By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
AS A black-belt international shopper, I’m bound by two retail rules: shop local, and shop often. So on a recent jaunt to St Croix for the annual Food and Wine Experience (stxfoodandwine.com), I had to make time between all the fancy dinners, beach barbecues and wine tastings to sample the Virgin’s other fare: indigenous items that are as Crucian as fungi – but a lot more fun to wear!
I’m pretty sure you’re forbidden to leave the Twin City island without buying a hook bracelet. Almost every Crucian man and woman I met had at least one of these simple silver or gold bracelets circling their wrists, and the place to snag the original, 50-year-old classic is Sonya’s, a tiny storefront on Christiansted’s Company Street. Locals and visitors alike are packed two-deep here, jostling for position at display cases shimmering with handcrafted hammered-finish wristlets, each of which takes about an hour to make. These hooks are big business (they sell as many as 200 a day), and the staff instructs each patron how to wear them correctly: Position the horseshoe-shaped hook to face inward (toward your wrist) if you’re taken, and outward if you’re available. From $60.