Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bermuda - St. George's and Sea Glass Beach

DB~ and I got back on Friday from our summer vacation this year.  We kind of labored on where to go this year and after kicking around a lot of different options, we selected Bermuda.  It's always one of those places that exists in the background, probably never a choice on the tip of a tongue, but we never really realized how close it was to the States.

We connected through Philly (1 hour flight from Pittsburgh) and then took a 1-1/2 flight over to Bermuda.  Bermuda is a tiny little strip of an island that is only 25 square miles in area with a population of around 66,000 people.  And that's a whole country, with a real economy and everything, plus being able to send athletes successfully to the Olympics.

I'll be doing some other posts about Bermuda, but I wanted to do the first one about our most favorite day while there.  We took a bus from our parish of Southampton, on the south side of the island, to St. George's in the northern tip of the island.  The Town of St. George's is the historical site of the island and is a World Heritage site, as a result of being the first area settled in 1612.  We found St. Peter's Church and did a geocache at this church, which is the oldest church in the Western hemisphere and the oldest building in Bermuda.

While researching the trip, we found information on Sea Glass Beach.  It was said to be a 30 minute walk from the center of town.  The reviews said that if you collect the glass, there is a jeweller in town named Kelly that makes necklaces from the glass you collect.  By the time we got to St. George's, it was about 3:30 so we wanted to find Kelly and make sure she didn't close early.  We found her with not a lot of problems, as the Town is very small.

When we walked in we introduced ourselves and said that we wanted to go to Glass Beach and see if she could make necklaces for DB~ (for herself and for gifts).  Standing next to her was a guy who seemed to be good friends with her and he introduced himself as Dennis.  After seeing that we were serious about the journey, Dennis offered to drive us there.  After a few seconds of hesitancy, we hopped in his beat up pick up truck and off we went.

Dennis told us all about the island, his life, the other homes in the area, life in St. George's, and anything else that popped into his head.  When we got to the Glass Beach, it was evident that it would have taken us a long time to walk there, so we were very grateful for the ride.  We hopped out, but then Dennis offered to show us all the great places to collect the glass that tourists didn't know about.  He had DB~ waded through tidal pools, while I clambored over rocks to get to this little rock outcropping over a cove.  We were laying on our backs under a rock just steam-shoveling rounded pieces of glass into bags to take back to Kelly.

The glass percolates up from the multitude of shipwrecks around the island, gets tumbled over sand, rocks, and water for years and years, and then washed up nice and roundly smooth in the cove.  This particular area's glass is from a shipwreck from the 1630's.  We got brown glass, green glass, white glass, some pottery shards, and a relatively rare few pieces of azure blue glass that Dennis was excited that we found.

Dennis then offered to drive us back, which we readily accepted, and he gave us some insight into the real estate scene in St. George's.  We drove past a tiny, non-descript (maybe 800 square foot) house that overlooked the harbor.  I asked Dennis how much that would go for and without hesitation he said "2 million".  With Bermuda dollar equaling US dollars, that's 2 million dollars, ace.

We dropped our stuff off to Kelly and horse-traded the rarer blue glass in order to knock our price down on the 4 necklaces we commissioned her to make.  As it happened, Kelly was going to be at the Dockyards the next day, which was much closer to our hotel.

On the way back, we took a ferry ride to the Dockyards that took about 45 minutes and took us around the north and western parts of the island.  We got to spend time with a local and found areas that most tourists don't find.  We loved that aspect of the trip and is something that we'll remember forever.

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