Bermuda Gifts and Souvenirs
Gifts and souvenirs of Bermuda are probably the most wanted shopping items for tourists. If you are in Bermuda on a vacation, you would certainly like to take back the fond memories back home to cherish for a long time, or give a little gift to your loved ones. Out of hundreds of things we have taken back with us over the years, one item that I keep looking at is an exquisite glass piece, a seahorse we purchased from dockyard that now adorns our living room. It was crafted by a local Bermudian artist at the Dockyard Glassworks Studio.
Well, that's just one out of the many treasures that we have from Bermuda. Some of our other favorites include the cedar items that are so unique to Bermuda, like locally crafted tiny cedar sculptures or book separators or even mugs. And then of course there is no parallel to Bermuda's banana leaf dolls and the Gombey rag dolls.
When it comes to Bermuda's moongate or longtail jewelry, the concentration and patience exhibited by my wife at the stores is also unparalleled. She loves one more thing which is quite unique to Bermuda... the ornaments and charms that encase pink sands which Bermuda beaches are so famous for. You can't collect sands from the beaches, this is one way you can take back a piece of work that encapsulates the pink sand. Usually wire wrap technique is used for such work and you will find use of silver and stones in such beautiful ornaments.
Another excellent gift item is a handcrafted jewelry made of sea glass which is collected from a Bermuda beach. Such items would include pendants, charms, earrings etc all intricately handmade using a sea glass at its center. Another item that I see in the shopping list of many is Bermuda T-shirts. After all this is the easiest way to tell everyone that you actually made it to the island of paradise.
Other gifts and souvenirs that will give you a true feel of Bermuda are paintings of sleeping Gombey, or Bermuda onions which has a long saga associated with it resulting in Bermudians being called as onions, majestic humpback whales whose migration can be seen on Bermuda waters or even that of a green moray eel. Actually these days you need not even buy expensive paintings, such pictures are now available on glossy tiles sold as gift items.
So what else do you get in Bermuda and where? Well the list is literally end less. Here are the top gift and souvenir stores in Bermuda and the main items they have on sale.
Handcrafted Items at Dockyard
At Royal Naval Dockyard, you should visit the following places to get exquisite handcrafted items:
Flying Colors Bermuda
Established in 1937 by a Finnish born family, Riihiluoma's Flying Colours is a two storied building prominently marked by many colorful flags that it sports in front of its store. Other than great T-shirts with slogans, it sells many souvenir items like key chains that are shaped like Bermuda, miniature Bermuda scooters, paperweights, hand crafted items like mugs, art & crafts and lot more. Prices are quite reasonable and it's a very popular store with the tourists. It's located at Hamilton City. 5 Queen Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. Phone: 441/295-0890.
Cheap Items from Charity Organizations (often used items)
If you are looking for cheap assorted items but value buys, then Thrift Stores in Bermuda can be great places to explore. They keep all sorts of items like gifts & souvenirs, artwork, clothes, household products and lot of other unique local items that you can seldom find elsewhere. Most of these items are either supplied by Charity organizations or are sourced through donations, and therefore come cheap. However sometimes, the items may be used but usually in a good condition. Thrift stores are extremely popular with locals.
The Island Shop (Hamilton City)
The shop has unique ceramic and linen products. All products are designed by Bermudian artist Barbara Finsness. Barbara's designs are quite colorful and tropical. Items on sale include ceramics, linens, wooden products, glass items, handbags & accessories, world rugby classics, ties & scarves, jewelry, silk products, clothing, pillows & covers, and others. The shop was the winner of Best of giftware in The Bermudian magazine. Each item is specially made and labeled with Barbara's signature.
Branches of The Island Shop.
1) 47 Front Street (Old Cellar Lane), Hamilton, Tel: 441/292-6307
2) 3 Queen Street, Hamilton, Tel: 441/292-5292
3) Somers Wharf, St. George's, Tel: 441/297-1514
4) Fairmont Southampton Hotel, Southampton Parish. Phone: 441/238-5999
The Island Shop, Bermuda
Bermuda Sea Glass Items
A great souvenir is to take back home a colorful sea glass collected from a beach in the island which is then handmade into an ornament or jewelry. Sea glasses are glass pieces that get polished at the depths by the ocean and sand for years before getting washed up ashore. If you have collected a piece yourself, you can take it to a store run by Kelly Diel in St. George's and she can make a beautiful pendant out of that. Alternatively, just visit her store and buy one. She is a beachcomber herself and regularly collects sea glasses from Bermuda's beaches. She uses silver and gold filled wires as holders. An average cost of earring and pendants would be $40 - $45. You can also get Christmas tree ornaments made with sea glass as well full intact glass bottles collected from the depths.
