Docking in different destinations presents the perfect opportunity for one of life’s greatest pleasures — shopping. In South Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, the boutique vibe is a mix of tropical meets trendy, laid-back meets luxury and cosmopolitan meets bohemian. Here are some of our favorite places to shop:
SOUTH FLORIDA & THE KEYS
Delray Beach — for eclectic everyday clothing
A casually chic collection for day or night is what makes this Atlantic Avenue boutique a go-to spot. There’s no cookie- cutter approach to the selection. Founder Caroline Delafield uses “The Sound of Music” approach, or in other words: “These are a few of my favorite things.” You find everything from leopard, camo and bold flower prints on shirts, dresses, pants, soft snugly sweaters and several styles of LBDs (little black dresses). Shoes, jewelry and bags complete the perfect South Florida look.
Miami — for silk scarves
These Latin-inspired accessories are hot, have been featured on the runway at Fashion Week Miami and are a must-have when painting the town. Prints include Mexican folk-style Huichol art, bird-themed Talavera patterns and spirited Nierika designs in small 21-by-21-inch sizes.
Bold peacocks, monarch butterflies and chihuahuas cover the larger 35-by-35-inch scarves. Find silk ties, shawls and handbags, too. Started in 1996 by namesake Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin, the boutique is located a mile from Dinner Key Cay in Coconut Grove.
KEY WEST LOCAL LUXE
Key West — for Labradorite earrings and distinctive jewelry
Stand out, rather than fit in with everyone else in a room by wearing one-of-a-kind jewelry created by owner and artist Barbara Grob. A good example is the hand-wired, bezel-set Labradorite earrings with big yellow topaz medallions surrounded by a double row of white topaz halos.
Grob whimsically calls this original design the “Labra Dooby Do Right.” These and everything else in the Fleming Street boutique, including a huge pearl collection, look more like pieces of art than accessories.
BAHAMA HAND PRINTS
Nassau — for silk screen bags
Hand-printed fabric bags with bold patterns and brilliant colors come in sizes and styles perfect for everything from boating to kicking back onshore. The must-have here is definitely the beach bag, which is big, sturdy and chic. Find these at the Ernest Street Boutique, located at the foot of Paradise Island Bridge, where you can watch owners Alannah and David van Onselen silk screen live. Also, buy clothing and homewares here such as pot holders, napkins, towels, cushion covers and print fabric by the yard.
Nassau — for beach sarongs and bush soaps
Gorgeous hand-painted sarongs in shades of blue, green and red are extra special at this downtown boutique owned by Tanya Klonaris, artist and Rhode Island School of Design alumna. The reason is a disk-size, color-coordinated wooden Pineda Covalin button. This decorative fastener makes dressing a breeze and derails accidental unravels. Designs include vines, sea and sand dollars and bush prints. Bush, the local lingo for herbs and other island greenery like limes, is the star ingredient in Klonaris’ heavenly scented soaps. They come in circle, slice and scroll shapes.
Man-O-War Cay, Abaco Islands — for wooden boat models
This stop is for guys and gals who love the legacy of the island’s traditional sailing dinghies. For nearly 40 years, Joe Albury has followed in nearly two centuries of his family’s footsteps and turned native corkwood and madeira into painstakingly built vessels. His specialty is model sizes of these custom craft, which he constructs in the work shed next to his seafront home and shop. Each model is handcrafted in full detail, varnished or painted. Other finds at Joe’s are marine antiques gathered from around the globe and pirate-themed booty that kids enjoy.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands — for hook bracelets
More than beautiful bangles, these 14K and 18K gold and silver bracelets make a statement. Wearing the open end of the horseshoe-shaped clasp toward your heart means you’re taken, while facing outward signals you’re single. California native Sonya Hough opened her closet-size shop at the head of Company Street in Christiansted in 1964. The jeweler’s signature handmade hook bracelets, anklets and rings are now available as are bracelets with clasps shaped like dolphins, whale tails and sand dollars.
LIGNE ST. BARTHS
St. Barthélemy, French West Indies — for tropical botanicals for bath and body
Refresh after a day at the beach with Sunsplash, a citrus, hibiscus and jasmine-scented face and body splash. All of island native Herve Brin’s new body-nurturing products are created from a knowledge of medicinal plants that his grandmother taught him combined with 21st-century ingenuity. Brin has a tiny boutique in the island’s capital of Gustavia, on Rue du Général de Gaulle. His main store, headquarters and production facility are three miles away off Lorient Beach.
RHYTHM OF BLUE
Antigua — for hand-sculpted pottery
Sights of the sea captured on pottery, which is made from clay the artist digs on her native Antigua, is what makes Nancy Nicholson’s work so spectacular that they’ve been presented as gifts to British royalty. Her quaint sea-blue shop located next to Nelson’s Dockyard, where her grandfather founded the Caribbean’s charter industry in the 1950s, is a gallery for premade works and studio for custom designs. Ask for or commission a complete dinner service, functional bowls and platters or other one-off decorative pieces.