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Bermuda's Smith's Parish

Explore this county between Devonshire and Hamilton Parishes

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online

To refer to this web file, please use "bermuda-online.org/seesmith.htm" as your Subject.

Accommodation

Recommended hotels are shown in bold. Some have the facilities shown by the following symbols. Hotels shown with 5-2 Stars reflect the symbols shown on Expedia.com

Smith's Parish

Part of Smith's Parish's crest, from that of Sir Thomas Smith

Used with exclusive permission from the copyright owners. Do not copy

The Bermuda Government appoints a Parish Council for each Parish. It has more information about the crest and Parish.

About the Parish

Smith's Parish areaSmith's Parish, one of the nine counties or Parishes of Bermuda of about equal size, is on Main Island. It has sea frontage on the South and North shores and southern side of the inland lake of Harrington Sound. It is named after one of Bermuda's Elizabethan patrons, Sir Thomas Smith or Smythe (1588-1624). He was an English aristocrat with humble beginnings who raised himself by his integrity to great responsibilities and riches. He was knighted by King James and became the first Governor of the famous East India Company and first Governor of the Somers Isles Company - Bermuda - an office he held at the time of his death in 1625. Because he supported British efforts to discover a Northwest Passage to the Orient, his name was given by  explorer William Baffin to Smith's Sound on the Canadian coast of British Columbia. 

The Bermuda Historical Society has two prints of him, in one frame, the top one showing his upper torso and the lower the same but with a hat on, in ruffled collar and a legend reading "Thomas Smith Equitis Aurati etc. Vera Effigies Praeclariss Viri Dom." He was Chief organizer and 1st Governor of the East India Company, First Treasurer of the Virginia Company 1607-1619, Governor of the Somers Island Company 1615-1621 and again 1623-1624 until his death. Great merchant, capitalist, exponent of exploration, the friend of R. Huckluyt. He was the solid man of business under whom London merchants invested 80,000 pounds in Virginia and 60,000 pounds in Bermuda and held on when hopes of profit were small. 

Sir Thomas Smith was a special British Ambassador to Russia. He was buried in 1624 at Ashford in Kent. Much of his vast fortune was devoted to the endowment of charities. He was one of the illustrious band of gentlemen "Adventurers" who invested in the Bermuda Company to colonize the Bermuda islands from 1615 onwards. He was the largest shareholder in the original Smith's Tribe, later Smith's Parish. However, because he never visited his Bermuda domain, early settlers called referred to the Tribe as Harris's Bay. (Harris Bay today is one of the residential sections of this attractive central Parish for sightseeing purposes. In addition to Smith's Parish, Smith's Island (61 acres, in St. George's Harbour in Bermuda) is also named after him, as are several places in Virginia and Smith's Sound in latitude 75 North to the West of Greenland.

Smith's Island in St. George's Parish was Bermuda's first settlement. It was here that Carter, Chard and Waters, reputedly the three Kings of Bermuda from 1610 to 1612, settled when they were the first accidental permanent colonists in Bermuda. They built cabins of palmetto, planted beans, water melons, tobacco, maize, fished of the coast, hunted wild hogs, salted bacon and fish they caught and even made a fresh water catch. When the Plough arrived from England on July 11, 1612 with the first party of planned colonists, it went first to St. David's to discharge them then went two days later to an anchorage on the south shore of Smith's Island. Carter, Chard and Waters showed Governor Richard Moore the varieties of garden produce they had grown. Moore was delighted because the Somers Isles Company in London had supplied him with 81 varieties of seed to try in Bermuda. Many of the first European crops Virginia and later American colonies saw were planted on Smith's Island. The first planned settlers made rock ovens for their food from the local limestone until they moved to St. George's Island and Town of St. George in the summer and autumn of 1612.

Given that Smith was the first Governor of the East India Company, it is an interesting footnote that East India Company tea was sent to the bottom of Boston Harbor in Massachusetts in December 1773 just before the American Revolution.  The Tea Act legislated in London earlier in 1773 allowed the East India Company, trading from London, to sell more East India tea at a cheaper price, in America and world wide, via British merchant ships belonging to the East India Company. When the American Revolution started, British tea was a forbidden import in all American ports. Those interested in tea will appreciate the distinctive "original tea" packaging of tea from the East India Company today. 

