Over the years, this lively town at the tip of the Cape has been different things to different people: a resort for gay travelers; a seaside Shangri-la for artists; a respite for those seeking solace among the dunes. With fiercely independent boutiques and like-minded chains (Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kiehl’s) now crowding Commercial Street, we’d add shopping destination to the list. From May through October, day-trippers can board the fast ferry in Boston and get to Macmillan Pier in just an hour and a half. Here are a few of our favorite spots to hit up while you’re there.
Horticulturalist Mark Petteruti and retired lawyer Robert Martin fulfilled a dream when they opened this whimsical home and garden store last spring. From air plants and Guy Wolff clay pots to Massachusetts-made birdhouses and candles, the inventory will please both green thumbs and souvenir seekers. “We want people to walk away with something that reminds them of Cape Cod,” Martin says.
Twice the size of the original Jamaica Plain location, this bright outpost brims with modern furniture and art (the back corner doubles as a gallery space). On offer: all the trimmings for a contemporary beach house, including handwoven Guatemalan towels by Grain, an exclusive Provincetown print by Bauhaus disciple Liz Roache, and a dining table with an ingenious hidden leaf from Boston designer Debra Folz.
Kiss & Makeup
Guys who groom will find the holy grail at Christine Gero Horovitz’s cheery makeup and skin-care emporium, where tonics, creams, and beard washes come from companies near (Ursa Major) and far (Taylor of Old Bond Street, Billy Jealousy, Triumph & Disaster). Also keeping P-town pretty are the cult-worthy cosmetics and small-batch perfumes, not to mention on-site facials and makeup application.
What’s not to love about a store that carries both wedding gowns and gas masks? This downtown army-navy staple stocks anything you’d need (boating gear, camping supplies) and everything you didn’t know you needed (shoe lasts, lobster traps, flags). If you can stand the crowds and the clutter—seriously, there’s stuff hanging from every inch of the ceiling—it’s an especially good rainy-day diversion.
Henry & Co.
The first thing you see upon entering this casual-chic shop is the rainbow of lightweight, summer-perfect Gola canvas sneakers, stashed in floor-to-ceiling cubbies near the register. But keep walking to the back, and you’ll find a trove of ties, shorts, and shirts—including Long Last tees bearing logos from dearly departed local establishments—all presided over by a portrait of Janis Joplin.
Pauline Fisher started this cool clothing and accessories store 20 years ago “so I could live by the beach, surrounded by gorgeous men,” she says. The plan worked, as fans flock to Map for special-edition Levi’s, Cutler and Gross shades, Anthony Peto hats, and vintage belt buckles. The store’s fervent following extends well beyond the Cape—John Waters even stopped by in June to sign copies of his new road-trip book, Carsick.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Celebrating its centennial this year, the PAAM is a good (air-conditioned) place for a culture break.
Ice cream flavors at this sweet spot include bourbon-caramel-pistachio-brittle and coffee cake.
Nor’east Beer Garden
Toast a shopping score with one of the 16 craft brews on tap here.
Kohi Coffee Company
This caffeinated newcomer serves up Blue Bottle java with views of the sea.
Pop + Dutch
Snag a sandwich or bloody mary supplies at this tiny café and general store, opened this summer by an ex–food writer and her husband.
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