Take a glimpse into the “soul” of Bermuda. If the capital city of Hamilton is Bermuda’s beating heart, the historic town of St. George is the country’s soul. Few people visit this enchanting town without vowing to return someday. St. George? St. George’s? The names can be confusing, but once you know that St. George’s is one of nine Bermuda parishes and St. George is a town within the parish of St. George’s, it all becomes clear. (Until you hear someone refer to the town as St. George’s!) In 2000, St. George was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its continuous occupation since the early 1600s and the number and diversity of its fortifications. Tucked in the north-east corner of the archipelago, it is here in old St. George that one finds the essence of Bermuda. Meander along roads with names like Featherbed Alley, Taylors Alley and Old Maid’s Lane, peek into pocket gardens bright with frangipani and hibiscus, and absorb island history in one of its many museums. Start with a glimpse into everyday life in a private home in 18th-century Bermuda by visiting St. George’s Historical Society Museum on Duke of Kent Street. (297-0423) Next, stop at the Bermuda National Trust Museum in the former Globe Hotel on Duke of York Street, where the “Rogues and Runners” exhibition on the second floor relates Bermuda’s role in running war materials to the American South during the U.S. Civil War and rum during Prohibition. There is also a treasure trove of exhibits relating to the building’s long history, the 12-minute film Bermuda: Centre of the Atlantic, and a gift shop. (297-1423) You can also learn about the slave ship Enterprize at the Bermudian Heritage Museum. In 1835, when the American ship blew off course and was forced ashore on Bermuda, slaves on board were told they were welcome to remain as free men and women or return to the U. S. All but six chose to stay. (297-4126) past encounters Museums provide insight into the history of St. George, but it is by walking its narrow streets that one truly gets to know the town. Most visitors are drawn to the waterfront, where, on Ordnance Island, a statue of Sir george Somers keeps watch over the town he played an important role in founding. In 1609, a fleet of nine British ships loaded with supplies and colonists headed to Jamestown, Va., ran into a heavy storm. One of the ships, Sea Venture, foundered on a reef off St. George. Somers, admiral of the fleet, was aboard Sea Venture, and under his command the settlers and crew on the doomed vessel were saved. Salvaging what they could from the wreckage, Somers and Sir Thomas Gates oversaw the construction of Deliverance and a smaller ship, Patience, which eventually sailed on to Jamestown in time to rescue the settlers there from starvation. A replica of Deliverance on the waterfront is a popular stop for visitors. It seems, however, that the months Somers spent on the islands had made a lasting impression. In 1610 he returned, planning to restock the Virginia colony once again with wild pigs and crops. Somers died before he could make the trip, but he truly left his heart in Bermuda; it is buried in Somers Garden, while the rest of his remains were shipped to his hometown in England. Somers’ journeys sparked interest among other settlers, who soon arrived and established the Town of St. George. Meander along roads with names like Featherbed Alley, Taylors Alley and Old Maid’s Lane, peek into pocket gardens bright with frangipani and hibiscus and absorb island history in one of its many museums. Somers truly left his heart in Bermuda; it is buried in Somers Garden, while the rest of his remains were shipped to his hometown in England. King’s Square and the Waterfront Today the waterfront buzzes with activity. In addition to exploring Deliverance, visitors can learn about life in colonial Bermuda, including the punishments meted out for crimes large and small. A nagging or gossiping wife, for example, might be ducked (dunked) into the sea to cool her temper, an event that is re-enacted at King’s Square (also known as Town Square). A brave Bermudian in 18th-century garb takes the role of haranguing wife and is “sentenced” to sit on the ducking stool. Then she’s splashed into the harbour to the amusement of camera-toting visitors. From April 12 to Nov. 30, 2010, you can watch the ducking Monday–Thursday and Saturdays at midday, and at 7 p.m. during St. George’s Market Nights. From Dec. 