The Outer LimitsText by Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz
A day trip through the towns of the Outer Cape satisfies the needs of all manner of shopaholics and art lovers.
This past winter was long, cold, and gray enough to persuade even the most inveterate shoppers to peruse the web in lieu of a full-on, brick-and-mortar shopping spree. But once the sky turned blue and the trees blossomed, we couldn’t get outside fast enough. Our pent-up urge for shopping became impossible to tamp down. With temperatures nearing 70, we decided to troll the stores of the Outer Cape, home to the five outermost towns of Cape Cod—Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown—that hug the National Seashore.
Shopping on the Outer Cape is as charming and idiosyncratic as the region itself. We found a plethora of places that specialize in helping people create beautiful homes, but we also discovered delightful shops that cater to all aspects of the good life, from supplies for entertaining to gourmet edibles to luxurious beauty and grooming products.
We began by turning off Route 6 at Exit 12, and heading toward the center of Orleans. A little preplanning and a few conversations with like-minded shopaholic friends brought us to Weekend. This aptly named small shop is chock-a-block with anything you might need for a weekend on the Cape. Tableware and linens for a dinner party; silver, wire-wrapped folding chairs for a picnic table; and an array of stuff for the kids such as pails and shovels to take to the beach and pipe cleaners and crayons in case of rain.
After a quick cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin at the charming Cottage St. Bakery, we meandered toward Supple Apothecary. When Alison Supple Evans and her musician husband decided to return to the East Coast and open an outpost of their Berkeley, California, apothecary, they weren’t sure if it would fly. But fly it did—soared, actually—with its supply of unique and hard-to-find products like Arcona, Ren, and Dr. Hauschka, all displayed on the shelves inside an iconic little cottage complete with white trim and weathered shingles.
Our next stop was the Addison Art Gallery. Housed in a quintessential red-clapboard cape overlooking Orleans Town Cove, the gallery features the work of local, national, and international artists.
Back in the car we made our way toward Eastham and the engaging, slightly wacky Buddha & Beads. If, like us, you like to roll up your sleeves and paw through piles of stuff in search of a treasure you didn’t know you needed, this is the place. There are almost no words to describe this small shop on Route 6 except to say, it’s a total blast. Yes, there are plenty of beads and Buddhas, but there are also antiques and vintage pieces for the home, pots and urns for the backyard patio, and a colorful collection of old, worn buoys.
On our way to postcard-perfect Wellfleet we made a quick pit stop at PB Boulangerie Bistro for one of its divine almond croissants before pulling into Susie Nielsen’s contemporary art and design gallery, Farm. Besides the gallery’s roster of artists, whose work is shown in three pristine white rooms, there are beautiful ceramic pieces, clever stationery, and other, unexpected treasures.
Next door to Farm is the venerable Left Bank Gallery. Established in 1971, the gallery, a former American Legion Hall, showcases a rotating group of artists and craftspeople as well as functional wares for the home. Don’t miss the sculpture garden in the rear, with its wonderful mobiles by Arthur Bauman and its picturesque view of Duck Creek.
On our way into Provincetown we traveled through Truro, to our mind the most magical of the Outer Cape towns. And though there are no stores to support our shopping habit, we did stop for a picnic lunch. Jam’s Gourmet Grocery makes perfect sandwiches, Mac’s Seafood boasts the freshest lobster, and, for dessert, the just-opened Chequessett Chocolate Shop and Cafe is divinely decadent.
Visitors can also tour the Truro Vineyards and their recently opened distillery where, after twenty years of winemaking, they will be releasing their first liquor, 20 Boat Rum.
Our final stop in Truro was Atlantic Spice, where we stocked up on herbs, spices, and teas, all in bulk and all at wholesale prices.
One of Provincetown’s many charms is its diversity. Come summer, a confluence of full-time residents, summer homeowners, vacationers, and day-trippers swell this town at the tip of Cape Cod from 3,000 to upwards of 60,000 people.
On any given summer day, Commercial Street, the main road that runs from the east to the west end, is jam-packed with shoppers, surfers, hawkers, hustlers, moms, kids, dads, and dogs, all jockeying for space amid cars, trucks, scooters, and skateboarders.
Our first stop along Commercial Street was John Derian, a shop that sits at the back of Derian’s own Greek Revival house. A design guru among aficionados, Derian has an unerring eye, and his talent for uncovering the extraordinary is evident at his Provincetown location. There are Moroccan antique trays, French ceramics from Astier de Villatte, Hugo Guinness’s linoleum-cut prints in vintage frames, and Derian’s own decoupage cachepots, paperweights, and plates.
