Jamaica: Top Spots in Ochos Rios

Ochos Rios is the ideal antidote to winter. Here are 6 warm reasons to visit now.

1. In 1955, the famed English playwright, Noël Coward purchased a retreat 1,200 feet above Blue Harbour for $150. Here he would build a simple house, which he named Firefly. The hilltop property boasts incredible views of the north coast of Jamaica which is open to the public for exploring.

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly Photography courtesy Angela Auclair

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly
Photographed by Angela Auclair

2. Famous for its Jam-Italian fusion cuisine, the restaurant Evita’s has hosted many celebrities including Princess Margaret and Brad Pitt. The menu celebrates creativity and has garnered a reputation as “the best little pasta house in Jamaica”.

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and a Chef. Photographed by Angela Auclair

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and Chef in the kitchen at Evita’s.
Photographed by Angela Auclair

3. Right outside Ochos Rios are the breathtaking Dunn’s River Falls, which are over 600 meters high and cascade through steps of crystal clear water into the Caribbean Sea. Be brave and climb the falls at Jamaica’s most famous water attraction or be led in a human chain by an experienced Falls Guide.

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Climb Dunn’s River Falls alone or with a Falls Guide.
Photography by Angela Auclair

4. Wassi Art is the premier place for a one of a kind Jamaican pottery. Local artists create beautifully sculpted and painted merchandise in plain view of their audience. If you are looking for something special, it’s worth spending an afternoon right here.

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See pottery being made first hand at Wassi Art.
Photography by Angela Auclair

5. Located on the Good Hope Plantation, David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio offers an immersive and educational look into the fundamentals of ceramic making. David’s world recognized work ranges from clay teacup to spectacular life size objects of art.

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Meet David and his team at David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio.
Photography by Angela Auclair

Savannah: Top Décor Spots

1  If vintage and antique furniture and accessories appeals, Savannah’s a great destination. Try Jeres Antiques which has 33,000 square feet to browse in.

2  It’s likely you intent to tour the Mercer House, but if time is short, at least make time to visit Mercer House Carriage Shop. Take home a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or go big and purchase the Bird Girl statue replica that graces the cover of the book.

3  When you’re shopping on Broughton Street, be sure to pop into 24e and  DC2 Design for contemporary furnishings and accessories.

4 Madame Chrysanthemum is the scented laboratory of florist Michelle Mikulec. The garden shop has great displays and vintage style treasures to take home.

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Madame Chrysanthemum

5  Alex Raskin Antiques claims they are the most interesting store in Savannah and we agree. Located on Bull Street, the old house turned store has architectural salvage, furniture, mirrors, accessories and more.

Savannah: Top 5 Design Stores

Author Susan Sully spent a day with Dabble and shared her favourite shopping spots.  As Savannah’s design scene is really a combination of coastal, West Indies and southern country style we’re sure you’ll find plenty to love.

1 Paris Market & Brocante is two floors of European charm. Furniture, art, accessories and antiques are acquired by owner Paula Danyluk who shops the globe.

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2  It’s easy to find something you love at One Fish, Two Fish, located in the Design District (near Mercer House and Mrs. Wilkes),  Jennifer Beaufait Grayson’s store has an eclectic mix of new and painted furniture, bedding, bath, books and jewelry.

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 3  The ultimate coastal store is No. Four Eleven. In addition to a disciplined nautical theme, the store specializes in monogram linens and vintage finds.

4  Shop  Savannah College of Art and Design’s shopSCAD for painted canvasses, photography, sculptures, jewellery, clothing and more. Buy a piece of art and who knows, it might be worth millions one day!

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5  Interior design duo Sim Harvey and Phillip Harvey are the masterminds behind Arcanum, the spot for furnishings and antiques.

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Barcelona’s Top 5 Design Shops

“To make the most of a day exploring the design scene,” says Kimberley, “begin midmorning with a café con leche and canya (pastry with cream). There’s still plenty of time for lingering at famous sights and still more hours for shopping, since stores typically stay open until 8:00 pm.“

Shop attendants are not always immediately friendly upon your entry, but a smile and a Buenos Tardes usually wins them over.

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ABOVE: An impressive selection of industrial and rustic furnishings is stock in trade at Azul Tierra.

1. Just off Passeig de Gràcia is Kimberley’s favourite design shop, Azul Tierra. To be fair, Azul Tierra might be anywhere in the world—the large-scale industrial vibe is currently all the rage. She cautions, “The stunning jewelry and accessories may cause your wallet to leap from your bag.”