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011, you can see it Wednesdays and Saturdays at noon. Stocks and pillories, old forms of punishment in which an accused’s hands and head, or hands and feet, were locked in openings in hinged wooden boards, are on permanent display in King’s Square. It’s almost impossible to pass by the stocks and pillories without sticking your own extremities through the holes and imagining what it was like to undergo such public humiliation — probably being pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables! Market Nights, by the way, are a not-tobe- missed event. During St. George’s Market Nights, celebrated April 27 – October 5 every Tuesday night from 6 to 10 p.m., both locals and tourists gravitate to the town square. Vendors offer art, crafts and local food specialties. Enjoy the festivities and witness the Gombeys performing a native dance. Time Travel From King’s Square, it’s just a short walk to St. Peter’s Church on Duke of York Street, the oldest continually operating Anglican church in the New World (297-2459). St. Peter’s is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, so don’t miss the extraordinary cedar beams, triple pulpit and 500-year-old baptismal font. Outside are two graveyards, one for white parishioners, the other the final resting place of free blacks and slaves before slavery was abolished in 1834 (though the graveyard remained segregated). St. Peter’s is a popular place for weddings, and with luck you may see a bride arriving alone in a flower-bedecked, horse-drawn carriage, following an old Bermuda tradition. Speaking of weddings, just about everyone with a little romance in his or her soul will be intrigued by Bermuda moongates. Walking through one of these circular stone structures found in gardens throughout Bermuda is said to bring good luck, especially to honeymooners. A local sea captain is credited with building Bermuda’s first moongate around 1860 after seeing one in China. A miniature Lladró moongate keeps romantic island memories alive and is representative of Bermuda specialty items found at Vera P. Card. As you wander the streets of St. George, you will often feel transported back in time. Keep an eye out for other old buildings like the 1620 State House, now home to a Masonic Lodge that rents it for a fee of one peppercorn a year, paid in a colourful ceremony every April. Out and About Get ready to have the time of your life with K.S. Watersports (Jet Ski & Parasailing Adventures), Bermuda’s No. 1 watersports company for fun and excitement, offering Jet Ski rentals and parasailing out of Royal Naval Dockyard and St. George’s. Experience the adventure of a lifetime on one of the ultimate Jet Ski tours, where you splash and dash through Bermuda’s aqua-blue waters, passing many reefs, shipwrecks, forts and beautiful landmarks located around the eastern and western ends of the islands. Regular tours are 75 minutes long and perfect for families and solo riders who seek fun and excitement in their vacations. All ages are welcome, but you must be 16 or older to operate a Jet Ski. Instructions are provided for beginners. Fancy something a little more daring and exciting? Then experience the high-flying thrill, panoramic views and pure excitement of parasailing in Bermuda, the best way to see the islands and all the beauty they have to offer. Soar over crystal-clear waters onboard the Thrill Seeker. The powerful winch boat allows you to take off and land without getting wet, unless of course, you request a dip. The professional crew assures you a safe and memorable experience. All ages are welcome, and no experience is required. (297-4155, www.kswatersports.com) No trip to St. George’s would be complete without a stop at the beautiful Tobacco Bay beach, surrounded on all sides by limestone cliffs and rocks carved by the wind and waves. The sheltered bay and nearby waters are a playground of colourful fish and coral for snorkellers of all abilities. On the beach, there are chairs, loungers, umbrellas and snorkel equipment available, as well as an inviting bar with tasty light meals and snacks. (297-2756) The Olde Towne Railway Train will take you on a tour of the renowned historic sites in the town of St. George. Witness 400 years of history and culture as you explore the back streets and neighbourhoods of the quaint town where British settlers first landed. Hear the amazing story of one of the oldest English settlements in the New World. Also available for weddings, parties and speclal occasions. (297-5001, oldetownerailway@ therock.bm) At the new World Heritage Centre at Penno’s Wharf, see a scale model of the Town of St. George based on illustrations from the 1626 John Smith map and other research, including the original State House, St. Peter’s Church, stone and wood dwellings, small bridges, model ships in the harbour, and the early forts. Interpretive panels describe the islands before the English and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of today. The centre opens Monday to Saturday 10 a. m.