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By Editor/Author Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
Part of Hamilton Parish's crest, from that of the 2nd Marquis of Hamilton. His coat of arms, copyrighted by his family, members of which still exist today, is exactly what is shown on Bermuda's Hamilton Parish crest. Used with exclusive permission from the copyright owners. Do not copy.
Book: Bermuda's Architectural Heritage: Hamilton Parish. Diana Chudleigh. 2002, Bermuda National Trust. 4th in its historic buildings book series. 230 pages. Illustrated with B&W photographs. $29.95.
Hamilton Parish was not the original name. It was Harrington Tribe, after and a slight misspelling of Lucy (nee Russell) Harington, or Harrington.. She was born in 1580, the daughter of Sir John Harington of Exton and died in 1627. She spoke French, Italian and Spanish. On December 12, 1594, at the age of nearly 14, she married Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford, then 22. She was a wealthy and influential woman, a major aristocratic patron of the arts and literature in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Some have referred to her as the universal patron of poets. (Part of the Parish and a local Government run school have Harrington in their name. (Another historical narrative shows, wrongly, a point that has never been corrected, that this parish was once called Bedford Tribe, after the Duke of Bedford, her husband. It was never called that).
After the financial misfortunes of herself and her husband came another wealthy aristocratic patron, James Hamilton (1589-1625), 2nd Marquis of Hamilton in the Scottish peerage. He bought out Lucy Harington's interests. The Scottish town of Hamilton, not far from Glasgow, was named after his family's extensive land holdings He was one of the many Scots peers who accompanied King James VI of Scotland and first of England to London when he ascended the throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1603. He was one of the gentlemen Adventurers who invested in the Bermuda Company to colonize it from 1615. As he was the largest shareholder in the original Hamilton Tribe, it took his name and the parish bears his coat of arms of the time. Loyal Hamilton was once proposed as a husband for the King's daughter. In 1620, he became a member of the Council for the Plantations of New England and later was rewarded as a Knight of the Garter. He died of a malignant fever in 1625 and his death is said to have hastened that of his Royal friend.
His son and heir was executed for treason in 1649, his title reverted to his brother William and on his death in 1651, to his eldest surviving daughter Anne, Duchess of Hamilton in her own right.
British Governor William Hamilton, after whom Bermuda's City of Hamilton eight miles away from this parish is named, was related to this Scottish House of Hamilton. There is still a Duke of Hamilton.
Lucy Harington and James, 2nd Marquis of Hamilton
Early settlers called the Parish or Tribe Bailey's Bay. In 1623, adventurer Captain John Smith, famous in American, Bermudian and British history, encountered many spooky caves in this Parish. It is unrelated to the City of Hamilton eight miles away. It is Bermuda's second most eastern Parish, on the North and South Shores. It has deep water limestone caves, with subterranean passages. They have stalactites and stalagmites of Gothic grandeur. They began during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Sites include the Crystal Caves and the Grotto Bay Hotel's Cathedral and Prospero's Caves.
Altogether, there are 10 accessible caves in Bermuda that have sea water pools with a maximum depth of 80 feet given tidal variations. Most are in this Parish
Visitors are asked to respect private property and not to disturb agricultural land. Visiting the cliff face is discouraged, both to protect rare plant life, and because the terrain is steep and the footing is loose. Poison Ivy is common on Abbot's Cliff and along the edges of the footpath.
The site was added to the Bermuda National Parks & Nature Reserves system in the latter part of the year 2000. Abbott is an old Bermudian family name. The park is in two separate areas of land, one of 5.61 hectares (13.86 acres) and the other of 1.77 hectares (4.36 acres), for a total area of 7.38 hectares or 18.22 acres The cliff is reputed to be all that remains of a huge prehistoric cavern. There is a sheer wall of limestone between My Lord's Bay and Church Bay. It includes Abbott's Cliff Road and Abbott's Crescent. The park has splendid walking along unmarked trails and lovely frequent views of Harrington Sound and its islands. Most visitors are unaware of the scenic beauty of Bermuda as it once was on this walk and the great variety of plants they can see. The site remains an important refuge for rare native and endemic plants that have disappeared from other parts of Bermuda. Rare species found here include the Toothed Spleenwort, Bermuda Bedstraw, Snowberry and Wild Bermuda Pepper.
40 North Shore Road, Flatts FL 04. Phone (441) 293-2727. A major Bermuda attraction, suitable for all the family. Next to Flatts Bridge, where the Atlantic Ocean flows into First Flatts Inlet and then the inland Harrington Sound lake. It dates back to the first decade of the 20th century when scientists from distinguished American universities set up a summer camp to carry out oceanographic research at Bermuda. A local sister organization known as the Bermuda Natural History Society, established in 1901, provided a year-round aquarium for the scientists. It began at Agar's Island (see Bermuda Islands) and moved from Agar's Island to its present location in 1926 when the two groups split.
Today, The Aquarium, Museum and Zoo have fascinating displays of animal, aquatic and marine life and natural history. The Aquarium alone, pictured above, is superb. You could easily spend the best part of a day here, whether you arrive by air or cruise ship. An admission fee applies.
Bermuda sea shells. The largest and most complete collection of Bermuda shells to be found anywhere in the world was donated in October 2001 to the Natural History Museum at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. They were collected by retired Bermuda banker Jack Lightbourn and his late colleague and friend Arthur Guest since 1965. There are about 7,700 species in all.
The Bermuda Railway once passed over these remnants of a Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, bridge
One of the magnificent views from the Hamilton Parish part of the Railway Trail. Photo by author Keith A. Forbes, solely for Bermuda Online
Follow the coastline to your right. See caves with their access almost completely hidden. Some have deep water pools. Further south, the park merges with the large Walsingham Trust property (private, locally owned, but free entry, known as the Walsingham Nature Reserve, the center of which is Tom Moore's Tavern in that part of the Reserve known as Tom Moore's Jungle. It connects to Blue Hole Park through a woodland trail leading under bush archways.
The latter, not really a jungle, more of a large and largely-untamed property (open sunrise to sunset daily, admission free), is technically owned by a private family trust but is open to the public. It encompasses coast and forested land from Blue Hole Park to Tom Moore’s Jungle (as Walsingham Nature Reserve is more frequently called).
Tom Moore’s Jungle (accessed from Walsingham Lane, off Harrington Sound Rd.) is a natural mix of Bermuda cherry (hugely different from cherries of the UK, Europe, etc) tree forests, crystalline caves, and mangroves surrounding Tom Moore’s Tavern, a four-star restaurant housed in a 1652 waterfront inn. Both the tavern and jungle take the name of Dublin-born (then part of Great Britain so he was officially British, not Irish) Thomas Moore, an Irish poet–bon vivant, so hugely respected and venerated in the Republic of Ireland that there are gardens and numerous songs (as merely one example, the Last Rose of Summer) named after him. His romantic local verse early in his adult life during his brief stay (January to April 1804, during which time he was swindled, made to pay for another's wrongdoing, went back to the UK and later bitterly regretted ever having set foot in Bermuda) as an Admiralty (Royal Navy) court official registrar has perpetuated his name in local legend, if not fact. The Irish themselves never refer to him as Tom, always more respectfully as Thomas. Bermuda’s most famous tree, a calabash, is located here. Moore made it famous, using it's shade to compose his poems. From this fame, on November 4, 1844, members-to-be of what became the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club held their first meeting here.
Highlights of the area are swimming grottoes, fed via subterranean tunnels by the tides of Castle Harbour. Fish can often be seen in the turquoise water. The Castle Harbor coastline here is also perfect for snorkeling; the shallow bays and mangroves invite hours of exploration. Bird-watchers will enjoy spotting not only the many herons that stalk crabs on the shore, but finches, cardinals, and doves. Caves honeycomb the woodlands. Part of this chunk of land is the 1.25-acre Idwal Hughes Nature Reserve, named for the Welsh-born senior civil servant and Public Works Director and architect who came to Bermuda, married an American lady and subsequently had Bermudian children). It is owned by the Bermuda National Trust and contains indigenous palmettos and cedars, along with unique geological formations.
The region is also riddled with underwater caves, including the most famous, Crystal and Fantasy Caves, open to the public on payment of fees. Bermuda’s oldest rock, a very hard limestone estimated to be 800,000 years old, can be found at the surface in the Walsingham area.
This exquisite large harbor is one of Bermuda's maritime gems. See it from an excursion boat from the Grotto Bay Hotel. It is the magnificent waterfront and beach areas for much of both this Hamilton Parish and St. George's Parish. At one time, until the waters silted up too much, it was where the Royal Navy moored its vessels in Bermuda waters. A resident Admiral had his residence overlooking the harbor. There are many islands and beach areas.
Castle Harbour has had a once-brilliant, then-somewhat sad hotel history. The first hotel here, which lasted until the 1990s, was the exquisite old Castle Harbour Hotel, then one of the finest in the world. It was built in 1931 by the British shipping company Furness Withy, which from the 1920s until the 1950s had extensive business interests in Bermuda including this original hotel, also the Belmont Manor Hotel in Warwick Parish and two beautiful cruise ships the Queen of Bermuda and Ocean Monarch, both of which served Bermuda for generations until the late 1960s. But the original hotel development came at a huge cost to the environment. Before construction started in the 1930s, magnificent Church Cave and Bitumen Cave were at the entrance of the development. Church Cave was noted for having one of the largest underground lakes in Bermuda. During much World War 2, the Castle Harbour Hotel was closed to guests. When American troops were billeted in Bermuda, many stayed at the hotel until their US Army Air Force Base on St. David's Island a few miles away was built by American taxpayers. Some time after World War 2, Bermuda Properties Limited - which still owns the site - bought it from Furness Withy. But it continued as the Castle Harbour Hotel for many years afterwards.
In the 1980s, the Marriott Hotel corporation acquired the hotel above, completed in 1931/1932 - but not the land - and saved but renamed the Castle Harbour Hotel. It became the much-changed in places Marriott's Castle Harbour Hotel.
Later, Marriott's saved the old hotel, but added an unusual new development on the Castle Harbour side of it (as the photos above show). Millions of Marriott dollars were poured into it annually for years. Marriott's finally ceased its lease after incurring huge annual losses no longer allowed to be borne by American taxpayers and the hotel was closed in November 1999.
The old hotel and Marriott additions were later torn down by Bermuda Properties Ltd and rebuilt as the Rosewood-managed Tucker's Point Hotel and Club (see photo immediately above and Bermuda Hotels), with expensive villas and condos as new attractions for the wealthy. It was ceremoniously declared open on April 17, 2009 by film stars Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, both of whom then lived in Bermuda. Luxury homes and luxury town houses are on top of Ship's Hill, almost directly above Church Cave.
Hamilton Parish Side. The Causeway itself is not merely a bridge as often assumed by visitors. It spans Castle Harbor as a series of flat and arch spans. It is the narrow, man-made strip of land linking Hamilton Parish with St. George's Parish. It was first built in 1864 by the Bermuda Government, rebuilt in 1871 after the first hurricane and originally stretched from Blue Hole Hill to and through Long Bird Island. It is the only link between St. George's, the Airport and the rest of the Island. .
At one point it linked up with the old Swing Bridge to St. George’s. When construction began at the US military base Kindley in 1941, part of Long Bird Island was demolished, and the passageway between the islands filled with dredged material to create the airfield. It has been rebuilt several times again because of hurricane damage.
Longbird Bridge is at the airport end of the causeway and is so-called because it was part of Longbird Island until 1942. Where the nearby airport and adjacent area is now was was once a line of islands, Jones', 2.5 acres; Little Round, Long Cay, Round and Sandy. Long Bird Island, once 62 acres, was the biggest of these islands. This bridge, the smaller of two swing bridges in the area, is a two-span steel girder with an open grating traffic deck. In its closed position, it lets traffic pass over it and is supported at the east and west abutments and at the pivot pier immediately under the control house. When the bridge is opened to allow the passage of boats, all road traffic stops on either side of the bridge and the east and west supports are withdrawn. In this position, the bridge becomes a balanced cantilever supported only on roller wheels on the pivot pier. It can then be rotated by hydraulic rams to its open position. In this condition, balance is provided by a concrete counterweight on the bobtail span and the bridge cannot carry traffic.
2017. December 8. British firm Ramboll will be paid $400,000 to design the replacements for Longbird Bridge and Swing Bridge, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said today. The public works minister revealed both bridges have a lifespan until 2021, and that he expects Ramboll’s study to be completed by January so that rebuilding can begin. Colonel Burch also assured MPs that the Causeway is sound, adding: “There is no structural or economical argument to support the construction of a new Causeway.” Swing Bridge, the gateway to St George’s built in the 1960s, has fallen into disrepair in recent years and no longer opens to shipping. Longbird Bridge, a 60-metre twin carriageway bridge at the east end of the Causeway, was built in the 1950s. It closed to traffic ten years ago, when it was bypassed with twin Bailey Bridge structures. Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly: “Over the past decade, there has been an increased awareness of the significance of bridges to our nation’s economy and the safety of the traveling public. At all levels of government, a concerted effort has been made to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges that require significant maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement. Corrosion is a serious threat to the long-term function and integrity of a steel bridge. This is true for all bridges, but it is more serious in Bermuda where salt water and warm weather are the perfect storm to accelerate corrosion on a steel structure.” Colonel Burch said the typical lifespan is 50 years for bridges such as Swing and Longbird. He said: “Our latest studies on the Swing Bridge show that this bridge will have to be replaced within five years. The work completed earlier this year will allow us to extend its lifespan until 2021, but it is time to rebuild this essential piece of infrastructure.” He said of Longbird Bridge: “It was condemned several years ago. Two single spans of Bailey bridge were erected to accommodate traffic as a temporary solution. This temporary solution was put in place in 2007. Accelerated corrosion on these bridges forced us to change deck plates earlier this year. In ordinary climate conditions, these plates should last 25 years, but in Bermuda they lasted only ten years. This bridge is safe, but its lifespan is similar to that of the Swing Bridge.” He said of the Causeway: “Several inspections were performed on the Causeway and various scenarios were also looked at to see what would be the best improvement, for both safety and investment for the taxpayer. The Causeway is an old structure, but I am pleased to advise that the Causeway is sound.” Colonel Burch said the design contract was tendered in February this year. He described Ramboll as an award-winning, experienced engineering company which has completed many successful bridge projects around the world. He said with modern technology the target lifespan of the new bridges will be 100 years. Colonel Burch added that Ricardo Graham-Ward, a young Bermudian engineering trainee, will undergo a six-month secondment with Ramboll as part of the contract. He said: “This secondment will allow this young Bermudian civil engineer the opportunity to work on this project at the very beginning and be trained by the best moveable bridge engineers in the world. I am certain this attachment will provide him with invaluable training and experience that would otherwise not be available to us.”
2017. December 5. Replacements for Swing Bridge (St. George's) and Longbird Bridge are in the pipeline after a contract for design work was handed to a British team. Both of the East End structures have suffered major deterioration in recent years, and Swing Bridge was subject to emergency repair work under the One Bermuda Alliance government. A press release from British firm Double Unit announced a contract for full design services has been awarded to lead consultant Ramboll, Knight Architects and Eadon Consulting after an international tender. The two bridges form a critical link in the infrastructure of Bermuda, connecting LF Wade International Airport with Hamilton to the west and the Town of St George to the east. Longbird Bridge was originally constructed in the 1950s as a 60 metres-long twin carriageway steel swing bridge at the east end of the Causeway connecting the island with the airport. However, the bridge closed to traffic ten years ago and was temporarily bypassed with twin Bailey Bridge structures. Swing Bridge spans 120 metres across Ferry Reach, linking St George’s Harbour with the west of the island, and is a critical link for both vehicular and marine traffic. The 1960s swing bridge has received extensive refurbishment and remains open to vehicles but no longer opens to shipping. According to the press release, the design team will undertake studies to determine the most appropriate solutions for the new bridges, including fixed and moveable structures. It added that robustness and durability are key factors as both existing bridges have suffered accelerated deterioration in the tropical climate, which is particularly aggressive to steel structures. In addition, the structures and their mechanisms must be designed to withstand the hurricane-force winds that Bermuda periodically suffers. The design team have collaborated on many bridge projects and between them are responsible for award-winning moveable structures, including the Twin Sails Bridge, Poole (Britain), Gateshead Millennium Bridge (Britain), Lower Hatea Crossing (New Zealand) and Merchant Square Bridge (Britain). Commenting on the appointment, Peter Curran, bridges director at Ramboll, said: “We are all delighted to be working on such an exciting project with the Government of Bermuda. We look forward to collaborating to deliver a strong and lasting landmark for the island, one which inspires, connects and can endure the heavy weather conditions that Bermuda has previously suffered.” Martin Knight, director at Knight Architects, said: “Bermuda is a beautiful and inspiring location for any designer, and it is clear how important these connections are in the everyday life in the island. These bridges are also the entry point for countless tourists every year and they offer an opportunity for gateway structures which reflect the culture and identity of a truly unique place.” Work on the project will start immediately.
Bumping over the old barge bridge became a thing of the past in late 1952 when Kindley AFB's new Long Bird Bridge. built by the US Military, was officially opened. (Technically, at that time, it was part of what had been since 1941 the leased Kindley Air Force Base of the US Army Air Corps, later the USAF).
53 years old in 2003, its lifespan of 50 years was almost over.
The Bermuda Government announced in July 2000 plans to replace the bridge with a fixed-span overpass giving clearance of between 30 and 40 feet to marine traffic passing below it but this was done. Instead, repairs in 2001 extended its life. Engineers ere not in favor of replacing the bridge with a new swing bridge because the more moving parts there are, the more likely it is that corrosion and breakages will occur, especially in an exposed location.
Photo by Keith A. Forbes
In 2002, the US Government, in lieu of all other Bermudian claims that the USA caused serious environmental damage at the former US Naval Air Station nearby and Naval Annex in Southampton Parish, gave the Bermuda Government US$11 million, equivalent to the replacement cost of Longbird Bridge.
Some re-construction in mid-2003 reinforced the flat spans, casting them as arches. Only one lane was open to traffic until completion in August 2003. The construction caused long, tiresome delays, made worse by timed traffic lights which mopeds and scooters use illegally by going in front, much to the annoyance of persons in cars, trucks and taxis.
It was damaged extensively with a death involved, during Hurricane Fabian of September 2003. On Friday January 26, 2007, it was closed for four hours, nearly 500 people went without power and hundreds of schoolchildren and workers were sent home as hurricane force winds battered Bermuda. With gusting winds hitting 75 knots, flights from Bermuda International Airport and ferry services were also cancelled. Public Safety Minister David Burch shut the Causeway at 1.30 p.m. for safety reasons, with sustained winds at 45 knots. It remained shut until winds dropped at about 5.30 p.m., leading to scores of frustrated motorists in lengthy tailbacks. All Government schools were closed at lunchtime after power outages at five schools across the country, with a number of private schools following suit. In the afternoon, a Continental flight from Newark was delayed, while JetBlue and Delta’s Atlanta flights were cancelled because the closure of the Causeway meant people could not reach the airport. People called the Government to complain about the closure of the Causeway, but it was done for public safety. Government had set guidelines to shut it in strong winds in the light of Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Following Fabian, the Government took the stance that when wind speeds rose above 45 knots the Causeway would be closed to vehicular traffic.
In mid 2007, work began on replacement bridge being erected alongside the original. Traffic was restricted to one-lane traffic for almost two months after it was deemed unsafe due to storm damage. The intention is for the replacement bridge to ease traffic, while a five-year programme of maintenance work is carried out by the Ministry of Works and Engineering.
On February 23, 2009 it was announced the new Causeway will cost up to $90 million but most of this will be funded by private developers. Government will push ahead with a replacement bridge, and will seek a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to pay for it. Geotechnical investigations obtain information on the physical properties of soil and rock around a site prior to designing structure foundations. Engineers will carry out the study in order to identify where the bridge footings will be located. Construction of the new causeway could take up to three years. The start date for construction is currently under review.
The initial design was a high level concrete bridge without an opening span to be built on a curved alignment to the south but close to the existing Causeway. Halcrow Group Limited of the UK has been contracted to undertake the feasibility study and the architects are currently Dissing and Weitling. The Ministry of Works and Engineering is currently undertaking a feasibility study to determine the suitability of PPP for the procurement of a New Crossing, Castle Harbour." A Public Private Partnership is an agreement with developers, investors, construction companies and other service providers to finance, build and operate assets such as highways, hospitals, schools and power plants in a long term funding contract. Government began public consultation and a feasibility study into the New Crossing in 2006.
Situated in the grounds of the Grotto Bay Hotel. Well worth seeing, especially for those not familiar with caves systems. Bermuda's caves are unique. Featured on a 2002 $1 Bermuda postage stamp. Believed to be connected underwater with Prospero's Cave.
Wilkinson Avenue, Hamilton Parish. A lovely historic Bermuda manor house property built in 1907 in the colonial architecture style. Its features include traditional Bermuda architecture such as a cedar staircase in the front hall. One of its early inhabitants was William Wilkinson, a crew member on-board the Eliza Barss (thus later, in the 1950s, the name of a Bermuda grocery store) that sailed from New York delivering cattle to British soldiers in Bermuda. Mr Wilkinson later became an American citizen and joined the US Coast Guard. On February 2, 2018 the United States government bought the property which had earlier served as the official home for the Consul General. The US had leased Cedarhurst for the past nine years. Consul General Mary Ellen Koenig said: “I am delighted that this gracious and lovely Bermuda home will serve as the permanent residence for future Consuls General. Cedarhurst has served the US Government well over the past nine years.” Cedarhurst was secured under a trust before its purchase this week by the US.
Cedarhurst, see above.
Bermuda’s shoreline was once dotted with man-made fish ponds that were used for centuries as a simple larder to store fish and turtles — but faded from use with the advent of refrigeration. The three Crawl areas here in Hamilton Parish - with Crawl the name of the area in which each are located - all take their name from the storage ponds of that name, similar to the word “corral” as a pen for livestock. Now, they are largely forgotten. These storage ponds were a distinctively local innovation. Bermuda is the only place where they were widely used — other than Hawaii, where a similar geology of limestone on top of volcanic rock is found.
