4 Provincetown Boutiques Where You Can Avoid the Standard Souvenir

by Rodney Uhler / photos by David Macke
You only need so many seashell-decoupage boxes, or personalized flip-flop key chains before they've filled up a drawer with a cemetery of unwanted vacation mementos. Thankfully Provincetown's bounty of independent shops allows you to avoid the cliché beach knick-knacks altogether and bring home something whose shelf life will extend far beyond your summer tan. Below, we look at five places where you can avoid the standard souvenir.
 
Books
From Norman Mailer to Michael Cunningham, Provincetown has a rich literary history making it no surprise that it also houses a bookstore that feels like it belongs in another era. Tim's Used Books can be found at the end of a winding storybook path, nestled between more prominent shops on Commercial Street. In the store, stacks of books of all varieties (except standard issue bestsellers) create an environment akin to a literary aunt and uncle's basement. Come ready to hunt for treasure, buried or not, and you're bound to leave with an unexpected necessity for the beach or commute back.

Tim's Used Books, 242 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-0005


Gourmet Treats
When lost in the hunt for the perfect gift, let your stomach be the guiding light and in Provincetown it may direct you straight to Pop + Dutch. Set up by Sean Gardner and Rebecca Orchant, two Brooklyn ex-pats who, powered by their very acclaimed backgrounds (Gardner managed Court Street Grocers, and Orchant wrote for HuffPost Food), opened up the grocery/sandwich shop/convenience store on the West End of Commercial Street. You may have to bring back just the memory of one of their delicious sandwiches, but pickled tomatoes, boiled peanuts, or homemade relish can travel straight to your next dinner party.

Pop + Dutch, 147 Commercial St. Provincetown, MA 02657, (774) 538-6472

Home & Garden
It's easy to quickly slip into full vacation mode in Provincetown, and at Roots Home & Garden it's easy to quickly question your entire home aesthetic. Should my apartment be whale-themed? Am I an animal for never having used placemats before? If I buy a mailbox will home-ownership be close behind? Their home goods extend from the small (coasters) to the big (area rugs). Beyond home and garden goods they stock a variety of tongue-in-cheek gift items that will likely seem tailor made to a best friend, inappropriate co-worker, or favorite cousin like "Ugly children'" gum, and "Was that slutty?" hand sanitizer.  

Roots for the Home and Garden, 193 Commercial St #1, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-2500

Alt-Gifts and Adult Toys
If the highlight of your family beach vacations was buying a Sublime t-shirt on the boardwalk, and you consider Burning Man less a trip and more a pilgrimage, then Shop Therapy should be on the top of your Provincetown to-do list. It's hard to miss the Keith Herring-meets-Ahh Real Monsters mural covering the entire facade of the store. It's a multi-story mecca for the alternative crowd, filled with hookahs, tunics, tie-dye, novelty sunglasses and jester hats. The upstairs provides materials for other adult pleasures -- the kind that may require harnesses, AA batteries, or discreet black packaging.
 

Shop Therapy, 20 Province Road, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1440

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

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