Though it carries the same name as Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton Parish is totally distinct from the City of Hamilton, which lies about five miles away, in Pembroke Parish. The two Hamiltons are not named for the same person, either; the parish, like the other eight, took the name of an early investor, in this case, James Hamilton, the second Marquis of Hamilton, while the city was named for Governor Henry Hamilton nearly 200 years later.
The Bermudian lexicon distinguishes clearly between the two: when someone says, “Let’s go to Hamilton,” they mean “Town,” or the city. By contrast, locals normally describe Hamilton Parish locations within their neighborhood context (“Bailey’s Bay,” “Crawl,” “Harrington Sound”). Indeed, historically, Hamilton Parish was simply known as Bailey’s Bay by most islanders, since the North Shore community was a hub of trade and travel (by boat) around the island in its early colonial days.
Today, Hamilton Parish, wrapped like a half-doughnut around Harrington Sound, is largely residential, with impressive, mostly hidden waterfront homes, as well as several public parks, one large resort (Grotto Bay Beach Resort), and popular attractions such as the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo and the Caves. Unless you are staying in St. George’s, your tour of the parish will begin immediately after arrival, since you have to travel from the airport through Hamilton Parish to reach any other part of the island.
Getting to Hamilton Parish
Buses are an easy way to travel through Hamilton Parish, with frequent, well-marked stops at all the major attractions, including the Aquarium, Shelly Bay, the Caves, and Grotto Bay Beach Resort. Take the No. 1 (via South Shore Road, Tucker’s Point, and the Caves) every half hour or the No. 3 via Harrington Sound Road every 15 minutes (both run from the city of Hamilton–Grotto Bay/St. George’s). Nos. 10 and 11 travel North Shore Road (via the Aquarium and Shelly Bay) every 15 minutes, between City of Hamilton and St. George’s. The parish, like St. George’s and Sandys, qualifies as a 14-zone area, with a tariff of $4.50 from Hamilton.
Wheels Cycles has an outlet outside Grotto Bay Resort (15 Blue Hole Hill next to the gas station, tel. 441/293-2378, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:30–4:45 p.m. daily). It rents single-seat and double-seat ($75) scooters.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition