Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Heather Court and I was born on the island of St. Maarten. Now you may be thinking, that’s not a very “island” name, and you would be correct. My parents (of American and British nationality) settled on St. Maarten in 1969 and never left. I grew up playing on the pristine beaches of St. Maarten and St. Martin, riding my bike to Mullet Bay and Philipsburg and riding horses along Simpson Bay Beach to the amusement of the tourists enjoying the peaceful waters. In those days the traffic was light and the coconut drums beat long and hard, which meant you could never get into trouble since everyone knew who your parents were! The island has changed drastically over the years but still holds a special place in my heart.
As a young adult I moved to Aruba and settled there with my then husband and daughter as we ran a successful equestrian center right on the edge of Arikok National Park (For those who visited Aruba between 2000 and 2005, we ran Desert Rose Equestrian Center. Between riding lessons, tours to the Natural Pool and raising my daughter, I spent my free time combing the beaches for sea glass and shells, but never eeally appreciating the sunsets as much as I should have. No matter how much I enjoyed the people and the friendships I had made, St. Maarten called and I eventually moved back. I spent the coming years in the exciting role as Director of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, an event like no other, that brings thousands of sailors and tourists to the island every March.
Throughout my life in the Caribbean I traveled to many of the other islands including Curacao, Bonaire, Anguilla, Saba, Statia, St.Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Paradise Island, St. Barths and always appreciated that each island was so unique and different yet some things were surprisingly the same. The Caribbean hospitality and friendliness holds true for almost every island I have visited, and the delicious flavors of Caribbean food can be found from North to South.
About 10 years ago, I found myself in love, but this time the journey would take me and my two children across the world to Europe, where I have lived battling the cold winters and longing for the beaches of home. I made regular visits back to visit family and friends and have worked the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in some way almost every year. I have travelled to Aruba as well, and the friendships that I made decades ago still hold strong, making it my 2nd home. My girls make it back regularly and my 7 year old son has been to St. Maarten several times and although it’s not his home, it will most certainly become his second home.
When Covid hit I knew that many were missing the islands just as much as I was and had an idea to create a line of fun and colorful souvenirs that people could buy even though they couldn’t get back to their favorite islands due to travel restrictions, health restrictions, shut downs and more. I wanted bright colors that reminded me of the beautiful flora on the islands, and colors that spoke of the Caribbean sea and stellar sunsets that we all missed so much. With that in mind Between the Palms was born, and through trial and error I have created a line of souvenirs that I am proud of and that people have been excited to own.
I hope that the designs bring back memories of your favorite island and that you are proud to carry these items with you on your daily errands, and that they hopefully bring a smile to your face. I have started with four islands and will hopefully expand to include as much of the Caribbean that I can, bringing the Caribbean to the world, promoting tourism and bringing the bright colors of the Caribbean to those who can’t get there right now.