Bermuda

Bermuda > INTRODUCTION > Geography > Town of St George

St. George This unspoiled town overlooking St. George's Harbour was Bermuda's first capital, and remains its most fascinating sightseeing area. The town is steeped in period charm as befits a place that was Britain's second settlement in the New World. Many of its original twisting alleyways and colonial-era buildings remain intact, and several centuries-old structures have been preserved and set aside as museums.

On Kings Square the attractive Town Hall (1782) overlooks the pillory and stocks which today are reduced to serve as a tourist photo-op. Gossiping, in the old days, could get you dunked in the harbour with the ducking stool to be humiliated alongside other petty offenders. The ducking is still performed, albeit only for show.

The Old State House dates to 1620 and is the oldest building in Bermuda. Although modest in size, it incorporates Italianate features. It used to serve as Bermuda's parliamentary house in colonial times. To the north is Somers Garden, named after Admiral Somers who, quite literally, left his heart in Bermuda. His vital organs (and his entrails) are contained in a modest tomb in the park. As was customary at the time, the rest of his body was pickled and shipped back to England.

The Tucker House (see Bermuda Museums) is the 18th-century home of one of the islands' most prestigious families and has been well-preserved right down to the period furniture. Dating from roughly the same era is the Old Rectory (see Guest Houses and Small Inns), an interesting place with the less than scintillating claim to fame of being one of the first houses on the island to have a stone roof. The Bermuda National Trust Museum occupies a stately colonial structure and concentrates on the role Bermuda played in the U.S. Civil War when St. George's enjoyed unprecedented wealth from helping the southern states run the northern naval blockade. The original St. Peter's Church, a thatch-and-wood affair constructed in 1612, was one of the oldest Anglican churches in the western hemisphere. The present structure dates from the early 1700s and is a fine building with open timber beams, marble memorials honoring early governors, and a mahogany altar that's the oldest piece of Bermudian furniture on the island. A handful of waterfront restaurants provide a perfect setting for atmospheric dining. Nearby Tobacco Bay is a good swimming and snorkeling beach when you're through with all the history.