Constituencies

Bermuda Railway Trail

public busesBus routes

The Parish is served by the following routes, some for a much longer length of time daily than others. See the schedule available free from the bus terminal in Hamilton and note its times on Monday to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday & Holiday, as well as where the routes go and do not go.
# 1 route (Hamilton to St. George's, via Harrington Sound Road, South Road, Castle Harbor, Harrington Sound Road, The Caves and Grotto Bay).
# 3 route (Hamilton to St. George's via Middle Road, Harrington Hundreds, Knapton Hill,  Harrington Sound Road, The Caves and Grotto Bay).
#10 route (Hamilton to St. George's via Palmetto Road, Aquarium and Bermuda Perfumery, North Shore Road).
#11 route (Hamilton to St. George's via Black Watch Pass, Aquarium and Bermuda Perfumery, North Shore Road).

Captain William's Bay

A cove on the east side of Sue Wood Bay (in Devonshire). One of the several local place names referring to members of the Williams family, a line of Bermudian seafarers.

Deepdene

East of Flatt's Village and Palmetto Bay, it is now merely an ornate iron tower and old bridge curiosity attached to an old boathouse on the shore of Harrington Sound. Once the property south of it on the other side of Harrington Sound Road and part of it was a mansion, connected to the tower by a pedestrian bridge. The boathouse was accessed via the Manor House bridge. The property, bridge and boathouse were built in the 1920s by an American millionaire, Charles Ledyard Blair and his first wife who was related to the Bermudian Butterfield family. Blair was from New Jersey (Blairstown) and imported non-Bermudian architecture. Later, it became the upmarket Deepdene Manor Hotel, which operated until the 1970s but is no longer around. Now it is part of an upmarket real estate condominium development for residents only - not for visitors unless they are able to rent privately for a short period from any individual owners who might be interested. The original manor house still stands as part of the condominium development but has seen many other condominium units added to it. The original developer was Bermudian the late L. P. Gutteridge, a very well known and much-liked realtor, businessman and politician. Some of his grandchildren still live in Bermuda. The aptly-named road Manor House Drive leads up to it. Manor House is still a corporate entity.  

Devil's Holepublic buses

Where Harrington Sound Road meets Devil's Hole Hill in this Parish is one of the extremities of Harrington Sound. There is car, moped and scooter parking on the premises off Devil's Hole Hill. By bus, route 1 is within walking distance and route 3 is even closer. Devil's Hole is a charming natural aquarium, once a subterranean ocean cave.  It may surprise some locals and residents that it is fed by the waters of the South Shore over a mile away, via a winding underground estuary, not those of Harrington Sound so close by. It got its name when the cave roof collapsed and the wind rushed through the hole. 

It produced eerie sounds that were considered by superstitious people to be the moans of the Devil. Fishermen built walls around it to ward off the Devil and kept their catch fresh in its cool waters. Passers-by, curious about what lay behind the walls surrounding the cave, became its first visitors in the early 1830s. It is Bermuda's oldest tourist attraction. 

Now its residents include fish, a 6 foot long Moray eel by the name of Henry, plus two large green turtles called Romeo and Lady Hook.  Enjoy "fishing" for the turtles and reef fish via a harmless hook with no bait.  The entry fee is US or Bermuda $10.00 per person, free for children under 12, $5 for children 12 to 18 and with US$50 annual membership. Special features are its (limited supply of) imported from El Salvador marble turtles in various sizes and prices, with marble feet and a marble tail, in five pieces that can be glued together or bound together in another way, found nowhere else in Bermuda. They are gorgeous! 

Golf Courses

Harrington Hundreds Roadpublic buses

Called such in honor of Briton Lucy Harrington, Countess of Bedford and original patroness of neighboring Hamilton Parish in the 17th century. One of the many roads in Harrincourt, in another reference to her. The second half of the name of the residential and scenic area is after the medieval English name of "hundreds" which meant a subdivision of shires which furnished 100 men-at-arms in the army of a feudal lord. The northern section of Harrington Hundreds starts on Harrington Sound Road and then connects with Knapton Hill and the South Road, going east or west. It has marine views on both sides if you take a rented moped or periodic bus. At either end, note the hills.

