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Hamilton, Bermuda
Front Street with Fisheye
Front Street Shopping - The best place in Bermuda to do a little shopping for yourself or for the loved ones you left behind to visit this paradise, is on Front Street in downtown Hamilton. Shops include Marks & Spencer's (a British department store), Lusso's (for designer shoes and handbags) and Swiss Timing (for trendy timepieces). There are dozens of high-end boutiques and department stores. If you prefer to shop in a festival-like atmosphere, come to Front Street on Wednesday evenings during Hamilton Harbour Nights. Stroll the waterfront filed with street performers, musicians, arts and crafts exhibitions, and horse drawn carriages.
 
Hamilton, Bermuda
The Bermuda Triangle
Bermuda Triangle - Whenever I told someone that I was going to Bermuda they said to me, "Socko, don't get lost in the Bermuda Triangle". The Bermuda Triangle is the area of the Atlantic Ocean within the triangular section between Bermuda, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Miami (Florida). Over 100 ships and aircraft have been lost in this area of the Sargasso Sea - including the Mary Celeste in 1872 and five Navy Avengers in 1945. The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle began when Christopher Columbus noted in his journal an erratic compass, a large falling light from the sky (possibly a meteor) and dancing lights on the horizon. I personally didn't witness anything odd, but my sock monkey friend TJ said his credit card stopped working - and wanted me to buy everything.
 
Hamilton, Bermuda
Bermuda's Capitol Building
Capitol Building - You could argue that City Hall is the Capitol Building of Bermuda, but I decided on the Cabinet Building. Mainly because you can't go inside City Hall and you can look around inside the Cabinet Building (during the week). The structure was built in 1833 and has welcomed the world's most famous leaders including, John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth and Dwight D Eisenhower. On the first Friday in November visitors can witness the reconvening of Parliament on the grounds of the Cabinet Building.
 
Hamilton, Bermuda
A Hot Day in Bermuda
Sarah (Sally) Bassett - On June 6, 1730, an unusually hot day in Bermuda, Sally Basset was burned at the stake for the crime of poisoning her master, her master's wife and the household's bondswoman. During the trial and on the way to the stake, Sally repeatedly proclaimed her innocence. In 2008 a 10 foot tall statue was erected at the Cabinet Grounds for Sally Bassett, with inscriptions stating "Sarah (Sally) Bassett was an enslaved woman owned by the estate of Francis Dickenson of Southampton" and "Sally was valued at one pound, four shillings and sixpence". Today, any particularly hot day in Bermuda is called a "Sally Bassett Day".
 
Hamilton, Bermuda
Protecting the Island
Fort Hamilton - For a birds-eye view of the city of Hamilton and the harbor, take the slightly strenuous walk from town up King Street and Happy Valley Road to Fort Hamilton. Built in the 1870s to protect Bermuda against attack, the defensive walls, 30-foot wide dry moat, large cannons and gun emplacements still remain. Today however, instead of keeping people out of Bermuda, the fort invites visitors to roam its carefully manicured lawns and gardens. The day these sock monkeys went there (a Saturday), we had the entire fort to ourselves for hours.
 
Hamilton Parish, Bermuda
A Gorgeous Underworld
Crystal and Fantasy Caves - Bermuda has hundreds of wonderful underwater caves for scuba divers and two gorgeous caves for us land lovers. Crystal and Fantasy Caves are located on the same property and both contain thousands of luminescent white formations and deep inviting azure waters. Visitors spend about 45 minutes in each cave weaving around stalagmites and stalactites and walking across floating pontoons. The 30 million year old caves were discovered in 1880s by a few boys who lost their cricket ball down a sink hole. And though they never found their ball, they did discover a marvelous underground treasure.
 
Sandys, Bermuda
Meep Meep
Scooters - Because of the already congested roads in Bermuda, visitors cannot rent or drive a car here. You must have a Bermuda driver's license to drive an automobile. To get around tourists can hire a taxi, take a bus, ride the ferry or better yet, rent a scooter. There are several great reasons to rent a scooter; they are easy on gas, there is no waiting for a bus, and they are faster than cars. Just remember it is opposite day in Bermuda, meaning they drive on the left hand side of the road. So you always have to think "left" while riding. There are a lot scooter rental places on the island and they run about $50 a day.
 
Sandys Parish, Bermuda
World's Smallest Drawbridge
Somerset Bridge - Connecting Somerset Island to the mainland of Bermuda is the Somerset Bridge, the world's smallest drawbridge. A 32 inch bisected wooden plank covers an opening just wide enough to allow the mast of a yacht to pass through. The original 15th century drawbridge opened using a hand crank mechanism. Today sailors must lift the plank out by hand, guide the mast through the opening and make sure a scooter doesn't fall in the gap while they are working. There is a small picnic area next to the bridge to watch boats travel in and out of the harbor.
 
Sandy's Parish, Bermuda
Cross Country RR Trail
Railway Trail - Following the path of the abandoned Bermuda Railway tracks is the nearly 18 mile walking, running and biking Railway Trail. The Bermuda Railway operated between the 1931 and 1948. Prior to 1946 privately owned cars were not allowed on the island, but after residents were allowed to own a car, the railway was no longer cost-effective to operate. That's good news for people who love to exercise outdoors. The trail runs nearly the entire length of the island (with some breaks in-between) and offers some fantastic off-the-beaten path views of the island.
 
Sandy's Parish, Bermuda
Clocktower Mall
Clocktower Shopping Mall - One of the first things a passenger on a cruise ship sees when walking off of the boat in northeast Bermuda is the Clocktower Shopping Mall. Located in the former storehouse of the Royal Naval Dockyard, the 1857 twin-clocktower building was transformed into the Clocktower Shopping Mall in 1990. A few of the shops at the mall include "The Bermuda Triangle" for souvenirs, "The Grand Bazaar" for Turkish wares, and "IANA II" for European children's clothing. The Clocktower Mall is open from 9 AM to 6 PM seven days a week during the summer season and from 10 AM to 5 PM in the winter months.
 
Sandy's Parish, Bermuda
King Neptune with Monkey
National Museum of Bermuda and Dolphin Quest - The National Museum of Bermuda and Dolphin Quest are located together in the fortress known as "The Keep". The Keep is Bermuda's largest fort and its number one attraction - with the centerpiece being the stately 1820s Georgian Commissioners' House. This historic home is the world's first (and therefore the oldest) cast-iron frame residential building. It houses a fine collection of shipwreck artifacts dating back to the 1600s, an extensive artillery collection, historic Bermuda coins, maritime art and much more. Dolphin Quest features those tricksters from the sea doing flips, jumping through hoops and squeaking for fish.
 
Smiths Parish, Bermuda
Portuguese Rock With Monkey
Spittal Pond and Portuguese Rock - The Spittal Pond Nature Reserve encompasses 64 acres of bird watching habitat centered on the eight acre Spittal Pond and bounded by Bermuda's rugged coastline. Chances are good you will spot a kiskadee, white-eyed vireo and a white-tailed tropicbird (a seagull with a long tail). There is something here for history buffs too. Along the coastal trail is Portuguese Rock with the inscription "RP 1543", interpreted to mean "Rex Portugaliae King of Portugal". That year a Portuguese vessel crashed onto the rock and stranded its crew. But not for long. Soon they built themselves another ship and sailed away (and there was no Home Depot back then).
 
Somerset, Bermuda
A Light Lunch
Island Cuisine - Like everything else on the island, nearly all the food in Bermuda is imported, but that doesn't mean they don't add a little island flair once the food arrives. Of course the Rock Fish and the famous Bermuda Lobster are most likely pulled from the Atlantic that day (ask to be sure). Both are excellent. Remember this is a UK territory, so you will also find all the worst in English Cuisine such as, Kidney Pie, Curried Mussel Pie, and haggis, so do be careful. The photo shows my lunch of jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, spicy fish chowder and the "island drink" ginger beer and black rum. Mmmm mmmm.
 
Somerset Village, Bermuda
Under the Moongates
Moongates - Moongates are decorative circular garden entryways that signify peace, unity and happiness. Walking through a Moongate is an island tradition for young lovers and honeymooners who want their relationship to be blessed. Wedding vows are also exchanged under a moongate to ensure a long and successful marriage. The unique design was brought here from China in the late 1860s by a Bermuda sea captain. Since then the island has adopted it as a national symbol. A lot of hotels and several private residences feature the circular structure and Jess and I ran through every one.
 
