, but you can tour this active landmark. On Church Street, you may also visit City Hall and Arts Centre — one of the most refined buildings in the city. The all-white building with a clock tower is home to the Bermuda National Gallery, which provides temporary and permanent art exhibits to all visitors free of charge. On the floor above you will find the Bermuda Society of Arts, where local art displayed in frequently changing exhibitions can be purchased. In nearby Paget Parish, you can see more art at The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. Housed in a 19th-century building, this former arrowroot factory turned state-of-the-art gallery is home to more than 1,400 works of Bermudainspired art by such famous names as Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe. Viewings are available upon request. It also hosts an Artist in Residence programme that spotlights international artists. Both the museum and Homer’s Café are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Towards the South Road in Southampton Parish, you’ll see the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Opened in 1846, the 117-foot-tall structure continues to operate to this day, and its spotlight can be seen 40 miles out and 10,000 feet above by planes. The 185 stairs to the top are challenging, but the panoramic views of Bermuda are well worth the effort. In Sandys Parish, Scaur Hill Fort and Park afford 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 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In the West End, make a day trip to The Keep, the largest fort in Bermuda, at Royal Naval Dockyard. After the American Revolution, Britain was left without a naval base in the western North Atlantic. Bermuda was identified as a strategic mid-Atlantic location for a base and operating dockyard, so in 1809 land was purchased in the West End to build Royal Naval Dockyard. That dockyard now houses shops, restaurants, recreation venues, attractions and the National Museum of Bermuda, located within The Keep. The historic military buildings in the lower grounds include exhibits focused on Bermuda’s maritime heritage. Shipwreck Island: Sunken Clues to Bermuda’s Past tells the story of Bermuda’s early history through a collection of 16th- and 17th- century shipwreck artefacts. The museum is also home to Dolphin Quest, Bermuda’s unique dolphin encounter for all ages. Winter hours, November through March, are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last admission at 3 p.m.); weekend closing time is 5 p.m. Summer hours, April through October, are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission 4 p.m.). Bermuda National Gallery (BNG) City Hall & Arts Centre Church St., Hamilton Tel: 295-9428 Bermuda National Gallery East (BNG East) Bridge House, St. George’s Tel: 297-9428 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: bng.bm Why not take in some art while on island? Visit the Bermuda National Gallery in Hamilton or their new satellite location of the Bermuda National Gallery located in St. George’s. Exhibitions include historical and contemporary artwork and provide the narrative on how the visual arts have developed in Bermuda. Admission is free. The Bermuda Perfumery Stewart Hall, 5 Queen St., St. George’s Tel: 293-0627 / 800-527-8213 E-mail: email@example.com Website: lilibermuda.com The Bermuda Perfumery is an internationally recognised couture perfume house that is open to visitors. Lili Bermuda fragrances for men and women that capture the essence of Bermuda are created on property and sold in the retail store at Stewart Hall in St. George’s. The line is sold exclusively in Bermuda and makes a crowdpleasing gift for loved ones upon your return home. The store and adjacent history room are open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter. CEO Transport Limited Tel: 234-4366 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: limobermuda.com CEO Transport Limited offers a wide variety of tours with their certified tour guides. They are happy to customise tours for their guests or can do a preset tour, which you’ll enjoy as well. They can show visitors St. George’s, Bermuda’s original capital in the East End and all it has to offer, or visit Hamilton city centre, or take a trip to the West End to Royal Naval Dockyard and visit many historical buildings. Leave it to them and enjoy the ride. Dolphin Quest National Museum of Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Tel: 234-4464 / 800-248-3316 E-mail: email@example.com Website: dolphinquest.com Dolphin Quest is a place where you can swim with beautiful dolphins in their oceanwater 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 Rd., 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. Excellence Famous Homes and Hideaways Cruise Tel: 234-2193 / 238-0663 E-mail: email@example.com Website: famoushomesandhideaways.com Excellence offers the most informative and highly entertaining sightseeing cruise in Bermuda. Their tour will give you a wealth of researched historical facts, as well as lots of humorous stories about the island. Learn about Bermuda’s history and see over 50 points of interest. Cruise along the shoreline to view homes of the rich and famous, such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Eugene O’Neill and William Denslow. Cruise by the home where John Lennon spent his last summer in “paradise” in 1980. Discover tranquil hideaways only accessible by boat. Whilst on board, enjoy a Bermuda Rum Swizzle or Dark ’n’ Stormy from the cash bar. Also, an assortment of beer, soda and water are available. Hidden Gems of Bermuda Ltd. Tel: 704-0999 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: bermudahiddengems.com Come along for a fun-filled day on tour with Hidden Gems of Bermuda Ltd. Their mission is to provide an experience of a lifetime exploring Bermuda’s bestkept secrets. Travel with them to exquisite locations offering a sense of excitement for individuals with an adventurous spirit and passion for the great outdoors. They promise to take you on a journey to some of the finest places that nature has to offer, including entering into the island’s one and only jungle, exploring caves off the beaten path, interacting with tropical fish and much more. Get ready for an exclusive experience learning about Bermuda’s natural habitats and geological formations. The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art Botanical Gardens 183 South Shore Rd., Paget Tel: 299-4000 E-mail: email@example.com Website: bermudamasterworks.com The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art is Bermuda’s only purpose-built museum. It is home to over 1,400 works of Bermuda-inspired art by such famous names as Winslow Homer, Albert Gleizes and Georgia O’Keeffe. Local artists are also on display throughout the year. The Artists in Residence programme sees international artists offer their interpretation of island life. The gift shop sells prints and original local art. Homer’s Café serves baked goods, gluten-free goods and lunch items. Museum and café open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 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 soirée to a fancy corporate affair, is a spectacular success. Lavish, wellappointed staterooms and state-of-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. Olde Towne Railway Train Tour 1 Kings Square, St. George’s (behind the stocks) Tel: 297-5001 E-mail: email@example.com The best way to see the old Town of St. George in 30 minutes is with the Olde Towne Railway Train Tour. Their skilled drivers and friendly staff are eager to reveal the amazing story of this English settlement in the New World. By the end of the tour, you will understand why the historic Town of St. George and related fortifications is designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO). Oleander Cycles Valley Rd., Paget • Tel: 236-2453 Gorham Rd., Hamilton • Tel: 295-0919 York St., St. George’s • Tel: 297-0478 Cockburn Rd., Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys • Tel: 234-2764 Grotto Bay Resort, Bailey’s Bay • Tel: 293-1010 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. The Onion Patch E-mail: email@example.com Website: theonionpatch.com Planning a Bermuda vacation and need a local’s perspective? Check out The Onion Patch, the site that brings locals and visitors together to share opinions, experiences and more. Plant your questions and watch your answers sprout! Sign up for FREE to access AppBermuda online, one of the island’s most comprehensive guides featuring all you need to know about this tropical paradise. Use their interactive maps, browse through hundreds of photos and even create your own itinerary. Go on by, even just to say hi! The World Heritage Centre Penno’s Wharf, St. George’s (next to Penno’s Cruise Ship Terminal) Tel: 297-5791 Website: stgeorgesfoundation.org At The World Heritage Centre visitors can proceed to the orientation gallery, the Gateway to Bermuda exhibit, and upstairs to more exhibits and the theatre. The centre provides a walk-through 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. Upstairs there’s a “time tree,” interactive touchscreens featuring World Heritage Site info, fortifications, military bases and much, much more. The centre is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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