Harrington Soundpublic buses

Harrington SoundAlso named for Lucy Harrington, the Smith's Parish part of the sound begins at Flatts Village. The sound is an inland lake, mostly in Smith's Parish and Hamilton Parish, only slightly in St. George's Parish. Overlook it and its islands after climbing Harrington Sound Road. See pretty private residences and estate roads until Harrington Hundreds Road meets Knapton Hill Road. From there, see the South Shore coast below. Its only entrance of the Sound to the sea is under Flatts Bridge, via Flatts Inlet.  It is gorgeous for fishing, swimming, sunfish sailing, kayaking and viewing. There are lots of bays, caves, cliffs and coves, but not many beaches. The Sound marks the lowest point on the Bermuda sea platform. It is quite deep, about 23 meters (about 70 feet) at its deepest point (off Devil's Hole). Its geological formation is not yet fully explained. However, it is not the crater of an extinct volcano. The islands in the parish include Turtle Island. Some are inhabited year round. 

Going east, travel along the southern and southeastern extremities, with marvelous views all the way of this outstanding body of water and its islands. The stretch between Palmetto Bay and Devil's Hole is particularly pleasant. At Devil's Hole, stay left (unless you want to divert to the right to get to Devil's Hole Hill) and pass unusual Turtle Island in Harrington Sound. From here on, the road goes inland somewhat. 

Harrington Sound A little way past the entrance to Broken Hill Road on the right, you'll reach the eastern boundary of Smith's Parish and enter Hamilton Parish. 

The view overlooking Harrington Sound is stunning. Harrington Sound has gone through huge changes. 

When Bermuda's population was much smaller than it is now (the fourth most densely populated country in the world), there were significant populations of clams, conchs, scallops and huge stands of branching corals. 

All have disappeared in any quantity although some clams remain. No commercial fishing is done.

Photographs by author Keith A. Forbes

H. T. North Nature Reservewalking area

Access this tranquil place via Harrington Sound Road. See all manner of park-like scenes. It is perfect for walkers and photographers. It has a one way road emerging on the South Road.

Islands in the Parish

Jennings Land Road

This nice residential area is now mostly a short cut via a hilly section from the North Shore Road to the Middle Road. But at one time it was a golf course. The # 10 and # 11 buses stop on either side of the North Shore Road and the # 3 bus on either side of the Middle Road. It is named after Richard Jennings, who came to Bermuda in the mid 17th century. He sired John Jennings Sr. who had a son also named John. They inherited property in both this parish and Southampton Parish.

John Smith's Bay & Parkwalking area

John Smith's Bay, Bermuda

John Smith's Bay and area

John Smith's Bay photos

John Smith's Bay 2South Shore, off South Road. Named after Captain John Smith, the famous 17th century British explorer who mapped Bermuda (which he referred to by the official first name of the Somer's Isles and much of Virginia, was instrumental in getting Princess Pocahontas to the UK and much more in both Bermuda's and Virginia's history. (How he sailed to and from Bermuda is still a mystery). 

Public. Only public beach in this parish. Very nice, especially at low tide. A personal favorite. Reefs are attractive, with care. Lifeguard on duty in summer. Soft drinks, snacks, fast food, etc. are often available from a licensed purveyor in a van on the premises. Basic bathrooms (toilets) available. Located between Pink Beach Club and Watch Hill Park, not far from Devil's Hole Aquarium. Popular with locals and tourists, families and youngsters, especially in summer. Can get noisy when groups gather with loud music. Parking for vehicles, grassy picnic area. Bus routes #1 which stops conveniently on the South Road nearby or #3 (which stops further away, at Devil's Hole). Don't be tempted to use bus routes #10 or #11 unless you are a good walker and used to heat and humidity and traffic noise for the 1+ mile walk. When the concrete ramp to the beach was built, it was assumed - wrongly - that people in wheelchairs could access.  But it is far too steep. 

Out of sight of these views but to the left are more pink beaches, private, belonging to the appropriately-named up-market Pink Beach Club and Cottage Colony. 

Knapton Hillpublic buses

A prime residential area of Bermuda, one of the top three such areas. It is named after John Knapton, a very successful mid 17th century merchant whose wife Elizabeth was the daughter of Anthony Peniston (or his son by the same name) who showed "goldsmith" as his trade in the records of the Bermuda Company and was also its treasurer. He left a will dated 1654. 

It begins as a turnoff to the left off the South Road just a little east of St. Mark's Church, and ends where Harrington Sound Road meets the Devil's Hole part of Harrington Sound. It offers magnificent views of the South Shore to the right. It climbs higher and higher, going past some beautiful private homes and a series of residential streets in the middle. Then it dips down to sea level again. The foliage, houses, views of the South Shore to the south, Harrington Sound to the north and "skyline" aspects make it most interesting.

