For such a tiny place, Harbour Island has more than its share of
connoisseurs who have turned their knowing eyes to creating beautiful
shopping experiences. In each of the places we've listed below,
you'll feel like you've stepped into another place and time, one
that lets you see beauty with new eyes.
First, the real thing: Local straw
you arrive at the dock on Harbour Island you'll see the colorful
blue and yellow stalls of the straw vendors lining Bay Street. Don't
miss the wizened faces of the women, some of whom have managed these
stalls since before the days the Island had electricity: matriarch
Sarah Hutchison, Dorothea Saunders, Eva Mather and further down
Bay Street Curline Higgs and Jacqueline Percentie. Take your time
perusing the Bahamian products; ask about them. We're just about
sure you'll kick yourself back home when you want to tell friends
about the Island's special magic, and that oval bread basket on
your table could have provided the perfect cue.
Refined tropical fashion
the perfect look when the weather is hot and the surroundings are
simple elegance? Perfect crisp linen is one answer provided at Mis
Mae's, the grand dame of Briland's fine shops. Run by Philipa Simmons,
owner of the previous Ocean View Hotel, Miss Mae's is tucked in
a historic house in the center of town. Don't miss taking a peek
into the tiny, verdant, walled garden out back. It's a miniature
vacation in itself.
Briland on canvas
Artists the world over are drawn to Harbour Island for the special
quality of its light as well as for the variety of blossom-framed
still lifes of Victorian architecture it offers up as subjects.
Some days, the streets are thick with watercoloristssome even
painting each other! Bahamian-born Charles Carey makes this bounty
available in his Princess Street Gallery. Charles fled life
as a New York accountant to pursue his love of art and of his grandmother's
home in Harbour Island.
Harbour Island at home
Within a few days you'll begin to develop a feel for the Harbour
Island lifestyle: colorful things of simple elegance with an unexpected
twist. At the Blue Rooster you'll find just the thing: a
placemat, a candle holder, or maybe ...Set in a perfect little Victorian
cottage, the white washed walls and original planked flooring of
the Blue Rooster let you pretend for a few moments what it would
be like to own a home on this island. But it will so much easier
to just bring back something to grace your own home... at least
The gift shop at the Pink Sands hotel expresses the interest
of its owner, Chris Blackwell, in Afro-Caribbean music, particularly
as promoted under Blackwell's own Island Outposts label. African
artists such as Baaba Maal and Ernest Ranglin join the more familiar
names of Jimmy Cliff and Buena Vista Social Clubalong with
compilations such as "Music of Your Vacation." Our personal
favorite is Baaba Maal's "Nomad Soul." (But for genuine
Bahamian music, try Dilly Dally.) The gift
shop also offers resort wear, crafts from Jamaica, and some very
Island's first duty free shop. The distinguished chain of John
Bull offers its fine jewelry and other tantalizing baubles from
a new building at the foot of the dock, just beyond The Landing.
Images to remember us by
can't miss Dilly Dally at the center of townits bright
green and yellow striped exterior reflect the whimsical and artistic
flair of owner Val Albury. Val is a photographer born in Nassau
who does many of the Island's weddings and offers up photographic
images of the island both as framed works or cute little refrigerator
magnets. She also has the best selection of Bahamian music. At the
center of town across from Island Real Estate.
Briland Browser becomes Briland Brush
the early 80s some winter residents started the Women's Action Group
to raise funds for a daycare center which you can see today on Colebrook
street behind the Methodist church. For many years, the daycare
center was supported by profits from Briland Browser's sale of crafts
and houseware items. Today that building at Murray and King Streets
is being renovated by Harvey Roberts for rebirth as Briland Brush.
Harvey promises art, framing, and a tea shop.
in the original home of the Royal Bank, this inviting shop has recently
been acquired by charming locals Tovar and Ann. Hand bags, resort
wear, junkanoo figurines and more. At the intersection of King and
Dunmore, right by Island Real Estate. Forget to bring home a treasure?
you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shells 'n Tings
Ever-friendly Iris lewis offers island wear and a creative selection
of craft items made on Harbour Island. Just 4 houses uphill from
Gusty's on the north end. See web page.
As you stroll around town you'll find several other shops that
each offer a unique twist on the local shopping experience. Here's
a quick list.
Doris Dry Goods--Good stop if a cool day makes you wish
you'd brought a sweat shirt. At the foot of Government Dock.
Down Home--A colorful display of authentic Bahamian crafts.
Across from the library.