8 Crystal Caves Road, off Wilkinson Avenue, Bailey's Bay, CR 04. Phone (441) 293-0640. Fax (441) 293-7334. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bus routes 1, 3, 10 and 11 stop nearby, at the Swizzle Inn. For moped users, there is free parking. Open daily, 9 am to 5 pm, last tour 4:30 pm. Reservations not required. The property is owned by the local Wilkinson Trust. If you are disabled or a member of your party is, or have limited mobility and encounter difficulty with slopes or steps, telephone or email to ask if the facilities/galleries can be accessed. Admission per adult can be for one or two caves (both are quite different in many respects and both should be viewed), less for children. One of Bermuda's outstanding scenic attractions. With beautiful examples of Mother Nature's underground architecture over millions of years. Bring a light sweater to wear in the cave. It was first discovered in 1904 by Carl Gibbons and Edgar Hollis, two local boys searching for a lost soccer ball and opened to the public three years later. Ever since then they have been tourist attractions, with Crystal Cave featured on a 2002 70-cent Bermuda postage stamp. See stalactites, stalagmites, ice soda straws, helectite formations and crystal clear deep pools. There are underground passages galore, most too narrow to allow inexpert access. Over a single period of one hundred years, only one cubic inch of a formation in this magnificent Gothic Palace of columns is created from the microscopic particles of limestone suspended in the relentless drips of water. Bermuda’s caves are home to about 60 native and indigenous marine invertebrates, ranging in size from large shrimp to microscopic organisms, with some species found only in a single cave. Here, the water is 55 feet deep yet so clear the bottom can be easily seen. Mark Twain, who visited Bermuda repeatedly, visited here shortly before he died and loved it. In the 1950s, boys from what was then the local Boy Scout Cub Walsingham pack used to come down here regularly and swim, under supervision. Cavers galore internationally have explored this unique cave, the waters of which have not yet been completely explored and mapped for all to see. Only registered cavers are allowed to go below-ground, with permission obtained well in advance from the Wilkinson Trust.
Crystal Caves, Bermuda. Photo: Bermuda Tourism
Crystal Caves, Royal Gazette photo
Fantasy Cave. Wilkinson Avenue, opposite the Crystal Cave. Buses 1, 3, 10 and 11 stop nearby. Also owned by the Wilkinson Trust. It was discovered in 1907 by Arthur E. Haycock and opened to the public as Wonderland Cave, but was closed in 1931. It re-opened on July 30, 2001 after some delays, as Fantasy Cave, re-developed and illuminated. It is featured on a 2002 35-cent Bermuda postage stamp. It is gorgeous, smaller than the Crystal Cave but with something quite different to see.
A 3.5 acre plot by Shelly Bay Park. It once had an inland tidal pond, thus the name, but this was filled in with sand from the dredging of Flatt's Inlet in the 1920s and 1941. Buy Back Bermuda (BBB) has been appealing for donations for its campaign to preserve this property for future generations. Campaigners from the Bermuda National Trust and Bermuda Audubon Society are involved.
2018. April 13. A plan to restore a pond filled in more than 75 years ago has been given the green light. The Development Applications Board backed a plan by Buy Back Bermuda to restore Eve’s Pond in Hamilton Parish as part of a nature reserve. Andrew Dobson, president of the Bermuda Audubon Society, said the organisation is happy that work could soon be under way. He said: “We really look forward to providing the public with another nature reserve that everyone can enjoy.” Mr Dobson added: “The plan is to create a brackish pond to provide a habitat for migratory ducks and other wetland bird species. Invasive plant species will be cleared, and the sand removed will be used to build an embankment along North Shore Road. This embankment will be planted with native and endemic plants. Just like our Buy Back reserves in Southampton and Somerset, there will be a nature trail with interpretive signage as well as an observation platform.” Eve’s Pond was a tidal, saltwater pond in Hamilton Parish until 1941, when it was filled with sand dredged from Flatts Inlet. The property on North Shore Road was bought by Buy Back Bermuda, which was launched by the Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust. The original pond was about 50 metres wide and 100 metres long and was linked to Harrington Sound by the Green Bay cave system. The new pond will not connect to the caves in a bid to prevent further damage to the system.
2017. April 6. Hidden beneath the grass, soil and layers of sand dredged from the Flatts Inlet lies the remnants of Eve’s Pond. The Hamilton Parish pond was filled in the 1920s with dredged material that was pumped to the site by pipeline and few of the residents living in the surrounding Blink Bonny Estate neighborhood would have any idea it ever existed. But after years of research and preparatory work, David Wingate and a team of conservationists are looking to restore the old pond site back to its former glory as a haven for birds and other wildlife. Dr Wingate, who has been involved in nine pond restoration projects in the past half-century, told The Royal Gazette that he hoped the Buy Back Bermuda scheme would be submitting plans in the coming weeks. “No one would have known this pond ever existed if you were to look at it today,” he said. “It was a tidal pond that rose and fell with the tide through a cave system that came out in Harrington Sound.” The land where the pond once stood was donated to the National Trust and the Audubon Society as part of the Buy Back Bermuda scheme in 2013. But an additional hillside lot behind the pond had to be purchased in order to make the reserve large enough to incorporate an interpretative nature trail. Over the last few years extensive research has been done on the cave system leading to Eve’s Pond to ensure any restoration project would cause no damage. “The cave system leading to the Eve’s Pond site is the longest cave that has been mapped in Bermuda so it’s obviously important that we look after that,” Mr Wingate said. “We had a team of specialists in about two years ago who used state-of-the-art equipment to detect voids under the surface so we can map exactly what we will come across during the restoration. It has been a slow process and we will have to raise more funds to get the job done, but we are ready to push ahead with this project and will be submitting plans to the planning department for approval soon.”
Flatt's Inlet, from Flatt's Bridge
Photo by author
Photos by author
Midway between the City of Hamilton and Town of St. George, on the North Shore Road, after passing over Flatt's Bridge, see above top photo, going east. Route 10 and 11 buses stop in and near the village. It is a magnificent lagoon, the only one of its type in Bermuda. View it best from the dock opposite the Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo. Face south for a view of Flatts Inlet, or north for Harrington Sound. Under Flatts bridge, the water either surges into Harrington Sound from the Atlantic via Flatts Inlet, or flows out in the reverse direction. Flatts Bridge was built between 1871 and 1877, deliberately as a fixed structure not able to be raised or lowered to allow larger vessels to pass though because the days when such large sailing vessels used Harrington Sound for cargo or passengers or both had long gone. The days of Flatts as an independent part were a thing of the past. Today, the bridge, next door to the Bermuda Aquarium and Museum, is part of the main North Shore road linking Flatts with St. George's to the east and Somerset to the west. Often, see fish or squid flowing with the tide. People gazing at the tide rushing under Flatts Bridge are only partly correct in thinking this is how Harrington Sound to the north of the bridge fills and empties. The racing current is just a fraction of the daily ebb and flow. Most of it slides silently through hidden caves and tunnels. There is a vast underground labyrinth of them stretching the length of the Parish and from coast to coast in the Parish. Most of the network is entirely under water. Under water caves look exactly like above-water caves. The Bermuda Cave Diving Association has lines connecting them.
Four Photographs above by author Keith A. Forbes. Experienced cave divers, local or visiting, can find out more. Elsewhere in the village, major wharf improvements have occured, complete with construction of a sidewalk, lamp posts, a grounded seat wall and two steps separating the sidewalk and the dock. On a Saturday every October, the Flatts Festival takes place here, with traffic banned, with artists and other attractions. The attractive condominiums on the south side of Flatts Inlet are St. James's Court built by insurance firm Liberty Mutual, of Boston, Massachusetts. Flatt's Village has lovely (expensive) condominiums, guest accommodations, restaurants, small shops and docking. It was once the haunt of smugglers. For people who arrive by bus, it is an attractive village. But for those who come by moped or scooter or car - and the elderly or disabled - the road is narrow, there is still no sidewalk or pavement through the village itself, traffic is usually heavy and there is no parking.
Flatts in 1930s then with Frascati Hotel (became the Coral Island Hotel, later demolished for condominiums). Photo taken in 1952.
See under Accommodation - Hotels
Appointed under the Parish Councils Act 1971. See under "Parish Councils" in Bermuda Government Boards. Appointees are political and meetings are not open to the public, unlike in the United Kingdom, Canada and USA where parish or community councils always are.
The Hamilton Parish coastline and points of interest of this large inland lake (see photo by the author) are lovely. The Sound was named after Lucy Harrington, a wealthy and influential women in the Elizabethan era who did so much for the Parish.
In its own way, Harrington Sound is as glorious as the lakes of New Hampshire, Maine, and the Lake District of England, for fishing, swimming, sunfish sailing, kayaking. It is not the crater of an extinct volcano as often assumed. Its islands include Hall's Island, Rabbit Island and Trunk Island. Some are inhabited year round. View its many facets from the Harrington Sound Road. There are lots of bays, caves, cliffs and coves, but not many beaches. Harrington Sound marks the lowest point on the Bermuda sea platform. It is quite deep, about 23 meters (about 70 feet) at Devil's Hole. Its geological formation is not yet fully explained. Under Flatts bridge, the water either surges into Harrington Sound from the Atlantic via Flatts Inlet, or flows out in the reverse direction. Flatts Bridge was built between 1871 and 1877, deliberately as a fixed structure not able to be raised or lowered to allow larger vessels to pass though because the days when such large sailing vessels used Harrington Sound for cargo or passengers or both had long gone. The days of Flatts as an independent part were a thing of the past. Today, the bridge, next door to the Bermuda Aquarium and Museum, is part of the main North Shore road linking Flatts with St. George's to the east and Somerset to the west.
2017. July 21. The sale of the Harrington Sound Post Office has been completed. The post office was closed in November 2014 and the property was formally put up for sale in May 2015. It was sold for $700,000, according to the Ministry of Public Works.
2016. June 17. The former post office at Harrington Sound has been approved for sale at $700,000 by the House of Assembly. Public works minister Craig Cannonier told MPs this afternoon that marketing of the 0.2-hectare site with its 864-square foot main building was begun on May 11 last year, and closed six weeks later. The Government expects to raise $10 million from the sale of 30 properties over the next three years. Eight government properties have been identified for this fiscal year. Speaking for the Progressive Labour Party, MP Dennis Lister said the Opposition had no problem with the sale of government lands, noting that the minister had informed him that a stretch of roadside land had been retained from the property in the event that a sidewalk might be needed in the future.
2016. May 30. The former Harrington Sound Post Office could be sold for $700,000, according to a draft Sale and Purchase Agreement. The document, tabled in the House of Assembly last Friday, lists the potential buyer as Frank Martin Pollard. In addition to the Hamilton Parish property itself, the buyer would obtain the former post office building, which is described as: “part single/part two-storey, consisting internally of an open space, a kitchenette, toilet and a secure store room to the rear of the main building. At a lower level is another toilet and a detached store.” The draft documents call for $70,000 deposit for the land purchase. The post office was closed in November 2014 and the property was formally put up for sale last May. Craig Cannonier, the Minister of Public Works, noted that the sale of Harrington Sound Post Office was the pilot phase of the policy of selling off surplus government land.
This is the third oldest of the Anglican Parish churches in Bermuda, dating back to 1623.
The tower and spire were added in the 1890's, gifts of Bermudian William D. Wilkinson, who studied architecture in Toronto, Canada.
The bell in the tower was from the foundry of Mencely & Co. of West Troy, New York.
Weighing more than 1, 211 pounds, it was placed in memory of the Reverend Alexander Ewing, Rector of the Parish from 1791 to 1817.
The graveyard overlooking the water is tranquil.
You can easily swim to this island and enjoy its low-tide beaches shown, from Bailey's Bay mentioned above.
December 14. Artex employees and their family members helped remove invasive Brazilian pepper trees from Trunk Island. The island in Harrington Sound, owned by the Bermuda Zoological Society, is used for overnight camps, educational workshops and nature encounters. Last week, a team of 17 people from Artex culled and removed the invasive trees to help restore of the island to its native habitat. Colin Brown, president of the BZS, said: “Thank you to the team from Artex for all their hard work during their corporate day of giving out on Trunk Island. It is with this kind of support that we can continue to work towards our goal of returning the island to its native and endemic state, in order to preserve it for future generations.” Robert Eastham, managing director of Artex in Bermuda, said: “Artex has been part of the Bermuda community for 20 years and we’re proud to support its continual development. The conservation of our island and the ability to teach both children and adults to understand and respect what makes us unique is a privilege. We’re so happy that we have the chance to give back to our local community.” For more information about Trunk Island, visit www.bamz.org/community/trunk-island.
