St George’s – located at the eastern end of Bermuda and joined to the main part of Bermuda by a causeway – fascinated me the first time I visited, so much so that I’ve been back several times. Founded in 1612, it is the one of the oldest continuously occupied English colonies in the new world. Its streets are narrow and cobbled, with little laneways connecting them, and quaint eighteenth century colonial style architecture reminding you of its English origins, but it is the array of pastel cottages with white roofs that are so strikingly Bermudan. There is no shortage of history here – both in architecture and events – and recognising this, St George’s Town was listed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
There is word about town of a poisonous centipede that only lives in St George’s – I haven’t been able to find out much about this unfortunately, though believe it’s called the St David’s centipede. Why it doesn’t cross the causeway or has found another way to get to the rest of Bermuda, I’ll never know. Perhaps it likes St George’s better (or supports St George’s not Somerset in the cricket? I’ll get to that soon…) And in my several visits to St George’s, you’ll be pleased to know I haven’t seen one. The only think I’ve seen that crawls around are gekkos – and they’re just cute.
St George’s has a cricket team that goes head to head with Somerset in the island’s annual Cup Match. Bermuda holds a two-day public holiday for the Cup Match festival and this year’s Match took place at the end of July. Even though I was ‘off island’ for it, it sounds as though it was a lot of fun. In the lead up and during Cup Match, Bermudians get behind their favourite team – St George’s Cricket Club from the east and Somerset Cricket Club from the west end of the island – and show their true colours.
People go all out for Cup Match and this doesn’t stop at costumes. From flags hanging out car windows, to bakeries using food colouring to show their team’s colours, the build up was certainly one of excitement. Cup Match is a lot about food too (if you haven’t guessed Bermudians love their food!), I am not even sure some people would notice if the cricket wasn’t played! Camping over this period is very popular too. This year ended in a draw which meant Somerset the winners the past year got to hold onto the Cup.
Enough cricket talk, now back to St George’s…
The weekend is a great time to visit St George’s as it’s a little sleepier than the usual week day when the ferries are operating and bringing many cruise ship tourists to the area. We popped up for a visit on Sunday and for lunch at my favourite spot, Wahoo’s Bistro, for some tasty Wahoo tacos.
St George’s is home to St Peter’s Church – the oldest currently operating Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere (opened in 1612). Wander further up the hill to visit the Unfinished Church which was begun in the 1870s when the St Peters Church was badly damaged by a storm, but unfortunately it was never completed so stands today in the way it was left. Unfinished. Up until recently wedding ceremonies used to be held here, but I understand structural integrity concerns have ceased these.
St Catherine’s Fort hugs one corner of St George’s and is the sight of the first settlement in Bermuda when Sir George Somers’s ship Sea Venture was wrecked on a reef nearby. Over the centuries, it was used as a military base and was rebuilt several times. Today it houses a museum and is open for tours.
Popular beaches, such as Tobacco Bay (when bustling in the middle of summer and tunes are playing loudly this is as close as you’ll get in Bermuda to feeling like you’re at a mini Ibiza beach), and St Catherine’s are must visits to cool off and enjoy the turquoise blue waters and spot some fish. The rum swizzles at Tobacco Bay are pretty good too.
While on a recent visit to St George’s, we also stopped into Lili Bermuda – Bermuda’s own perfumery. The perfumery has its own garden where plants and flowers are grown for use in the perfumes. In the off season you can even make your own perfume! I might have to give that a go next time.
Kiwi in Bermuda.