Cape Cod Shopping
At the Sydenstricker Glass Gallery showroom, artists create vivid, kiln-fired glassware using an early Egyptian process rediscovered by an MIT researcher. The traditions at the nearby Brewster Store aren't as ancient, but it is a quintessential New England general store (complete with genuine old codgers on the porch) and sells everything from penny candy to staples for your rental cottage.
Sydenstricker Glass Gallery open daily 9 am to 5 pm.
Brewster Store open daily 6 am to 10 pm, mid-June through Labor Day; 6 am to 6 pm, Labor Day through mid-November; 6 am to 5 pm, mid-November through Christmas; 6:30 am to 5 pm, Christmas through April; 6 am to 6 pm, April through mid-June.
Chatham's Main Street exemplifies the archetypal Cape Cod village, with picturesque storefronts housing some fun, hip, and creative shops. Although the intimate Trading Company looks like it's been around forever (with dark barn-board paneling, pressed-tin lamp shades, antiques, and Oriental rugs), this family-owned enterprise opened in 1976 and sells up-to-date women's clothing and accessories. Expect elegant pieces from fashion houses like Armani and Agnona, and attentive service—likely from one of the owners. Appropriate to the seafaring tradition of Cape Cod, Kahn Fine Antiques specializes in nautical antiques from the 17th through 19th centuries. Filled with clocks, barometers, campaign chests, ship wheels and bells, candlestick holders, whaling harpoons, swords, pistols, Chinese porcelain, whale teeth, bone-handled knives with the Royal Navy insignia, portraits, paintings, engravings, ambrotypes, maps, and prints, it's as much a museum as an antique store, but everything is for sale. Notable for its large collection of backlist titles, Yellow Umbrella Books sells an enormous selection of new and used best sellers and rare or out-of-print books, plus jazz, folk, New Age, and classical CDs. Everything here was handpicked by the owner, a poet who previously worked in the publishing industry.
The Trading Company open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, March through December; Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, January and February.
Kahn Fine Antiques open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays noon to 5 pm, Memorial Day through Columbus Day; Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 4 pm, Columbus Day through Memorial Day (call ahead in winter months).
Yellow Umbrella Books open daily 9 am to 10 pm, mid-June through Labor Day; Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 5:30 pm, Sundays 10 am to 5:30 pm, Labor Day through mid-June.
Opened in 1952 by the prominent potter and sculptor Harry Holl, Scargo Stoneware Pottery sells work by Holl, his daughters, a son-in-law, and other artists who have apprenticed here. Best categorized as contemporary American folk art, the work displayed at this tranquil outdoor gallery, sculpture garden, and studio includes decorative ceramics, sculpture, tableware, pottery, wind chimes, prints, and jewelry, much of it in deep, rich colors. Just down the road is a jewelry studio-showroom, Ross Coppelman, Goldsmith. Inspired by Cape Cod's seascape, Coppelman crafts suns, waves, birds, and starfish out of gold, platinum, and silver.
Scargo Stoneware Pottery open daily 10 am to 6 pm, May through September; daily 10 am to 5 pm, October through April.
Ross Coppelman, Goldsmith, open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, May through December; Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, January through April.
Don't be put off by the name Bird Watcher's General Store: Even if you have no interest in bird-watching, you may lose track of time exploring the endless selection of binoculars, telescopes, books, and avian paraphernalia. A big part of the experience is trying your luck at the customer joke-telling contest and making a stop in the famous bathroom, which is wallpapered in cartoons, photographs, and bumper stickers. More serious but no less interesting, Tree's Place is an art gallery housed in an early-19th-century sea captain's mansion. It specializes in American realism, Impressionism, and postmodernism, by both established and emerging artists.
Bird Watcher's General Store open daily 9 am to 9 pm, July and August; Mondays through Saturdays 9:15 am to 5:15 pm, Sundays 10:15 am to 5 pm, September through June.
Tree's Place open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 5:30 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 7 pm, and Sundays noon to 5 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day; Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, Labor Day through Memorial Day.
Provincetown's Commercial Street is a crowded bazaar of art galleries, antique shops, souvenir stores, bars, ice-cream counters, and restaurants. Retro antique and reproduction collectibles overflow from Remembrances of Things Past, a tiny basement shop whose name takes its cue from Marcel Proust's epic exploration of memory. The specialty here is objects from the 20th century, particularly Bakelite; Art Deco items; jewelry; prints and posters; and celebrity, sports, film, advertising, and TV memorabilia. Down the street, contemporary paintings, prints, and photography by Chinese artists are the focus of the Zen-inspired Tao Water Art Gallery II. Near the wharf, you'll find BodyBody, a stylish men's store that stocks duds from high-end designers such as Versace, Ted Baker, and Christian Lacroix. It has P-town's largest swimwear selection and a unique assortment of neckties for your inevitable return to civilization. South of the Pilgrim Monument, Marine Specialties is more than an Army–Navy surplus store: It's a mother lode of anything and everything that comes under the heading of surplus, salvage, irregular, or closeout. This includes—but is not limited to—brand-new name-brand clothing, art supplies, concert posters, airline china, swords, flatware, wooden buoys, camping gear, and brass weather vanes. Nearby, Wa is a serene shop that sells scented products (incense, soaps, candles), decorative objects, and housewares from Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. Many visitors miss the tiny back garden filled with sculptures and wind chimes.
Remembrances of Things Past open daily 11 am to 5 pm, mid-May through mid-September.
Tao Water Art Gallery II open Thursdays through Mondays 11 am to 5 pm, June; Thursdays through Mondays 11 am to 10 pm, July through September; and Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 4 pm, or by appointment, October through May.
Wa open daily 10 am to 11 pm, mid-June through October; daily 10 am to 7 pm, October through early December; Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm, early December through March; daily 10 am to 7 pm, April through mid-June.
Marine Specialties open daily 10 am to 10 pm, mid-June through June 30; daily 10 am to 1 am, July through Labor Day; Sundays through Fridays 10 am to 10 pm, Saturdays 10 am to midnight, Labor Day through Columbus Day; daily 11 am to 5 pm, Columbus Day through December; Saturdays and Sundays 11 am to 5 pm, January through mid-March; Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays 11 am to 5 pm, mid-March through mid-May; Sundays through Fridays 10 am to 6 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm, mid-May through mid-June.
There are several large antiques consignment shops on Cape Cod, but the best is the Sandwich Antiques Center. Rooms and rooms are filled with meticulously displayed merchandise, including furniture, military medals, and a wide selection of glass and porcelain. For a local souvenir, pick up some Sandwich glass (for much of the 19th century, this town was synonymous with American glass).
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm.
Built as an apothecary by Thacher Taylor Hallet in 1889 and run by his descendants, Hallet's Store still has its original marble-topped soda fountain—with swivel stools edged in chrome, naturally. You'll find the usual general store assortment of foodstuffs and household goods; a little-known museum on the second floor displays a somewhat random collection of artifacts, from World War II ration checks to Lucky Strike advertisements.
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm, late May through mid-October.