If you want to start a lively discussion on Bermuda, just bring up the subject of Triminghams. A beloved store that many on the island described as “our Macy’s,” this was a must on any retail excursion in the capital of Hamilton. Here one could find an array of fine china, crystal, distinctive resort wear and a rainbow of sweaters that Ralph Lauren would have envied. Trimingham’s merged with another respected retailer, Smith’s, and for reasons that are still the source of much speculation, the combined entity went out of business in 2005.
But not all is lost. The English Sports Shop (49 Front Street) carries a fine selection of sweaters and shorts, Bluck’s (4 West Front Street) is filled with an unusually good stock of fine china and crystal, and A.S. Cooper (59 Front Street) is particularly strong on perfumes, including the fetching Lili Bermuda fragrances that are made right on the island. Add to this list a place we very much enjoyed on our most recent visit, The Island Shop (3 Queen Street). What particularly caught our attention here was the extensive selection of beautiful ceramics, reminiscent of Deruta pottery from Umbria. The Island Shop's cups, plates and bowls are in fact made in Italy, but the designs (colorful Bermuda houses flanked by palm trees, all manner of sea life) are created by the store's owner, the talented and charming Barbara Finsness. Many of the same motifs can be found on napkins, guest towels and pillow covers, which would be perfect for a beach house. Finsness also hand-paints wine glasses, and has a line of sports clothing in striking colors featuring her signature palm tree logo. Rugby fans will appreciate the selection of striped shirts representing teams from all over the world, and the store is filled with candleholders, serving pieces and an eclectic array of cheery island home accessories.