Brier Island doesn’t have a Walmart or shopping mall, but you can still purchase necessities or find the perfect souvenir to take home with you.
The Brier Island general store has a deceptively large inventory and looking at the shelves crammed with food, packages, bottles, gear, and equipment, it seems like you could find just about anything. (If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask the friendly local staff).
Locally owned gift shops feature crafts made by artisans on Brier and Long Island, as well as other parts of Nova Scotia. Unique souvenirs include paintings, jewelry made from locally-found seaglass, books by local authors, clothing and knitwear, and Maritime-themed decorations.
R.E. Robicheau’s General Store
Brier Island’s general store is where you go for anything and everything that isn’t a souvenir (although there are a few of those too!). The only gas pumps on Brier Island are here, and so are the hardware, plumbing, and electronics.
Pick up a sandwich from the deli, or stock up on dry foods, frozen foods, and fresh vegetables. Get a bottle of wine or a six-pack from the smallest walk-in cooler in all of Nova Scotia (author’s opinion).
The general store on Brier Island also stocks over-the-counter medication, which comes in handy if you’re worried about seasickness during your whale watching tour.
A large parking lot is located beside the general store.
The Ice House Gift Shop
This shop carries gifts, crafts, and souvenirs as well as things you might find useful for your whale watching tour or island jaunt. Quality rainwear, boots, coats, and warm clothing can be had for a reasonable price. Many are branded with Brier Island.
The book shelf in the corner is overflowing with books about, written in, or relating to Brier Island. You’ll also find birding books, history, nature guides, Nova Scotian books, children’s books, and books about notable Brier Island resident Joshua Slocum.
Souvenirs are predictable (postcards, lighthouse magnets, stuffed lobsters), making the crafts the highlight in this shop. Locally made on Brier Island, Long Island, or elsewhere in Nova Scotia, the Maritime-themed, handmade decorations and clothing are a unique way to bring your memories home with you.
Brambles & Roses Gifts & Collectables (Antique Store)
Next door to the Ice House Gift Shop, this antique store makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a museum of Nova Scotian history rather than a shop. The furniture looks like it came right out of an old farmhouse, and the retro appliances and games spark both curiosity and memories (depending on your age). Even if you’re not there to buy, you’ll have fun looking through the items crowding the floor and lining the walls.
Before you leave, don’t miss the small “shop” set up outside where the owner’s daughter sells buoys and seaglass.
Note: Brambles & Roses is where you’ll pick up and drop off your survival suit if you’ve signed up for the Zodiac tour with Brier Island Whale Watching and Seabird Tours.
Hooking by the Sea
On the west side of town, Hooking by the Sea is where you can buy rug-hooked crafts made on site by the quirky owner, Victoria. The wool used in Victoria’s crafts comes from sheep and alpacas on the property’s farm, which are raised using traditional methods. Wool is even hand spun and dyed on site.
In the shop you can peruse crafts by Maritime artists, choose one of Victoria’s finished pieces, or buy wool to take home. The small shop doubles as Victoria’s studio, where you can watch her work or join a rug-hooking workshop to make your own creation.
Brier Island Books
On Westport’s main street, in a house built around 1816, you’ll find Brier Island Books. The store specializes in rare and used books, but its other specialty seems to be antiques. The shelves are covered with artwork, vintage knickknacks and other treasures (besides books of course).
This may be the only used book store in Nova Scotia where you can purchase a book like Sailing Directions for the Bay of Bengal and peruse oil paintings by Maritime artists.
Take a look through the stacks, and explore the curiosities in this small shop. You never know what you’ll find!