Saint George (Bermuda)

Travel Guide North America Bermuda Saint George

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Introduction

The town of Saint George, habitually called by locals St. George's, in St. George's Parish is the second town and former capital of Bermuda.

St. George's is described as the oldest, continually inhabited English settlement in the new world. In 1609, Admiral Sir George Somers named the town not after himself but in honor of the Patron Saint of England, St. George; it served as the capital of Bermuda until eclipsed by Hamilton in 1815. Because of a shift of business and government to Hamilton, St. George's did not have its streets and buildings demolished and rebuilt as in Hamilton, and therefore looks very much like it did 250 years ago. In fact, because of its many heritage buildings, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 1990s.

Bermudian convention, where a toponym contains the name of a person, is to render the person's name in the possessive form. The place is rarely treated as equivalent to the person. For instance, Bermudians will always say St. George's and St. David's are the largest islands in St. George's Parish, and never St. George and St. David are the largest islands in St. George Parish. As many maps and other printed materials featuring Bermuda are produced abroad, it is extremely common to find maps, books and other material using the non-possessive forms, but visitors to Bermuda should be aware that using the non-possessive forms when speaking to Bermudians is likely to cause as much awkwardness as saying "Bermudan" (although Bermudians, who pride themselves on politeness, are unlikely to respond rudely).

St. George's Parish stands at the northeasternmost part of the island chain, containing a small part of the main island around Tucker's Town and the Tucker's Town Peninsula, as well as the big islands of St. George's and St. David's (where the airport is), and many smaller islands, notably Coney, Paget, Nonsuch, Castle, and Smith's Islands.

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Sights and Activities

Due to its status as a World Heritage Site, there are many fine old, colonial streets and buildings to immerse yourself in; streets and alleys with fanciful names such as 'Featherbed Alley', 'Old Maid's Lane' or 'Needle and Thread Alley'. However, upon arrival in the town, the best thing to do is head for the original main square of St. George's, King's Square. Here you can see the Town Hall, the Visitor's Service Bureau, and Ordnance Island across the small bridge directly to your south. During the tourist season (May-September), actors in period dress provide colour to the community, acting as town criers or sentencing men or women to the stockades, pillories or the dunking chair.

The Visitor's Service bureau supplies maps and brochures about the town and provides an excellent walking tour of the old town.

  • Bermuda Heritage Museum, 29 Water Street, ☎ +1 441-297-4126. This building used to be called the Samaritan Lodge. It was the head office of the Order of Good Samaritans & Daughters of Samaria - A society formed in the 1800s to help the blacks after they were freed from slavery in 1834. Since 1994, the Smaritan's lodge is the home of Bermudian Heritage Museum which is the only Black History Museum in Bermuda.
  • Bridge House, Bridge St, ☎ +1 441-297-8211. A circa 1700 mansion, one of the earliest in the area, once near a bridge across a creek from the sea. It was once the home of Governor Benjamin Bennett in the early 18th century . Later the American-born Revolutionary War Loyalist and privateer Hon. Bridger Goodrich and his wife Elizabeth lived here. Goodrich stood in the local Legislature, hence his Honorable title. There's a memorial to him in St. Peter's Church.
  • Bermuda National Trust Museum (the Globe Hotel, Confederate Museum), 32 Duke of York St, ☎ +1 441-297-1423. This 17th century building was constructed by Governor Samuel Day in 1699, using government provided land and wood. Later in the mid 19th century, it became "The Globe Hotel"; a Confederate agent during the US Civil War, wanting to smuggle goods in from Europe in return for American cotton, used it as his office. It was opened as a museum in 1961. You will find an amazing replica of a machine commissioned by the congress of the Confederate States that stamped a seal for all their official documents.
  • Castle Islands Fortifications (on Castle Island, accessed via boat). King's Castle, Devonshire Redoubt, and Landward Fort. King's Castle is, today, the oldest surviving English fortification in the New World. It is Bermuda's oldest standing stone building, predating the State House. Its Captain's House, built a year after the State House, in 1621, is the oldest stone home in Bermuda. It is also the oldest standing English house in the New World. In 1614, King's Castle famously repulsed Spain's only ever attack on Bermuda.
  • Major Donald H. Burns Memorial Park. The Major Donald H. (Bob) Burns Memorial Park on the island includes the Desmond Hale Fountain statue of Admiral Sir George Somers (credited as the founder of Bermuda, and at the helm of the Sea Venture when she was driven on the reefs) which was unveiled by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon in 1984, during the 375th anniversary of the shipwrecking. The Memorial Park was unveiled on 20 April 1997 during the Twinning Ceremonies with Lyme Regis.
  • State House. Built in 1620, it was the first purpose-built House of Assembly, which then constituted the only chamber of the Parliament of Bermuda. Other than fortifications, it was Bermuda's first stone building. It is the oldest surviving Bermudian building.
  • St. Peter's Church. The oldest parts of the current structure date to 1620, though the building has been much expanded and improved since. It is reportedly the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use outside the British Isles, as well as the oldest continuously used Protestant church in the New World.

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Getting There

By Plane

L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA IATA Bermuda International Airport), ☎ +1 441 293-2470. There are daily flights from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, together with less frequent flights from other US and Canadian cities. British Airways fly from London Gatwick to Bermuda.

There is a $50 airport tax for all passengers. Bermuda's Airport has the world's highest landing/parking fee for airlines, so the overall price for the air ticket (including all taxes) is considerably higher than for many Caribbean destinations.

Arriving passengers will need to pass through Immigration and Customs, and non-residents must have a return or onward ticket. Importing narcotics and weapons (including all forms of guns) is strictly prohibited, as is importing any live marine animals, snakes or plants.

The airport is adjacent to Castle Harbor, in St. George's Parish, and nearer St George's than Hamilton (though no part of Bermuda is far from any other). If you are arriving on an inclusive tour, then your tour operator will probably have arranged onward transportation to your hotel by private bus. The airport is well served by local public buses, but unfortunately these will not accept luggage.

Taxis are available at the airport; depending on time of arrival and destination they may cost up to $100. Rates to and from the airport are set and posted. Hire cars are not available (see 'Get around' below).

One plus for visitors arriving from the US is that customs and immigration clearance is done in Bermuda prior to boarding your flight home. This allows for easy domestic connections on arrival in the US.

By Road

Saint George's is accessible directly from Hamilton by bus, and from the rest of the islands by changing buses in Hamilton, or by use of taxis.

It is possible to walk across the Causeway from the airport to Grotto Bay Resort (or other destinations southwest), but there is limited shoulder on the Causeway and it may be a dangerous choice to save money from a +$10 taxi ride. Some airport workers actually walk across the Causeway daily, so it's not crazy to do so when traffic isn't busy.

By Boat

Sea Express, ☎ +1 441 295-4506. ferry service. Orange route - to St George's from Sandys Parish (Royal Naval Dockyards)

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Getting Around

All locations in and around Saint George's are easily walkable. Explore on foot.

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Eat/Drink

  • The White Horse, 8 King's Square, ☎ +1 441-297-1838. Pub and restaurant.
  • The Wharf, 14 Water St, ☎ +1 441-297-3305. Restaurant and bar.

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Sleep

  • Rosewood Tucker's Point, 60 Tucker's Point Dr, ☎ +1 441 298-4000. A luxury resort where anyone can enjoy a day golfing, at the spa, or at one of their fabulous restaurants.
  • The St. George's Club, 6 Rose Hill.
  • Aunt Nea's Inn, 1 Nea's Alley, ☎ +1 441-296-2868.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Saint George (Bermuda) Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 8:25 on May 8, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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