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Bermuda is a self-governing British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean north of the Caribbean, off the coast of North America east of North Carolina. It is one of the last remnants of the British colonial empire in North America.
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Points of Interest in Paget
There are surprisingly large number of excellent sightseeing places in this 21-square mile tiny island.
Main Sightseeing Attractions :
- Town of St. George. A scenic UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest, continually inhabited British settlement in the New World. It boasts small winding streets with typical British Colonial architecture with fountains, gardens and squares, cobbled streets and plazas.
- Bermuda Maritime Museum, ☎ 441-234-1418. Pender Rd., Royal Naval Dockyard. Take 1/2 a day to go to the Royal Naval Dockyard. After the loss of its naval bases during the American Revolutionary War, the British Royal Navy relocated the headquarters of its Atlantic Fleet here from 1812 to 1957. The old limestone storage buildings, keep and fortress have been wisely redeveloped by the Bermuda Government into a tourist attraction and shopping centre.
- Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo, 40 North Shore Road, ☎ (441) 293-2727. Flatts Village. Daily 9AM-5PM (last admission 4PM). Centerpieced by a 140,000 gallon replica coral reef, this one of Bermuda's main attractions. Over three hundred birds, reptiles and mammals and 200 species of fish. Adults $10, Seniors $5, ages 5 to 12 $5.
- Crystal and Fantasy Caves, ☎ 441-293-0640. Wilkinson Avenue, Bailey’s Bay. Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM (last admission 4:00). Two quite different caves to see.
- Spittal Pond (note: This was heavily damaged by Hurricane Fabian in 2003 and the process of fixing the trails and trees is still ongoing.)
- Devil's Hole Aquarium, Harrington Sound Road, Hamilton, 441-293-2727. Small but fun. "Fish" for reef fish and turtles with bait, but no hooks. Daily 9:30AM–4:30PM. Adult $5, ages 5–12 $3, under 5 $.50.
- Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, 40 Crow Lane, ☎ 441-297-7219. East Broadway, Pembroke, just outside of Hamilton, .
- Bermuda National Trust Museum known as the Globe Hotel.
- Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, St Anne's Road, Southampton. One of the oldest cast iron structures in the world. First lit on May 1, 1846. You can climb its 180 steps to the observation deck surrounding the lamp, which offers spectacular views of the island and the waters around. There is a Tea Room at its base offering drinks and light fare.
Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for the infant English colony of Virginia. The first industry on the islands was fruit and vegetable cultivation to supply the early American colonies. The islands took a carefully unofficial role during the American War of Independence, with much of Washington's armaments coming from a covert (and likely locally complicit) raid on the island's armoury. After US independence and during the Napoleonic wars, Great Britain found itself without access to the ports now on the US east coast. Because of this situation and Bermuda's convenient location between British Canada and Britain's Caribbean possessions, Bermuda became the principal stopover point for the British Royal Navy's Atlantic fleet, somewhat similar to Gibraltar.
The American Civil War and American Prohibition both added considerably to the island's coffers, with Bermuda forming an important focal point in running the blockades in both cases. During the Second World War, a large US air base was built on the islands and remained operational until 1995, and Bermuda served as the main intercept center for transatlantic cable messages to and from occupied Europe.
Tourist travel to Bermuda to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has surpassed it in recent years. Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence was soundly defeated in 1995. For many, Bermudian independence would mean little other than the obligation to staff foreign missions and embassies around the world, which can be a strong obligation for Bermuda's small population. Since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, Bermuda now has the largest population of all the British overseas territories.
The best time to visit Bermuda is spring to autumn. Although the island is an associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), it is not actually in the Caribbean Sea and has a different climate. It is much farther north, but the warm waters of the Gulf Stream help give it a quasi-tropical atmosphere.
The islands have ample rainfall but no rivers or freshwater lakes. As a result drinking water is collected on the roofs of all buildings (by law) and in special catchment areas, and stored in tanks under the ground for each home or property. Bermuda has a mild, humid subtropical maritime climate though gales and strong winds are common in winter. The hurricane season is from June to November.
Go to one of Bermuda's lovely pink sandy beaches:
- Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish. Beautiful pink sand beach bordered by rocky areas suitable for snorkeling. Probably the most photographed (and most popular) Bermudian beach. Be aware that it may be crowded with cruise ship tourists, whose number one stop is often this beach. The surf can get rough at times here. There are bathroom facilities, beach rentals, and food concessions. Lifeguards in summer. Be sure to look for the impressive sea caves and tunnels.
- Elbow Beach, Tribe Road #4, Paget Parish. Another beautiful pink sand beach between Coral Beach, Elbow Beach and Coco Reef hotels.
