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Located in Eastern Bermuda, the Town of St. George (locally called St. George's) was the first settlement on the island and the second English town established in the New World. UNESCO inscribed the historic town and its coastal fortifications on its World Heritage Site List in 2000.

Shinbone Alley sign on pink house in St. George's
Shinbone Alley sign on pink house in St. George's
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Getting to the Town of St. George is easy. Just take the Route 1 pink public bus from the capital city of Hamilton. A summer ferry from Hamilton travels to St. George's, with a stop at the Royal Navy Dockyard.

St. George's attractions

What can you see and do in St. George's? Lots. During our visit, we strolled past the colorful buildings along Old Maid's Lane, Shinbone Alley, Petticoat Lane and Slippery Hill. It was obvious that little had changed since the 17th century.

We stopped to admire the storybook cottages, St. Peter's Church, the oldest continuously used Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere, and the State House, the oldest stone building on the island. Now a Masonic Lodge, its members pay a token rent of one peppercorn per year to the Bermuda Government at an elaborate ceremony attended by local dignitaries in full ceremonial dress.

Floral perfumes

In the Bermuda Perfumery, we learned how fragrances from local flowers are extracted and made into perfumes, including frangipani, oleander, passion flower, Easter lily and jasmine.

Historical re-enactment with ducking stool
Historical re-enactment with ducking stool
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

We emerged at 12:30 pm to join the crowd gathered in King's Square to watch a re-enactment of an 18th-century public punishment. Actors in period costume tied "a nagging wife" in a ducking stool before immersing her with a big splash in St. George's Harbour.

Town crier

When we first saw this re-enactment in 1991, town crier Bob Burns read the proclamation. This time, we spent a quiet moment in nearby Bob Burns Memorial Park remembering him and his resounding voice, which was recorded as loud as 119 decibels. (That's louder than an ambulance siren or a rock concert.) From 1967 to 1990, Guinness World Records listed Bob Burns as the person with the loudest human voice.

Afterward, we explored the full-sized replica of Deliverance, the ship that carried settlers (who survived a wreck on Bermuda's reefs) to Virginia in 1610.

We finished our day at Fort St. Catherine, known for its replicas of the British crown jewels and its enormous cannons, which could hurl 180-kilogram projectiles more than a half-kilometer. From the battlements (where actor Charlton Heston performed Macbeth in 1953), we enjoyed spectacular views of the ocean and pristine beaches.

How to get to the Royal Naval Dockyard

Another must-see attraction is the Royal Naval Dockyard, located on the western end of Bermuda. You can travel here on Route 8 buses from Hamilton.

It's easy to spend a full day here. Once called the "Gibraltar of the West," it was built by British convicts in 1810, before becoming the Royal Navy's base for 150 years.

Pink buses stop at Clocktower Mall in the Royal Naval Dockyard
Pink buses stop at Clocktower Mall in the Royal Naval Dockyard
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The Old Cooperage houses the Bermuda Craft Market and the Bermuda Arts Centre where we saw artists and their works. The National Museum of Bermuda, in the Victorian fortress keep, contains coin collections, restored wooden boats, nautical artifacts and centuries-old Spanish gold and relics salvaged from shipwrecks.

Moon gate
Moon gate
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Clocktower shopping mall

Beautifully renovated, the warehouse for the wooden warships is now the Clocktower Mall. The clocks on the twin towers are no longer functional. Originally, the clock on the south tower displayed the real time, while the north tower clock provided the time of the high tide.

At Heritage Wharf, in the Dockyard, boats depart from the dock on helmet diving trips. A moon gate marks the location.

Moon gates

We spotted several of these horseshoe-shaped gates in Bermuda. They are popular with honeymooners because it is considered good luck for newlyweds to walk through them.

Moon gate
Moon gate
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

We hoped that the good luck applied to people married for 40 years, as well, as we strolled under one of the limestone arches.

After boarding the bus to Hamilton, we got off after Somerset Village to stretch our legs with a hike up to the ramparts of Fort Scaur. Relaxing on benches below a wind-buffeted Bermuda flag, we enjoyed sweeping views of the Dockyard and the sea.

Somerset Bridge

Nearby Somerset Bridge is the smallest drawbridge in the world. (It opens 46 centimeters, just wide enough for a sailboat mast to pass.)

On the bus ride back to Hamilton, the ice cream-colored homes caught our attention. Mirroring the colors of the landscape — petal pink, robin's egg blue and buttercup yellow, each building is crowned with a sugar-white roof which Mark Twain called "icing on the cake."

The stepped lime-washed roofs catch and purify rainwater, which is stored in reservoirs beneath the houses. (Bermuda has no rivers or lakes.)

Each home has a name, as picturesque as its exterior — Swallow's Nest, Sea Mist, Sitting Pretty and Out of the Blue. Some even had moon gates.


Bermuda Tourism