What $100 Buys in... Nevis
The Caribbean island is almost always mentioned in the same breath as its sister, St. Kitts--and yet Nevis has a spirit entirely its own.
$24 Flip-flops In 1493, after seeing clouds atop Mt. Nevis, Christopher Columbus named the island Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves, or Our Lady of the Snows (later shortened to Nevis). He must've traded winter boots for sandals when he realized his goof. Nevis Craft House, Pinney's Industrial Site, Charlestown, 869/469-5505.
$12 Map In the 18th and 19th centuries, ships carried Caribbean sugar to the rest of the world; at one point, Nevis exported more goods than New York City. French and British cartographers created dozens of wall-worthy sea charts. Today, shops on the island sell artists' renditions of the originals. Knick Knacks, Henville Building, Charlestown, 869/469-5784.
$6 Honey Nevis began producing sugar commercially in 1640, 12 years after the start of British colonization. During the industry's heyday, there were more than 100 plantations on the island, all of them worked by slaves. Production ended in the 1970s, and plantation houses have since been turned into resorts. So if you want to taste some locally made sweet stuff, it'll have to be honey. Caribco Gifts, Main St., Charlestown, 869/469-1432.
$10 Doll Carnival, the Caribbean Mardi Gras, harkens back to the region's colonial history: It was the one time of year slaves were allowed to play drums publicly, dance, wear traditional clothing and masks--and, by donning clown constumes like the one on this rag doll, secretly make fun of their masters. Though Nevisians do celebrate Carnival, the island's biggest party is the annual Culturama Festival, which celebrates Emancipation Day with roughly two weeks of parades, music, and revelry (July 28--Aug. 8, 2006). Craft House, Cotton Ginnery Mall, Charlestown.
$20 Bird Feeder With more than 125 avian species--including social bananaquits, finches, and white egrets--the island is a bird watcher's paradise. Peter Pan, an artisan who carves kissing birds from coconut shells, sells his wares at Sunshine's, a popular beach shack restaurant. Pinney's Beach, 869/469-5817.
$22 Vase Cheryl Liburd uses Nevisian red clay to mold her colorful pots, plates, and jugs. So when someone spots a backhoe breaking ground, they call her, and she then goes out in search of a fresh vein, which she mixes with white clay. Bocane Ceramics, Stoney Grove, 869/469-5437.
$6 Earrings Ting, a ubiquitous grapefruit-flavored soda, is the West Indian answer to Coca-Cola. Legend has it that the drink got its name when a local, looking at stacked crates of the newly bottled beverage, asked the soda's inventor, "What you gonna call dis ting, mon?" Craft House, Cotton Ginnery Mall, Charlestown.