- Tobacco Bay, St. George Parish. A boulder-sheltered, shallow, warm-water beach which can become quite crowded with cruise ship passengers. Can be reached on foot from St. George square or shuttles are readily available. Another walk will take you to nearby Fort St. Catherine. Rest rooms, food concession, beach rentals.
- Achilles Bay / St. Catherine's Bay, Northeastern St. George Parish. Can be reached on foot from St. George square or shuttles are readily available. Adjacent to Fort St. Catherine. Rest rooms, food concession nearby, beach rentals.
- Clearwater Beach / Turtle Beach / Turtle Bay / Long Bay / Well Bay / Soldier Bay, in St. David's near the eastern end of the airport runway. Located on former US Air Base lands used for NASA tracking station at Cooper's Island. Rest rooms, food concession and bar. Children's playground. Lifeguards during the summer months.
- John Smith's Bay Beach, Hamilton Parish. Nice pink sand beach. Summer lifeguards. Usually a mobile food concession.
- Shelly Bay, North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish. Lots of shallow water and a large playground make this great choice for families with small kids. Not far from Flatts Village and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. Restrooms, beach rentals, food concession.
- Chaplin Bay / Stonehole Bay / Warwick Long Bay, South Road, Warwick Parish. Warwick Long Bay is a very large beach. It's less popular than the other large beaches due to its relatively steep sand slope, and strong undercurrent. Chaplin and Stonehole bays, along with the accompanying Jonson's Cove, are pristine, picture postcard settings. They are made up of small and medium sized sandy inlets.
- Snorkel Park, ☎ 234-6989. Royal Naval Dockyard. A limestone tunnel through the keep's wall puts you on the beachfront for snorkeling or water sports. This is often a popular stop for passengers coming off the cruise ships and reluctant to leave the Dockyard area.
Bermuda has many golf courses and driving ranges spread out along its length.
- St. George Golf Course, St. George Parish, north of the Town of St. George.
- Tuckers Point Golf Course / Mid Ocean Golf Course, St. George Parish, near Tucker's Town.
- Ocean View Golf Course, Devonshire Parish on northern shore.
- Horizons Golf Course, Paget Parish south-west. (9 holes)
- Belmont Hills Golf Course, Warwick Parish east.
- Riddell's Bay Golf and Country Club, Warwick Parish west.
- Fairmount Southampton Princess Golf Course, Southampton Parish east.
- Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton Parish west.
- Bermuda Golf Academy and Driving Range, Southampton Parish west.
Bermuda Railway Trail
The bed of the former Bermuda Railway which was dismantled in 1948 after 17 years of service. Many sections still exist as a public walking trail stretching from St. George Town in the east end, through Pembroke Parish near the City of Hamilton and on toward Somerset Village in the west end. Many station houses, trestle footings and railway ties can be found. It offers spectacular views of the island and waters along its length.
Bermuda has many examples of large fortifications and smaller batteries spread throughout the island which were built between 1612 after first settlement and manned until 1957. For its small size the island had approximately 100 fortifications built. Many have been restored, primarily the larger ones, and are open to the public with dioramas and displays. Many have their original cannons in place. Some lie on outlying islands and islets and can only be accessed via boat, or have been incorporated into private properties and resorts. Some of those which can be accessed are:
- Fort St. Catherine, St. George Parish north (has displays and dioramas and replica Crown Jewels)
- Gates Fort, St. George Parish east (guarding Town Cut channel entrance)
- Alexandra Battery, St. George Parish east
- Fort George, St. George Parish (overlooking the Town of St. George)
- St. David's Battery, St. George Parish east
- Martello Tower / Ferry Island Fort, St. George Parish west (at Ferry Reach)
- King's Castle / Devonshire Redoubt / Landward Fort, St. George Parish south (on Castle Island, accessed via boat)
- Fort Hamilton, Pembroke Parish (overlooking the City of Hamilton)
- Whale Bay Battery, Southampton Parish west.
