Made in Bermuda
There’s always a T-shirt or paperweight to take home, but if you look around, you’ll find far more interesting souvenirs of your trip to Bermuda.
Established in 1928, the Bermuda Perfumery (Stewart Hall, 5 Queen St., St. George, tel. 441/293-0627, toll-free from the U.S. 800/527-8213, www.bermuda-perfumery.com) used to operate out of rambling gardens of a historic estate in Hamilton Parish. When the land was sold in the late 1990s, the business moved to the Town of St. George, and today, the popular LiLi line of fragrances, including perfume (0.25 oz./7.5 ml $29), soaps, body lotions, and bath and shower gel, is sold in stores islandwide.
The scents appear to have a fervent fan base overseas, including Bermudians’ friends and relatives who get hooked on the scent of bermudiana, or who must have a bottle of oleander to wear at their wedding. Scents include Easter lily, jasmine, oleander, passion flower, frangipani, and bermudiana. You can learn all about their production by visiting the Bermuda Perfumery and its pretty little garden, now housed at an historic Bermuda National Trust property.
There’s nothing more Bermudian than cedar — the Juniperus bermudiana variety, of course. Cedar trinkets are sold in various stores around the island, but you can watch the maestro in person at the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard. There, cedar craftsman Chesley Trott works wonders out of a pile of gnarled silver twigs or tree trunks. Pull-toys and public-art sculptures are his specialty; all of Trott’s works demand top prices. Jeremy Johnson’s Village Carpentry is also worth dropping into. The aromatic roadside workshop sells cedar animals and other hand-carved mementos.
Gosling’s Black Seal Rum will ensure your enjoyment of black ’n’ cokes and dark ’n’ stormies long after you leave Bermuda. Bottles of rum (one-liter $12), as well as Gosling’s and Horton’s rum cakes, can be found at Bermuda Duty Free, the retail outlet at L. F. Wade International Airport.
Island artworks are some of the highest quality and nicest products visitors can buy to take Bermuda home with them. The Bermuda Society of Arts holds regular shows where members’ oils, acrylics, watercolors, sculpture, and other media are for sale. Artist Barbara Finsness’s popular Island Shop carries her designs on linen tablecloths and place settings, handbags, Christmas ornaments, and ceramics. Around the corner, gift shop Pulp & Circumstance has greeting cards by Bermudian artists and photographers.
Bermuda stamps and coins make good souvenirs. The General Post Office’s Philatelic Bureau (corner of Church and Parliament Streets, tel. 441/297-7807) sells collections of commemorative stamps, featuring themes of cultural and historical significance to the island. Numismatists seek out the Bermuda Monetary Authority (43 Victoria St., Hamilton, tel. 441/295-5278, www.bma.bm) for boxed gift sets of Bermuda coins, including commemoratives such as 2005’s gold and silver quincentennial issue and the island’s distinctive new set of vertical notes, released in 2009.
Support internationally recognized Bermudian writers and musicians. Nadia Aguiar’s book, The Lost Island of Tamarind (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, 2008) — volume one of an upcoming trilogy for the youth market that was heavily inspired by Bermuda — won glowing reviews in New York and London. Buy a CD by Bermudian Heather Nova (www.heathernova.com), an ethereal singer-songwriter with Lilith Fair and movie-soundtrack credits to her name. Born and raised in Bermuda and the Caribbean of a centuries-old maritime family (her ancestor was notorious privateer Hezekiah Frith), Nova’s melodic songs reverberate with island references — including treefrogs, redbirds, sailboats, and the sea. She lives in Bermuda’s West End when not touring Europe or recording albums (her seventh studio album, recorded in Bermuda and released in 2008, is entitled The Jasmine Flower). Find her music at The Music Box (58 Reid St., tel. 441/295-4839), on the racks in North America and Europe, or download her songs online.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition