If you have only 1 day for sightseeing, we suggest you spend it in the historic former capital of St. George, a maze of narrow streets with quaint names: Featherbed Alley, Duke of York Street, Petticoat Lane, Old Maid's Lane, and Duke of Kent Street. You can spend a day exploring British-style pubs, seafood restaurants, shops (several major City of Hamilton stores have branches here), old forts, museums, and churches.
And what would a day in Bermuda be without time spent on the beach? Elbow Beach and Warwick Long Bay are among the most appealing spots. The no. 7 bus will take you there from St. George.
At the eastern end of Bermuda, St. George was the second English town established in the New World (after Jamestown, Virginia). For the history buff, it holds more interest than the City of Hamilton .
We begin the tour at:
1. King's Square
Also known as Market Square and King's Parade, the square is the very center of St. George. Only about 200 years old, it's not as historic as St. George itself. This was formerly a marshy part of the harbor -- at least when the shipwrecked passengers and crew of the Sea Venture first saw it. At the water's edge stands a branch of the Visitors Information Centre, where you can pick up additional information on the area. On the square you'll notice a replica of a pillory and stocks. The devices were used to punish criminals -- and, in many cases, the innocent. 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
The British army once stored gunpowder and cannons on this island, which extends into St. George's Harbour. Today, the island houses the Deliverance, a replica of the vessel that carried the shipwrecked Sea Venture passengers on to Virginia. Alongside the vessel is a ducking stool, a contraption used in 17th-century witch trials.
Retrace your steps across the bridge to King's Square. On the waterside stands the:
3. White Horse Tavern
This restaurant juts out into St. George's Harbour. Consider the tavern as a possible spot for lunch later. For now, we focus on its history: 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
Located near the Visitors Information Centre, this is the meeting place of the corporation governing St. George. It has antique cedar furnishings and a collection of photographs of previous lord mayors. Bermuda Journey, a multimedia audiovisual presentation, is shown here several times a day.
From King's Square, head east along King Street, cutting north (left) on Bridge Street. You'll come to the:
5. Bridge House
Constructed in the 1690s, this was once the home of several governors of Bermuda. Located at 1 Bridge St., it's furnished with 18th- and 19th-century antiques and houses an art gallery and souvenir shop.
Return to King Street and continue east to the:
6. Old State House
The Old State House opens onto Princess Street, at the top of King Street. This is the oldest stone building in Bermuda, dating from 1620, and was once the home of the Bermuda Parliament. It's the site of the Peppercorn Ceremony, in which the Old State House pays the government a "rent" of one peppercorn annually.
Continue your stroll down Princess Street until you come to Duke of York Street and the entrance to:
7. Somers Garden
The heart of Sir George Somers, the admiral of the Sea Venture, is buried here. The gardens, 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 to the structure known as "the folly of St. George," the:
8. Unfinished Church
This cathedral was intended to replace St. Peter's Church. Work began on the church in 1874, but ended when the church was beset by financial difficulties and a schism in the Anglican congregation.
After viewing the cathedral, turn left onto Duke of Kent Street, which leads down to the:
9. St. George's Historical Society Museum
Located at Featherbed Alley and Duke of Kent Street, the museum building is an example of the rather plain 18th-century Bermudian architecture. It contains a collection of Bermudian historical artifacts and cedar furniture.
Around the corner on Featherbed Alley is the:
10. Featherbed Alley Printery
Here you can see 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. At the junction with Broad Lane, look to your right to see the:
11. Old Rectory
The Old Rectory is located at the head of Broad Alley, behind St. Peter's Church. Now a private home administered by the National Trust, it was built in 1705 by a reformed pirate. You can go inside only on Wednesdays from noon to 5pm.
After seeing the Old Rectory, go through the church's backyard, opposite Broad Alley, to reach:
12. St. Peter's Church
The church's main entrance is on Duke of York Street. St. Peter's is the oldest Anglican place of worship in the Western Hemisphere. In the churchyard, you'll see many headstones, some 300 years old. The assassinated governor, Sir Richard Sharples, was buried here. The present church was built in 1713, with a tower added in 1814.
Across the street is the:
13. Bermuda National Trust Museum
When it was the Globe Hotel, this was the headquarters of Maj. Norman Walker, the Confederate representative in Bermuda. It was once a hotbed of blockade running (artillery smuggling 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. The name dates from the 1834 emancipation, when two former slave women who'd always wanted silk petticoats like their former mistresses finally purchased some -- and paraded up and down the lane to show off their new finery.
Continue west until you reach:
15. Tucker House
Opening onto Water Street, this was the former home of 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.
16. Café Gio
Near Tucker House is the family-friendly Café Gio, 36 Water St. (tel. 441/297-1307), with its outdoor terrace overlooking the harbor. It features everything from an ice-cream parlor to a pizza oven, and even full meals, in its tutti-frutti-colored dining room.
End your tour across the street at:
17. Somers Wharf
This multimillion-dollar waterfront restoration project contains shops, restaurants, and taverns.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.