–4 p.m. (297-5791, www.stgeorgesfoundation. org) A memorable way to enjoy the attractions of St. George’s is by scooter. “See all of Bermuda at your own pace,” says Dianna Gibbons, owner of Oleander Cycles, and there is no better way to explore the little back streets. It’s fun to rent a scooter at Oleander Cycles, located on York Street. Oleander is Bermuda’s No. 1 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, www.oleandercycles.bm) Treasure Hunting Many visitors will want to bring back a Bermuda souvenir, and St. George’s has excellent places to shop. 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. Its BBC’s Sun Shop offers UV-protection clothing, hats and accessories for those wanting superior protection by such brands as Tilley Endurables, Coolibar and Panama straw hats. (297-1605) What better way to remember Bermuda than to take home its scents — frangipani, oleander, passionflower? “Our perfumes evoke the beauty, elegance and uniqueness of Bermuda,” says Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, owner of the Bermuda Perfumery, located in a 300-year-old mansion. The Bermuda Perfumery welcomes visitors to its location in St. George’s. Since 1928, it has created and blended fine fragrances for women and men under the brand Lili Bermuda. The Bermuda Perfumery recently introduced its unisex Water Collection. Fresh Water, created exclusively for Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa, is a favourite for lovers of energising, clean citrus fragrances. More fruity, South Water is delicious with notes of coconut milk, guava and sea salt. The shop opens Monday to Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p. m. in summer, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. in winter. (293- 0627 / 1-800-527-8213, www.Lilibermuda.com) When visiting the Town of St. George, don’t miss the aptly named Churchill’s. Winston The Bermuda Perfumery welcomes visitors to its location in St. George’s. Since 1928, the perfumery has created and blended fine fragrances for women and men under the brand Lili Bermuda. Churchill once said, “I am easily satisfied with the very best,” and you can be, too. With the only walk-in humidor on the islands, this is the place to stop for a fine selection of Cuban cigars, fine wines (250 references), cold beers, spirits and sodas. Gifts include cigar cases and cutters, lighters, glasses, decanters, wine openers and the Clef du Vin wine-ageing tool. (297-1650, www.bermudawines.com) Conscious Vibes Fair Trade imports beautiful, unique, handcrafted items and fair-trade foods from across the globe. Fair trade is making a significant difference in breaking the cycle of poverty, helping some of the most impoverished people on earth. Be an informed consumer. Choose fair trade. (297-0208, www.conscious-vibes.com) Also in the historic Town of St. George, a must-stop is Cracker Box, on York Street by the main bus stop. There you will find a large selection of seashells, T-shirts, silver and shell jewellery, Bermuda caps, straw hats, and beautiful Bermuda watercolour prints by Amy Evans. When in Hamilton, do not forget to visit their other store, Hodge Podge, behind the Hamilton ferry terminal. (297-1205) Crisson Jewellers embodies Bermuda’s finest and most cherished traditions. A family business since 1922, the Crisson name is synonymous with quality and value. In St. George’s, you will find a Crisson store on Water Street, which offers boutique shopping with a distinctly old-world flavour. The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, yet you find the same eclectic collections, value and prices as in Hamilton. (297-0107, www.crisson.com) For a choice of 100 percent Bermuda-made goods, located just off King’s Square, Dockside Glass & Rum Cakes offers a display of colourful hot glass in its smallest shop, welcoming you with a taste of Bermuda Rum Cakes and choices of classic art, small collectibles and handmade jewellery. The Bermudian artists have been very creative and busy, open every day 9 a.m.