See St. George's Parish. It goes over the water, part of Castle Harbour, from Hamilton Parish to St. George's Parish
2018. September 25. New designs for Longbird and Swing Bridges will be unveiled tomorrow. The Ministry of Public Works described the designs as “unique landmark structures which will reflect Bermuda’s welcoming culture”. They will on display at an information session at Penno’s Wharf, St George’s, from 6pm. British firm Ramboll is being paid $400,000 to design the replacements for the two bridges which are both expected to reach the end of their useful life in 2021. Swing Bridge, linking St David’s to St George’s, was built in the 1960s and has fallen into disrepair in recent years. The bridge no longer opens for passing boats. Longbird Bridge, a 60-metre twin-carriageway bridge at the eastern end of the Causeway, was built in the 1950s. It closed to traffic ten years ago when it was bypassed with twin Bailey bridges.
21 rooms and suites. 1 Mid Ocean Drive, Tucker's Town, Hamilton Parish. Or by airmail at P. O. Box HM 1728, Hamilton HM GX. Telephone: (441) 293-0330. Fax: (441) 293-8837. Cottage colony and Private club. Must be a member or referred by one to stay. For the affluent. 2011 room rates April through November per night are, for a member, single from $310, double from $320; non-member single from $360, double from $370. This property was one of those begun by the British shipping organization Furness Withy in the 1920s that really began Bermuda's climb in tourism. On a 640-acre estate in the most exclusive area of Bermuda, with numerous beautiful residences and 3 large private beach areas, unique features of which are natural arches, plus coves on the estate, accessible by a private road to the Tucker's Town peninsula usable only by Club members. The world-famous Mid Ocean 18-hole golf course was first laid out by Charles Blair MacDonald, who created what became the National Golf Course in the USA. It is often ranked as one of the 10 best golf curses in the world. There are also 2 tennis courts and a tennis pro. With fine dining in its own restaurant, plus a Beach Cafe. It has received the Bermuda Government's Tourism Longtail Merit Award. On bus route # 1.
Photo: Bermuda Tourism
Photo: Bermuda Tourism
1 Mid Ocean Drive, Hamilton Parish (East End). Phone (441) 293-0330. Fax (441) 293-8837. Designed originally by Charles Blair MacDonald to fit into the natural terrain. It was a par-71 layout, over 600 acres of rolling countryside, 6,519 yards from the back tees. MacDonald won the first US Amateur Golf Championship in 1895 and later designed the National Golf Course in the USA. The course first opened in 1922. Ralph A. Kennedy of Mamaroneck, NY, regarded at the time as the "Dr. Livingstone of Golf," rated it one of the five best courses in the world in the 1920s. In recent years it was once ranked 45th by Golf Digest for courses outside the USA. Bermuda's number one private course. It was revised in 1953 by international golf course architect Robert Trent Jones. US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have played here, as well as the Duke of Windsor in 1940, British Prime Ministers Sir Winston Churchill, Harold MacMillan and Edward Heath. Golf professionals Robert Jones, Sam Sneed and many other celebrities also have golfed here. When Babe Ruth, normally as good with a club as he was with a bat, played the 433-yard fifth, known as the "Cape," he knocked eleven straight balls into Mangrove Lake before finally driving one over the hazard. In the 1990s this course hosted the Merrill Lynch Classic and later the Gillette Classic. The first three holes run parallel to the ocean. All the greens were re-built in 2002. A private club, an introduction is needed from a member, or try an hotel's Social Desk or cruise ship's Shore Excursion office.
For visitors who arrive at the airport on one of the commercial airlines or cruise ships, the closest cruise ship berth is Town of St. George, about 5 miles away to the south west. If you bring your own clubs, you won't be able to go by public transportation (bus). Instead, take a taxi. If without clubs, take the # 1 bus to property and walk. Check rates directly with course depending on time of day and time of year. Private but will accept some off-the-street golfers by prior appointment if referred by a member. Ask about playability on the day you have in mind.
Close to Harrington Sound, with its center near the junction with Harrington Sound Road and Wilkinson Avenue. A large network of underwater and below-ground caves, some isolated, others part of smaller networks. It includes Crystal Cave and Fantasy Cave, referred to earlier.
Featured on a 2002 80-cent Bermuda postage stamp. It is situated in the grounds of the Grotto Bay Hotel. It is reputed to have been discovered in 1609 by Admiral Sir George Somers. Prospero is a character from "The Tempest" of 1610 by Shakespeare, the true-life details of which are believed to have occured in Bermuda, not a mythical Italian island.
See by name and Parish in Bermuda Cuisine.
Photo: Bermuda Tourism
60 Tucker's Point Drive, Hamilton Parish HS 02. Phone (441) 298-4000. Email Tuckerspoint@rosewoodhotels.com. Mailing address P. O. Box HS 85, Harrington Sound, Hamilton Parish, HS BX, Bermuda. Overlooking Castle Harbour. Newest hotel. So-called because it is professionally managed (but not owned) by the Rosewood corporation of Texas. Opened April 17, 2009. On 200 acres of waterfront. It is in the exclusive and private residential area of Bermuda known as Tucker's Town. A resurrection, reconstruction and reconstitution of the Castle Harbour Hotel, which opened in 1931 and closed in 1999, under a new name after the latter's demolition. The Castle Harbour Hotel was a landmark first planned by the British Furness Withy shipping organization in 1923 and first opened on November 1, 1932. Furness Withy built both the original Castle Harbour Hotel and the Mid Ocean Club. After World War 2 Furness Withy of the UK lost interest. The property and extensive land were bought by Bermuda-based Bermuda Properties Ltd (BPL), originally headed and owned by Juan Trippe. He was the founder of the original Pan American World Airways. It was a direct result of his interest in Bermuda after Pan American flew between Bermuda and New York from 1937. His son, Ed Trippe, now has control.
The new (since 2009) $350 million, 200-acre development includes town homes, villas, two swimming pools, a golf course, beach and tennis club and more. The boutique hotel, designed to five-star standards, also offers a conference venue for Bermuda's established international business community. The centre piece is the Manor House, perched above Castle Harbour. Each of its rooms is decorated in a classic British style of artwork and furnishings, while the bathrooms feature deep soaking tubs, as well as expansive balconies and terraces with water views. The suites come complete with bars with ice makers and fireplaces, while the rooms are fitted with Wi-fi, VOIP telephony and IP-TV. The Palm Court, which is lined with palm trees, leads from a croquet lawn to a horizon pool overlooking a lush grotto and Harrington Sound. The spa has 10 tranquil treatment rooms and a Silver Tag hydrotherapy suite, with the women's salon offering manicure, pedicure and styling. There is also a barber shop. The 1,900 square-foot fitness centre is fitted with aerobic and cardiovascular equipment, in addition to weights, offers private wellness and conditioning instruction, while the dive and watersports centre provides dive adventures aboard the 31-foot Tidal Pull exploring shipwrecks and underwater caves. Diners have the Point Restaurant, accessed via an English long bar facing Palm Court. Point Terrace and the wine room, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and selection of new and old world wines, provides a more private experience, along with al-fresco dining poolside at the Mahogany Terrace. The conference facility comprises computers, translation, IT support and secretarial services, in addition to satellite conferencing and a projection screen.
Rosewood Bermuda's beach club.
Guest rooms range in size from 530 to 1,200 square feet with luxury bathrooms and terraces with views of Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. Rooms feature luxury bathrooms and terraces with views of Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. Each room has a spacious balcony with a view of Castle Harbour, a flat screen panel TV, Wi-fi, fireplace, wet bar and walk in closets. They also have a luxury five-fixture bathroom with a stand alone deep bathtub. The rooms also come with amenities such as portable phones and I-pod/Mp3 docks and 24-hour room service.
2019. March 4. Rosewood Bermuda’s managing director, Paul Telford, has stepped down. The hotel announced Mr Telford’s leaving today, but said he would continue to work with the property’s ownership group, providing hospitality consultation on their investments in Bermuda. Mr Telford joined the resort as part of the opening team in 2008 and worked in several roles at the property before taking the helm in 2015. A hotel spokesman said they were grateful for the outstanding leadership Mr Telford provided to Rosewood Bermuda over the last ten years. In the last year, Mr Telford led the Rosewood Bermuda team through a full renovation and successfully re-launched the property to great acclaim. He was also named as chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, as an ambassador for tourism on the island. “He has played an important role in his work with Rosewood and Bermuda with his stewardship and passion as a hospitality professional,” the spokesman said. “We have the utmost respect for Paul, and thank him for his efforts and steadfast commitment to the resort, and wish him much success in the next phase of his career.” Rosewood is now searching worldwide for Mr Telford’s replacement. Until a formal managing director has been appointed, Remus Palimaru, hotel manager of the Rosewood London, has been brought in on a short-term assignment to oversee the daily operations of the hotel and to organize the property and team for the 2019 high season.
2018. June 29. Rosewood Bermuda is partnering with Cliff Drysdale Tennis to launch a comprehensive programme at their facility after a $25 million renovation. Cliff Drysdale Tennis is one of the world’s most esteemed tennis management companies and through the partnership will elevate the hotel’s tennis programme to an internationally recognized level, with local player Ashley Brooks serving as the club professional. “The resort’s comprehensive renovation was an opportunity for us to enhance every aspect of the resort experience, and we are excited to be partnering with an internationally renowned management company at the forefront of tennis to transform the tennis experience at Rosewood Bermuda,” said Paul Telford, the managing director of Rosewood Bermuda in Tucker’s Point. As the first partnership of its kind on Bermuda, this will not only enhance the tennis experience at Rosewood Bermuda but will also elevate Bermuda as a larger tennis destination.” Cliff Drysdale Tennis will manage Rosewood Bermuda’s tennis facilities and oversee the resort’s programme. Experienced members and tennis-loving guests will be able to enjoy the adult and junior programmes, which include private and semi-private lessons, day camps, social events and tennis leagues. “Our partnership with Rosewood Bermuda is exciting on many fronts,” said Scott Colebourne, the vice-president of operations for Cliff Drysdale Tennis. “The great facilities and incredible location will allow for the ultimate tennis experience for both local players and resort guests. We’re ready to make Bermuda a premier tennis destination. In addition to the playing benefits, we see great opportunities for Bermudian junior players to travel to Cliff Drysdale programmes in the US on scholarships, as well as increased tennis professional training and employment opportunities.” The resort’s new programme will be headed by Yana Orlova, the newly appointed director of tennis. An accomplished player who has competed professionally on the ITF Pro Circuit, Orlova brings a wealth of playing, coaching and management experience to the resort. In her role as tennis professional, Brooks will facilitate lessons, day camps and clinics. She previously worked at Rosewood Bermuda as a guest professional before joining the team in a full-time capacity. The partnership will be the first of its kind in Bermuda. Drysdale is a former top-ranked professional player who was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.
2018. March 25. Caribbean Journal. Luxury hotel brand Rosewood is set to unveil the results of a dramatic re-imagination of the former Rosewood Tucker’s Point. The re-launched property, now known as Rosewood Bermuda, is in the final stages of a $25 million renovation project that includes a complete redesign of the hotel’s guest rooms. The renovation is also upgrading Rosewood Bermuda’s beach club, golf clubhouse and Sense spa, along with an enhanced meeting space and new food and beverage concepts. The property is slated to reopen in April, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Rosewood Bermuda has long been one of the top Bermuda hotels.
2018. February 22. Amendments to relax restrictions on development at upmarket resort Tucker’s Point were approved in the Senate yesterday. The Tucker’s Point Resort Residential Development Special Development Amendment Order 2018 is intended to provide flexibility for those who purchase lots on the property. Crystal Caesar, who started the debate in the Senate, said the amendment would remove blanket conditions that were “rigid and prescriptive”. Instead, the government hydrogeologist would be given the ability to determine the restrictions on a lot-by-lot basis. In one example, she said: “If there is not a cave found on a specific lot, there isn’t the limitation of having the water tank be a certain size.” Changes include a clause to ensure native plants are used in landscaping rather than invasive species. Other clauses require conservation management plans for some lots, which must be included with planning applications. Ms Caesar said the Government had consulted the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society about the changes. Opposition senator Justin Mathias and independent senator James Jardine both questioned what affect the changes would have on the endemic plants already located on the site. Mr Jardine added that it might help to have a representative for the Department of the Environment involved to ensure that natural resources are protected. Ms Caesar explained that the government hydrogeologist is employed by the Department of the Environment and is often used to give the Department of Planning an expert opinion on developments. She also said that endemic plants on the property remain protected under the original 2011 Special Development Order. The amendments were approved without objection.
2017. December 16. The new chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority has been named Hotelier of the Year by the Bermuda Hotel Association. Paul Telford, managing director of Rosewood Bermuda, said the award was “a huge honour”. He added: “I’m blessed with an incredible team and I accepted the award on their behalf and it’s a reflection of them.” The Rosewood resort was again the only local hotel to win the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award this year. Mr Telford said that Rosewood would be “aggressively” pursuing five stars. He added: “I’d like to think I helped bring some guidance and direction towards getting there.” In the 25 or so years since he started in the industry by taking a summer job clearing tables at Elbow Beach Hotel in Paget, Mr Telford said he had seen a sea change in the product sought by visitors. He added: “When I came back to Bermuda nine years ago, it was a complete change. It was less about the crystal and silverware and more about the personable service, the experience, the connections visitors could make with Bermudians. What’s really different now is that it’s about having a special, unique experience, and it’s a lot of fun.” Mr Telford said Bermudian staff brought an “authenticity” to the job. He added: “Being Bermudian, I was warm by nature.” Mr Telford said that “nothing would make me happier than to see one of the young Bermudians on my team become the next managing director of this, or another, resort”. He said he had predicted two years ago that a current member of staff was “definitely going to get there, and that gives me great joy”. Mr Telford added: “I hope this example shows every young Bermudian considering this career that they can actually achieve whatever heights they want to rise to.” Rosewood Bermuda is to close for three months in the new year for a $25 million revamp after it was sold earlier this year to Miami-based hotel investment firm Gencom.
2017. December 5. Bermuda’s new airport was a “game changer” in a decision to buy the luxury Rosewood Tucker’s Point hotel, the new owner said. Karim Alibhai, head of Miami-based international hotel company Gencom, said the airport was a major factor in the decision to buy the resort, which went into receivership in 2013 and was put on the market two years ago. Mr Alibhai said: “Once the new airport opens that should definitely be a big game changer.” He added: “It was quite important — airlift is a very important part of our business. We’ve seen businesses conceived very, very well but they have not taken account of good airlift. We also see Bermuda as a market that can be expanded — what we are doing is expanding the market to other parts of the US as they get to know Bermuda is a great destination.” Mr Alibhai said: “Until two years ago, it was our perception that Bermuda had seen its best years.” But he added that a combination of factors, including the work of government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which had “a positive impact” on the tourism business, had changed Gencom’s view. Mr Alibhai said the firm planned to invest $25 million in a major revamp of Tucker’s Point — with further development in the future. The hotel will be closed for three months from the start of next year for renovations and will reopen in April with the new name of Rosewood Bermuda. Mr Alibhai added: “When we looked at the different things that were being planned, we could come in, make the investment and get what we and our investors need to make a return.” The 53-year-old businessman started his hotel empire with just one property — a two star Best Western hotel in Houston, Texas bought when he was aged just 19. He founded Gencom 30 years ago and the group now has a total of 75 properties in its portfolio, some managed by Gencom’s affiliate Benchmark Global Hospitality and which includes hotels in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean. The group includes four-star resorts and conference centres. Mr Alibhai said: “We were looking for situations with opportunities. What drew us into Bermuda? It’s a combination of things that got us attracted. A lot of our business plan is acquiring businesses that are depressed, investing in them and making them successful. We saw here a project with all the elements to be successful but one that got caught up in a combination of the financial crisis and an overspend when it was constructed. But, at the same time, under the right ownership, it’s a hotel with the potential to be very successful.” Mr Alibhai added that the America’s Cup, although “it did not drive as much business to the hotels as expected” it was a marketing triumph. He said: “As far as the publicity goes, I think that’s huge. It reminded people this is a great destination — I’m pleased with the marketing impact. It’s a sizeable investment to make in Bermuda, but that’s because we really feel the potential is there. Short term, we see the demand begin to grow as the BTA does its marketing and we do our marketing.” Mr Alibhai said he welcomed plans to bring other major hotel brands to the island, like Ritz Carton at the new Caroline Bay resort at Morgan’s Point in Southampton. He explained: “We don’t look at that as competition — that’s a positive aspect. It will expand the airlift and have passengers coming in. We’re very excited about being in Bermuda and our future.”
2017. November 17. Rosewood Bermuda — the hotel formerly known as Rosewood Tucker’s Point — will close for three months from the start of next year to undergo a $25 million overhaul. The renovation will include the redesign of the resort’s guestrooms, Beach Club, golf clubhouse and spa. On reopening in April 2018, the property will debut as Rosewood Bermuda. Rosewood wants its hotels to reflect their location’s history, culture and sensibilities. In keeping with this philosophy, the new hotel design will showcase furnishings and artwork from local Bermudian artists and artisans. The design of the guestrooms and suites, lobby and new Conservatory Bar and Lounge will be led by Dawson Design Associates. London-based designer Alexander Waterworth Interior Ltd, has been selected to overhaul The Point restaurant, Tucker’s Bar, Beach Club and the golf clubhouse. The hotel said the designers would seek to combine the elegance of Bermuda’s colonial English heritage with the vibrancy of its indigenous culture to create a truly unique and authentic Bermudian experience. On arrival, guests will be welcomed via an elegant lobby more akin to a private manor house than a resort. Enhanced and expanded meeting space will also be available on the second floor. Rosewood Bermuda’s 92 guestrooms and suites will be transformed into intimate, residential style retreats designed to capture Bermuda’s indigenous culture and stunning natural surroundings. The property’s four culinary venues will be re-conceptualized to provide modern and elevated dining experiences that celebrate locally sourced ingredients and Bermudian-inspired cuisine. The resort’s signature restaurant will reopen as the Island Brasserie, which will be a vibrant and informal space offering Bermudian cuisine and new world flavors. Tucker’s Bar will transform into a rum bar dedicated to teaching guests about the history of the island’s beloved spirit. The all-new Conservatory Bar and Lounge will become “the beating heart of the resort” where guests and locals alike will enjoy handcrafted cocktails, coffee and afternoon tea. The Beach Club restaurant will be reimagined, providing island-inspired cocktails and a menu of fresh seafood dishes. The golf clubhouse restaurant, Sul Verde, will invite guests to enjoy traditional southern Italian cuisine in a rustic setting. The hotel will also modernize its spa and create a new fitness centre. New amenities will include 44 new golf carts and an upgraded golf course featuring enhanced course aesthetics.
2017. June 3. The new owners of Rosewood Tucker’s Point are confident in the future of tourism in Bermuda beyond the America’s Cup. Alessandro Colantonio, who led the purchase of the property for Miami-based investment firm Gencom, said that the company had been looking at investments on the island for several years, but now felt the tourism industry was moving in the right direction. “I would like to say we have always presented ourselves as being a very opportunistic investment shop. As we spend a lot of time in this space, over time, we have learnt to really identify assents in the market where we see long-term potential, be it in the form of investment in tourism or airlift. Bermuda is a location we have looked at several times over the years, and this was the third time we looked at Tucker’s Point. We first looked at it in 2012 and at that time we were not comfortable with the direction of tourism. When we looked again in 2015, we started to see the start of the tide turning when it comes to the future of the destination.” In addition to the steady increase in visitor arrivals, he said Gencom noted the rise in airlift to the island and investments in the island by Ritz Carlton and St Regis, saying the island was showing renewed brand interest. “The America’s Cup is great, but we look at that as a launching point for a long-term boost for the market. Across the board, all things are pointed in the right direction for us.” Mr Colantonio credited the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Government with putting the island’s tourism industry on the right track, saying: “I would say the future has never been brighter, based on the last 15 months of data.” Asked about plans to develop further luxury real estate properties on the site, Mr Colantonio said the details were still somewhat of a work in progress, but stated that the company understands that there are concerns about construction density on the site. And he added that the company was focused on “quality over quantity” when considering any further development on the side, saying: “We don’t want to do so much on one side of the business plan that it affects the other side. The phase one plan that we have in mind contemplates 16 waterfront condos in a very low-density development. Other than that, it is about selling the existing unsold fractional ownership units.” He said the company was also looking at potentially selling a handful of SDO lots on the site, but added: “None of the lots are being looked at as multiple developments. It’s really single family homes. The only area that we really put a number on was the 16 waterfront condominiums. Phase two has a few different options that we are looking at.” Mr Colantonio also said that the company was not presently looking at changing the staffing levels at the resort, but he added: “If anything, we are going to need to add some staff.”
