in 1963, we got off the bus here to see this bridge. Bus routes # 7 and # 8 and the ferry stop here. In 1995, we just looked over at the bridge from the ferry on the way back from the Dockyard. But in 2004, we went to see this little bridge again. We came in by ferry and left by bus this time. I would really like to see the bridge in operation, but when we went in 2004, it was chained and padlocked shut, and the channel looked completely impassible by anything larger than a rowboat. In the picture taken from the ferry if you look, you can see the red traffic light indicating that the bridge is closed.
From the website on Sandys Parish:
"The world's smallest drawbridge connects Somerset Island to the westernmost part of main island. It is where Somerset Road begins. This is an example of the simplest form of drawbridge, in which a timber panel is removed from the center of the bridge to allow the mast of a sailing vessel to pass through the 32-inch plank, with not much room to spare "
"The drawbridge was first built in 1620. When operators of small boats entered the channel, the drawbridge was cranked open by hand. The modern version, rebuilt only a few years ago, has two propped cantilever decks, which do not meet in the middle, with reinforced concrete internal props and timber external props. The cantilevered load is balanced by a reinforced concrete abutment slab which acts as a counterweight. The drawbridge is on the $20 Bermuda dollar bill. "
The Bermudians love this part of their history and many talk about the Old Rattle and Shake but the Bermuda Railway only lasted 17 short years from 1931 until 1948. What records it set as the slowest and most expensive railway ever built but in some way the Bermudians are even proud of that and they should be. In 1984 the Railway Trail was named a National Park and it is a wonderful walking and horse riding path that streches 21 miles between Sandys Parish east to St. George's Parish. Before you go stop and pick up a guide at any tourist center or as I did at my hotel. The Railway Trail is a a great way to see Bermuda's very beautiful and varied scenery.
I did not stay here but visited the cove and a friends advice was it was a good area to stay.
Astwood Cove apartments is report as a very reasonably priced. It looked and the has most secluded beach. Astwood Cove apartments is report ed as a very reasonably priced $155. It has most secluded beach because the beach is a little hard to get down to. You have to climb down some steep steps to get there from the park. I would highly recommend this beach for people who want to be secluded and have a beautiful “private beach” in Bermuda!
Bermuda had no motorized transport before 1931, when the most costly railway per mile anywhere was built. Until 1946 it was the only form of public motorized transport in Bermuda. Otherwise it was by horse and carriage or boat. Cars were not allowed until 1939 for the American and British military and 1948 for local residents.
When the national bus system was introduced in 1946, the Bermuda Railway became too impractical and expensive (corrosion of the rails was a big problem) as a railroad. The assets were sold at bankruptcy prices by the Bermuda Government and shipped to Guyana where I think the railroad still exists.
In the 1980s (i.e. after my 1963 visit), the Bermuda Government converted the abandoned tracks into a walking and biking trail running almost the entire length of Bermuda. It originally ran from Sandys Parish in the west to St. George's Parish in the east, via the City of Hamilton. Today, the City, Pembroke and parts of the Devonshire portions no longer exist.
Walking the trail is free, and I thought it would be a neat thing to do. Plus the Railway Museum was also free and I thought it would be interesting. So on the way back from St. George, we stopped off near Flatt's Village and walked along the trail to the museum. I think that in those days you could also take one of the mopeds along some sections of the trail.
After our 1995 visit (i.e. in 2000), the entire Trail became a National Park. The Ministry of the Environment took over administration and management, to enhance it as an eco-tourism attraction.
The Trail is a good way to see Bermuda on foot or by pedal cycle and get your exercise at the same time. (No motorized vehicles allowed).
You can get a map and guide from the Visitor's Service Bureau in either Hamilton or St. George. The URL has more old pictures of the railroad when it was operating
Behind the post office on Queen Street in downtown Hamilton, Par-la-Ville Park was once the private garden of the island's first postmaster (1819). Mr. Perot enjoyed finding exotic plants from throughout the world and placing them in Par-la-Ville. In 1847, in planted an Indian rubber tree seed that has grown to a huge size. Mark Twain once said that he was disappointed that the tree didn't bear a crop of hot water bottles and rubber overshoes.