Middle Roadpublic buses

This is one of the three main roads. It begins at the junction of the North Shore Road and Harrington Sound Road going west. It goes up Flatt's Hill, passes Penhurst Park and the Cable & Wireless Teleport on the hill to the north. For sightseeing on the fly, it's the best way to access the park, or to continue east past Store Hill (which connects Middle Road with the North Shore Road and has access to the Bermuda Railroad Trail). The road passes some interesting private homes and gardens before the intersection with Verdmont Road to your right (to Collector's Hill and South Road), Jennings Road to your left (to the North Shore Road) and the interesting old Whitney Institute School, also on your left. Then it comes to the top of Flatts Hill. At the bottom, Middle Road ends, splitting off into Harrington Sound Road to the right and the North Shore Road ahead. The # 3 bus stops along the Smith's Parish portion of Middle Road.

North Shore Roadpublic buses

The Smith's Parish section of this scenic, sometimes winding, main road begins just west of the entrance to Penhurst Park, goes past the area leading to the Gibbet Islands, then into Flatts Village, and ends at Flatt's Bridge. There are seascapes all the way. If you stop to admire them, avoid doing so during rush hour traffic.

Penhurst Parkwalking areapublic buses

Bus routes 3 (Middle Road), 10 and 11 (North Shore Road) stop nearby. Between the Middle and North Shore Roads, a little west of the junction of Middle Road and Store Hill, on the Middle Road. This 15 acre park offers superb walking trails and panoramic views of the North shore coastline and ocean. Across the North Shore Road, there's a swimming area off the rocks (with no beach) as well. It's a great place for a picnic, rendezvous or walk. In December 2002, film stars Michael Douglas, wife Catherine Zeta Jones and son Dylan Douglas, 2,  planted endemic trees in a 4-acre plot. Mr. Douglas is the son of Kirk Douglas and Bermudian former actress Diana Dill Webster. He and his family purchased a $2.5 million home, Longford, in Warwick Parish, in 2001. Diana Dill Webster's family has lived in Bermuda since the 17th century but her primary home is in California.

Pink Beach Club & Cottages 4-starDiningMeeting RoomPoolTennispublic bus

Pink Beach Club

Pink Beach Club map

91 rooms. South Road, Smith's Parish. Closes November 2011 for update and major renovations for reopening spring 2012. Telephone 1 441 293 1666. Fax 1 441 293 8935. Upmarket, offering privacy and discretion. 2011 room rates are from $445 per night. On 17 landscaped acres. With its own two gorgeous small private pink sand beaches and two tennis courts for guests only. Secluded cottages offer Junior Suites and Ocean View Suites. All have separate living rooms and bedrooms. Bus route 1 by day passes below, on South Road. With its own indoor Bermudiana Dining Room and seasonal (April to October) The Breakers Ocean Terrace Cafe restaurants. Now has a new combined tourism and condominium center. Also see separate beachfront houses, priced between US$1.9 million and US$2.3 million and built around a pool. Owners or their guests of the above can use all the facilities of Pink Beach. 

Restaurants in the ParishDining

See under Bermuda Cuisine and Restaurants.

St. Mark's Churchwalking areapublic buses

St. Mark's Church51 South Road. One of the Anglican Churches of Bermuda. The # 1 day time bus stops on either side of the South Road nearby. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1847. It is a fine example of Gothic revival style. One of the most charming of the parish churches and its spire, designed by Dr Henry Hinson, one of the loveliest. Consecrated in 1849, it took the place of Harris’ Bay Church which stood on the site of the present graveyard from the early 1700s until 1846; a simple, silver chalice dated 1676 is a treasure left from the old church. Land for St. Mark’s was given by sisters, Sarah Trott and Mary Sears. When first built, the church was a plain, rectangular building with a gable roof and arched windows. It remained a country church until transformed under the leadership of The Reverend George Tucker and parishioner Jeremiah Scott Pearman, who made the care and ornamentation of the church his life’s work. They blessed the building of a Gothic tower, measuring more than one hundred feet, and an octagonal, buttressed spire, above which rose a cross. Julian Tucker, the chief mason, skillfully executed the work and later built a comparable steeple for St. Paul AME Church in Hamilton. The pews were made from mahogany logs washed ashore in the Turks Islands and later shipped aboard the HMS Beta to Bermuda. The altar, the exquisite reredos and pulpit, all made of cedar, were artistically carved by Arthur Wilkinson of Bailey’s Bay. The font was fashioned from Bermuda limestone by convicts. The bells which pealed for the first time in 1911 were given by the congregation in memory of Archdeacon Tucker, St. Mark’s well-loved rector for nearly forty years until his death in 1908.

In July 1998 eleven archaeologists including one from the College of William and Mary found more than they bargained for at a dig in the graveyard. The excavation revealed remnants of the church's two older structures. St. Mark's, then known by an earlier name, was originally built in a plot of land across the street from its present position in the mid 1600s and was rebuilt at the same spot after 1712. It was not until the church fell down during a renovation that it was rebuilt on the other side of South Shore Road. The excavation revealed remnants of the church's two older structures, some of their walls.  

Ministers of this church, more than any other church in Bermuda of any religion, have been the subject of much prolonged controversy by quarreling parishioners, first in 1867 when they prevented the minister from accessing and most recently in 2003 when they publicly protested over the reverend at the time (later, he died from the stress and controversy)  and walked out in droves. 

Bell-ringing at the church has been a tradition since they were first rung on Sunday, May 14, 1911. The bells were first suggested by Jeremiah Scott Pearman as a way to honour the church’s former pastor, Archdeacon George Tucker. The church quickly agreed and began raising the funds to purchase and install the first chime bells in Bermuda. The chime consists of ten cast bronze bells, cast by John Taylor Bell founders in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The bells range in size from 18 inches in diameter and a weight of a mere 126 pounds, to the largest at 37-and-one-quarter inches and a weight of 1011 pounds. Each bell has a different note from the key of B-flat minor, and is played on a clavier. Players simply push the numbered levers, which, when depressed, pull the wires, and, in turn, the clapper of the bell. Bell players can follow simple music notations to play hymns and songs. In addition to the chimes, there is a great bell on a swing wheel, which sits on top of the ten-bell frame. It was cast by the Memeely Bell foundry in West Troy, New York in 1879 and presented to the church by W. F. M. Whitney for Easter that year. All the bells are housed in the church’s tower and steeple, which was completed in 1876. The first person to play the bells was Sexton T. Stephenson, followed by Sexton Arthur Wilkinson, Sexton Eliston Woolridge, and then Sandra Lilley. Today, the church has six players, rotating around the two Sunday morning services held at St. Mark’s.

Note how graves in Bermuda are above the ground, but bodies are six feet under ground. Of special interest to American visitors are the graves of a former US Consul General in Bermuda during the American Civil War,  Mr. Charles Maxwell Allan (who, during the Civil War was much-reviled by many Bermudians because they supported the South.  He later became much-respected) and his wife, Mrs. Marion Schuyler Allan (who died in 1909). On numerous occasions at Bay House in Pembroke Parish, Bermuda, where they lived for years, Mark Twain was a regular and popular guest of Mr. Charles Maxwell Allan, Assistant Consul General and Mrs. Marion Schuyler Allan. (In the 1860s, Allan had been a friend in Bermuda of another expatriate, the English artist Edward K. James). Mr. Allen did not return to the USA after the Civil War. He remained in Bermuda as U.S. Consul until his death in 1888.

Grave in Bermuda of US Consul General Charles Maxwell Allen

Grave of Mr Allan, commemorated in 2013

American and Canadian visitors should note that here also reposes the grave (see photo below) of naturalized American Canadian-born Professor Reginald Aubrey Fessenden - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Fessenden - (born October 6, 1866, died in Bermuda on July 22, 1932). At the Whitney Institute school not far away, he had been the Headmaster. Fessenden had married a Trott (from an old Bermuda family) and in his memory there are scholarships called the Fessenden-Trott Scholarships. He made it possible for radio voices to be broadcast (Marconi's radio only did Morse code). On his grave (on a stone lintel at the top of the memorial) is inscribed: "His mind illumined the past and the future and wrought greatly for the present." When Fessenden retired to Flatt's Village (because of a heart condition) in 1928, he bought the historic house 'Wistowe' and remodeled it.

