THE STREETS OF THE TOWN OF ST. GEORGE GUARD CENTURIES' WORTH OF HISTORY WHOSE REACH TRANSCENDS FAR BEYOND THE ISOLATION OF BERMUDA. Almost every inch of this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site reveals stories of men, women and events that affected the outcome of historic events in the United States, England and beyond. 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 for over 200 years, 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 — located in St. George’s Parish — you may hear it being referred to as St. George’s. Understandably, newcomers may question as to whether people are referring to the town or the parish. Most of the time, it is probably the town, as it’s the heart and soul of the island. 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. Appearing to be sleepy, St. George’s is always very much alive and becomes a bustling burg whenever the ferry from Dockyard or Hamilton arrives or a ship comes into 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 satisfy your appetite, whether you’re interested in high-end dining or just good grub that’s easy on the wallet. 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, colonial survival and emerging commerce. The Sea Venture, the English ship at the centre of Bermuda’s founding, was on its way to Jamestown in Virginia as part of a fleet of nine ships carrying settlers and supplies to aid the ailing colony when it was blown off course by a storm. That’s when Admiral Sir George Somers, now known as the founder of Bermuda, foundered the ship 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, and the ubiquitous Bermuda cedar trees, these survivors created two smaller ships, Patience and Deliverance, in which most of them continued on to Jamestown. A few passengers remained in Bermuda and continued to subsist in the area where St. George’s now lies. In 1612, the Town of St. George was officially founded by additional settlers who arrived from England on the Plough; and Bermuda — also 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 desire to wander, by joining a walking tour or by hopping on the Olde Towne Railway Train Tour. King’s Square is the ideal jumping-off point for this, and it’s also where you’ll be able to join guided tours. For more information on tours and the area of St. George’s, stop by the Visitor Information Centre located at 7 King’s Square. (297-0556) Make sure to stop by the World Heritage Centre at Penno’s Wharf, which offers a bright, welcoming space along with a charity shop, Second Hand Rose. Visitors can proceed to the orientation gallery, the Gateway to Bermuda exhibit and upstairs to more exhibitions and the theatre. Large photo installations illustrate the splendours of the Town of St. George and its fortifications. The centre provides an overview of Bermuda’s early history, from the Age of Discovery to the U.S. Civil War. Interpretative panels and audio material describe Bermuda before the British arrived, when New World explorers used the island as a navigation marker and mariners dubbed it the “Isle of the Devils” as castaways explored its fruitful shores. Bermuda’s historic links to Jamestown and the first settlers are also illustrated. There’s a scale model of the town based on illustrations from the 1626 John Smith map and other research. The model includes the original State House; St. Peter’s Church, Their Majesties Chappell; stone and wood dwellings; small bridges; model ships in St. George’s Harbour; and early forts. Upstairs you will find a “time tree,” as well as interactive touchscreens featuring UNESCO World Heritage Site information and the film A Stroll Through St. George’s. The centre is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-5791, stgeorgesfoundation.org) Free guided walking tours normally start in King’s Square, Monday to Thursday at 10:45 a.m. from May to October, then on Wednesday and Saturdays from November to April at 10:30 a.m. After the winter tour, the mayor of St. George’s welcomes visitors into the Town Hall, a civic fixture since 1805, and explains the structure of the Corporation of St. George’s, formed in 1797, including its role within the town. Right on King’s Square, you’ll notice the stocks, pillory and whipping post. In the past, petty criminals were punished by being placed into these restraints where they were publicly humiliated. Today, it provides comic relief for visitors, who are encouraged to step right up and put their heads and arms in the wooden structures for a photo op. Don’t miss the historical reenactments 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 historic live sketches include the infamous Ducking Stool, which was 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 experience the history of St. George’s up close. The stately building dates back to 1699 and once belonged to Governor Samuel Day. During the American Civil War, Confederate Norman Walker maintained an office there and directed blockade-running operations. Today, its second floor tells the tale of St. George’s, focusing on 19th-century events through detailed displays of artefacts in its permanent exhibit, Rogues & Runners: Bermuda and the American Civil War. (297-1423) From 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 that make up the cityscape are original. Though not many remain from those early days in the 1600s, you can still view some 17th- and 18th-century structures — the oldest being the State House. The site of Bermuda’s first legislature and courthouse, it was built in 1620. Since 1816, 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 Church, 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 upon it the title “Their Majesties Chappell,” an ancient term dating back to the 17th century. (297-2459) 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 much esteemed by his peers and fought to gain property rights for blacks in Bermuda. His home, 5 Aunt Peggy’s Lane, is in Pilot Darrell’s Square. Other notable homes to visit are Tucker House, located on Water Street (297-0545); the St. George’s Historical Society Museum, Printery and Garden (297-0423) and the Bermudian Heritage Museum (297-4126). All contain small museums that reveal the lifestyle of the early Bermudians. Beyond the residential part of town, you can find St. George’s various fortifications, the most notable being Fort St. Catherine & Museum, which houses a military collection. It is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-1920). And don’t miss the Unfinished Church on Church Folly Lane. This remarkable structure, although closed to the public, still provides incredible photographic opportunities. TAKING IT HOME As you wander through the town’s alleys, you’ll want to stop by the quaint shops and boutiques that are just as unique as the town’s heritage and take home 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) For a choice of traditional Bermuda-made goods, visit Bermuda Memories in their newest location at 9 Water Street. They offer a display of classic art, small collectibles, local crafts, handmade jewellery and colourful hot glass. Watch the working lamp artists creating flame-worked collectibles. Bermuda Memories also welcomes you with a taste of Bermuda Rum Cake, made with the island’s rum. They are open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free next-day delivery to your accommodation. (297-3908, dockyardcompany.com) The historic charm of St. George’s is epitomised at The Bermuda Perfumery. Since 1928, artists in the sense of smell have created masterful scents here that capture the essence of Bermuda. Today, Stewart Hall houses a history room, retail store and the fragrancemaking studio of master perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, where occasionally she hosts intimate perfume-making workshops. Come for a free tour to experience it all and leave with your very own Lili Bermuda fragrance and toiletries. 