Address: Somers Wharf Complex, Unit 3, 16 Water Street, St George's, Bermuda. Phone: (441) 297 4819
Bermuda National Trust, a registered charity organization runs couple of stores with this name. You’ll find locally made items of Bermuda cedar, cards, ceramics, candleholders, ornaments, games, and many other small items. The stores also sell locally made Ties with island prints, Caps, Umbrellas, T-shirts and canvas bags with Bermuda National Trust Logo on them.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
1) The Old Cellar Lane, Front Street, Hamilton City, Bermuda. Phone: 441/296-4164
2) 32 Duke of York Street (in the erstwhile Globe Hotel), St. George. Phone: 441/297-1423
Pulp & Circumstance (4 Washington Lane, Hamilton City)
This Bermuda stationery store has photo albums, pens, delicate pastel notepaper with pictures of Gombey dancers. They also have stationery that are themed on Bermuda. The shop received Bermuda Gold Award for excellence in shopping and services. It also has a range of high-end gifts and stationery carefully selected from sources around the world. Store Hours Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm; Saturday: 9am - 5pm. Sunday closed. Phone: 441/ 542-9586.
Irish Linen Shop (31 Front Street, Hamilton)
This shop in Hamilton has now been in business for over 60 years, and they have one of the most diversified collections of linen in the entire world. It includes 'Damask' from Ireland and Yves Delorme bed linens from Paris. They also stock exquisite table linen collections from Le Jackguard Francais, Bodrum, Settings by Mona and Karen Lee Ballard. Table accessories are from brands like Deborah Rhodes, and Dransfield & Ross. You will get home fragrances from Antica Farmacista, Dayna Decker, Lafco, and Fance's oldest candle maker Cire Trudon. Then there are great gift items from the world of Michael Alarm and Mariposa. Email: email@example.com; Phone: 441/295-4089
Brown & Co. (35 Front Street, Hamilton City)
This is island's one of the most comprehensive department stores located in the heart of Hamilton. The store is stocked with tourist gifts, greeting cards, books from local and internationally acclaimed authors, perfumes and fragrances from top designers, home decor from around the world, and even fashion jewelry. You can also get glossy tiles here with Bermuda themed pictures. The store's book section is beautifully designed. At the back of the store there is cafe offering coffee, snack, desserts and sandwiches. Brown & Co. is open daily. Hours: Monday - Saturday: 9am - 6pm. Sundays & Public Holidays 1pm - 5pm. Phone: 441/279-5442. Open on Wednesday Harbor Nights till 9:30pm.
Update April 2015: Brown & Company has painted the four windows on its Queen Street entrance with colorful Bermuda landscapes and icons like Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, pink pastel colored house, Moongate, Birdcage etc. This is to attract more tourists in the store. The entrance is looking bright and attractive.
Every year Bermuda Philatelic Bureau makes a collection of Bermuda's commemorative stamps and arranges them in attractive packs. If you are a stamp collector, you can get these packs from one of the main Bermuda Post Offices. Bermuda's heritage, culture and history are captured in these stamps. With a minimum deposit amount, the post offices also provide other services like catering to standing orders to provide current issues of commemoratives, and keeping you updated on the latest releases etc.
Bermuda Triangle (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys)
This in my opinion is the most interesting shop in clocktower mall with unique collections. Most of the products are Bermuda-inspired. You are not likely to find these items outside the island. You will get hand-painted wood carvings such as boxes, tropical fish, doorstops, many with the pink Bermuda cottage design. You also get nice candles and wind chimes. Tel: 441/234-0837
A.S. Cooper & Sons (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys)
They have several branches and outlets including in Hamilton City. It has accessories, gifts, and souvenirs, as well as perfumes at duty-free prices. They also sell glassware items, handcrafted jewelry from local designers, and miniature wooden models of island's famous buildings and monuments. The store is open seven days a week, 9am to 6pm.
Hamilton Location: 29 Front Street, East side entrance, Hamilton. Phone: 441/295-3961.
The Grand Bazaar of Bermuda (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard)
This has a colorful selection of unique Bermudian gifts, such as popular Bermuda hanging lanterns, hand-painted ceramics, cushion covers, fish magnets, handmade jewelry, and linen clothing and ocean-inspired souvenirs. Tel: 441/234-4646
The Bermuda Shop (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard)
The Bermuda Shop is run by a well known local artist Carole Holding. She is also a renowned chef. This shop has gift and souvenir products that have paintings with floral and island themes, and are designed by Carole. It also offers authentic local food products. Check out the link for details.
The Littlest Drawbridge Gift Shop (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard)
This shop is packed with unique handmade gift items. Aromatic Bermuda treasures including boxes, pens, goblets, vases and bowls, as well as sachets, cedar essential oils and incense cones. And you will find authentic Bermuda bags with cedar handles, jewelry, Cuban cigars and Royal Naval Dockyard souvenirs. Tel: 441/234-6214
Dockyard Linen (Clocktower Mall, Royal Naval Dockyard)
Here you will get elegant gift items that are not very expensive. The shop includes fine collection of Bermuda tea towels, bun warmers, tablecloths and place mats, as well as novelties and accessories. Tel: 441/234-0341
A bottle of Gosling's Black Seal, Bermuda's signature rum is a unique Bermudian souvenir. The mixture of Bermuda's signature rum and Barritts Ginger Beer is famous for its traditional Dark 'n' Stormy cocktail in Bermuda. You can pick up Gosling's rum from any of the liquor stores. If you are taking a flight back, best is to pick up a bottle from the duty free shop at the airport. As I picked up my first ever bottle, it read 151% proof and 75.5% Alcohol/volume - Phew!
1) Check out Bermuda Shopping to know all about shopping in Bermuda and the best stores.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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