From Hamilton to St George
17.11.2004 - 21.11.2004
17 November 2004
Wednesday, we started out with our own walking tour of Hamilton. I was looking for a place to eat dinner and also shopping
We walked along Front Street,
and saw the Cenotaph and the Government Buildings,
and then walked back to the bus station
and hopped a bus out to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Actually, we hopped the bus but it let us off several blocks away - in Paget Parish because there's no outbound stop nearer to the BUEI. On the walk we went past the statue of Johnny Barnes
who waved to passing traffic at the Foot of the Lane roundabout in Hamilton, Bermuda, from roughly 3:45 am to 10 am, every workday, rain or shine. He was known for waving and saying "I love you, God loves you," to passing commuters during the morning rush hour into Hamilton. We also passed a boatyard
and took a picture of a kisskidee bird.
(Non-Heritage pass admission $10.50 or $8.40 for seniors). Completed at an overall cost of over $16 million, it was officially opened on July 10, 1997 by His Excellency, Thorold Masefield , Governor of Bermuda. It is Pembroke Parish on the northern side of Hamilton Harbor . According to Bermuda Online "It is a major - a "must see" - cultural, sightseeing and scientific attraction for locals and visitors.
I personally felt that it was more expensive than it was worth. There were a lot of unconnected exhibits, some of which were sponsored by commercial interests and might not be completely accurate and unbiased. The BUEI website was EXTREMELY difficult to find information from as to where it actually was and how to get there by bus.
Outside of the museum is the ship VELOCITY that Bermuda entered in the "Around Alone" race in the 2002 – 2003 school year, 18 Bermuda schools followed Alan Paris on his historic 30,000 mile single-handed circumnavigation.
On the porch is this exhibit of SCARAB I, a deep water diver. You enter at the first floor level - they number the floors like they do in Europe so the first floor is really the second floor. What we call the first floor is Ground Level. On the first floor is an auditorium for large presentations and the gift shop where you pay your admission
On the first floor were exhibits explaining the Sea Mount that Bermuda is on, and various kinds of diving, including SCUBA, which seemed to be sponsored by a local dive shop. The lady in the picture is watching a movie about diving bells like the one to her right.
Then we got into what was basically a tricked out elevator, and 'dove' to the depths of the ground floor
There were many exhibits depicting the lives and circumstances of the old ships and the men who sailed on them.
Important Note: If you exit from the museum, like to go to the bathroom - you won't be able to get back in again. The doors are set to be one way.
The ground floor shipwreck gallery has a lot of information about treasure hunting around shipwrecks, and it has this map which shows the locations of the shipwrecks on the reefs around Bermuda.
In addition to the information on shipwrecks and diving, there was a large collection of shells. In 1968, Jack Lightbourn and his friend Arthur Guest were inspired by the fact that they hadn't found any new species in three years to try dredging and trapping in deep water – in depths of 300’ to 400’ and in depths of 800’ to 1,500’. Their efforts were immediately successful to the extent of adding during the next 20 years, 300 new species to the Bermuda listing, 10 of which were new to science. Of these 3 are named after Jack as follows: Pterynotus lightbourni, Fusinus lightbourni and Conus lightbourni. It was during this same period that Jack started to collect foreign shells comprising of cones, cowries, murexes and many other miscellaneous species. Jack and Arthur had from the beginning decided to pool the Bermuda species, which resulted in this collection numbering some 756 species – the largest ever in Bermuda
In his will, Arthur Guest left his entire collection to Jack, who in turn presented the large Bermuda collection to the Bermuda Zoological Society as a gift from Arthur and himself. Jack also presented a quantity of his collection comprising 1,200 shells of 1,000 species to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Of these, 110 are from Bermuda, the remainder are foreign.
After we viewed the exhibits, I got a recommendation for lunch from the guy at the gift shop and we took a bus out and stopped for lunch at the North Rock. This is the only brewery on the island that serves most, if not all, of its product on the premises. The setting is a smoky, and sometimes rowdy, replica of an English pub, complete with ceiling beams and paneling which is where locals spend their time in the pub section where views of copper-sided fermentation vats are visible through plate-glass windows. That's where we had lunch - not in the dining room.
I had the Bermuda fish chowder which I would swear had beef in it and a side salad. I later found out that Bermuda fish chowder is a dark and spicy.
Bob had a beef panini sandwich. Lunch was $31.50.
We took the bus up Collector's Hill and visited Verdmont. Although the Bermuda National Trust says that Verdmont is "easily reached by the #1 bus from either Hamilton or St. George's" that's not really true. It is really very difficult to get to on the bus. You have to get off the bus and walk up the hill. The buses run every half hour.
The 1710 Georgian-style house, with its 4 huge chimneys, never had electricity or any other modern amenities installed. No plumbing or running water, no electricity, no air conditioning, no ceiling fans and no heating (other than the eight fireplaces), even though it was a private residence until 1951. It was once the home of Hon. Thomas Smith, the customs collector (which is where the name Collector's Hill comes from.) I didn't regret not taking pictures inside except for not being able to take pictures of the children's dollhouse. Each room had a list with the provenance of all the furniture and other items in the room. Outside there are also rose and flower, herb and mixed period gardens.
Their website said: The Verdmont Museum is a treasure trove of antique cedar and mahogany furniture. There is a fine collection of English and Chinese porcelain on display, portraits of former residents and a children’s playroom complete with original furniture and toys. While there, check out what is, arguably, the finest cedar staircase in Bermuda. In 2003, Verdmont was given a major award by the American Society of Travel Writers (SATW) recognizing its restoration. It is at the top of Collector's Hill, Sayle Road junction, Smith’s Parish
Then we walked back to the bus stop. Since there was no room to stand on the side of the road at the bus stop for the bus in the direction we wanted to go, we sat on a wall on the other side of the road. When the bus came, Bob sprinted across the road to the other side to give me a chance to get over there.
We took the bus out through the golf course, past the caves to the Glass Blowers (opposite Grotto Bay) and discovered it (like the Perfumery) had closed. I knew that the Perfumery had closed. So we started back for Hamilton, stopping on the way (at 4 pm) at the BAMZ (Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo) which is also on the Heritage Pass. Regular admission $10 or $5 for seniors. They were feeding the turtles at the outside tanks
We went to the Zoo first because that closed at 4:30
and then we went to the Museum
and after that the Aquarium
When the BAMZ closed at 5,
we got a bus back to Hamilton
and finished the walking tour and also did some shopping at Trimminghams on the way back to the ship.
Since the dinner coupons for the dining out in town were supposed to be a value of $50, I thought that I should really get our money's worth out of them. There's no point paying $10 for a $50 coupon and then buying a $20 dinner with it. That's why we didn't use it at the Hog Penny. The most expensive option would have been Tom Moore's Tavern, which NCL has mistakenly located in Hamilton. It is NOT in Hamilton in Pembroke Parish. It is in Hamilton PARISH which is a different location altogether. The problem with Tom Moore's would be that we would have to get a cab as the buses stop running out there at 6, and they don't open until 6:30. So that would not be economical.
We'd stayed at the Hamilton Princess on a previous visit and I figured that would be the best use of the coupon, and I was right.
I had a 16 oz. prime rib which was delicious (but I couldn't eat it all and I couldn't take it back to my room and keep it for lunch the next day), which was listed on the menu at $29.50.
I also had a Waldorf salad which was delicious and for dessert
Bob a shrimp pasta dish ($29.00) and fish chowder. I can't remember what he had for dessert but it would have been $8.00.
We drank tea, and everything including the tips were included.
The next morning the ship left and went back to St. Georges
November 18, 2004
Thursday, since the seas had calmed, the ship motored around to St. George,
The channel to St George's is very narrow. On a subsequent trip this ship got stuck in the inlet, thus trapping all the ships that were docked there in the harbour
We got off and did a little shopping.
Then we got a taxi with 6 other folks ($4 for two)
to Ft. St. Catherine (admission $5 without the Heritage Pass).
The exhibits in the interior were new to us.
When we finished climbing around on the fort, they called the mini-bus for us ($3 each)
.. and we had an interesting ride back to town which included stopping to pick someone up at the condo.
There's almost no place to stay in the St. Georges area except for these condos, which are rarely available for rent. If you want to go down to town, you can call a mini-van which costs about $3 per trip.
There are three outdoor pools (one heated) and three tennis courts. The private beach and beach club are a mile away. The beach club is open seasonally and offers a restaurant, beach chairs, and water-sports equipment rental. The resort also offers on-site moped rentals. Griffins is the resort's on-site restaurant and bar and there is a mandatory $50/person (over 18) charge for the restaurant when you rent these condos. This can be used as a credit toward food & beverage purchases throughout the week. Each unit is air-conditioned and has ceiling fans and cable television. 1 & 2BR units have stereo with CD player. Laundry services are available on site. There is a housekeeping charge of $9/per person twice a week.
We ate lunch at Freddie's
(I had the souper sandwich for $9.95 (the sandwich part was egg salad),
and Bob had chicken fingers
-total $21.01). We took the bus back towards the BAMZ and stopped at the Railroad Museum (admission free-donation requested).
After we got back to St. George, we looked in the newly refurbished (after Hurricane Fabian) Town Hall especially the cedar woodwork (although we didn't see the free Bermuda history show this time)
and made it to the Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel (admission $3 without the Heritage Pass).
We just had time to see the video tape before they closed.
November 19, 2004
Friday, we walked around St. George and looked at some more historic buildings following somewhat the Fromer's Walking Tour
We begin the tour at King's Square AKA Market Square or King's Parade, which is the center of St. George is only 200 years old. This was formerly a marshy part of the harbor. Next to the harbor and the war monument is a branch of the Visitors Service Bureau. You can buy a bus pass or a Heritage Pass here (cash only)
Also on the square there is a replica of a pillory and stocks in front of the Bank of Butterfield. Frommer's walking tour says You could be severely punished here for such "crimes" as casting a spell over your neighbor's turkeys. From the square, head south across the small bridge to:
2. Ordnance Island, so called because the British army once stored gunpowder and cannons here.
A replica of the Deliverance, the boat that carried the shipwrecked Sea Venture passengers on to Virginia is here
along with a ducking stool, a contraption used in 17th-century witch trials and which is used in reinactments by the Town Crier today.
Also there is a statue on the island to .Sir George Somers, and also the dock where you can get the High Speed ferry to Kings Wharf.
Retrace your steps across the bridge to King's Square. On the waterside stands the
It was once the home of John Davenport, who came to Bermuda in 1815 to open a dry goods store. Davenport was a bit of a miser; upon his death, some £75,000 in gold and silver was discovered stashed away in his cellar. Across the square stands the:
4. Town Hall (1802) (which we visited yesterday)
This is the meeting place for the St. George governing corporation. It has antique cedar furnishings and a collection of photographs of previous lord mayors. It was renouvated after Hurricane Fabian and also has photographs of the damage that occurred then. One of the best budget attractions in Bermuda is Bermuda Journey, a multimedia audiovisual presentation, which is shown here several times a day. We saw this in 1995. From King's Square, head east along King Street, cutting north (left) on Bridge Street. You'll come to the:
5. Bridge House (1690s)
This building at 1 Bridge Street was formerly the home of several of Bermuda's governors. Now there is an art gallery and souvenir shop there. It is furnished with antiques. Near Bridge House are some things not included on the walking tour.
Buckingham has a bust of Irish poet Thomas Moore located in a triangular walled garden east of King's Square
A 3' high life-size bronze bust of Irish poet Thomas Moore rests on a 3' high stone base. The curly haired poet is is shown from the mid-chest up. He is wearing a double breasted coat buttoned left over right, a neck scarf, and a bow tie. He is facing slightly to his left. A bronze plaque on the front of the base is inscribed:
IRISH POET AND LYRIST
THAT LITTLE BAY WHERE WINDING IN
FROM OCEAN’S RUDE AND ANGRY DIN
THE BILLOWS MISSED THE SHORE, AND THEN
FLOW CALMLY TO THE DEEP AGAIN.
Also Reeve Court is listed as a Bermuda National Trust building
Return to King Street and continue east to the:
6. The 1620 Old State House
The State House is at the top of King Street on Princess. This oldest stone building in Bermuda was originally the home of the Bermuda Parliament which first met here in 1620. Now it is the Masonic lodge. They pay the government a "rent" of one peppercorn annually for the use of the property - the payment is made at a yearly ceremony. Continue your stroll down Princess Street until you come to Duke of York Street and the entrance to:
7. Somers Garden (1920)
I've always thought the story about the heart of Sir George Somers, the admiral of the Sea Venture, being buried here was at once charming and macabre. The gardens, which were opened in 1920 by the Prince of Wales, contain palms and other tropical plants.
Walk through Somers Gardens and up the steps to the North Gate onto Blockade Alley. Climb the hill behind the garden to the structure known as "the folly of St. George's,". I didn't walk all the way up the hill to the unfinished cathedral, but I did get these pictures
8. Unfinished Cathedral (1874)
This was to replace St. Peter's Church. Work began on the church in 1874, but ended because of infighting and financial difficulties.
