Shop owners Temidra and Tanya and their Hidden Gem boutique in Antigua

What to Do in Antigua, According to the Sisters Behind a Colorful, Caribbean-inspired Hamptons Boutique

Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch share tips for visiting their favorite island.

What Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch remember most from their first trip to Antigua is the fruit trees — mangoes, bananas, and coconuts — in their grandparents' yard. "I remember seeing my grandfather cut a coconut with a machete and just drink straight out of it," Tanya recalls. "It's a different way of living," Temidra adds. "There's an ease there. Everyone is so relaxed."

The sisters infused that island sensibility into Hidden Gem, the boutique they opened in 2019 in Southampton, close to their hometown of East Hampton. Tanya, who studied fine art and photography, and Temidra, who went to school for fashion design and started her own textile company in 2014, agreed the store should reflect both their Long Island roots and their Antiguan heritage. "We want this space to be authentically us," Temidra says. "We love color, we love mixing and matching prints, we love textures." Tanya envisioned it as a place where, if she didn't own it, she would want to shop herself.

Scenes from Hidden Gem boutique, include details of raffia coasters, and a tablescape showing home goods for sale at the shop
From left: Handwoven grass-and-raffia coasters from Hidden Gem; a tablescape at the boutique. Courtesy of Hidden Gem

The sisters say their eye for business came from their Antiguan maternal grandmother. "She would sell her knitting and crochet in the front yard," Temidra says. "Our grandma really taught us entrepreneurship."

At Hidden Gem, the pair works directly with artisans all over the world to source textiles, apparel, homewares, and art. They also craft some items themselves: decorative surfboards, bohemian bracelets, hand-dyed lounge sets. "People come into the store and say, 'I feel like I'm in the Caribbean. I feel like I'm on vacation,' " Temidra says. "That's exactly how we want them to feel."

Read on for the sisters' favorite spots on the island that inspires them.

Island Bites

Right after we get off the plane, we go to Brownies, in the village of Piggotts, for a bun and cheese, a typical snack. There is no address — but if you ask the locals, they will direct you! In St. John's, we love the roti with chicken or conch from Roti King (entrées $2–$10), which is actually managed by our cousin Hilroy.

Two photos from Antigua, one showing a fish dish, and one showing utensils
From left: The catch of the day at Catherine’s Café; handmade bone appetizer spoon and spreader from Hidden Gem. From left: Rocks Group/Courtesy of Catherine's Café; Courtesy of Hidden Gem

Dinner Out

Smiling Harry's Thirst Quencher (entrées $7–$45) is right on the water in Half Moon Bay, the town our parents grew up in. You can pick up a full meal — they have authentic Caribbean dishes like curry goat and plantains or coconut shrimp and rice. Jacqui O's Beach House entrées $17–$56), in Crab Hill, has a great ambience and fun décor, with lots of pink and floral prints. We go for the grilled whole fish.

Aerial view of the resort at Cocobay, in Antigua
Waterfront views at Cocobay Resort. Courtesy of Cocobay Resort

Five O'Clock Somewhere

Visit our cousin Damian, who bartends at Catherine's Café, in Pigeon Beach, and try the Avo-Colada — their signature cocktail with avocado, coconut, cinnamon, and your choice of vodka, rum, tequila, or gin. The old-fashioned rum punch is also great. For live reggae, head to Road House, in Newfield.

Local Shopping

Visit Cedars Pottery for Antiguan ceramics. We love to go and get inspired by local artists — and they host interactive sessions where you can paint your own pots. The Public Market in St. John's (Valley Rd. and All Saints Rd.) is the place to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

Aerial view of the beach at Nonsuch Bay Resort in Antigua, filled with blue beach loungers
Beach time at Nonsuch Bay Resort. Courtesy of Nonsuch Bay Resort

Rooms With a View

At the adults-only Cocobay Resort (doubles from $480), on Coco Beach, some cottages have mini pools. We also love Nonsuch Bay Resort (doubles from $420), in Freetown, because it's close to family — plus there's a private beach. Antigua Village (rentals from $250), in Dickinson Bay, has condo rentals with a homey feel.

A Dose of Adventure

It's fun to snorkel at Stingray City, an outdoor aquarium, or walk across the natural rock formation at Devil's Bridge National Park. Join a hike with Trek Tours so the locals can show you the trails with the best views.

A version of this story first appeared in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Antigua, by Design.

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