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.

Dabble does Jamaica96

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.

Dabble does Jamaica93

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.

Dabble does Jamaica94

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

3 Days in Savannah

Dabble does Savannah11

Day 1

MORNING Have a light breakfast at your hotel, you’ll want to save room for lunch.

MID-MORNING Make it a design day. Start at Forsyth Park and enjoy the majestic fountain before you stroll along Bull Street to West Jones Street for some shopping.

12 NOON Get in line early (10:30-11:00 am) because you won’t want to miss family style dining at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.

AFTERNOON After a large meal, take a walk through the Design District on Whitaker Street. Visit One Fish, Two Fish, Arcanum and No. Four Eleven.

LATE AFTERNOON Book a tour at Mercer House and enjoy the interiors (and the tiny garden) so deliciously described in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Shop the Mercer Carriage Store for goodies to take back home.

EVENING Once you’ve walked off your lunch and gained an appetite again, have a delicious urban-style meal at Local 11 Ten.

Dabble does Savannah12

Day 2

MORNING Have a tasty breakfast at B. Matthew’s on East Bay Street.

MID-MORNING Continue along East Bay Street and shop the Factors Walk towards City Market.

12 NOON You must be hungry again? Stop for a cheesy slice at Vinnie Van Go-Go.

AFTERNOON Dedicate at least three hours to shopping on Broughton Street.

LATE AFTERNOON Coffee time. Make it a café au lait at The Paris Market & Brocante.

EVENING Head back towards East Bay Street for a lovely meal and great views at Vic’s On the River.

Dabble does Savannah27

Day 3

MID-MORNING If you’ve got time for a day trip you won’t want to miss Tybee Island.

12 NOON Enjoy some fresh seafood at the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat and shop in their bare feet.”

AFTERNOON Lounge on the beach and take advantage of the Savannah sun.

EVENING Return to Savannah for a fabulous meal at the Olde Pink House. If you don’t see a ghost there, take a late night Ghost Walking Tour.

Savannah 13

Savannah: Top 5 Travel Experiences

1  Immerse yourself in history with a visit to the First African Baptist Church, built by enslaved people in 1859. The church was once a stop on the Underground Railroad as evidenced by the drill holes in the floor, just above a four foot crawl space that runs under the church and out to the sea.

Dabble does Savannah8

First African Baptist Church member, Rebecca Wilson

2  If design and decorating appeal, then touring Savannah’s Historic Houses  is a must. The Owen-Thomas House is a beautiful example of English Regency architecture complete with period touches like faux-marbre (marble) and faux bois (wood).

3 A riverboat cruise on board the Georgia Queen or the Savannah River Queen transports you up the Savannah River in style.  A sail on the one-hour stern wheel riverboat replicas includes a narrated history lesson. Plan ahead because the tours have fixed departure times.

Dabble does Savannah27

Georgia Queen and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge

4  The Savannah College of Art and Design attracts more than 8,000 talented students each year. Lucky for us as their art works are sold in stores and cafes and at the SCAD Art Museum Bring a southern memento home.

5- In Savannah, ghost are rumoured to be friendly and very much present. We didn’t have any encounters on our visit, but if you’re dying to see one for yourself, do one of the Savannah Ghost Walks and enter some of the cities most haunted buildings at night.

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.

Dabble does Savannah62

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 Food Experiences

1  Take tea at the Gyphon Tea Room and you’ll nibble on tea sandwiches and scones in a turn-of-the-century pharmacy with original stained glass ceiling and wood panelling. . Fresh salads are also worth digging your fork into.

2  Save some dough by sharing a New York style pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go in the City Market.

 The Pirate’s House may have been the drinking spot back in the 18th century, but it’s still a top watering (and dining) spot. There are fifteen separate dining rooms and a resident ghost, Captain Flint (made famous in Treasure Island) who is said to appear in the Captain’s Room.