9. St. George's Historical Society Museum
At Featherbed Alley and Duke of Kent Street, is the Mitchell House built c.1731 which is an example of 18th-century Bermudian architecture. It is now the St. George's Historical Society Museum. In both 1963 and 1995 we visited this museum. This is called the welcoming arms stairway. It is very photogenic, and I have pictures of it from both dates and some pictures inside of the collection of Bermudian historical artifacts and cedar furniture from the 1995 visit to the Historical Society Museum. But this time when we went it was not open.
10. Featherbed Alley Printery was also closed in 2004 because it is the same as the Historical Society Museum. We didn't see it in 1995, because it was being renouvated, and I don't think we saw it in 1963 either. If we had been able to see it would be a working replica of the type of printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany in the 1450s. Go up Featherbed Alley and straight onto Church Street.
I took some photos along the way of some churches
And we passed Whitehall
At the junction with Broad Lane, look to your right to see the:
11. Old Rectory
The Old Rectory is at the top of Broad Alley, behind St. Peter's Church. It used to be that you could go inside and tour on Wednesdays from noon to 5 pm, but that was no longer possible at the time we were there because it is rented to someone. It is a National Trust property which was built c. 1705 by a reformed pirate. After seeing the Old Rectory, go through the church's back yard (where you will see the St. Peter's Church Thrift Shop sign) ,
opposite Broad Alley, to reach:
12. St. Peter's Church c 1713. You will be coming in through the graveyard.
In the churchyard, you'll see many headstones, some 300 years old. The assassinated governor, Sir Richard Sharples, was buried here. There is also a section for slaves
This stone is for Thomas J. Stirling. It says:
This Stone is erected
in memory of
THOMAS J. STIRLING, Surgeon
Halifax Nova Scotia,
who Died on Board the
mail Boat Roseway.
off St. George's
27th February 1846.
Aged 32 Years
The main entrance is on Duke of York Street. The present church was built in 1713, with a tower added in 1814.
St. Peter's is believed to be the oldest Anglican place of worship in the Western Hemisphere. .In addition to the organ, there is an alter of Bermuda cedar and a lot of other woodwork also made of cedar in the church, including the stairway to where the slaves used to si
Across the street is the
13. Bermuda National Trust Museum
When we were here in 1995, this was called the Confederate Museum.When it was the Globe Hotel, this was the headquarters of Major Norman Walker, the Confederate representative in Bermuda. Bermuda gave a lot of help to the CSA during the Civil War. Go west along Duke of York Street to
14. Barber's Alley & Petticoat Lane--Barber's Alley honors Joseph Hayne Rainey. A former slave from South Carolina, Rainey fled to Bermuda with his French wife at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became a barber in St. George and eventually returned to South Carolina, where in 1870 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives -- the first African American to serve in Congress. Nearby is Petticoat Lane, also known as Silk Alley. I took a picture of Bob by the sign when we were here in 1963. According to legend, the name dates from the 1834 emancipation. Two slave women who were freed at this time and who had always wanted silk petticoats because of the rustling sound they made. They walked up and down this lane to show off their purchases.
Continue west until you reach:
15. Tucker House
I intended to go to Tucker House, but we didn't have time. It was on the walk up from the cruise ship dock. It was the family home of President Henry Tucker who was President of Bermuda c 1776. His was a prominent Bermudian family, whose members included an island governor, a treasurer of the United States, and a captain in the Confederate Navy. The building houses an excellent collection of antiques, including silver, portraits, and cedar furniture. One room is devoted to memorabilia of Joseph Hayne Rainey who was the first black member of the U.S. House of Representatives and who once rented space on this property for a barber shop. There is also a period kitchen, and an exhibit based on the archaeological excavation of the site. Open 10-4 Monday through Saturday.
Diagonally across from the Tucker House is the Carriage House, 22 Water St., Somers Wharf (tel. 441/297-1730), a former waterfront storehouse and also where the Carriage House Museum is or was that we visited in 1995..
The end of the tour is at 16. Somers Wharf, a multimillion-dollar waterfront restoration project.
We finished up our shopping before going back to the ship
and then the ship left at noon.
On the way back, the sea was almost as smooth as glass and there was very little motion. One would almost not have known that we were on a ship. Bob was jealous because he says the sea is never that calm when we are out there.
After our cruise we went Migrating South by Car
Or you can read about our next visit to Bermuda in 2007 Grandeur of the Seas