Made in Bermuda: Finding Unique Souvenirs

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 U.S. tel. 800/527-8213) 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 (0.5 oz./15 ml $95), soaps, body lotions, and bath and shower gel, is sold in stores islandwide. In 2014, a Lili boutique opened in Hamilton (Butterfield Walkway, 67 Front St., 441/296-2885).

The scents appear to have a fervent fan base overseas, including Bermudians’ friends and relatives who get hooked on the scent of Frangipani, or who must have a bottle of Pink to wear at their wedding. Other scents include Easter lily, jasmine, oleander, and passion flower. You can learn all about their production by visiting the Bermuda Perfumery and its pretty little garden, now housed at a historic Bermuda National Trust property.

A trio of elegant looking square glass bottles of fragrance with metal stamped hang tags.
Discover beautiful and unique local gifts like this line of LIli Bermuda fragrances. Photo courtesy of The Bermuda Perfumery.

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 (tel. 441/234-2809) at Dockyard. Cedar craftsman Chesley Trott is often there, working 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 (127 North Shore, Pembroke, tel. 441/292-2088) is also worth dropping into. The aromatic roadside workshop sells cedar animals and other hand-carved mementos. In Paget, high-polish cedar trays and goblets made by prison inmates and sold at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art (183 South Rd. in Bermuda Botanical Gardens) make gorgeous gifts.

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 $13), as well as Gosling’s and Horton’s rum cakes, can be found at Bermuda Duty Free (Departures Hall, tel.441/293-2870), 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 (City Hall and Arts Centre, tel. 441/292-3824) holds regular shows, and its office stocks members’ oils, acrylics, watercolors, sculpture, and other media for sale. Artist Barbara Finsness’s popular Island Shop (3 Queen St., tel. 441/292-5292, or 49 Front St., Old Cellar Ln., tel. 441/292-6307) carries her designs on linen tablecloths and place settings, handbags, Christmas ornaments, and ceramics. Gift shop Pulp & Circumstance (4 Washington Ln., tel. 441/292-9586) 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 St. and Parliament St., 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) 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 books, The Lost Island of Tamarind and Secrets of Tamarind (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, 2008 and 2011) — two volumes of an upcoming trilogy for the youth market that was heavily inspired by Bermuda — have won glowing reviews and can be found in bookstores on both sides of the Atlantic. Buy a CD by Bermudian Heather Nova, an ethereal singer-songwriter with Lilith Fair and movie-soundtrack credits to her name. Her eighth studio album, recorded by solar power at her West End Bermuda home and released in 2011, is 300 Days at Sea. Find her music at The Music Box (58 Reid St., tel. 441/295-4839), on the racks in North America and Europe, or online. Reggae and dancehall star Collie Buddz also has Bermuda roots; he grew up on the island, married a Bermudian, and spends time here when not touring; his 2011 EP album is titled Playback.

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