Fessenden grave

Photograph of church (top) by author Keith A. Forbes.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church Disabled

23 South Road. Phone 236-9866. Fax 232-2824. E-mail stpats@ibl.bm. With two marked Handicapped Parking spaces.

Smith's Parish Council

P. O. Box FL 433, Flatt's, FL BX. 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.

Spittal Pond Park & Nature Reservewalking areapublic buses

Spittal PondOn the ocean side of the South Road.  60 acres. Bermuda's largest nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary. Its history began in 1954 when the Legislature authorized the first purchase of land to be set aside as public open space. It was the first nature reserve in Bermuda. 

The brackish pond has a greatly reduced salt content and no permanent connection with the ocean nearby. It has no tidal range at all. But during storms, Spittal Pond can become very salty when inundated by the ocean. Like all brackish ponds, it is unstable. Lack of dissolved oxygen is common and many areas of yellow, pink or black sulphur-producing bacteria can develop. 

It is where wild migratory birds congregate, especially from November to March. It is the best bird-watching area in Bermuda. 

Many non-native birds shelter or winter here. Most prominent from the fall to the spring are Blue-winged Teal, Mallard and other duck species, Pied-billed Grebe, herons and egrets, American Coots and Common Moorhens. Wintering warbler species include Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird and Northern Water thrush. 

Resident species include Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White-eyed Vireo and European Goldfinch. Paths and trails designate areas to explore. It is also a magnificent place for a walk for those without a mobility problem See a historic site (see below). Also see The Chequerboard, a natural curiosity.  Seawater created small channels forming precise squares in the limestone. It is believed it is an ancient beach that became solidified.

Portuguese Rock

Portuguese Rock renaming ceremony September 2009 It is also unique in Bermuda as the site of what for centuries in Bermuda used to be known as Spanish Rock but which in late September 2009 was formally renamed Portuguese Rock in a ceremony attended by dignitaries from Bermuda and Portugal. The ceremony was held at the rock, which was engraved here almost 500 years ago. Portuguese Rock is a poignant reminder that Bermuda has and will continue to have strong cultural connections with Portugal and a shared maritime and international commercial history that built the foundations of the modern Atlantic world. Antonio Nunes de Carvalho Santana Carlos, Ambassador of Portugal, flew in from London for the ceremony and made a short speech. Once the new sign was unveiled, Bishop Robert Kurtz and Father Julio Blazejewski both said prayers. The Portuguese national anthem was performed on the accordion by Antonio Araujo and Wendell "Shine" Hayward played Bermuda's official national anthem God Save the Queen, on his saxophone.

It was thought that the inscription 'RP 1543' was made by the Spanish who roamed the seas in the 1500s and hence it was called 'Spanish Rock.'  But subsequent research indicated that the inscription was made by a Portuguese sailor who was wrecked off Bermuda's reefs in 1543. 

The reserve - not the pond - is open from dawn until dusk, with parking. No admission fee. It is jointly maintained by the Bermuda National Trust, Bermuda Audubon Society and Department of the Environment which replaced the Department of Agriculture in 2002. The # 1 day time bus stops nearby. 

There is no evidence this has any connection with the word "spit" or spittle. Probably much more likely is a historic connection with various places named "Spittal" in Scotland, with their Scottish Gaelic origins such as Spittal in Dumfries & Galloway; in East Lothian with Spittal Hill nearby; Spittal of Glenmuick in Aberdeen-shire; Spittal of Glenshee, in Perthshire; Spittalfield, nearby and Spittal in the northernmost mainland Scottish county of Caithness. 

South Roadpublic buses

The Smith's Parish stretch of one of Bermuda's three main roads is lovely for views and sightseeing attractions. Going east, it starts off mildly, where the Devonshire Parish portion ends, just before the Church of Nazarene and Collector's Hill bearing off to the left. Another church, Centenary Methodist, is on the left with a shopping center opposite. Further east - at 23 South Road, phone 236-9866 - is the round St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on your left. Then you come to the junction with St. Mark's Road on the left, very rural, with St. Mark's Church prominent. After the "saintly" area, you come to the downhill and then flat coastal drive of magnificent South Shore scenery for nearly three miles. On the right, overlook the tranquil Spittal Pond Nature Reserve (described below). On the left, see the beginning of Knapton Hill, with its own "skyline drive" vistas.

