As we careen toward the holidays, a series dedicated to innkeepers’ tips on amazing shopping seems timely. Thus, this is the third in our series about innkeepers’ favorite shopping locations featuring the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE). In our first article, we focused on wonderfully eclectic and independently owned shops in Vermont bearing gifts for that hard-to-shop-for person. Last week we dedicated our attention to unique and tax-free shopping opportunities in New Hampshire. As we pointed out in both these stories, these shopping trips pair so well with getaways at nearby DINE inns.
For this series, we asked DINE innkeepers to share their favorite stores and shopping tips that are reserved for guests. We got so many great ideas from Jill at Captain’s House Inn in Chatham, Cape Cod that we decided to dedicate a whole article to shopping in Chatham, MA.
“We often have guests stay at the inn around holiday season specifically to make a notable dent in their holiday shopping,” shared Jill Meyer, co-owner of Captain’s House Inn. “Downtown Chatham offers boutique shops and gift stores you can’t find just anywhere and these types of small operations are becoming rare as online shopping and chain stores have taken over the personal feel of small businesses. Fortunately, Chatham maintains the quaint charm of “the olden days” with about a mile stretch of antique shops, galleries, boutiques, and, of course, excellent restaurants to refuel,” she explains. What a perfect combination – eclectic and interesting shops, great restaurants, then back to a welcoming inn for afternoon tea or a glass of wine and relaxation.
Here are some of Jill’s favorites for your Chatham shopping getaway.
The Candy Manor – This is a Chatham institution, chock full of homemade truffles, fudge, and penny candy. During the month of December, you might be lucky enough to catch a candy cane making demonstration. You’ll find everything you need here to fill the stockings.
Mark August – This is a wonderfully unique jewelry store showcasing pieces from local jewelry designers plus home accent pieces, all at reasonable prices. It’s a touch of local, art and useful all in one shop!
The Artful Hand – “For the person on your list who has everything, you’re sure to find something they don’t have at the Artful Hand Gallery where you can shop for artwork, books, jewelry, service-ware, and so much more. You won’t find these pieces on Amazon. Each piece is truly one of a kind,” says Jill, who also shares how much she loves this store.
Where the Sidewalk Ends – You’ll delight in this living Mom and Pop bookstore; one of the few still standing. “Where the Sidewalk Ends is owned by a mother/daughter team and is a welcome throwback in time to the days when personal service and book discussions were a standard at the local book shop,” shares Jill. A separate children’s annex also offers high quality toys and games for the younger set too.
Marion’s Pies – “You can’t leave Chatham without a pie from the famous Marion’s,” warns Jill. “These pies are THE BEST and make a great hostess gift but do yourself a favor and get one for yourself too,” she finishes. You don’t have to wait until the holidays for these pies. They’re the perfect way to offer a midweek boost throughout the darker months of the year to the whole family. And they freeze well too, so bring one home for the holidays and freeze one too.
Chatham T Company – With three stores on Main Street (Chatham Clothing Bar, Chatham Clothing Company, and Chatham T Kids), Chatham T can outfit every generation in high-quality fashion. Much of their gear has Cape Cod, Chatham, or local business logos, offering a lovely take home gift after a getaway.
Gustare – Specializing in flavored oils and vinegars, Gustare allows customers to taste test everything before committing to a purchase. “This is the perfect gift for foodies, but also for moms who are trying to get their kids to eat more fruits and veggies. Add some cherry balsamic to a fruit salad and they’ll be begging for more!” says Jill.
Spend a day poking through lovely shops and boutiques in Chatham, Cape Cod then return to the Captain’s House Inn for afternoon tea. Better yet, be “home” to the inn by 5:00pm for the wine hour. Between the hours of 5 and 6 pm, gather in the library for the complimentary wine hour topped off with a scoop of freshly popped popcorn from the inn’s complimentary popcorn cart!. Your accommodations are packed with amenities including locally made Cape Cod foods, candies or products which vary seasonally. The Captain’s House Inn also offers its own small gift shop. After experiencing the best night’s sleep you’ve had in months, be sure to visit the inn’s gift shop to purchase some of the fabulous Comphy Co sheets you slept on and swore you simply must have. The multi-course breakfast here will fuel you for another day of shopping in Chatham too.
One last shopping suggestion. Be sure to add a gift certificate for your favorite DINE inn to your holiday shopping list. They make the perfect gift for that person who has everything but time to relax. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to go too. Each inn offers their own gift certificates, which are a popular gift idea during the holidays. Also, plan to book directly with your favorite DINE inn when you reserve your shopping trip.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic.