My husband and I went on a lovely week-long trip to St. George in Bermuda.
by notso62 on July 11, 2010
The "Customs House" in St George was once a storage space that was property of the Queen of England. Today, it has been renovated to house a visitor's center that greets guests as soon as they arrive in the port of St. George by boat. If you have taken a cruise ship to the island, you practically trip over this building before you make your way into the town of St. George.Inside the building's plain exterior, one will find historical factoids and attraction information about St. George. The staff here is very friendly and willing to give advice about beaches or attractions you may wish to visit during your stay. They are also good at recommending restaurants and shopping destinations. I was slightly wary of the restaurants and shops that came recommended to us via our cruise ship personnel (since these are essentially paid sponsorship placements), but the staff at the visitors center is an un-biased source of such information. They did not steer us wrong.During our visit, the staff at the visitor's center showed us a fifteen minute video about the attractions and history of St. George which was very informative. They also had brochures and written information about many of the sights that are pictured on the video so you don't have to take too many notes yourself.Since our visit was over two years ago, the customs house was still in the process of being renovated and many of the historical exhibits were not open yet. However, even during the process of renovation I would recommend stopping here for free maps and advice from the friendly staff. There is no fee for entrance into the custom's house and the information within is priceless for making your vacation on St. George a more enjoyable one. I highly recommend stopping by before you explore the island.
After a morning of shopping for knick-knacks in St. George's shopping district, my husband and I stopped into the Carriage House for a mid-afternoon lunch. We had been warned by the cruise ship staff that this particular establishment typically required reservations, but it seemed mostly desolate so we attempted to dine here sans notification. We were not warmly greeted by the hostess once she learned that we did not make prior arrangements for our dining. However, we were quickly seated outside upon our request. It seemed that this restaurant had a certain upscale air that they were trying to preserve even during non-peak hours. I found this attitude to be slightly snooty and off-putting, but none-the-less decided that this was our best bet for a good lunch.Once outside, the vibe of the Carriage House seemed to change. It no longer seemed that you were in an upscale and slightly snooty restaurant, but rather a breezy and casual open patio. The patio was not completely private, so the occasional passer-by would stroll through oblivious to the fact that the signs at the edge of the patio indicated that they should walk around another way.The patio of the Carriage House was very nice with prime waterfront views of St. George's aquamarine water. The waitstaff were very prompt in taking our order, but seemed to forget about us after they initially brought our food to us. After we finished our meal, we actually had to search for our server to have him bring us our check.For lunch, the menu of the Carriage House had a mix of formal entrees and lighter fare. My husband had the fish chowder, which is perhaps on every restaurant menu in Bermuda. He said it was very good and spicy. I had a beautiful fruit salad with yogurt, which was much larger than I was expecting. The menu also contained dishes like prime rib and lamb shanks; perhaps a throwback to British menus of days past.Prices at the Carriage House are expensive, but are in line with what is found on the rest of St George and Bermuda. Formal entrees I recall being priced around $40, while my fruit salad was around $20. It's certainly pricey, but the quality of the food was very good.Aside from the slightly rude reception and service we received at the Carriage House, I would consider eating here again if visiting St George. I would probably make a reservation in the future though to avoid the awkward looks from the staff.
Being people that cannot spend more than an hour or two in the sun at a time, my husband and I are always looking for excursions that are close to the beach that offer some shade during the sun's peak hours. Fort St. Catherine is the perfect example of such a diversion for a beach day spent on St. George in Bermuda. The fort is located on the side of the island that is furthest away from the town--- about a two mile walk from the cruise ship port. The fort is open daily from 10am-4pm; entry is a reasonable $5 per person.Fort St. Catherine is the largest and possibly the most well-known of the old British forts that can be found on Bermuda. It was built in the 1600's and has served in the past to protect Bermuda from attacks from other European countries in colonial times. The outside of the fort can be viewed from Fort St. Catherine's beach (which used to be the private beach for the now-closed Club Med). It is fun to snorkle around the the fort's walls since many colorful tropical fish hide in the fort's underwater crevices. Once inside the forts massive stone walls, guests are welcome to wander around the cannon mounts that are on top level of the fort; or explore the slightly creepy tunnels that connect the fort's inner chambers. The top level of the fort provides wonderful views of the ocean and surrounding beaches. The indoor tunnels are dark and damp, and probably should not be attempted if you are scared of cramped spaces or have trouble with stairs. Some indoor exhibits talk about the fact that the fort is haunted by a resident ghost named "George". Definitely a little spooky, so keep this in mind if you have children in tow. I found the inside of the fort to be a nice break from the hot beach sun.Inside the fort there is also an old artillery magazine which displays antique guns and weapons that were used to defend the fort when it was an active military base. Also inside the museum portion, visitors can view replicas of the crown jewels and other British historical knick-knacks.Tours of the fort are self-guided; the only staff we saw was the person that took our money at the entrance. There were no crowds to speak of at this attraction, however, we were there in the middle of a weekday so perhaps it can get more busy. This was an excellent side-trip to embark upon during our beach day on St. George. It was worth the cost of entry for the excellent photo opportunities alone, never mind that it was a fun way to get out of the sun in the middle of the day.
by notso62 on June 28, 2010
The minute we stepped off the cruise ship in Saint George, my husband and I were on a mission to find some food that didn't come in "buffet" form. The White Horse Pub was perhaps the first eatery that we stumbled upon. It is located on the main pier in Kings Square; a touristy cluster of shops and eateries that is mere steps from where the cruise ships dock.The White Horse Pub is a casual eating establishment that sits directly on the water. The restaurant is decorated with old pub and sports paraphenalia, lending to a very relaxed vibe. The waitstaff was very friendly and we were seated immediately upon telling them we had a reservation (which we were able to arrange through our cruise ship's concierge). We chose to sit outside so we could be entertained during our dinner by the many fish that feed right by the dock that the restaurant sits on. Local children throw bread to the fish which causes quite a commotion as the fish fight over the scraps.The menu of the White Horse Pub had a plethora of casual bar food and seafood specials. Pizza, fries, burgers and the catch-of-the-day can all be found on the menu. They also had several more-elegant sounding entrees (steak and chicken dishes) and local favorites such as the "Bermuda fish chowder" as well. The menu has something for everyone. I ordered the pizza during my visit- it wasn't the best I have had, but it wasn't awful either. The crust was crispy and the ingredients were fresh.The prices at the White Horse pub were a bit expensive, but weren't out of line with the rest of St. George. Appetizers were between $7-$15 and entrees were between $15-$30. Given the casual aptmosphere, I was slightly surprised to see how high the prices were, but once I saw the other island restaurant prices they seemed lee suprising.The White Horse Pub has a full bar and an excellent selection of Bermuda rum drinks and other libations you've probably encountered before. The TV's at the bar happened to be broadcasting the Red Sox game during our visit which made my husband happy.Overall, our time at the White Horse Pub was a favorable one . Aside from the prices, this resaurant didn't have anything negative that detracted from the experience. Friendly service, great convienient location, and descent food make this worth a repeat visit.
by notso62 on January 12, 2009
Finally! We were freed from our floating prison (ie. cruise ship) after two days sailing through treacherous waters from Boston to St. George, Bermuda. I didn’t really care what I did once I got off the boat, I just wanted off the boat! My husband and I packed our towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, and backpacks and headed on our way as soon as the gangplank was down. Having heard from our cruise director that there was a popular beach on the other side of the island (only a mile walk from the cruise ship terminal), we picked up a map from the tourist center and hoofed the most direct route to Tobacco Bay. This route ended up being a road that went straight across the island, but it also ended up leading us up and over a fairly large hill. Good thing there was a snow cone stand at the top of the hill as I was so dehydrated in the humid climate after walking up the incline. Snow cone stands ended up being fairly common throughout Bermuda which was good as I craved at least one-per-day during our stay there. The cones are made with a multitude of flavored syrups (I counted 25 different flavors at one stand we stopped at) and cost about $2, making them one of the cheaper finds on this expensive island.After our brief snow cone stop, my husband and I continued across the island. Countless mopeds and golf carts passed us en route as there were several large golf courses that the road traversed. The old Club Med, now a dilapidated version of its old glory, stands empty on the top of the hill overlooking the beaches and golf courses. Aside from one or two restaurants, this part of Bermuda is otherwise free from commercial buildings.Once we reached Tobacco Bay, we were unpleasantly surprised to see it jam-packed with people and screaming children. If there was any pink sand here, you couldn’t see it since it was so crowded. The water here also seemed more like a pool than an ocean; several rock formations kept the waves from rolling up to the shore and also made the water look dirtier than it did further off-shore. It looked like there was another beach on the other side of Ft. St. Catherine, so I suggested to my husband that we investigate that one since Tobacco Bay was not our scene.The other beach was once the private beach of Club Med, but is now open to the public. It is far more spacious and peaceful than was Tobacco Bay. Also the water here was much clearer- we could see the brightly colored tropical fish swimming by as we waded in the water.The beach stand at the Club Med beach offered casual food and drinks (hotdogs, PB&J, beer, soda) which kept us content throughout our beach-day. Yes, $10 is a bit much to pay for a peanut butter sandwich, but my husband and I didn’t find anything else on Bermuda as delicious for less money.After an enjoyable sunny day, we made our way begrudgingly back to the cruise ship. If only our whole trip was as nice as our lazy, casual day on St. George!
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