A longtime fixture on Commercial Street is Utilities, a place filled with items for the kitchen, the dining room, and at-home entertaining. Whether you’re whipping up a tin of popovers for Sunday morning breakfast (6-Cup Popover Pan, $18.99) or making a whiskey sour (OXO Cocktail Shaker, $29.99), or in need of the perfect gift for your host (Beekman 1803 Baak Onion Jam, $9.99), Utilities is the place to go.
The latest addition to Commercial Street’s hustle and bustle is Room 68. As diverse as Provincetown’s population, Room 68’s products—from furniture to decorative accessories—are at the crossroads of art and design.
At Century, celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year, owner Rene LeBlanc continues to curate a collection of colorful, well-designed pieces for the home and for the body along with one of the largest selections of reading glasses we’ve ever seen.
Luckily for us, Spiritus Pizza, a fixture on Commercial Street for forty-three years, is right across the street from Century, and one of its delicious slices helped revitalize us before heading to WA.
After ten years as a floral designer in Boston, Tom Rogers moved to Provincetown in 1996 to open WA, naming it for the Japanese word for harmony. WA offers a beautiful blend of home furnishings and accessories in a space that is serene and elegant.
As dusk was approaching and the day was getting away from us, we ran into Map (clothing, gifts, and some fun home accessories), Kiss and Make Up (cosmetics), and the recently opened Kiehl’s. Then, we grabbed a carob banana smoothie at 141 To Go and got ready for Provincetown’s Friday night gallery crawl. •
Where to find the shops on this day trip.
Weekend, 217 Main St., (508) 255-9300, capeweekend.com
Cottage St. Bakery, 5 Cottage St., (508) 255-2821, cottagestreetbakery.com
Supple Apothecary, 82 Route 6A, (774) 316-4555, suppleapothecary.com
Addison Art Gallery, 43 South Orleans Rd., (508) 255-6200, addisonart.com
Buddha & Beads, 2390 State Highway (Route 6), (774) 207-0105,
PB Boulangerie Bistro,
15 Lecount Hollow Rd., (508) 349-1600, pbboulangeriebistro.com
Farm, 15 Commercial St., (617) 650-9800, farmprojectspace.com
Left Bank Gallery, 25 Commercial St., (508) 349-9491, leftbankgallery.com
Jam’s Gourmet Grocery, 23 Truro Center Rd., Truro, (508) 349-1616
Mac’s Seafood, 14 D Truro Center Rd., Truro, (508) 349-9409, macsseafood.com
Chequessett Chocolate Factory and Cafe, 8 Highland Rd., (774) 538-6249, chequessettchocolate.com
Truro Vineyards, 11 Shore Rd, (508) 487-6200, trurovineyardsofcapecod.com
Atlantic Spice, 2 Shore Rd., (508) 487-6100, atlanticspice.com
John Derian, Law St. (back of 396 Commercial St.), (508) 487-1362, johnderian.com
Utilities, 393 Commercial St., (508) 487-6800, utilitieshome.com
Room 68, 377 Commercial St., (617) 942-7425, room68online.com
Century, 191 Commercial St., (508) 487-2332, centuryshopper.com
Spiritus Pizza, 190 Commercial St., (508) 487-2808, spirituspizza.com
Map, 141 Commercial St., (508) 487-4900
Kiss and Make Up, 244 Commercial St., (508) 413-9337, kissandmakeupptown.com
Kiehl’s, 200 Commercial St., (508) 487-0768, kiehls.com
141 To Go, 148 Commercial St., (774) 538-6199, bradfordnatural.com
Art on the Side
Provincetown, home to a plethora of visual artists over the years, has a long, rich history of supporting and inspiring art. In celebration of that history, galleries stay open late on Friday nights during the summer months, when Commercial Street and its side roads welcome throngs of merry visitors. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite don’t-miss galleries.
Albert Merola, 424 Commercial St., (508) 487-4424, albertmerolagallery.com
ArtStrand, 494 Commercial St., (508) 487-1153, artstrand.com
Berta Walker Gallery, 208 Bradford St., (508) 487-6411, bertawalker.com
Gary Marotta, 162 Commercial St., (617) 834-5262, garymarottafineart.com
Julie Heller Gallery, 2 Gosnold St., (508) 487-2169, juliehellergallery.com
Provincetown Art Association Museum, 460 Commercial St., (508) 487-1750, paam.org
Rice Polak Gallery, 430 Commercial St., (508) 487-1052, ricepolakgallery.com
Schoolhouse Gallery, 494 Commercial St., (508) 487-4800, galleryschoolhouse.com
William-Scott Gallery, 439 Commercial St., (508) 487-4040, williamscottgallery.com
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