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, 800-527-8213; lilibermuda.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) A new addition to the cultural intrigue of St. George’s is the BNG East, a satellite location of the Bermuda National Gallery, featured in historic Bridge House. Located adjacent to the town square, the BNG East showcases contemporary artwork within one of the island’s oldest properties; a unique experience and well worth the discovery. Take away an art book as a memento of your visit. Admission is free. (297-9428, bng.bm) 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 in their store on Somers’ Wharf. They boast one of the most unique luxury shopping experiences with a spectacular view of the harbour. (293-7673, davidrose.bm) Wander up Water Street 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 22 Water Street, Vera P. Card offers jewellery, figurines, crystal, clocks and gifts from around the world at dutyfree prices. Selections are varied, and prices are guaranteed to offer savings over stores in the United States. Jewellery is “valueguaranteed” against an appraisal of your choice. Vera P. Card features the largest collection of Lladró, M.I. Hummel and Naoby- 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, high-value stones, as well as exceptional workmanship in gold and sterling silver. (295-1729, email@example.com) ACTIVE PURSUITS Even in quiet St. George’s you can find exciting 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 75 minutes long. Lowest Jet Ski rates in Bermuda with several Jet Ski Adventures to choose from. Two-hour, three-hour and half-day Jet Ski Adventures are available as well. Instructions provided to all participants. 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) 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). You can find their booking office located behind the stocks in King’s Square. (297-5001, firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 for 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 $15 for one day, $25 for two days, $35 for three days, $44 for four days, $56 for seven days and $55 for one month. TRANQUIL RETREAT Perched on Rose Hill overlooking this UNESCO World Heritage Site is The St. George’s Club, a cottage hotel and vacation ownership resort. Seventy-one Bermudianstyle one- and two-bedroom cottages are set in about 12 acres of landscaped gardens with three swimming pools, three tennis courts, a fitness centre and a scooter rental facility. They have two restaurants: Griffin’s Bistro & Bar and The Beach House. (297-1200; info@ stgeorgesclub.com, 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, 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) Whilst in Bermuda, enjoy a classic Cuba libre, daiquiri or piña colada made with BACARDÍ Superior or Gold rum, or have one of the many skilled and knowledgeable bartenders prepare one of their fabulous, delicious signature drinks made with a BACARDÍ flavoured rum. If rum doesn’t suit your fancy, maybe a tantalising GREY GOOSE vodka martini will, or simply enjoy the wonderful flavour, complexity and smoothness found in the DEWAR’S blended and “double aged” older Scotch whiskies. Remember, whichever brand you may choose, please enjoy it responsibly. Pick up any of these fine brands at Burrows, Lightbourn Limited. (297-0409) CV Café & Conscious Vibes Fair Trade store has won “Coolest Café” in the Best of Bermuda 2013 Awards. They are known for their fair trade organic coffees, including cappuccinos and lattes, hot or iced. They serve a great breakfast with a choice of omelettes, English breakfast, bacon and egg muffins, and more. Lunch choices include sandwiches, paninis, Philly cheese and salads. CV Café has freshly baked goodies, Baileys ice cream, wine and beer. They are located a few steps up, across from Tavern by the Sea on Water Street. (297-0208, cvcafe.co) Go Jo’s Coffee Shop sits on the water’s edge next to the infamous Ducking Stool in the King’s Square. Enjoy some of the best local cuisine, freshly prepared for you each day; traditional Bermuda fish chowder, homemade codfish cakes, local fish sandwiches and Jo’s famous sloppy “Go Jo” burgers. A must-try is their ever-popular amazing carrot cake, fudge brownies, old-fashioned fudge and homemade apple pie. (297-0614, email@example.com) Overlooking the 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) Polaris Restaurant at the Carriage House is located at 22 Water Street. The harbour views from their porch are spectacular and provide a relaxing atmosphere for dining. Local food is their speciality, and they use only the freshest ingredients, preparing every dish from scratch. Don’t miss their Sunday brunch, featuring the ultimate selection of fish chowder, salads, a cold buffet, breakfast items, curries, a carving station accompanied with many side dishes and, of course, an incredible dessert station. Open six days a week (closed Tuesdays). Lunch 12 to 4 p.m. and dinner 6 to 10 p.m. (297-1730, polarisrestaurant.com) Sweet SAAK Bakery is the quintessential family-run bakery. SAAK is an anagram from the initials of the four siblings that run this homestyle Bermudian bakery. No need for exact directions to this sweet shop on York Street in St. George’s. All you need to do is follow the delicious smells of daily-baked items wafting from their doors. All items are baked on location using family recipes. Ample indoor seating, a library and Wi-Fi available. Make yourself at home and welcome to the family. (297-0663, sweetsaak.com) Enjoy harbourside seating and cosy romantic dining yearround at 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) Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio is centrally located in the heart of St. George’s 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 awardwinning 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, wahoos.bm) 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 wall-to-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) Wong’s Golden Dragon Restaurant, located on York Street, offers the most captivating, high-quality Chinese takeout food in the Town of St. George. The distinguished chef, Chunlee Wong, serves a fusion of Szechuan and Cantonese styled food, providing a rich pageant of the foremost seafood, meat and vegetarian meals. Check out their lunch and seasonal specials and their party to go menu. Open Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (297-0408)
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