Kings Wharf - Sandy's Parish, Bermuda
We took the bus into Hamilton and stopped on the way in Horseshoe Bay. However, our family members got right off the ship and went to a beach within walking distance called "Snorkel Beach" and had some of their best snorkeling of the trip! They had to wait for a little while for it to open but then enjoyed the morning there without too many other people. Great photos and big fish!
Technically, this entity is called "The Dockyard Glassworks and Bermuda Rum Cake Company". But, we didn't spend a lot of time checking out the rum cakes. I love rum, and I seldom muddy the waters by adding cake. :) Just being funny, I like it all.
Being a former chemist, I've always been amazed by glassblowers. Back in my college chemistry days, we counted on departmental glassblowers to produce unique apparati for our various experiments. Their talent knew no bounds. So, when I have a chance to observe the artistry of glassworkers, I don't miss the chance.
The Dockyard Glassworks did not disappoint. We spent about 30 minutes watching two of the glassblowers team up to make an ornamental and downright beautiful glass plate. The funny thing was that we didn't REALIZE it would be a plate until the very end...for a long period of time, it appeared that they were making a pitcher or jug.
Watching the gentle grace and artistry of the workers, and especially seeing the chemistry of adding color via different sands and minerals is just mesmerizing. This is an incredibly labor-intensive craft, and after spending some time watching the process, you'll not quibble over pricing in the gift shop. I would never make it working at a place like the Dockyard glassworks. Not only am I artistically-challenged, it's just so darned HOT in the workplace. Bermuda's already a warm climate, and here are these folks working around these incredibly hot glass furnaces on all sides.
We asked the artisans how often they burn themselves. Personally, I'd suspect they get a burn or two every single day. One of the smiled and said "I never burn myself". I suspect that his honesty was as fragile as his finished product. :)
The various cruise ship docking facilities throughout Bermuda have all made special accomodations for the thousands of boat people visitors to the island. Out at the Dockyards on the West End, the weekly blowout is called "Destination Dockyards", and it occurs from 8 pm until 11 pm on Tuesday nights. There are craft sales, pub parties and most of the stores stay open later for shopping.
We, of course, did NOT get anywhere NEAR Dockyards on Destination Dockyards night, preferring not to share the area with a zillion cruisers. I'm told that the best place to enjoy Destination Dockyards is at the venerable Frog and Onion Pub. Having spent an evening at the Frog, I can understand that line of thinking.
Ireland Island south is separated from the north section by a man made channel, cut for defensive purposes, so you can walk from The Dockyard across the short bridge to Ireland Island south.
Across the bridge you will find some housing and lots of photographic scenes.
You can explore the convict cemetary and then spend lots of time looking through the military cemetary. Take time to read the inscriptions on the head stones it will give you an insight into what life was like in the past.
Walk around the roads and you will find a couple of parks and small beaches, some with all sorts of interesting finds.
There are bus stops just by the bridge to Ireland Island north and another one overlooking the west shore near Black Bay if you wish to use the public transportation system (a great way to see Bermuda).
Walk and look and enjoy yourself. Quiet and peaceful!
The original prison on the Island is Casemates, and it's still there. The new prison is Westgate, but, imagine, being a prisoner with views of the Great Sound, Ireland Island, and passing boats on the water coming from Dockyards. It is a breathtaking structure, with amazing history.
Bermuda Clayworks is housed in old repair shop at the Royal Naval Dockyard and is Bermuda’s only commercial pottery. Opened in 1997 by British-born Jon Faulkner and his wife Sundee, its colourful clay creations are popular with both locals and visitors.
In Kings Wharf aka Royal Navy Dockyard, not to far from where my ship (Nordic Empress) docked was the Rum Cake Factory which was attached to the Glassblowing place. 1st of all, these cakes are really expensive, and theyre tiny. For an 8" cake, it was like $20. BUT here at the factory, they give u all the free samples you want (well...not ALL) of each type of cake they make. These cakes taste so wonderful!! You really have to try them.
Then the glassblowing place. Its really fun to see how they make glass. They have rows and rows of things you can buy, but again, theyre really expensive. Bermuda is a very rich Island, and really there isnt much thats cheap, its not like the caribbean at all. But of course theres tons of different glass pieces you can choose from in all shapes and sizes. They have really cute little animals and Christmas ornaments that they make, but it will cost you.
Keep in mind especially if you go here in the summer, it was really hot in here, mostly because of the hot oven for the glassblowing. They do have a fan but it does almost nothing for you on a hot day. So make sure you wear comfortable clothes, even throughtout the rest of the Island.
GLASSBLOWING : I wanted to visit a glassblowing factory because it is one of their specialty. It is possible to find a few on the island, but any of them were giving representation at the time. Then again, very expensive. I bought a little frog (½ inch). Frog seem to be very important in Bermuda. They say that after the rain, you can hear them sing. Even if it rained on the Tuesday and even more on the Friday night and Saturday, I didn’t hear nothing. Was it a joke of Mother Nature, since it was winter?