Honeymoon Guide: New Providence & Grand Bahama
Continued (page 11 of 12)
BAHAMA CRAFT CENTRE
The bright, colorful Caribbean-pastiche building designed by local architect Jackson Burnside—right by the exit bridge, across from Hurricane Hole Plaza—houses a collection of 85 vendors. Now, the place certainly has its share of the usual tourist junk, but keep looking and you’ll turn up some creative surprises made from humble materials (palm fronds, shells, coconuts), as well as conch jewelry, pine-seed dolls and driftwood paintings. It’s also a good place to stock up on Bahamian CDs. Another big plus: It’s not as jammed as the Nassau Straw Market (see below) can get, especially when the cruise ships come in.
18 Village Road, Nassau
Also Marina Village at Atlantis, Paradise Island
Jackson Burnside is a one-man art-and-architecture dynamo hereabouts. With his wife, Pam, he also runs this pair of galleries, one in downtown Nassau and the other over the bridge on Paradise Island in the Marina Village location. (Be sure to give the latter complex a good eyeballing —Jackson designed it too.) He sells his own locally inspired paintings, as well as those of his brother, Stan, and his friend John Beadle. These dudes’ specialty is the Junkanoo festivities (see Play); the theme reaches beyond the artworks to include masks, posters, cards, T-shirts, furniture and more. This stuff should definitely put a smile on your face.
NASSAU STRAW MARKET
Bay and George Streets, Nassau
Hats, bags, mats, dolls and lots more—all woven from the fronds of palms and sisal plants—have been a Bahamian staple for generations. The original Straw Market was burned out in 2001, but while it’s being rebuilt hundreds of mostly female vendors soldier on every day pretty much dawn till dusk in their temporary home under a big tent a couple of blocks away. It’s definitely down-home island rather than glitzy mall. You’ll also find a smattering of other goods, from wood carvings to T-shirts, many of them handmade. For the most part great, classic stuff—though personally we’d stick with the folkloric motifs and avoid Tweety Bird and Bart Simpson. Keep in mind that a certain amount of haggling is expected.
Paradise Cove Beach Resort
In a resort a goodly distance away from Freeport/Lucaya on Grand Bahama’s southwestern shore, up near the West End, longtime U.S. expat Yvonne Smith runs a cute little pink clapboard shop. In addition to the usual flip-flops, beachwear and T-shirts, she sells some marvelous local crafts, most notably seashells (some pretty rare—how’s a $60 shell sound?) and shell ornaments. Other merch includes nautical-themed clocks, chimes and place mats, as well as handpainted maps and some artwork.