2017. May 19. Government has hailed the sale of Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort to an American company. It was announced this week that the Miami-based investment group Gencom had bought the 88-room hotel and will invest some $25 million into the property. Junior Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bascome told the House of Assembly this morning that the sale was “another milestone for Bermuda in the East End.” “Gencom was founded in 1987 by Mr Karim Alibhai and is one of North America’s leading hospitality and luxury hospitality related residential real estate investment and development firms and consists of a group of companies involved in all aspects of the hospitality industry,” Mr Bascome told MPs. “The Gencom group of companies offers expertise in many distinct areas including finance and capital markets, asset management, design, development and equity management and residential sales and marketing. In addition, the Gencom management team has a wealth of experience and members of senior management have an average of 25 years of industry experience and an average of 12 years with Gencom’s associated companies. Gencom companies’ successful track record has led to significant ventures with prominent institutional investors, prominent family groups and other strategic partners both in the Unites States and internationally. During its foundation years, Gencom’s focus was on executing turnaround and repositioning strategies that involved portfolio and single asset transactions within a variety of hospitality segments including luxury, limited-service and full-service assets. Since 1997, Gencom has expanded its focus and involvement to also include the acquisition and development of luxury mixed-use hotels and resorts with ancillary residential components. In addition to being one of the largest owners of Ritz-Carlton properties in the brands system, Gencom has had great success in working with and owning assets under multiple brands including Marriott, Hyatt, Wyndham, Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson, Renaissance, Summerfield Suites, Holiday Inn and Intercontinental and has recently expanded this brand presence to exploring opportunities with luxury brands such as Four Seasons, Rosewood, Montage Mandarin Oriental and Aman Resorts. Honourable members will be reminded that the Government of Bermuda passed a Hotels Concession Order last year for the Tucker’s Point Resort, which was a condition of the sale, and the estimated concession relief is $13.3 million dollars over five years, which is subject to conditions including training Bermudian staff, hiring Bermudian entertainment and marketing the resort. This Honourable House is advised that the developer has outlined a renovation timeline which will maximize the hotel’s operational ability in the short term, prepare the asset for long term success and, also, take into account the upcoming America’s Cup event in 2017. TP Holdco Limited is committed to repositioning the hotel to become one of the world’s most luxurious resorts offering the best in customer service. The developer will commence with an immediate investment of $5.8 million dollars being spent in the first year on key renovations, deferred maintenance and capital projects, and is on target to bring a total foreign investment into Bermuda’s economy between $92 million to $95 million dollars. The anticipated scope of work and cost breakdown by project includes approximately $6 million dollars on guestrooms; approximately $6 million dollars on the Point Restaurant relocation, pool enhancement and new lobby bar/lounge; approximately $2 million dollars on Spa enhancements and repositioning; approximately $2 million dollars on meeting space and boardroom renovations; approximately $2 million dollars on the Beach Club and Golf Club; approximately $2 million dollars on marina enhancements and an additional $2 million dollars on the general hotel contingency for fees, upgrades, master planning, pre-marketing and third parties. TP Holdco Limited will embark on a series of real estate development projects over the term of the investment, including an immediate programme to develop the existing Harbour Drive land sites into 16 new, for-sale condo-hotel units, which once entered into the hotel rental inventory, will increase hotel key count by 20-30 new additional hotel suites. An additional development, which is targeted as part of the Phase I business plan, is the development and sale of the existing Paynter’s Hill Site 9, which will be developed and sold as a branded Estate Home (it will also be contributed to hotel inventory as a premiere estate home during peak and holiday seasons). The capital expenditure related to these two projects would be above and beyond the scope outlined above and will be further refined and estimated post-closing. The hotel presently has a total of 88 rooms of which 28 are superior rooms, 40 deluxe, 12 one bedroom and 8 suites. The hotel property also includes two private residence clubs comprising of 340 fractional luxury residence units. During the period of renovation of the hotel and development of the real estate sites, the hotel will remain open for business, with only occasional partial/temporary closures where this is otherwise unavoidable. The commitment made by TP Holdco Limited this week is critical and in line with this Government’s strategy to develop the much needed tourism product to help sustain Bermuda’s tourism now, and for future generations. On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, we take great pride in recognizing not only this great news today regarding the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort, but all of our partnerships in tourism that we have been cultivating over the last few years. Bermuda will experience the most exciting event ever to happen in Bermuda’s history with the 35th America’s Cup starting next week; we are seeing tremendous growth in tourism statistics in the first quarter of 2017, including, increased air arrivals, additional flights, increased number of cruise ship passengers and cruise calls. We now have smaller ships visiting the Town of St. George after a remarkable upgrade to the Old Town to include Penno’s Wharf and the new Hunter’s Wharf ferry dock. We have additional ships visiting the City of Hamilton and shovels in the ground at the L. F. Wade International Airport and the St. Regis Development in the Town of St George. The St George’s Bridge works are complete as well as the newly renovated Horseshoe Bay Beach entrance, with its spectacular new wooden foot path and parking area for our visitors to enjoy one of the world’s most famous beaches and Bermuda’s most renowned attraction. These are all great reasons to celebrate today.”
2017. May 19. Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel and Resort has been sold to the Miami-based firm Gencom and is out of receivership. According to an official announcement yesterday, the hospitality development company will invest $25 million into the property, with additional follow-on commitments for future development. However, other financial details of the purchase were not disclosed. Karim Alibhai, the principal of Gencom, said: “Gencom’s decision to acquire Tucker’s Point reflects our firm’s longstanding strategy of unlocking value by targeting one-of-a-kind assets in markets that we consider undervalued and poised for long-term growth. “Bermuda benefits from direct flight access from Europe and the eastern coast of the US, making it a natural destination for international travellers and residents in search of an island destination offering luxury accommodations.” Alessandro Colantonio, senior vice-president of acquisitions for the company, said: “Benefiting from a picture-perfect location, the strength of the Rosewood brand, and amenities capable of impressing the most discerning travellers, Tucker’s Point is already a sought-after international destination. Our repositioning and renovation plans will further enhance the resort’s appeal, while creating new opportunities for residents looking for a place to call home in Bermuda.” Gencom seeks to “elevate” every aspect of the resort, renovating guest rooms and adding new food and beverage venues, in addition to new meeting spaces. The new owner also intends to develop, market and sell “branded and unbranded luxury real estate properties, including townhouses, single-family homes, villas and condo-hotel units oriented towards the waterfront and golf course”. A spokeswoman for Rosewood Hotel and Resorts meanwhile confirmed that the purchase went through on Wednesday, adding that staff at the hotel will not be affected. “The resort will remain under the management of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and the transition to new ownership will not have an impact on the staff, operations or overall guest experience,” she said. “Rosewood Tucker’s Point will continue to offer the same timeless luxury that guests have always known and loved.” Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, said the government was thrilled to welcome Gencom to the island. “Gencom’s proven expertise and long history with leading hotel brands makes for perfect participation in the bright future of Bermuda tourism. This investment is another indication of confidence in Bermuda, further demonstrating that a tourism renaissance is alive and well. With major new investment being made in the existing facility, this hotel will continue to create exciting products and services for our visitors and locals alike. Gencom has amazing plans in terms of upgrades, and we have worked closely with their team, through the Economic Development Committee, to assist.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority also hailed the sale as a success, with Roland Andy Burrows Jr, chief investment officer for the BTA, saying: “Gencom’s investment will bring direct and indirect impact to Bermuda’s economy and tourism sector as we strengthen the island’s brand as a premier destination.” Kevin Dallas, BTA CEO, added: “Like Gencom, the BTA believes Bermuda’s tourism market is poised for long-term growth. The island is on a pathway to produce an additional 1,500 rooms over the next ten years. “Today’s news that Rosewood Tucker’s Point is under new ownership and due to receive a $25 million makeover investment will light a fire under other investors considering Bermuda for their portfolios. It’s also helpful to talk about this development as the 35th America’s Cup approaches. We can add the Tucker’s Point news to our talking points as the team pitches tourism-related investment opportunities to potential investors while they’re here enjoying the racing and enjoying Bermuda. The Bermuda Tourism Authority looks forward to working closely with Gencom and the other new investors we will meet over the next six weeks.” Jones Lang LaSalle represented the seller in the transaction while Rego Sotheby’s International Realty acted as a local agent. The financial and operational restructuring of the various Tucker’s Point seller companies in receivership was led by Roy Bailey and Keiran Hutchison of EY Bermuda Ltd, and financing was provided by HSBC Bermuda. The Hamilton Parish resort property went into receivership in 2013 and was put up for sale in 2015, with no specific price listed. At the time, receivers EY Bermuda say they were “seeking suitable investors to ensure the long-term success and sustainability” of the property. Despite the challenges, the resort has won the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award for the past two years. Last year, the House of Assembly approved draft concessions for the resort to support a number of construction and renovation projects including a $6 million renovation at The Point restaurant and enhancements to the pool, beach club and marina.
2016. November 17. Alessandro Colantonio, vice-president of acquisitions for GenCom, revealed the asset management firm was just “days or weeks” away from a formal announcement on closing the acquisition of Tucker’s Point. He also outlined plans to upgrade the hotel for the America’s Cup as well as an extensive renovation project for the end of 2017 and 2018. “We will be revisiting all aspects of the resort; rooms, public spaces, food and beverages, new concepts and adding one of two new venues,” Mr Colantonio said. “We will also be looking at low-density development.”
2016. May 26. Draft hotel concessions for the Tucker’s Point Hotel and Resort were approved in the Senate yesterday. The Bill aims to improve the tourism product at the hotel while providing opportunities for Bermudian workers. Michael Fahy, the new Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, outlined a number of construction and renovation projects lined up for the resort. These include a $6 million renovation at The Point restaurant and enhancements to the pool, beach club and marina. He said the $15.8 million concessions over five years were necessary to sustain Bermuda’s tourism product while “preparing the asset for long-term success”. Independent senator Joan Dillas Wright said she welcomed the move but hoped that the Bermuda Government would follow through with its commitment to train and hire Bermudians. One Bermuda Alliance senator Georgia Marshall replied: “The OBA has been committed since day dot to improving work for Bermudians. “It is up to Bermudians who are qualified to make the applications. Be proactive. There are jobs available.
2016. January 7. The search for a new owner for Rosewood Tucker’s Point is continuing, but managing director Paul Telford remains upbeat about business at the resort. While what happens next will be up to the eventual owners, Mr Telford said there is still room for growth at the Hamilton Parish site. “We have been open for almost seven years, and what we have noticed is that there’s a lot of business with families,” he said. “We’re seeing the grandparents coming in with the kids and the grandkids, and we have tried to build on that. We have a number of suites — we have 20 suites in total — and we can make up one-bedroom suites and two-bedroom suites. Certainly in July and August we sell a lot of that. Really, what we’re doing here at Rosewood Tucker’s Point is trying to build the group base — group business is the base that most of the hotels on the Island need to build on — and then fill in with transient visitors on top of that. We are trying to build the social aspect as well with birthday parties, families, destination weddings, that sort of stuff, but we are seeing growth in that business, that family business.” Asked about recent planning applications, which proposed the addition of further convention facilities, he said: “The plans that were put in were more about the things that a new owner could potentially do. I don’t know that it will necessarily happen. It is certainly a possibility, but the resort hasn’t sold. If we had a little bit more function space or meeting space that we could use to cater to groups, we could cater to multiple groups at one time in the hotel. In the long-term, once you are able to have that ability to cater to groups, then you can increase the room inventory and you are able to take more group business. We have a pretty good infrastructure here. Our kitchens are big and we have our own laundry which can support the whole resort and then some. We have the beach club and the golf club, so we have a good base, core infrastructure on which to build. That’s why we want to start off by building that shoulder period and groups and maybe looking at getting more function space. Then might come the moment when we think we might need to add more rooms. That’s the long-term, but we have to get through receivership and the sale first. Hopefully a new owner will subscribe to that long-term strategy and put some funds towards it.” Mr Telford also said that the subject of seeking a casino on the property would be up to the eventual purchaser of the resort. While he emphasized that casinos would not be a cure-all for the tourism industry, he said it could be a positive element, providing visitors with something else to do on the Island. He said the America’s Cup in 2017 should also give the industry a needed boost, saying that the World Series event last October had helped visitor numbers. “We did get a boost from it, so it did contribute,” he said. “We were advised by the America’s Cup Event Authority that typically with the series races that we would not see as much of a blip on occupancy as we will see for the finals. Obviously they are not as big a draw, but we did see a boost. That bodes well for America’s Cup. If we can expect to see some busy days with the America’s Cup, that’s great. We are looking forward to it.” Asked if he was concerned by the distance between the resort and Dockyard, where the bulk of America’s Cup activities will take place, he replied that the issue could be rectified. “It’s a long distance by land, it’s not by water,” he said. “You could get someone from here or Flatts Village to there in 15, 20 minutes. It’s a challenge that I think Bermudians can resolve. I think it would be huge to make that kind of connection, and if we can it would be great.”