2. Be prepared to peruse the store’s crowded inventory at least twice to take in the variety at Little House and Cottage. It’s a jumble of goodies from vintage to modern.

3. Foosball games, cardboard stools, Pantone chairs and kitchen accessories are part of the eclectic selection of contemporary goods at Galerias Vinçon S.L. Look for a cooking class or gelato making session in the zona de demostracionas.

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ABOVE: The famous, Barcelona Chair, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

4. Catchy graphics adorn every kitchen accessory imaginable at Avet—from glasses to aprons to lunch boxes.

5. Enthusiastic antique shoppers will flock to the 73 shops inside Bulevard Rosa. Fine period furnishings, turn of the century collectibles and original artwork are abundant. Negotiating is allowed. It’s always a good policy to make friends with the owner by complimenting the selection before attempting a purchase. Save time to visit Mary’s Market, the gourmet food store on the main floor.

Budapest Shopping: Buda

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ABOVE: Kimberley negotiates with an eager vendor at Ecseri Flea Market.

Ready to give that credit card a workout? The good news is there are fewer temptations than you’d find in larger cities like Paris and New York.

“The bad news is, there is none,” says Dabble’s Editor in Chief Kimberley Seldon. “Arrive early and bring cash. The selection can keep you busy for hours.”

1. “Vintage Herend Porcelain, turn of the century objets d’art and fine oil paintings,” says Kimberley, “are just some of the goods I look for at Ecseri Flea Market.” Visit during offseason when prices are very favourable. However, do be prepared to find busts and portraits of Mussolini and Hitler in multiple stands (though these infamous items are tucked away during warm weather months when tourists are more plentiful). History buffs may appreciate communist memorabilia. The market is open on Saturday. Cash is king, though many vendors take credit cards. Also check out these amazing painters in london.

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ABOVE: Herend porcelain.

2. Make sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes and wear sunscreen when you visit Szentendre, just outside of the city centre. It’s easy to lose track of time in this popular destination for visitors and local weekend pilgrimages. Nestled among the hills of Buda, the folksy village-turned-artistrefuge has shopping opportunities galore. Not to mention several museums, colourful restored buildings and restaurants decent enough to make spending four to five hours here a pleasant outing. Look for handmade pottery, jewelry, embroidered linen (learn more), and hand blown glass to tempt your spending resolve.

3. Although the styles are diverse, Hungary has more than one famous ceramics house. In addition to Zsolnay’s Art Nouveau pieces (which are admittedly an acquired taste) there is the perennially pleasing Herend Porcelain. Founded in 1826, Herend specializes in hand-painted and gilded porcelain for a discerning worldwide clientele. Many of its classic patterns are still in production.

Budapest Shopping: Pest

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1. Closed to cars, Váci utca is Pest’s premier shopping street. Despite the usual suspects, like Italian department store Coin (Coincasa section has fun bedding and kitchenware) and the typical tourist spots where you’ll find Hungarian gifts no doubt produced in China, there are some lovely stores selling clothing, jewelry and porcelain. Don’t miss the chocolates at Csokoládé & Delikat.

Dabble Savvy: Chocolate shops are always air conditioned, making them a real draw on the hottest days. Bacchus is a wine shop with a good selection and attentive staff. Café Molnár’s sells kürtoskalac or rolled donuts with coconut, cinnamon, chocolate and almonds.

2. Sure it’s touristy, but there’s no way you come to Budapest without at least a cursory visit to Grand Market Hall, (Nagycsarnok). Most of the goods fall into the souvenir category, but there are some exceptions including lovely leather bags, Bavarian textiles and exceptional food. Find a lunch counter on the second floor and enjoy a spicy Hungarian sausage with red cabbage and cold beer. Then check out the selection of paprika on the main floor.

Dabble Savvy: There is a clean, coed public toilet at the back of the market,130 HUF (US$0.60).

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3. Ernst Galeria owner Eleni Koranis (ABOVE) eagerly shares her enthusiasm for Hungary’s turn of the century artistic accomplishments. Her design-savvy shop is filled with fine art paintings, ceramics (including pieces from world-renowned Zsolnay), as well as sleek furnishings from Eastern Europe.

Charleston’s Top 5 Antique Shops

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1. South of the Fashion District on King, the Lower King Street Design District has more than its fair share of Antique shops. Biggs and Powell, Alexandra and John Pope Antiques (ABOVE) are just some of the best high end antique stores in the area. Be prepared: these shops don’t have affordable little knickknacks or flea market type finds; you’ll be spending big bucks when you shop here.