Most tourists tend to flock to the beaches. However, I suggest that you might want to visit Tom Moore's Jungle. It is a nice little hike and you might just be able to locate a very private lagoon. It is simply beautiful and a wonderful place to just relax and appreciate the peaceful surroundings.
This was as close as I got to Gates Fort which is at the end of St. George Island and is a perfect spot to see boats and small ships coming through Town Cut into St. George's Harbour. It is also an ideal spot for a picnic.
It was first shown on a map published in 1636, and has been the object of heated discussion as to the correct name. Should it be known as Daver's or Danver's Fort?
Later it was called Town Cut Battery. In the 1790s, it was rebuilt by Captain Andrew Durnford who mounted four guns at the site. The keep was used as a barracks in the 1800s, and it was occuped by a local family from 1820 until 1922. At that time it was reclaimed by the government of Bermuda and it was rebuilt by prison labour. In addition to the guns, there is also a guardhouse.
It is now called Gates Fort after its builder Sir Thomas Gates, one of the original band of settlers on the Sea Venture. The fort dates from 1609 and was built from soft Bermuda limestone. The fort's 24-pounder smooth-bore cannons were used to fire cast-iron balls weighing 24 pounds. Gates governed Bermuda from 1609-1610 before he became the first Governor of Virginia in 1610.
It is open daily 10:00 to 4:00 in the summer - admission is free. Follow Barry Road and turn on Town Cut Road and go to the end. It is a mile south of town but there is no public transportation to this site. Since there is no gate and no staff on the premises you can visit any time you wish. It was attacked by vandals in 2001.
Bermuda has some remarkable views and coast lines.. Just hop on your scooter and drive around, there are only three major roads and the island is very small...
Drive along south road and you will get some great coast line pictues....
Don't be in a hurry,you will enjoy the views and no why Bermuda is such a wonderful place.....
I really did not want to put this in the must see activities but going to the perfume factory is something that you can do and is interesting....
If you have never been to a place like this take the tour and you will enjoy it..
If you love flowers than you will like the area..
We went to Spittal Pond (South Road, Smith’s Parish) for the 1 pm Friday tour.
The guides showed us plants - Palmetto: formerly used as thatch for roofs, baskets, hats, and the Bay Grape: a native which produces grapelike edible fruits (used for jelly). The leaves have a waxy/ leathery/plastic feel, an adaptation to repel salt spray. Also the Cedar (endemic), Olivewood Bark (endemic), Spanish Bayonet (native), Prickly Pear (native), and Floppier / Life Plant (brought in 1813 - a native of Asia). The guide also explained the difference between endemic and native BTW
We saw the Kiskadee: introduced 1951 to control Anolis lizard, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron: reintroduced in 1976 to control crabs and the Longtail: a native seabird, breeds in summer, mates for life, produces one chick per year, is on the wing all day only returning to roost at night, feeds on a diet of squid and even a non-native flamingo which they said had been blown over from the zoo by a hurricane.
We saw Jeffrey's Hole, a cave named for an escaped slave who hid here - his girl friend brought him food. We could look down from the bluffs and see parrot fish swimming below. We also saw "Spanish Rock". Carved into the rock is the date 1543 and some indecipherable letters, no doubt the work of a lone mariner - probably Portuguese rather than Spanish
You can do the mile long walk self-guided but it is much more interesting with the rangers.
The tour took a couple of hours and we just missed the bus afterwards. This bus route only runs about every 45 minutes.
From the website: Spittal Pond is the National Bermuda Trust’s most important area of open space, containing Bermuda’s largest bird sanctuary and the oldest evidence of humans on the Island. Spittal Pond is part of the necklace of wetlands along the South Shore just inside the former sand dunes."