Dabble does Savannah54

The Pirate’s House

4  Sure, fresh seafood is plentiful in Savannah, but if you love crab take a 20 minute drive to Deposito’s Seafood Restaurant (recommended by interior designer Lynn Morgan). It’s the locals’ secret spot, so shhh, we didn’t tell you.

5   Beautiful exterior window displays will likely draw you into The Paris Market on Broughton Street. Shop the French inspired wares and then enjoy a café au lait before you resume your walking tour of Savannah.

Dabble does Savannah19

The Paris Market

Gifts for the Baker

blogimg019

Here are some great ideas for the baker on your shopping list. Check out these great products from Nordic Ware.

(Featured Image) Cake and lollipops — need we say more? Get the best of both worlds with the Cake Pops Baking Pan. Serve cake or brownies on a stick!
Cake Pop Baking Pan, CA$20
blogimg020
The Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan is the perfect staple for bakers who like to keep tradition in the cake mix. This pan accomodates 10-15 cup recipes.
Anniversary Bundt Pan, CA$40
blogimg021
To ensure even the finest of details on all those holiday goodies, make sure you have the E-Z Deco Icing Pen in your kitchen. The perfect accessory to make sure all your tasty treats look as good as they taste, this handy appliance will become your best friend in the kitchen.
E-Z Deco Icing Pen, CA$10
For more information, visit Nordic Ware

3 Days in Barcelona

Day 1

MORNING Take in a late breakfast at Bar Lobo then stroll down La Rambla and marvel at the crowds and abundant shopping. Crossing into the city’s oldest neighbourhoods the pace slows, which suits architecture buffs who will enjoy the views of medieval buildings en route to Picasso Museu. With an impressive collection and equally magnificent surroundings you’ll need a minimum of two hours for the experience. The adjoining gift shop is lovely as well.

12 NOON Return to La Rambla and wind your way to Mercat Bouqueria where bustling doesn’t quite describe the market scene; it’s more of a contact sport. Inside, grab a stool at Universal Kiosk and enjoy light tapas that is fresh, fast and reasonably priced.

EVENING It would hardly be a trip to Spain without a little Flamenco dancing, so ask your concierge to recommend a show before dinner.

Barcelona 21

Day 2

MORNING Immerse yourself in Gaudí’s Barcelona today. Purchase a Hop On, Hop Off bus pass or hire a knowledgeable, private guide to lead you through the primary sites.

LATE AFTERNOON With a serious dose of culture under your belt, it’s time for some guilt-free shopping on Passeig de Gràcia. There are hundreds of shops to visit and nearly as many tapas and wine bars, so pace yourself.

EVENING No doubt exhausted from the day’s festivities, make time for a siesta so you’ll be awake for a late night dinner at one of our recommendations.

Barcelona 40

Day 3

MORNING A light breakfast is all you’ll need this morning and a trip to Caelum’s for coffee and a pastry is sure to satisfy.

MID-MORNING Brush up on your Catalan cooking skills with Cook and Taste. Since you’re in the neighbourhood anyway, don’t forget to visit the nearby Roman ruins.

AFTERNOON There’s more shopping in the Born neighbourhood and no reason to hurry back since dinner is late tonight anyway. Save the rest of the day for aimless exploring.

Barcelona 3

3 Days in New Orleans

travel - plantation

Dabble’s Perfect New Orleans Itinerary

Day 1

MORNING If you’re staying at Soniat House or the Ritz-Carlton, breakfast is covered. Otherwise, head to the French Quarter and order a chocolate filled or straight up croissant from Croissant D’Or Patisserie. This will surely give you the fuel required to explore and shop the Quarter for the rest of the day. 617 Ursulines Avenue. (504) 524-4663

NOON The courtyard at Cafe Amelie is a perfect spot to lunch before continuing to prowl the Quarter. Once fortified, take a tour of Hermann-Grima house with its 19th century charm. Next, head to the French Market for souvenirs and end the afternoon with the best margarita in the world (yes, the world) at El Gato Negro.