2011. A Special Development Order (SDO) was passed by the Bermuda Government, to allow a Tucker’s Point expansion of 78 homes and 70 hotel rooms, to provide more opportunity to erase losses and replace them with profits. A letter to shareholders from president Ed Trippe had revealed Tucker’s Point was losing more than $1 million a month from the start of 2009 to August 31, 2010. The majority of members of parliament said the move is vital for Bermuda’s tourism product, and would help ensure the success of one of the Island’s most lucrative resorts. A list of shareholders of Bermuda Properties Ltd (BPL) and its subsidiary Castle Harbour Limited (CHL) shows most of both companies’ shareholders are non-Bermudian. Major shareholders of BPL include Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, of Ohio; Charles Trippe of Massachusetts; Edward Trippe of Connecticut; and Basic, Inc of Virginia.
Shelly Bay Beach
Off the North Shore Road in Shelly Bay, midway between Flatt's Bridge and the Shelly Bay Plaza. Bus routes 10 and 11 to and from the Town of St. George and City of Hamilton stop here and offer a frequent service. It takes its name from Henry Shelly, one of Bermuda's earliest colonists of the early 1600s who lived here. The beach is public, popular, shallow and safe for the family, with limited access for the disabled and a disabled-only parking space for a car (not close to the beach). It has shade trees providing welcome relief. It also a popular place for residents to camp out over the Cup Match holidays. The seascape from the beach stretches to the Bermuda Royal Naval Dockyard in Sandy's Parish. On windy days, it's a favorite place for wind surfers (see smaller photo) to fly across the deeper water of the bay, out of range of swimmers. There are a children's playground and park with many indigenous species of trees and shrubs; and a playing field for several organized sports near a former horse racing track. There was a restaurant on the premises (see below). Visitors today can see at the adjacent sports field area of the complex, what used to be for many years until the late 1930s, the Shelly Bay horse racing track. In 1937, Oliver Caisey, Sr. (with his race horse Fanny) became the first black jockey at the Shelly Bay race track. His groom was Claude (Poker) Furbert. It was a particularly popular place for British Army officers stationed in both Devonshire at Fort Prospect and in St. Georges, as it was exactly midway between them.
2019. April 12. Plans to build a gazebo and improve access for seniors and the disabled at Shelly Bay Beach were welcomed by residents last night. The proposed scheme would include “water wheelchairs” and removable non-slip mats that reach the water. About 60 people attended a public meeting at Francis Patton Primary School, where Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the plans were not “cast in stone” and that he welcomed the views of area residents. He said that seniors and beachgoers with physical problems were the priority “because Shelly Bay lends itself to catering for that constituency”. The new ideas came after a pressure group blocked a plan by the Bermuda Tourism Authority for concessions housed in shipping containers at the Hamilton Parish site. Blake Lambert, an architect and assistant project manager at the Bermuda Housing Corporation, who drew up the plans, said his goal was to “create some accessibility and community aspects” at the beach. He added the proposals included the erection of a gazebo and a building for bathrooms that would also encompass storage space for water-accessible wheelchairs and Mobi-mats, which are portable and can be rolled out to create a pathway over sand for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities to reach the sea. Mr Lambert explained that by planting dense foliage, the bathroom building would be well-concealed once the plants matured. LaKiesha Wolffe, who lost her left leg after a near-fatal road accident nearly six years ago, said Shelly Bay was one of the few beaches that suited her for swimming because of its hard sand. She told the meeting she used crutches, a cane and a wheelchair and said she hoped consideration would be given to making sure that the bathrooms were built with the disabled in mind. Ms Wolffe later added she supported the proposals, but that she was worried about details like the level of sinks in the facilities, effectiveness of railings and availability of parking close to the beach. Mr Lambert said the bathroom designs would conform to standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. He added the doors to the restrooms would be on the water side of the building, in response to a question from a member of the public who was also concerned about accessibility. Esme Williams and Cheryl-Ann Griffin, who were part of a group that pushed for the proposals as an alternative to the BTA plans last year, were delighted with Mr Lambert’s blueprint. Ms Williams said: “Whatever we said, he just envisaged. When we saw the plan, we thought, wow.”
2019. April 11. Plans for a small concession area in Shelly Bay Park will be unveiled at a meeting this evening. The Ministry of Public Works will also present plans for access for seniors and the disabled at the beach at the event, to be held at Francis Patton Primary School. A ministry spokeswoman said: “The ministry is keen to ensure that any proposed additions or enhancements to the Shelly Bay Park area receive public input.” Tonight’s meeting will be held in the school’s gymnasium with a start time of 6.30pm. A Bermuda Tourism Authority plan to install concession stands at Shelly Bay Beach has sparked opposition from some residents near the popular Hamilton Parish attraction. A group of residents staged a protest at the BTA bid to use shipping containers to house temporary concessions by the North Shore beach as part of its plan to boost the beach economy. The residents proposed an alternative, which included improved beach access for the elderly and the disabled. The pressure group also requested improved restrooms for the park and said they would not oppose a lunch wagon.
2018. August 11. A $13,500 event at Shelly Bay beach was value for money, the chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday. Kevin Dallas said the cost of the promotion at Shelly Bay in Hamilton Parish on Thursday, which featured five island vendors, was based on the 445 adults who attended. He said: “It was clearly a worthwhile investment in support of small Bermudian businesses who would have difficulty putting on an event of this scope on their own. We commend the entrepreneurs who stepped up magnificently last night, especially since the crowds were far larger than expected.” The cost of the event was $61,500 cheaper than the figure suggested by LaVerne Furbert, an opponent of plans to install four vendors at the beach in temporary stores made out of old shipping containers. Ms Furbert, a trade union official, said on Facebook yesterday that the event would cost $75,000 and that people who attended would be “wined and dined at the taxpayers’ expense”. She added: “If the BTA spent $75,000 on this evening’s shindig, some heads definitely need to roll.” The event went ahead despite a decision by Jamahl Simmons, the tourism minister, that Shelly Bay would be removed from the BTA’s “beach vision” plan to revitalize five beaches around the island. Mr Dallas said: “The idea was not to create more Horseshoe Bays. It was to recognize the inherent character of each beach. Our focus now is to say there were five fantastic small Bermudian businesses who did a great job and proved that they can go above and beyond to deliver. I think our priority will now be to find opportunities to give those guys, possibly on a beach or somewhere else entirely. We would like to see those businesses rewarded for the efforts they have made.” Mr Simmons said “a concession of some sort” would be created at the beach instead, which would also be used for “occasional events”. Justin Mathias, OBA spokesman for tourism in the Senate, said the decision to back away from the plan was “sad. A BTA proposal to allow local vendors to use Shelly Bay would have supported small, black businesses and it is sad that it appears a few PLP supporters, disgruntled at the idea, managed to stop this plan in its tracks. Through increasing the loan facilities of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Government is allowing small businesses to get access to more money but given the about-turn at Shelly Bay, they must make it clear how they are actually going to help entrepreneurs take advantage of opportunities when they arise. The BTA is fully funded from government coffers and up until Thursday the Minister of Tourism was supporting the BTA, so the amount spent on the event organized by the authority is, essentially, a waste of taxpayer’s money.” Mr Mathias added: “We were told that government revenues for the first quarter of this financial year were up, but if Government continues to waste money like this, that situation will be quickly reversed.”
2018. August 9. Protesters against a plan to create family-friendly attractions at Shelly Bay Beach said yesterday that they feared the Bermuda Tourism Authority would push ahead with its plans despite local opposition. One of the organisers of a group created to fight the BTA proposal to set up temporary concessions in old shipping containers at the beach said a protest would take place tonight to clash with a BTA event. LaVerne Furbert, a trade union official, said: “I’m calling for as many people as possible who are opposed to what the BTA is proposing to come out and let their voice be heard.” Ms Furbert said that the group was prepared to thrash out an agreement on the future of the beach with the BTA. She added: “I do believe the BTA is looking to move forward with their vision regardless of how the people feel, which is unfortunate. I would have expected that there would have been an attempt by somebody in authority to get everybody in a room and see if we can reach a compromise that is satisfactory to all.” She was speaking as the BTA prepares to hold an event at Shelly Bay designed to showcase the concessions available under its plan to improve the island’s beaches. The event will include the four finalists in a tender process to operate at the beach — three food vendors, and a beach and boat rental business. The BTA unveiled its “Beach Economy Vision” plan for five beaches, including Shelly Bay, in June. Ms Furbert was one of five area residents who outlined an alternative vision for the beach at a press conference this week. The group’s proposal called for the beach to be made accessible to people with disabilities, including a removable non-slip mat for wheelchairs down to the water, rather than adding concessions. Ms Furbert said her group planned to present the BTA with a petition against its plan with more than 1,000 signatures. She added she did not think samples from vendors were needed. Ms Furbert explained: “I think that most people know what Ashley’s Lemonade tastes like. As far as the Smokin’ Barrel, I think most people know what that tastes like.” Ms Furbert said that the group was not opposed to a food vendor but it did not want one on the beach. She added the group was also against chair and umbrella rentals. Ms Furbert said that she had been contacted by three of the four possible vendors. She explained: “I had to let them know that it’s nothing personal. It’s just that we want the beach kept as it is, a family beach without commercialization.” Glenn Jones, director of strategy and corporate communication at the BTA, said yesterday: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority has long believed listening to public feedback makes our beach economy plan stronger. It’s the whole point for what’s planned on Thursday evening, and we look forward to seeing everyone there, so they can experience what’s proposed and give further input.” Mr Jones said earlier that the BTA would support moves to improve accessibility at Shelly Bay. He added: “Our architect tells us that the proposal for a beach-access mat can easily be incorporated into the existing plan. We’ll work with our colleagues at the Ministry of Public Works to see if we can get it done.” Ms Furbert said: “What the BTA is missing is that we still do not want any concessions — those repurposed containers — on the beach where they propose to put them. That won’t go with us.” The BTA meeting will take place from 6pm to 8pm.
2018. July 30. Shelly Bay Beach users will have the chance to sample food and learn about rental services that could be offered if plans for development go ahead. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, revealed a demonstration event will take place next month at the beach, where a former concession structure was knocked down last year. Colonel Burch said opinions on what should happen next at the beach “are as varied as the day is long”. He told the House of Assembly on Friday: “I have heard from some who would like to see a new building erected where the old structure once stood ... and I’ve heard from just as many who enjoy the open space the demolition created along the North Shore.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority presented plans for the site as part of its 2016 Beach Economy Vision, which was designed to create jobs for Bermudians, increase visitor spending and improve the experience for everyone who used the beaches. But the plans for Shelly Bay sparked controversy among some Hamilton Parish residents. Some said the beach was too small for the BTA proposals, which would see recycled shipping containers used as temporary concessions. Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly: “They would house relatively simple offerings that are non-disruptive to the traditional picnicking culture at Shelly Bay. This plan is a temporary measure that fits somewhere neatly between those who want to see a structure return and those who want to see nothing at all.” He said the BTA this week completed interviews with all applicants that responded to a request for proposals. Colonel Burch added that Ashley’s Lemonade, Simple Café — “a beachside deli-café idea”, Smokin’ Barrel food truck and Tarzan Boats, “an adventurous water experience” and beach equipment rentals from a local youth football coach had all expressed an interest. He said: “The shortlist of applicants I just mentioned are operating under the assumption that their main customer base will be current users of the beach — namely families. They will gear their offerings to Bermudian families. It will be critical to their success.” Colonel Burch added: “All the applicants I just mentioned have agreed to be on-hand to demonstrate their business ideas and earn buy-in from the community. This will take place Thursday. August 9 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Shelly Bay Park. Those aiming to provide food and beverage services will have samples for the public and those who are providing a service or experience will do their best to show all of us how their set-up is designed to work. Additionally, we will mark out with tape the proposed location of the containers. Feedback will be taken on the spot or e-mailed later.” He said: “This is a critical juncture in this consultative process. I look forward to a conclusion that helps improve the beach experience for everyone, while at the same time providing economic opportunity for our people.” Ashley Stephens, 15, of Ashley’s Lemonade, said the chance to operate on a public beach in Bermuda was one of her dreams. She added: “It’s on my vision board.”