- Fort Scaur, Sandys Parish (overlooking the waters of the Great Sound)
- The Keep at the Dockyard, Sandys Parish (within the Maritime Museum)
Two relatively unique Bermudian dishes are salted codfish, boiled with potatoes, the traditional Sunday breakfast, and Hoppin' John, a simple dish of boiled rice and black-eyed peas. Shark hash was made, fish cakes were traditional on Fridays, hotcross buns at Easter, and cassava or farine pies at Christmas. With the high-end tourist market, great effort has been expended by hotel and restaurant chefs in developing an ostensibly 'traditional Bermudian cuisine', although this has usually meant adapting other cuisines, from West Indian to Californian, in line with the expectations of visiting clientele. Most pubs serve a typical British Pub fare, although the number of these establishments has diminished as premises are lost to development, or establishments are redeveloped to target the tourist market (note the loss of the Ram's Head, the White Heron, the Rum Runner, and the Cock and Feather (redeveloped into the Pickled Onion, with a nouveau menu)). On the other hand, over the same period Bermuda gained its first and only Irish pub, Flannagan's. While lobster and other seafoods are often featured on the menu, virtually everything is imported from the US or Canada. Although this shows in the price of even casual dining and groceries, it should be noted that locally produced foodstuffs are typically less varied, poorer quality, produced in smaller quantities, and more expensive. Most bananas, for instance, will have a 'Chiquita' sticker, and are larger than those grown locally (which do have the advantage of ripening on the plant).
Restaurants and Dining Options
Restaurants can be found all over the island, with the largest concentration in the city of Hamilton and St George town. Also, there are several at some of the hotels which are outstanding, although pricey. At Elbow Beach Hotel, Cafe lido is excellent, and Southampton Fairmont Waterlot Inn, although sometimes crowded and noisy, has excellent dining.
Remember that with most restaurants, the closer you are to the cruise ship docks, the more expensive the menu will be. Most cruise ship passengers have a short time in which to experience Bermuda, and if they don't eat on the ship, most will be reluctant to leave the town to eat. The restaurants in proximity to the cruise ship docks in, say, St. George's can be as much as three times as expensive as a comparable one in, say, Somerset Village.
- Traveler's Price Card (TPC), 8 Crows Nest Hill. 24. Although shopping may seem relatively expensive in Bermuda there are some ways to save money. Traveler's Price Card (Tpc) offers exclusive deals at over 60 locations. It can be purchased online or at the Hamilton VIC, Dockyard VIC, Juice & Beans and at numerous hotels. 10.00.
Local specialties include:
- Cassava pie. Farine is an alternate base. Traditionally eaten at Christmas, but becoming more commonly found in local markets year round.
- Bay grape jelly. Bay grapes were introduced as a wind break. Although, like Surinam cherries and loquats, they are found throughout Bermuda, and produce edible fruit, none of these plants are cultivated for agriculture in Bermuda, and their fruits are normally eaten from the tree, primarily by school children.
- Bermuda Bananas which are smaller and sweeter than others, are often eaten on Sunday mornings with codfish and potatoes.
- Fish is eaten widely in the form of local tuna, wahoo, and rockfish. Local fish is a common feature on restaurant menus across the island.
- Fish Chowder seasoned with sherry pepper sauce and dark rum is a favourite across the island.
Bermuda has two popular drinks:
- Rum Swizzle which is a rum cocktail made of Demerera Rum (amber rum) and Jamaican Rum (dark rum) along with an assortment of citrus juices. Sometimes brandy is added to the mixture as well. Note, it is quite strong. According to local lore, it was named after the Swizzle Inn (although swizzle  is a term that originated in England, possibly in the 18th Century) where it was said to be developed.
- Dark n' Stormy is a highball of Gosling's Black Seal, a dark blend of local rums, mixed with Barritt's Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer.
Both drinks are comparatively very sweet.
Bermuda's currency is the Bermudian dollar (International currency code BMD) symbolised as $ (sometimes also B$), which is divided into 100 cents. It comes in all the same denominations as US currency, except for a more widely used dollar coin and a two dollar bill. The currency is directly tied to US currency, so one US dollar always equals one Bermudian dollar and US dollars are accepted everywhere in Bermuda at par. Bermudian dollars are not, however, accepted in the United States.
Bermuda can be expensive. Because of Bermuda's steep import tax, all goods sold in stores that come from off the island carry a significant markup. When buying groceries or other (non-souvenir) items of that nature, be aware that the best prices are usually away from the more "touristy" areas. For example, one cup of yoghurt might cost about $1.60 at a grocery store near hotels; it will cost 25% less at a grocery store further from the tourist attractions, and only 10 cents more than in the United States. When buying these sort of things, go to where the locals go.
A nice assortment of stores exists in Hamilton, especially on Front Street. The area can be explored easily by foot. Front Street, is one of the main shopping streets, and is facing the harbour. In recent years, two of the largest and oldest department stores on Front Street have closed. However, A.S. Coopers, first established in 1897, remains.
Shopping can also be found in the easily walked town of St George as well as in Dockyard, which has a small shopping mall. Smaller stores can be found throughout the island offering a variety of goods.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Bermuda on Wikivoyage.