EVENING Taking the streetcar to Upperline is a trip highlight. Getting a warm greeting from the owner makes you feel like a local and a VIP.

Day 2

MORNING Work up an appetite with a 40 minute stroll from the French Quarter to Magazine Street. Once there, breakfast is guilt-free, so stop at the first bakery. Or, cab it to Velvet and indulge in a Spanish latte and a tea cake (aka mini-cupcake). Either way, use the street-by-street guide (above) and shop ’til you drop. 5637 Magazine Street. (504) 450-2129

NOON Sure, it’s a few blocks off Magazine Street but no obstacle is too great for a chance to eat at Atchafalaya. If fried green tomatoes sound intriguing, this is the place to try them. Don’t linger if you plan to see Lafayette Cemetery (in nearby Garden District) as it closes by 3:00 pm.

AFTERNOON There’s more Magazine Street to explore and once that’s finished, stroll the adjacent Garden District with its antebellum homes and star appeal.

EVENING Fish lovers should try GW Fins and pork lovers, Cochon. Either way, end the evening with the joyful music coming from Frenchman Street.

Day 3

MORNING Decision time…is it a day-trip to Oak Alley Plantation or a wander through the National WWII Museum? Oh heck, try to fit them both in. You can rest when you’re back home. Head to the plantation first, then take a cab to the museum and start the tour with lunch in one of the on-site restaurants.

EVENING Finish the New Orleans culinary tour with dinner at Louisiana Bistro. The inventive menu changes frequently. Post dinner, take one last stroll through the French Quarter and Bourbon Street if you’re so inclined.

Dabble Digs: Stylish Sleep

blogimg028

This fall it’s all about pops of colour, says Lisa Canning. Dabble’s stylish shopper has handpicked a bright and colourful selection of design, travel and food related items perfect for autumn.

Stylish sleep

Catch some zzz’s in comfort with this contoured eye mask.

Eye mask, CA$5, Real Canadian Superstore

Read the entire article ‘Dabble Digs’ in Issue 10 of Dabble.

Barcelona’s Top 5 Travel Experiences

Armed with sunscreen and blister bandages, fashionista Christine DaCosta tackles Barcelona’s best travel moments while wearing her finest footwear.

“Always look your glamourous best in sexy Barcelona,” says Christine, “after all, you never know when you’ll be asked to tango.” In addition, well-dressed tourists are often treated more favourably than their more casual counterparts.

Barcelona 1

1. Once you can get past the big lambs’ heads with their eyeballs intact (eww!), marvel at the order and peace at Market Santa Catarina. Unlike its larger, more well-known cousin, the Mercat de Sant Josep or La Boqueria, this one is easier to explore and more civilized. There are lovely restaurants inside too.

2. Housed in five adjoining medieval palaces, Museu Picasso focuses on the artist’s early years of formal training, exposing his classical skill and culminating in a collection from his well-documented Blue Period. Born in Andalusia, young Picasso moved to Barcelona when his father took a job teaching at the Escola de Belles Artes de la Llotja. The adult artist claimed he learned everything during his time in Barcelona.

Barcelona 2

3. All that shopping does some damage to your mani pedi so stop in at Pink Peony for a little overhaul. It’s a North American style salon set on the second floor above the Passeig de Gràcia. The gracious living room setting features a balcony overlooking the busy street.

4. A warm welcome and second helpings await those who sign up for a cooking class at Cook and Taste. The Australians who were cooking on the day I visited were quite happy making paella having shopped at the market earlier in the day. Book in advance.

Dabble Savvy: The location is just steps from the Roman Ruins so ask for directions.

Barcelona 22

5. Some people love Hop On, Hop Off bus tours and Barcelona has two main operators. A 24 hour ticket gets you a ride to all the city’s attractions, which are difficult to get to without a car.

 

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.

Dabble does Barcelona28

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.

Dabble Does Barcelona110

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

Budapest 14

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.

Dabble does Budapest47

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.