After the junction on the left with Harrington Hundreds Road, pass Watch Hill Park on your right and lovely seascapes of the South Shore. Cliffs, rocks, green of the vegetation, blend with the blue of the ocean and fierce action of the waves on windy days. After passing Winterhaven Nature Reserve on the left you encounter John Smith's Bay on your right. Its beauty and site will tempt you stop. Further straight on, past Devil's Hole Road to the left, pass the Marsden Methodist Church on your left, then the beginning of Mangrove Lake on your left and an access road, Somersall Road, for the H. T. North Nature Reserve which includes the lake. At this point, you've reached the boundary of Smith's Parish. Further east is Hamilton Parish. The # 1 bus stops at all the bus stops in the Smith's Parish portion of the South Road.

Summerhaven Nature Reservewalking areapublic buses

A small wildlife and woodland reserve off the South Road directly opposite John Smith's Bay. You'll see the sign for the facility, but not any obvious access way or path to find your own way in and out. Avoid the poison ivy. The # 1 bus stops at the John Smith's Bay stop on either side of the South Road nearby. There is limited vacation accommodation here for the handicapped in the nice Summerhaven complex for them.

Supermarket and grocery storespublic busesShopping

Fresh fruit

Both are on bus route 1, not as frequent on a weekend as on a weekday. Both are open every day (call to check times) including Sunday (from 1 pm to 6 pm). Both sell liquor, but  not on Sunday.

Town Hillwalking areapublic buses

This leads off from Harrington Sound Road, a very hilly excursion, best tackled on a rented moped. It was named because it was the only hill that gave a clear view of the town of St. George far to the east, then Bermuda's capital, for signaling purposes. In the days before radios, telephones, televisions, etc., a high commanding view such as this one provided a method of quickly signaling what ships had arrived, or were about to depart from the town, and other news. You get a glorious view as far as Gibb's Hill Lighthouse and the Royal Naval Dockyard to the west, and St. David's Island, in St. George's Parish, to the east.

Verdmont Historic Manor Housewalking areapublic buses

Verdmont Manor HouseTop of Collector's Hill, at junction with Sayle Road. Phone (441) 236-7369. Owned by the Bermuda National Trust which, in 2003, was given a major award by the American Society of Travel Writers (SATW) for the restoration of Vermont. SATW visited during its 2001 Annual Conference in Bermuda. Georgian style and three floors. With rose and flower, herb and mixed period gardens. Both the house and garden are open to the public at specific times. With a parking area for the able (no Disabled by Permit Only parking signs). Admission is Tuesday through Saturday (except public holidays) from 10.00 am to 4:30 pm. The house has four chimneys with fireplaces in all eight rooms. It has a superb collection of antique Bermuda cedar furniture and valuable mahogany. Other period artifacts include English and Chinese porcelain, Georgian silver including pieces by Bermuda  silversmiths, portraits in oils, children's furniture and toys.

Photo by author Keith A. Forbes

Verdmont: The Story of a House, Its People and Its Contents. An Historical House Guide Book. Diana Chudleigh. Bermuda National Trust, 2011. Pages: 44. Paperback. Illustrations in colour. Tells the story of this early 18th century house in Smith’s Parish, and the families who lived in it.

Also see a fine Bermuda cedar staircase, an Oriental room, powder rooms (once used for powdering wigs, not faces) and toy nursery. Its Bermuda cedar furniture pieces were built by local craftsmen from 1700 to 1820. The house has its share of resident ghosts and ocean views. It was a private residence until 1953. It was never plumbed or electrified. There is no kitchen or running water or air conditioning or ceiling fans or heating. 

 It is a unique example of early Georgian architecture. It has remained architecturally unchanged since the late 1700s. It is on the site of an older - former - house acquired and added to later in his life by late 17th century Bermudian visionary, Captain William Sayle (in whose honor Sayle Road nearby is named). Governor/Captain William Sayles and the Eleutheran Adventurers sailed from Bermuda in 1648 and settled the Bahamas. Governor Sayles served three terms as Governor of Bermuda before becoming the first Governor of the Bahamas and first Governor of Carolina (before it was split in two as North and South Carolina). 

It was re-built in 1710 by John Dickinson. Later, it was acquired by Hon. Thomas Smith who, as Collector of Customs, spawned "Collector's Hill" both as the name of the house and the main nearby access road (another is Collector's Close. Later yet, it was acquired and added to by the USA-born portrait painter and loyalist judge John Green from Philadelphia who married one of the four daughters of Thomas Smith. He and his wife and four daughters were all painted by Green. Later, Green acquired it himself and promptly called the property "Verdmont" as a French pun on his surname, combining the word for green and mountain. The property had a different name before then. It has been Verdmont ever since. 

