A few things to do in Carriacou!

A VISIT TO THE MUSEUM

On a warm Caribbean morning the little Museum in Carriacou’s capital of Hillsborough is filled with the sounds of children’s excited chatter.  The happy group from one of the island’s primary schools is on a field trip to the Museum to learn more about their ancestors.    For though it may be small in size the Carriacou Museum, run by the vibrant Carriacou Historical Society, houses an excellent collection of prehistoric archaeological artifacts as well as exhibits tracing the early British, French and African inhabitants making it a microcosm of the island’s historical heritage.

Of particular interest is the mass of pottery, tools, human and animal bones, recovered by a team of international archaeologists between 2004 and 2008 from the site of an ancient Amerindian village at Grand Bay on the eastern side of the island. Among their most astounding ‘finds’ was the discovery of the skeleton of a prehistoric Carricouan woman crouched inside of a burial pit where she had been carefully placed alongside the support post of a house.  Immediately dubbed “Carrie”, she is believed to have been a prominent member of the community, possibly a shaman, who lived at Grand Bay between AD700-1000.

But Carriacou’s museum, housed in a wooden shingled building that was once a cotton ginnery, is not only about ancient history.  Upstairs, an exhibition of the paintings by famous Carricouan artist Canute Caliste fills the relatively small space.  A primitive or naïve painter, Caliste, was an eccentric who started painting at the age of 9 after he had a vision of a mermaid who told him that if he followed the Bible he could achieve anything he wanted.  Thereafter, mermaids appeared as a constant theme in all his work.  Originally a fisherman and boat builder, his unusual and quirky paintings of island life attracted international art collectors and his work has been exhibited at venues around the world.  Yet Caliste rarely left Carriacou and he continued to live in his humble home in L’Esterre until his death at the age of 91 in 2005.

SHOP SIMPLY CARRIACOU

Shopping in Hillsborough, Carriacou’s capital, is limited.  Small shops sell the necessities for everyday life and vendors line the road side selling fresh fruit and vegetables.   Nestled among them is Simply Carriacou a charming little boutique selling top quality souvenirs made in Grenada or the Caribbean region – no ‘made-in-China’ knock-offs here – and a small collection of French-made clothing including 100% cotton casual wear bearing the distinctive Baobab motifs.

Handmade jewellery is on display and if you prefer to make your own, all the ‘fixings’ are available, beads, shells, wire, clips, in fact everything you need to create your own original piece.

Owner Karen Steill, also offers several visitor-related services, including villa and car rentals, sightseeing tours, hotel accommodation not to mention great advice of where to eat and what to do!

Next door is PATTY’S DELI, a treasure trove of gourmet food and wine, including cheeses, smoked fish, homemade pastries, fresh baked bread, deli sandwiches and fresh milk.

Run by Carriacoun-born Christine Steill, Patty’s Deli is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Hillsborough.  In fact the family home is housed in the part of the historic building overlooking the beach bordering Hillborough Bay.  A shady terrace cooled by light sea breezes is where the family gravitates to enjoy leisurely meals and good conversation – that is, of course, outside of the Deli’s opening hours!

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