St George Bermuda is teeming with history. No wonder the city received the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2000. So, after having some fun in the sun exploring Bermuda’s best beaches and enjoying the Bermuda coastline from our own boat, we decided it was time to learn a little bit more about Bermudian history. We heard from locals that a good place to start would be to the formal capital, the town of St. George in St. George’s parish, on the easternmost end of the island.
Walking Tour of St George Bermuda
The drive from the Fairmont Southampton Hotel where we had based ourselves for our stay to the eastern end of the island was relatively quick. Our taxi driver made it more enjoyable by pointing out many sites along the way including passing by St Peter’s Church. It is believed to be the oldest continually used Anglican church in the Western hemisphere. In fact, in 2012 it received the royal title “Their Majesties Chapell” by Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, the church was not open.
We asked to be dropped off near the Town Square. So, for our walking tour, we started at historic downtown in King’s Square, also known as Town Square. For those that need information about the area, there is a Visitor’s center here. The kids loved running around the open area and playing with the canons. They also took turns standing in the pillories. Historically the pillories were used to publically humiliate and punish criminals. Periodically, there are reenactments held in the town square. Unfortunately, as we visited during low season we didn’t get to see a show.
The backdrop to the pillories is the Bank of Butterfield, one of the oldest banks in Bermuda. The building was built in 1776 as a mess for the British Army. Fun fact: it was the first bank in Bermuda to introduce the chip technology.
At the east end of the square is the Town Hall, which is the seat of the civic government. The interior is heavily decorated with Bermuda cedar, a gorgeous wood found native in the country. Admission is free and it is even possible to have a seat in the Mayor’s chair!
Tip: Visit the Bermuda, the Bermuda Bound Facebook page for great tips and resources.
Around St George Town
After taking way too many photos of the boys using the pillory, we left the Town Square and wandered along the many alleyways of St. George’s Parish. I really liked how colorful the buildings were.
We finally reached the Unfinished Church. The Unfinished Church was originally built as a replacement to St Peter’s Church which was badly damaged by a storm. However, due to disagreements between the parishioners, the church was never finished.
Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to visit the inside of the church due to its structural instability. However, the church has large windows so it is possible to peak inside. The Unfinished Church is on a hill and it is hard to miss when visiting St. Georges. It is also one of the most photographed structures in all of Bermuda.
Tip: The Unfinished Church is close to a busy road so families visiting with children have to keep a close eye on little ones that like to wander away.
With all the walking and hot sun beaming down on us, we were in need of some relief from the sun. It was definitely time for some much-deserved ice cream.
With our cravings satisfied we started the walk towards Tobacco Bay beach. Since the ice-cream shop was across from the Unfinished Church, we walked up Government Hill Road towards Barry’s Road from where there is access to the beach. As it was off-season, there were only a handful of other people there. We were sweaty from the walk and looking forward to jumping in the Atlantic ocean. The locals couldn’t understand why we would want to jump into such cold waters. But even at 19°C, the water was just perfect for us.
As we were in Bermuda during the off-season (we visited in March to escape the Canadian winter) the facilities at the resort were not open. Normally, there is a restaurant and a store from where you can rent equipment for water-based adventures. We did see other people that brought their own kayaks which they launched from the beach. Luckily, even though the resort was closed, washrooms were still accessible. Additionally, there is an outdoor shower and faucet. Since we brought some drinks and snacks with us, we were all set.
Enjoying underwater and on the beach at Tobacco Bay
The rock formations were truly a sight to behold. C enjoyed looking at the crevices to spot any tiny creatures that could be hiding from his prying eyes. The water is very shallow and calm. Combined with the sandy bottom, the boys had no issues walking out into the bay.
We brought our own snorkeling gear as we had read that Tobacco Bay is one of best places in Bermuda for snorkeling from shore. So, Kevin swam out a bit further beyond the protection of the rocks. True enough, he saw a lot of different kinds of fish.
Once we had enough of the water we relaxed for a bit by building sand creatures and having a friendly game of outdoor billiards. It was a great way to spend our last afternoon in Bermuda.
Wahoo’s Bistro and Patio
Before we knew it, our stomachs were grumbling in unison reminding us that it was dinner time soon. A quick chat with a local family also relaxing on the beach suggested Wahoo’s Bistro and Patio. We were told it was a local favorite and it was walking distance from Tobacco Bay. So, after getting directions, we packed up our stuff and headed back into town.
Wahoo’s Bistro was already half full when we got there and it wasn’t even 5 pm! Wahoo’s Bistro is known for fresh seafood, notably lobster and various fishes. Kevin and I started by sharing an order of the Bermudan fish chowder. It came with a small bottle of rum which you can choose to add to your chowder – we added away! The children also tried the chowder (before the rum addition) but were not big fans of the “fishy taste”. For our main course, Kevin and I picked from the blackboard specials. Kevin had the blackfish and I had the wahoo. Both were delicious. The boys split an order of Weiner Schnitzel which came with fries and salad. The serving size was very large and more than enough for the two of them.
The service was quick and friendly. As we ate our meals we noticed that the restaurant was packed even though it was not yet 6 pm. We were glad we headed to Wahoo’s Bistro from Tobacco Bay beach early.
Tip: It is highly recommended that you make reservations if going to Wahoo’s Bistro for dinner.
From St George to Southampton Parish
With our bellies more than full, we waddled out of the restaurant and onto the main street to catch a cab back to the Fairmont Southampton. Our tour of Bermuda was coming to an end and it has been an amazing trip. Even though it was short, we did many activities in Bermuda with kids in tow. But, we still had one stop left that we scheduled the day of our flight, a visit to beautiful Crystal Cave.
Having experienced over 20 countries across 4 continents Christina is well versed at travel planning and thrives on sharing that information with others with the hopes of encouraging more families to experience this incredible world that we live in.