In the mid 19th century, the house and its 50 acres passed through descendants of Elizabeth Smith and her husband Colonel Henry Trott. They sold it to gentleman farmer Rupert Spencer, whose great-niece Lillian Joell was the last person to live in the house. She declined to modernize it and lived there without electricity or plumbing. In 1951, she sold the property to the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust, forerunner of the Bermuda National Trust.

The name also prompted other roads built since then to be known as Verdmont Road, Verdmont Drive, Verdmont Lane, Verdmont Valley Drive, Verdmont Valley View and Verdmont Valley Close. Also, because the Verdmont estate was once hugely bigger than it is now and centuries ago stretched between the South and North Shores, further variations of the Green name were made - and have stuck - at Green Hill Lane not far from the North Shore, at the top of Store Hill where it intersects with Middle Road; and Green View Lane, near the foot of Collector's Hill on the South Shore.

Friends of Vermont. A group that meets monthly. 

In October 2013, a descendant of the last family to live at historic Verdmont in Smiths visited the Island after a 61 year hiatus, and helped to shed new light on the old place. Connie Maxson, great granddaughter of Stafford Nairn Joell (1846-1911), arrived in Bermuda by cruise ship with her husband, Kennon. She was raised in the United States and last visited Bermuda in 1952 at seven years old with her brother, Granville, and mother Gladys Paultisch Wright. When Mrs Maxson first saw the house, there was no one living there. She dimly remembered a cherry tree out back with delicious cherries. Mrs Maxson's mother, Gladys Wright, was the daughter of Emma Constance Joell and Fredrick Paultisch, an American. Mrs Maxson is named Constance, after her. Mrs Wright was born overseas and was the youngest of three daughters.  Her mother, Emma Constance, became very sick and the family returned to Bermuda thinking it would be better for her health. Sadly, she died soon after returning to the Island in 1910. Mr Paultisch, a steel yard worker, went back to the United States leaving behind his three daughters to live at Verdmont with their aunts, Lillian and Irene (Dolly) Joell. Mrs Maxson's mother, Gladys, was just four years old. It was 1911 and he felt that he could not raise his daughters on his own. Eventually, Mr Paultisch remarried and his daughters gradually returned to the United States to live with him. Gladys was the last to leave, but finally followed her sisters at the age of 14. It appears that at one time there was an open wooden veranda along the entire south front of Verdmont. This was something that the BNT did not know, and they are now looking to research.

Watch Hill Parkwalking areapublic buses

Watch Hill ParkWatch Hill Park

On the South Shore, below the southern brow of Knapton Hill. Its little cliff-side public path and parking area leads off the South Road, about a mile east of St. Mark's Church, overlooking the ocean. The # 1 bus stops nearby. Stop and admire the stunning sea views. Watch Hill Road is nearby and both have the same historical significance. In the early days of Bermuda, fear of a Spanish attack resulted in the passing of a local law - based on British law of the time - requiring every parish to  maintain a 24-hour watch. A system of signal fires was used to alert other high or strategic points beyond the parish. This is how the name started. The park is prettiest on the eastern, turfed area, where there are great picnic spots. On days when gale force winds are from the south, great waves hurl themselves onto the rocks below with such force that sheets of spray rise high into the air and spill into the park. 

Winterhaven Nature Reservewalking areapublic buses

A small, wildlife and woodland reserve open to the public. One entrance is just off the South Road between John Smith's Bay and Watch Hill Park. The # 1 bus stops at John Smith's Bay nearby. The other is in and overlooks Harrington Sound Road. The #3 bus stops nearby. The nature reserve runs between the two entrances. For seascapes, the south side of this reserve is lovely. The north side, over Harrington Sound, is as nice. 

Within the property, on the south side, is the historic former Winterhaven Farm House, dating from the 18th century, a fine example of traditional Bermudian architecture. It was owned until recently by the Bermuda National Trust but was sold to Bermuda's former Premier Dr. The Hon Ewart Brown, and is now the Brown-Darrell Clinic, a medical stem cell research centre opened in 2008.

Other Bermuda geographic areas

City of Hamilton Hamilton Parish Paget Parish Pembroke Parish Sandys Parish
Smith's Parish Southampton Parish St. George's Parish Town of St. George Warwick Parish

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Last Updated: July 30, 2014.
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