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2. Elizabeth Stuart Design is where Charleston’s most design savvy shop. Explore Muffie Faith’s elegantly eclectic boutique, curated with an incredible array of furniture, jewelry, and home décor selections including treasures from Charleston’s very own Sally Benedict, Kate Davis and Harper Poe.

3. Hop in a car or arrange for a taxi (cabs are difficult to find, ask your hotel for assistance) and head to Charleston’s West Ashley area where the city’s designers shop. Antiques of South Windermere and 17 South Antiques are perfect for an off-the-beaten-path antique hunt.

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4. Located in the Lower King Street Design District, South of Market offers rustic and sophisticated French furnishings. The ever evolving shop is overflowing with antiques, re-purposed objects and home décor finds that make it one of the south’s leading sources for interior design. Stop in, it’s lovely.

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5. If you like religious iconography, architectural salvage or one-of-a-kind treasures, visit Parham & Co. It’s one of the only antique shops located in the Fashion District, but it’s well worth the walk. Say hello to the family’s bichon frisé.

 

Charleston’s Top 5 Design Spots

Chassity Evans surrounds herself with all things stylish and writes about it in her blog, Look Linger Love.

“Charleston is such a lovely city,” says the blogger. Chassity invited us to look at her fave design stores, linger in the best ones and fall in love with an unbearable number of covetable items. Oh, and we did some shopping too.

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1. King Street is the hot spot for design shops and right in the heart of it is the charming Lucinda Eden (that’s the shop and the owner). Temptations abound with artfully selected home accessories, vintage clothing and even custom haute couture. The shop’s on the second level, so look heavenward and you’re on the right track. Just across the street is another must shop, Lily. The shop is accented with French style offerings at reasonable prices. Owners Kevin and Lin are typically onsite and eager to share their city with you.

2. Another King Street destination is Dwelling where the style is understated glamour. Whether you’re looking for a design consultation or just browsing the fine furnishings, you’ll feel right at home in Leigh McAlpin’s timeless and sustainable shop.

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3. If original art is your thing be sure to experience the art galleries on Broad and Church Streets. Or get your own hands dirty and try one of Redux Contemporary Art Center’s class offerings including figure drawing, screen printing, jewelry making, and woodworking.

4. A carefully edited collection of southern paintings is on display at Gibbes Museum of Art. Opened in 1905, Charleston’s premiere art museum is a history lesson and gem of southern culture. The gift shop is worth a visit too.

5. Another enjoyable walking street, Church Street has a lovely stationery store called Dulles Design. Emilie Dulles’ trademark red hair and cheerful disposition are true indicators of what’s in store in this distinct stationery design shop. Stylish correspondence is just beyond her doors.

 

Shopping on Magazine Street

© CL Buchanan Photography

“Money’s like manure, it don’t do no good if you don’t spread it around.”

Kimberley agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment, uttered to her in deep drawl as she contemplates a purchase in one of Magazine Street’s tempting shops. Ultimately she relinquishes her credit card, an activity she performs repeatedly while shopping the Garden District.

© CL Buchanan Photography

Top 4 Design Blocks on Magazine Street

Between Canal and Jackson
Specializing in tabletop, kitchen and gift items, just try to leave Quince without making a purchase. Nearby, Piranesi offers a tailored collection of continental antiques and objets d’art. Agora is a cooperative featuring several vendors and a tempting range of home finds.

Between Jackson and Louisiana
Antiques, vintage and contemporary furnishings are just up the front steps of Perch. At Neo Phobia, strains of the Partridge Family lure shoppers inside to find treasures from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Best store name goes to Belladonna Day Spa and Retail Therapy. Come for massage or browse the linens, candles and decorative toss cushions. When it’s time for a break, cool off in the mint green atmosphere of Sucre where you can try a decadent truffle or a grown-up milk shake like the Velvet Hammer with vanilla, brandy and nutmeg.

Between Louisiana and Napoleon
A visit to Maison de Provence is a virtual trip to the French provinces thanks to the well edited selection of owner Terri Goldsmith. Still more European antiques and garden statuary at Balzac Antiques. And, it’s a lucky day when you find Alex Williams at his Potsalot Pottery wheel turning out one-of-a-kind treasures.