–6 p. m., and until 9 p.m. when a ship is at port. (297-3908, www.dockglass.com) The best of the traditional Hamilton store is found here at The English Sports Shop in St. George. Colourful Bermuda shorts, blazers, ties and resort wear for both men and women offer a unique, fashionable souvenir of your visit. (295-2672) Wander up Water Street in the 400-yearold town of St. George and you will find the lively new 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, open six days a week from 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p. m. (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, www.islandexports.com) Robertson’s Drug Store is located in an attractive building between York and Water streets. Recently refurbished, it provides a relaxing and enjoyable shopping experience with friendly staff. There is a pharmacy for expert advice, plus food and drinks, which may be consumed in the patio area. The store stocks local items and imports from over 100 companies, many from the U.K. This allows Robertson’s to offer a unique range of merchandise to their customers. (297-1828) The Somers Wharf Shopping and Dining Complex, created in 1978 by developing the historic St. George’s waterfront, sits on land reclaimed from St. George’s Harbour. Buildings in Somers Wharf, including the rugged Coal Shed, the long, pink Longhouse and the newly restored blue Hunter, were built in the late 1700s. Today Somers Wharf is situated ideally in the middle of St. George’s, within easy walking distance of bus, ferry and cruise ship terminals, idyllically on the harbourfront. A vast selection of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel can be found in the shops and boutiques along the wharf, as well as treasures like fine crystal, artists’ collections, and Bermudian crafts and souvenirs. (295-4176, www.somerswharf.com) At Taylors, housed in a historic location, the charming selection of traditional Scottish items includes kilts, hats, children’s wear, ties and pins. There is a full array of knitwear for the whole family, including cashmere, lamb’s wool and cottons. (297-1626) Located at 7 and 20 Water St. 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. (297-1718, firstname.lastname@example.org) Refresh Yourself Sit and watch the sun go down from the terrace of Blackbeard’s Hideout, overlooking Achilles Bay, for cocktails, lunch or dinner. A popular local spot with casual atmosphere and great food, this true Bermudian experience is not to be missed. It is also great for private functions. (297-1400) With breathtaking views overlooking St. George’s Harbour, Griffin’s Bistro & Bar is located at The St. George’s Club on top of Rose Hill. Join them for lunch or dinner in the newly refurbished Harbour View dining room, and enjoy great food and friendly service. Griffin’s is the jewel in the crown of St. George’s. (297-4235, www.stgeorgesclub.com) Temptations specialises in great tasting, affordably priced food that satisfies any appetite. Enjoy a hearty breakfast bagel, delicious homemade soup, the best sandwiches in town, sinful desserts, ice creams and sherbets. Eat in or take out, open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. (297-1368) 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. When it comes to entertainment, nobody does it better, providing it day and night at the outdoor Native Islander Bar. For all you sports fans out there, this is Bermuda’s No. 1 sports bar in St. George’s, so sit back and 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. (297-1838, www.whitehorsebermuda.com) Where to Stay Nestled on top of Rose Hill, with spectacular views of St. George’s Harbour, is The St. George’s Club, Bermuda’s premier cottage colony and vacation ownership resort, with one- and two-bedroom cottages in the Bermudian architectural style. Guests enjoy beautifully manicured gardens, three swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurant and bar, cycle livery, on-site grocery adjacent to the golf course, which is currently being updated to championship level, and pink sand beaches overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Town of St. George and its pristine harbour. E-mail reservations@stgeorgesclubcom or email@example.com. (297-1200 reservations, www.stgeorgesclub.com) HoW to get there Before your adventures in St. George’s begin, you have to get there, of course. Take advantage of Bermuda’s excellent public transportaion, arriving in St. George’s by taxi, bus or ferry. The ferry offers a scenic and comfortable journey with six daily trips to St. George’s (from Hamilton, via Dockyard) from April 12 to November 20 only In addition, there are four high-speed catamarans that serve these routes. Or take a leisurely 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; under 5 ride for free). The one-way fare from Hamilton is $8 for adults and $4 for children (ages 5–16; under 5 ride for free). 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 and $45 for seven days.
Published by HCP Media. View All Articles.