It can be tricky finding a distinctive and affordable gift for your friends when you are on vacation. There are lots of shops in town but many sell the same old thing. Stuff like t-shirts (don’t get me wrong, I’ve purchased quite a few of them…especially the Belikin beer ones), plastic jewelry, shot glasses…
or magnets and mugs that were obviously ordered with the stipulation “fill in your country here”…
But exotic hard woods of all colors are one of Belize’s most beautiful (and rare) resources. Graniel’s Dreamland on Middle Street (aka Pescador Drive) takes full advantage of them. Turning the woods into so many beautiful things for your home and for gifts. NONE of these woods are dyed…the hues below are the woods’ natural colors. (Friends and family…now you know where I got all of those cutting boards!)
I asked the sales woman what the two most expensive and rare types of wood are…she had two. The first is zericote/ziricote, a dark wood with uneven waves. Pretty, right? Apparently this tree produces an edible fruit but I need to do a bit of research on that.
And the other is the rosewood burl…huge knots in the rosewood tree that are very rare and can weigh up to 50lbs. Instead of a straight or wavy grain, it is a mass of pink to red circles and squiggles and makes for some really pretty but pricey bowls. My point? There are over 20 different types, rarities, price levels and colors of wood to choose from at Graniels.
Luckily, I find my eyes always wander to the beautiful (and less expensive) pink colored sea grape. The bowl in the center.
That leads me on another tangent…see these beautiful but misshapen bowls above? They come in every sort of wood. Some are perfect but I love the ones with the natural sides or even holes in the side. Great as gifts. Use them as a fruit bowl…or put those electric candles in them on your deck or your back patio? They are GORGEOUS. And, I think reasonable priced…for $50bzd to $150bzd, depending on the wood and size, you get a super unique souvenir.
Graniels makes lots of beautiful furniture at their wood shop.
Or one of my favorites…this little chair. I brought one back to the US a few years ago. Graniels will pack it up for you (with a carrying handle) so you can easily check it on the plane.
They also do all sorts of customized work…really anything that you can think of. From small stools to huge head boards to full kitchens.
Stop in to their store on Middle Street. Browse around and even if you don’t buy anything, enjoy the smell of all the newly milled woods. It’s a really great place. And the Graniels family has been in the business, in San Pedro, for over 20 years.
I’m starting to sound like an info-mercial…but honestly, it’s a great shop. For more information on Graniel’s…from their products to ordering and shipping, check out their website: Graniels Dreamland and find them on Facebook for updates and pictures.
Also interesting is this old San Pedro Sun article about San Pedro born Armando Graniel and how he started this business.
I’m going to continue talking about my favorite local gifts and gift shops over the next few months. Let me know your favorites. I’d be glad to check it out.