2018. July 27. Residents near Shelly Bay beach at the centre of much-disputed development plans will have the opportunity to sample food and services that could be on offer. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told the House of Assembly today that the interview process with all applicants who responded to a request for proposals at Shelly Bay were completed this week. The Minister of Public Works said among the businesses were Ashley’s Lemonade and a start-up offering “an adventurous water experience”. They will be part of an event in August that will allow members of the public to learn more about what they could offer. Tape will also be used to trace out where temporary containers that could host the new facilities will sit. Protesters have said they are against the proposal to develop the beach area because it “is too small for any commercial activity”.
2018. July 13. Residents near Shelly Bay beach proposed for family-friendly improvements can still air their views on the plans, the tourism minister said yesterday. Jamahl Simmons said yesterday a consultation process on the plan had not yet ended. He added: “This consultative process will only conclude after proposals surrounding potential offerings at Shelly Bay have been received and shared with stakeholders. “The Government is committed to stimulating the economy, enhancing opportunities for small business growth, and to creating new and innovative opportunities for entrepreneurs. As part of that commitment, in our 2017 platform we advocated for the creation of a beach economy that would enhance our tourism product and create opportunities for so many entrepreneurs long denied the opportunity to do for self.” Mr Simmons was speaking after the Bermuda Tourism Authority plan for Shelly Bay sparked controversy among some Hamilton Parish residents. Some in the area claimed the beach is too small for the BTA proposals, which could include bike or inflatable toy rentals and the sale of food and drinks. The BTA said recycled shipping containers could be used for temporary concessions and advertisements designed to attract people interested in the provision of services at the beach. Mr Simmons said: “Yet as we seek to create more opportunities for Bermudians, we are equally committed to protecting and sustaining our culture, our traditions and the positive aspects of our community that generations past built for today’s Bermuda. That’s why we have engaged in an extensive consultative process in reference to Shelly Bay and why we will continue to consult with the community. It is important that all views are heard, all views are respected and all views are considered. We encourage the community to express your views, share your ideas and offer solutions that are focused on the greater good.” LaVerne Furbert, who lives in the area, said yesterday: “I, along with others, have started a petition against the BTA’s plan to commercialize Shelly Bay Beach. In our opinion the beach is too small for any commercial activity. We are not opposed to something like a lunch wagon or food truck being in the area, but not on the beach. We would also like to see proper toilets available to beachgoers.” The BTA said that, although there had been some opposition to the proposals, others in the area were supportive and had even applied to deliver the proposed services. Glenn Jones, a BTA executive, wrote in an open letter: “Concessionaires lining up for the chance to offer their products and services are smartly gearing it towards children and families. The Bermuda Tourism Authority team has recommended concessionaires think about Popsicles, ice cream and snowballs. In other destinations we’ve seen children dazzled by tepees that double as small tents, sandcastle building activities and kayaks — safely miniaturized to work for adventurous little children. Meantime, on the programming side, we’ve seen interest from a variety of locals interested in providing family-friendly activities. A culinary expert wants to do a once monthly family fish fry. There’s a massage therapist who’d like to try a twice-weekly experience at the beach under a pop-up tent at dusk. A food truck operator who has been parked for more than a year without serving a single customer is optimistic about hitting the restart button at Shelly Bay.” In a list of frequently asked questions published on its website, the organisation said half of the applicants for approval to sell services at the beach were from Hamilton Parish. The site added: “Applicants are still making themselves known to the BTA, but of the submissions thus far, as of July 10, half of the applicants are from Hamilton Parish. While it has been reported that Hamilton Parish doesn’t want services at Shelly Bay, it seems residents neighboring the beach not only want these services but are raising their hands to provide them.” The website added: “Destroying the natural beauty of the beach or its family culture is not an option. It would ruin the opportunity. Therefore, the plan for Shelly Bay is to use modular containers that are 100 per cent non-permanent, temporary, removable. They provide sensible storage and can serve as an aesthetically pleasing storefront. The plan has received no objections from environmental lobby groups.”
2017. October 26. A businessman who ploughed $200,000 into renovations at a beach building later demolished by the Government is still in the dark over compensation. Tom Steinhoff planned to transform the rundown concessions building at Shelly Bay at a cost of around $1 million, but work on the building halted after structural problems were found before the building was demolished in August. Mr Steinhoff said he had supplied the present government with details of his expenditure on the building. He added: “I haven’t heard back from them yet. I sent them some information after they had asked me for a summary of costs. I sent that information to them about a month ago. It was about $200,000 and I am hoping to recoup it.” Mr Steinhoff said the building was demolished after negotiations stalled with Government on changes to the terms of the lease to reflect the unexpected extra costs. The businessman, who also owns Dockyard’s Snorkel Park, had planned to open a restaurant on the site with watersports facilities. The remains of the building are still taped off and a digger used for the demolition work is still on site. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, said: “The equipment will be used for the landscape finishing, which will commence soon.” Colonel Burch declined to comment on whether taxpayers will have to foot the bill for Mr Steinhoff’s costs. Area resident Wayne Furbert, a Progressive Labour Party MP, said local people would be updated on options for the site when demolition work started. He said at the time: “Colonel Burch will beautify this area and make it more of a park for people to camp at with a picnic area. We would like to have bathroom facilities in the beach area. We would like entrepreneurs in the summertime to have some hot dog stands or snowball stands, or even jerk chicken.”
2017. August 29. Demolition work at the former concessions building at Shelly Bay is almost complete. The building was set to become a restaurant and bar with watersports and beach facilities, but demolition crews moved in last week after Government said the structure was unsafe. Cheryl-Ann Griffin, an area resident who spoke out against the development, said: “Our objections were not about the restaurant or the building. Objections were based on the establishment of a parking lot on well-used picnic space and next to the playground, and the appropriation and commercialization of Shelly Bay Beach and Park for a private enterprise, thus depriving locals and visitors alike of a free and unhindered space to enjoy summer activities. Concerns were also shared about extended restaurant operation hours.” It was announced last week that the 70-year-old structure, which was expected to be the home of a new restaurant, had been condemned as unsafe. Tom Steinhoff, of Shelly Bay Beach House Ltd, had hoped to have the proposed restaurant up and running in time for the summer despite structural problems with the building. But the restaurant also faced challenges from members of the public. Protests led the developer to scrap plans to establish a parking area on land next to the Shelly Bay playground. Ms Griffin said that the protests about the restaurant were unrelated to the condition of the building. But she added: “It is good to know that this dangerous structure is being removed before a hurricane causes injury or damage to surrounding properties.” Ms Griffin said she hoped that the government will consider leaving the property largely open as parkland without any commercial development She added: “It is a popular community and family picnic space for locals and tourists alike and the only structure to be considered would be the establishment of a few washrooms for day use with a plan for regular daily upkeep during the summer months. I feel that Shelly Bay Beach, as one of the very few remaining unfettered public beaches, and the only one on the North Shore, encourages Bermudians to continue their own unique summer culture and tradition of preparing and packing up a picnic lunch or supper to share and enjoy with family and friends or to enjoy a planned weekend of camping. For persons who prefer more commercialization and more amenities there are several other choices of beaches.”
2017. August 21. The concession building at Shelly Bay looks set to be demolished this week after the structure was deemed unsafe. Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Works stated that the developer of the Shelly Bay Beach House had been “unable to complete the redevelopment of the property”. Tom Steinhoff, of Shelly Bay Beach House Ltd, had hoped to have the facility up and running in time for the summer despite complicated structural challenges with the building. Under the plans, the property would have undergone a major renovation and been transformed into a fully licensed restaurant and bar with water sports and beach facilities. Last night, Mr Steinhoff said he was upset with the direction the project had taken. “We are still interested and able to pursue the project and have been trying to find a way to make it work with Government where there is no cost to the tax payer. Unfortunately, no agreement was found. Ultimately, the building is structurally worse than anticipated by both parties and while we are willing to invest the extra funds, the terms of the lease need to reflect the additional investment.” A Bermuda Government statement released yesterday afternoon said that the remaining structure was expected to be demolished this week in the interests of public safety. The statement added: “Area residents, Shelly Bay Beach patrons and the motoring public are being advised that in preparation for the demolition there will be increased construction activity near the Beach House. There will also be the likelihood of traffic delays to accommodate the demolition works. As a public safety note, motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to use care and caution when travelling through the Shelly Bay area.” A Government spokeswoman added: “Conceptual plans for a replacement facility are being designed for presentation and consultation with area parliamentary representatives and members of the public.”
Shelley Bay Race track in the old days (long since gone) when this was a hugely popular local racing event.
Just east of Shelly Bay and Burch's Cove. Bus routes 10 and 11 drop you right outside the plaza. It has a do it yourself laundromat; full service grocery store; pizzeria; and clothing store. Budget for Bermuda prices, they stun many visitors. This local full service branch of The Marketplace grocery chain is open every day (Sunday from 1 pm to 6 pm). Phone 293-0966. Liquor cannot be bought in Bermuda on Sunday.
Bailey's Bay, corner of Wilkinson Avenue and Harrington Sound Road. Address is 68 Harrington Sound Road. Telephone 293-8606 or fax 293-0087. A stop on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail. Built in the mid 19th century by free blacks including former slaves.
Restaurant. See by name and Parish in Bermuda Cuisine.
2017. Sunday, February 5. The Walsingham Trust and the Bermuda National Trust have lost their appeal against the Development Applications Board’s decision to allow the erection of gates at either end of their right of way to the Walsingham Reserve. Both organisations had hoped the Minister of the Environment, Cole Simons, would exercise his discretion in favour of the retention of free and open access to Tom Moore’s Jungle. A joint statement released this afternoon said: “This right of way — the Walsingham Trust’s only legal access to the reserve — has been made available to the public for 75 years, since the inception of the Trust in 1942. The application to install the gates was made by Bruno Fiocca, who seeks to improve the security of the Walsingham House property, more commonly known as Tom Moore’s Tavern. The right of way in question crosses Mr Fiocca’s property immediately beside the Tavern and has led to unauthorised public parking on his land.” The Planning Inspector’s report on the appeal, which was accepted by Mr Simons, made it clear that the DAB and the planning department could only rule on planning questions, and not on the legal question of what rights the Walsingham Trust had to allow the public to use its right of way. The Walsingham Trust is reviewing its position with regard to the legal issue. The statement continues: “Whilst the appellants objected to the erection of gates, we wish to acknowledge his long-term support of access to the reserve and his tolerance of the public use of his land for parking. The Walsingham Trust and Mr Fiocca have enjoyed a co-operative and mutually beneficial relationship for many years. Mr Fiocca has indicated a willingness to leave these gates open during the day. However, we must emphasise that any decision to allow public parking at this location is entirely at Mr Fiocca’s discretion and there is no guarantee that this will be the case in the future, in particular if the Tom Moore’s Tavern property changes ownership.” The Walsingham Trust has encouraged visitors to the reserve to access it via the Blue Hole entrance, where there is parking available. However, the public should be aware that this park is managed by the Parks Department, who ultimately control this access to the Reserve.
It was discovered in early 2002. American cave expert Dr. Tom Iliffe discovered and examined it in depth in May 2002 Bermuda's newest major find.
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