Additional pictures and information on my Spittal Pond page
I have marked in the route from Elizabeth City North Carolina U.S.A to Bermuda and from Bermuda (all the way no stops) to Scotland in the U.K. for the PBY,S and the route to the Azores and then to Lisbon Portugal for the CLIPPER PASSENGER SERVICE (PAN AM AND BRITISH OVERSEAS AIR SERVICE.The only ones crossing the ocean at this time.
PBM's in summer went to Halifax and then Gander Lake , Iceland Scotland or Gibraltar. In winter they went souuth via Belem brazil, The Azores and Africa.
WE were room-mates and use to cruise the bars in Hamilton. There were no gals available as we were 100 guys for each gal on the island at that time.
Some of the Officers were lucky though they were able to go out with the young ladies from England who were working as censors and living at the Inverurie Hotel.
LESLIE'S granddaughter saw this picture recently by chance and wrote me. She was born after he died so never met him. She lives and works in Ottawa.
Later his son contacted me as well
The first 7 PBY'S ( Catalina) aircraft arrived in Bermuda in Jan. 1941 from the United States 6 were delayed in Bermuda for a variety of reasons ranging from weather to technical problems and lack of trained air crews. One left on Jan .29th for GREENOCK SCOTLAND. The first flight was a harrowing adventure for all involved especially its crew, a typical International collection of servicemen and civilians.
The picture is a PBM on takeoff for Halifax ( Dartmouth) or Gander Lake then across the ocean to Iceland then Greenoch Scotland in summer and early fall. In winter they had to fly the southern route because unlike the PBY they had no internal spare gas tanks so did not have the range to cross the ocean without refueling.
We had one PBY which was used to train pilots who did not have enough experience on these planes.
It was also used for special trips such as a hazard-est trip to the AZORES by Wing Commander Ware to see if it was practical to use the base there for planes in TRANSIT. (PORTUGAL would not allow Military aircraft there for a long time. The U.S.A. finally got them to agree to let us use the base there).
In summer the route was north to Dartmouth Nova Scotia, Gander Lake New Newfoundland, Iceland and Scotland or Gibraltar In these flights the internal gas tanks were not needed and were removed which allowed more cargo space.
Wing Commander Ware our base commander flew one of these to Jamaica and back To deliver a group of 4 Romanian Prisoners of war
who were being transferred there.
PBY on Take off
These planes had a top speed of about 120 knots per hour and in Transit were unarmed so were an easy prey for German fighters and guns from a surfaced submarine. They were invaluable for submarine patrol and Air Sea Rescue Missions.
In my search for free and low cost things to do on Bermuda, I found the Botanical Guarden. It is a bit tricky to get to. We had to get off at the hospital and then walk to the garden.
It is the largest local public garden by far in Bermuda - the gardens were begun in 1898.
Open daily from sunrise to sunset 365 days a year. Free for 362 days (except during the Agricultural Exhibition every April).
A mix of park, woodland, greenhouses, agricultural buildings and horticultural collections. Chiefly of interest for its trees, orchard, collection of orchids and Camden.
Visitors should expect a fair amount of walking.
There are free guided tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from the Car Park outside the Visitors Service Centre.
We took the tour and learned about the few species of plants and trees that are endemic, the considerable number that are native and the vast majority that were introduced.
At that time there were also stables on the grounds and horse shows were held here.
While in the Botanical Gardens, visit historic 'Camden', the official residence of the Premier. (No Premiers have actually lived there, but receptions and dinner parties are regularly held at the residence. There is a beautiful cedar-panelled dining room, which is said to have taken up to thirty years to complete.)
'Camden' is open Tuesday and Friday (unless official functions are scheduled). I don't think we got to see the main house. It was closed for lunch while we were there and we wanted to get to Spittal Pond, so we had to leave. We just toured the outbuildings.
More information and pictures at:
Address: 169 South Road in Paget Parish DV 04.
Directions: One mile from the City of Hamilton, via Berry Hill Road, Point Finger Road and South Road. Bus routes 1, 2 and 7 go to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital nearby