Between Jefferson and Henry Clay
With a name like Pied Nu (French for barefoot) you’d expect (and will find) easygoing style and effortless chic. Don’t miss neighbouring Hazelnut for a wide selection of gift-worthy purchases.

A Guide to Old Town Prague

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Featuring prominently in Old Town Square is the bronze Art Nouveau fountain, a memorial to protestant reformer, Jan Hus. In the background, the shell-pink Kinsky Palace where Czech native Franz Kafka attended prep school.

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While people watching often takes precedence over sightseeing in Prague’s busy main square, Staromestské Námestí is home to a number of worthy sites. The imposing Gothic construction of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn (Tyn Church) with its not-quite-identical towers dominates Prague’s Old Town Square.

Shop

Hit the shops in nearby Ungelt Square which has a branch of contemporary glassware store Material as well as Botanicus, a Czech institution for lotions and potions. Nearby Dlouh Street is one of my favourite shopping destinations.

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Eat

Toasty warm, this traditional Slovakian treat (trdelnik) is dusted with cinnamon, sugar and nuts. Look for open stalls or bakeries selling this perfect late afternoon pick-me-up.

Passersby are tempted by the cinnamon sweetness of trdelnik, a traditional pastry made daily in bakeries across the city.

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Stay

Four Seasons (Veleslav.nova 2A). If perfection is desired, look no further than this renowned chain where the setting, service and amenities are unsurpassed. Book an evening meal at Allegro to enjoy riverside views and the award-winning cuisine.

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Kimberley takes time out from filming to pose before heading out with CityTV’s CityLine cameraman Patrick Reynolds on the unusual seven-seater bike.

What’s in Store at Quince

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Specializing in tabletop, kitchen and gift items, just try to leave Quince without making a purchase. Located between Canal and Jackson on Magazine Street in New Orleans, it’s the perfect stop before your next dinner party. Step inside and take a look at what Quince has in store.

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ABOVE: Vintage inspired linens, silverplate flatware, napkin rings, chef’s aprons, and now, a new line of printed paper products – such as pads of 50 printed paper placemats – are just a few of the items that Quince offers from the Cake Vintage line of merchandise.

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ABOVE: A fun & funky line of adult aprons, children’s aprons, dish towels, and tablecloths with a vintage inspired look.

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ABOVE: A gorgeous line of flatware and serving pieces, including cheese knives, spreaders, salad servers, and carving sets. They also sell the best butcher knives.

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ABOVE: Just about everything for the table and kitchen.

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ABOVE: Owner Kate Palmer followed her passion post-Katrina with the launch of Quince, a premier source for tabletop and event planning.

Seattle’s Top 5 Design Spots

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“Seattle’s design scene is as eclectic as its residents,” says our design expert Sophie Vander.

The simplicity of high tech style travels easily from the workplace to home, but because Seattleites are intrinsically environmentalists, they feel compelled to mix vintage or antique with the sleek and new to create a style all their own.

1. First stop, Capitol Hill neighbourhood. Area 51 contains a mix of new and vintage that screams Seattle style. Leah Steen from Revival Home & Garden is the expert when it comes to pops of colour. If you’re a true greenie, NuBe Green’s philosophy of sustainable materials will float your boat. Tucked away upstairs in Melrose Market, Butter Home touts interesting rustic pieces with a built-in fun factor.

2. The knowledgeable staff at Velocity Art and Design is super cool and friendly, which makes shopping here way too easy. Walk away with pendant lamps by Artecnica, a Chilewich spun vinyl table runner and, hey, throw in Blu Dot’s Nick dining table as well. They do ship, so go crazy.

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3. Take a quick cab ride south to artsy and industrial-chic Georgetown. Take in the substantial inventory at Susan Wheeler Home, but grab your prize while you can as items go quickly. Next door, the pieces at Kirk Albert Vintage Furnishings are as enigmatic as Kirk himself. His business partner, Steve, is there to talk you through the history of the industrial relics sourced from around the globe. Stop by Pacific Galleries antique mall on your way back into Seattle.

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4. Not your average ceramics store, Far 4 features porcelain hand grenades by designer Charles Krafft, while Trevor Jackson’s skull teapots will cause a stir at tea parties. Scale down the shock factor but retain the wow with Far 4’s own line of porcelain vegetables accented with gold.

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5. We love how Great Jones Home creates vignettes within the store so that you can visualize a whole space and find inspiration within it. By utilizing classic pieces and patterns, with a touch of glamour and gilt, you can’t go wrong really.