After our long rumble along the Railway Trail, we were ready for an easier day. We decided to take the ferry over to the Dockyards and explore that area. The sun was out and the journey across the Great Sound offered fabulous views, especially on the approach to the dock.
We hadn’t really done that much research and were just looking for a stroll, and for those who like that sort of walk the Dockyards is a good place to do it. It’s actually not that big of a place, which we discovered after we’d walked around the whole area in under 20 minutes. Since we weren’t in a mood for shopping we took the always prudent option – when in doubt, have lunch. The Frog and Onion pub offered outdoor tables, refreshing locally made ale, and entertainment from some of the feral chickens that roam the island.
After a fish sandwich and a salad, we headed off for another circuit of the town, and since the next ferry wasn’t due for awhile, we took in the National Museum, located in the Dockyards. This encompasses one of the original forts build to defend the Royal Navy base in Bermuda, which the Dockyards served. Within the walls of the fort is the Harbour Master’s House, built in the 1830’s and fully restored in the 1990’s. The views from the wraparound veranda are spectacular.
After that somewhat dutiful nod to history, we took the ferry back and headed home for a quiet evening. The sun had been wonderful but tiring, after our winter hibernation in Toronto.
The next day, recharged, we wanted to explore the North Shore of the island. I also had an ulterior motive for heading north – I had read that one of the best little restaurants in Bermuda was a place called Art Mel’s Spicey Dicey, where they make what is reputedly the best fish sandwich on the island.
While I haven’t sampled enough to know if it really was the best, it was for sure the biggest sandwich I’ve ever eaten – a monster portion of delicious fried fish with chopped salad, tomatoes, and tartar sauce between two thick slices of gently cinnamoned raisin bread – yes, raisin bread. The combination shouldn’t work, but oh boy does it ever. When washed down by Bermuda’s own Barritts Ginger Beer, it’s a meal to keep you going for days.
After that lunch, eaten in the sun sitting on a church wall, we needed to keep walking to burn off the calories. The North Shore is relatively settled and residential compared to some of the beaches on the South Shore, so the walk along the North Shore Road gives you a glimpse into the lives of working Bermudians. Scooters buzz, kids are out playing, washing is flapping on the line, and people are busily making a living while you’re playing the dumb tourist. It’s a great reminder of the privilege that travel represents – not everyone can hop on a plane and swan off for a few days to take a break.
After winding our way to Spanish Point park and then back into Hamilton, our wandering ways were at an end. That North Shore walk was on our second last day, and on our last day I had a vital appointment to keep. My rotisserie baseball league was having its annual draft, and I spent what looked to be a gloriously sunny day sitting inside finalizing my research and chatting with my team partner on our draft picks. Ok, so not a walk, but a journey to greatness we hope. We won the league last year and we’d like to win it again this year.
We finished our trip with a stroll into town for dinner at Portofino. It’s a small place, but big on charm with wonderful staff, very good food, and a good little wine list – everything I like in a restaurant. We stayed till we were the last ones out, and wandered back to the flat along quiet streets accompanied by the now-familiar frog chirp chorus.
A walk in Bermuda became several walks, and each revealed a different aspect of the island – its lovely beaches, the often overlooked parks and trails, the frugal sightseeing ferry rides, the many great restaurants, and most of all the warmth of Bermudians who go out of their way to welcome visitors to their home.