Southampton, Bermuda
One of the Top 10 Beaches in the World!!
Horseshoe Beach - Consistently ranked among the top 10 beaches in the world, Horseshoe Beach is truly fantastic. The crystal clear turquoise waters of the Atlantic gently splash against the beach's pale pink powdery sand. The white beach sand is mixed with pink coral and crushed shells which give the entire horseshoe shaped beach its distinctive color. Large rocks in the water are great for climbing and snorkeling around, and walking trails weave through the entire park. There is no need to lug your own chairs down the steep entranceway either, lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent. And there is food available at the Horseshoe Bay Beach Cafe. So all you really need here is your swimwear and a little cash.
 
St George's, Bermuda
St David's Lighthouse
St David's Lighthouse - Completed in 1879, the St David's Lighthouse with its alternating white and red bands stands gallantly atop the 208 foot Mount Hill. Originally the lighthouse was lit with oil, but today a 30,000 candlepower lamp warns the passing ships to the island's dangerous reefs. Climbing the 85 stairs to the top of the 55 foot limestone tower gives visitors a grand view of St George to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The lighthouse averages roughly 5,500 visitors a year, which breaks down to an average of 15 people per day, making the likelihood of having it to yourself very good.
 
St George's, Bermuda
Hard Luck Church
Unfinished Church - Gothic ruins are all that remain of the church whose construction began in 1874. This "new" church was meant to replace the aging 1612 St Peter's Church and designed to hold 650 patrons. A series of unfortunate occurrences prevented the Cathedral from ever opening. A split in the congregation, money diverted to a Hamilton church because of a fire, and the decision to upgrade St Peter's ended the new church's construction. The final blow occurred in 1926 when a Category 4 Hurricane damaged the roof. Although the structure never held a service, the Unfinished Church makes for wonderful photos.
 
St George's, Bermuda
Where the English Landed
Fort St Catherine - In the summer of 1609 the English ship Sea Venture helmed by Sir George Somers was caught in a storm and shipwrecked just off the coast of Bermuda. The entire crew of 150 men then came ashore at the current site of Fort St Catherine (Gate's Fort). The original fort was subsequently built around 1612 and grew to its current size over the next 400 years. Throughout the fort are a maze of tunnels, large towers, 18 ton cannons, historic artifacts and a large dry moat. Located on both sides of are fantastic beaches, the sandy St Catherine Beach and the rocky Achilles Bay.
 
St George's, Bermuda
Bermudians Lost at Sea
Lost at Sea Memorial - Standing in Great Head Park in St David's Island is the Figurehead Memorial dedicated to islanders lost at sea. The 18 foot, 12 ton bronze sculpture is the creation of Bermudian born artist Bill "Mussey" Ming. The sculpture depicts a sea ravaged boat filled with an oar, a life ring, and an oversized hourglass, compass and book. Inscribed in the black stone base of the Lost at Sea Memorial are 79 names of Bermudians lost at sea.
 
St. George's, Bermuda
Dunking the Monkey
Dunking the Wench - King's Square is the hub of activity for St George's civic celebrations and for tourist attractions. Every Wednesday and Saturday at noon the Town Crier, dressed in 17th century colonial attire, drags a gossiping wench to the pillory. While tied to the post her sentence of five, six or seven dunks in the ocean is declared. She is then escorted to the dunking chair and plunged into the water screaming and laughing. It is a fun process where the audience can randomly increase the wench's punishment. During non-dunking times on the square, a monkey can pose for photos sitting in the dunking stool, tied to the pillory, or secured in the stocks.
 
St. George's, Bermuda
1612 Church
St Peter's Church - There are just over 100 churches in two dozen denominations on the tiny island of Bermuda. A few of the churches have historical as well as religious significance. The old Devonshire Church was built in 1716 and is still lit by candlelight; the Cathedral of the Most Holy, was built in 1886 by renowned architect William Hay of Edinburgh; and the Unfinished Church (listed above) never held a service. But probably the most significant of them all is St Peter's Church built in 1612 - the oldest church in the western hemisphere.