As the holidays approach and I contemplate decorating the Inn, I look for inspiration from nature. Sometimes nature fails me, so I have to look a little deeper to find unique and creative ideas for sprucing up the place in festive finery. Some of my favorite haunts are right along Route 6A, the Old King’s Highway, which stretches from Sandwich to Orleans hugging the coastline of Cape Cod Bay. Driving this sinuous route is always a delight, as the road is lined with towering trees, lovely old sea captains’ homes, quaint villages, and some truly unusual shops and boutiques. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites. If you are looking for inspiration, a visit to any one of these shops will do the trick.
Pastiche of Cape Cod, 1595 Route 6A, West Barnstable, MA
When I first arrived on Cape Cod I worked for Irina, the owner of this high-end interior design store. What I learned from her about design was priceless. Although she specializes in interior design, her shop has some wonderfully whimsical items and some truly one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. Her botanical designs are world famous, especially her nautical wreaths and miniature Christmas trees.
Harvest of Barnstable, 89 Willow Street, Yarmouthport, MA
Wendy Smith, the proprietor, specializes in natural dried wreaths, centerpieces and custom designs. The store is an inspiration at any time of the year, but holidays are her specialty. Unique and beautiful dried flower arrangements, shell art, and fanciful ornaments are in abundance. I go here for home decorating ideas, holiday decorations, Nantucket lightship style baskets and nautical gifts, and I always leave with a smile on my face.
Painted Daisies, 679 Route 6A, East Sandwich, MA
Painted Daisies is one of the most beautiful and unique gift shops on Cape Cod. The shop showcases the finest in hand painted gifts and furniture, pottery, jewelry, floral arrangements and fine art from some of Cape Cod’s favorite artisans and craftsmen. Each of the 7 showrooms feature something different. There is penny candy, children’s clothing, glassware, and jewelry. Her displays are truly artful.
Mrs. Mugs, 680 Route 6A, East Sandwich, MA
This is a store for unique and unusual gift items from whimsical mugs (hence the name) to fun jewelry, great stocking stuffers, travel and handbags, and the ubiquitous Crocs. I always get a giggle from a visit to this shop.
Design Works, 159 Main Street, Yarmouthport, MA
Design Works carries an eclectic mix of home furnishings, antiques, linens, clothing, jewelry, gifts, and seasonal home accessories. It is most widely known for it’s large selection of antique Scandinavian Furniture.
Peach Tree Designs, 173 Main Street, Yarmouthport, MA
This store offers a unique collection of handpicked decorative accessories, fine furnishings, and unusual gifts. The barn outback has some wonderfully one-of-a-kind sculptural pieces and artwork. Occasionally, Peach Tree has a sale that makes their items much more affordable. But I have picked up a few really nice decorative items there and never tire of browsing.
The Barn & Co. and Details, 574 Main Street, Dennis, MA
Rich and I first discovered this shop when we moved to the Cape from North Conway, NH in 2003. That first Christmas, he gave me our first Elizabeth Mumford print called “Cape Cod Dogs”. Mumford is a primitive artist who specializes in nursery rhyme and anecdotal artwork with a coastal theme. Our collection of her work has grown over the years and we treasure each and every one. The shop also carries unique gift items, jewelry, Vera Bradley, baby gift items, cards, and whimsical signs.