Smith’s and Hamilton Parishes
Stamped with some of Bermuda’s most rugged scenery, Smith’s and Hamilton Parishes will appeal to outdoors enthusiasts seeking Bermuda’s less-manicured facets, as well as history buffs, birders, naturalists, and beachgoers. Families with children will find plenty of activities to entertain youngsters, from caves and beaches to playgrounds and the island’s only aquarium and zoo.
Two beautiful bodies of water shape the contours of these parishes—Harrington Sound and Castle Harbour. Each is ringed with stunning homes, often hidden from the main road, and a honeycomb of limestone caves, including two open for public tours. Both parishes feature sections of the South and North Shores, scenic stretches of the Railway Trail, wide farmland tracts, beaches, swimming coves, nature reserves, historic sites, and must-see attractions.
The southern coast of both parishes was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Exposed limestone cliffs and beaches were ravaged, and low-lying residential neighborhoods were evacuated as giant rollers swamped shoreline homes, tore slate off hundreds of roofs, and destroyed sections of South Shore Road, crumpling the tarmac like a kicked-up carpet. Very little evidence of such destruction remains, aside from visibly eroded limestone cliffs and hilltop views of the sea where there were none before. South Shore Road, which had looked like an earthquake victim, was rebuilt, and beachfronts and nature reserves restored.
There are several routes to travel through the two parishes, the most scenic being South Shore Road and Harrington Sound Road. In Smith’s, South Shore Road leads east from Collector’s Hill, up McGall’s Hill, and past the wooded splendor of Spittal Pond to John Smith’s Bay and Mangrove Lake, Bermuda’s largest saltwater pond. Continuing east on the South Shore, you enter a small chunk of Hamilton Parish, most of it cushioned by the undulating greens of the world-famous Mid Ocean Golf Club. Briefly crossing the parish boundary (into Tucker’s Town, St. George’s), it’s necessary to cut through Paynter’s Road to return to Hamilton Parish via picturesque, serpentine Harrington Sound Road.
From the eastern reaches of Hamilton Parish, you can take the Causeway into St. George’s or explore North Shore neighborhoods, such as Coney Island, Bailey’s Bay, and Crawl. North Shore Road also hugs the cove-sprinkled coast through Smith’s to the border of Flatts Village, before linking to a narrow, postcard-pretty stretch of Harrington Sound Road—another pleasant way east, particularly on dead-calm days when the North Shore horizon looks like a lake, and arriving cruise ships can be seen following the distant channel into the Great Sound.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition