Brewster's stretch of Route 6A offers the best antiquing on the entire Cape. Die-hards would do well to stop at every intriguing shop; you never know what you might find. There are several reliable standouts.
Deborah Rita, proprietor of Countryside Antiques, 2052 Main St./Rte. 6A (tel. 508/896-1444), roams the world in search of stylish furnishings, mostly old, though age -- and price -- are evidently no object.
Arts & Crafts
Clayton Calderwood's Clayworks, 3820 Main St./Rte. 6A, East Brewster (tel. 508/255-4937; http://www.claytonclayworks.com), is always worth a stop, if only to marvel at the famous mammoth urns. There's also a world of functional ware here such as bowls, pots, and lamps, in porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta.
At The Spectrum, 369 Rte. 6A, about 1 mile east of the Dennis border (tel. 800/221-2472 or 508/385-3322; www.spectrumamerica.com), you'll find the kind of crafts that gave crafts a good name: fun stuff, with a certain irony to it, but unmistakably chic. In 1966 two young RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) grads opened shop in a rural schoolhouse. Bob Libby and Addison Pratt now oversee six stores: three on the Cape and islands (the other branches are in Hyannis and on Nantucket), and one each in Newport, Troy (Mich.), and Palm Beach. Their taste is top-of-the-line, as you'll see in a quick tour of this split-level, country-modern shop.
Collectors from around the world converge at Sydenstricker Glass, 490 Main St., Brewster (tel. 508/385-3272; www.sydenstricker.com), in which a kiln-fired process developed in the mid-1960s that uses concepts from the art of enameling yields unique glassware, especially dishes and stemware.
Though quite a bit spiffier than a "real" general store, the Brewster Store, 1935 Main St./Rte. 6A, in the center of town (tel. 508/896-3744; www.brewsterstore.com), an 1866 survivor that was fashioned from an 1852 Universalist church, is a fun place to shop for sundries and catch up on local gossip. The wares are mostly tourist-oriented these days but include some handy kitchen gear (cobalt glassware, for example) and beach paraphernalia. Give the kids a couple of dimes to feed the Nickelodeon piano machine, and relax on a sunny church pew out front as you pore over the local paper.
You don't have to be a foodie -- though it helps -- to go gaga over the exhaustive collection of culinary paraphernalia, from esoteric instruments to foodstuffs, at the Cook Shop, 1091 Rte. 6A, about 1 1/2 miles west of the town center (tel. 508/896-7698; www.cookshopcapecod.com). If you're stuck cooking up a practical yet unusual house gift, look no further.
Breakwater Fish and Lobster Market, at 235 Underpass Rd., in Brewster (tel. 508/896-7080), stocks the freshest fish in town as well as smoked fish.
An Herb Shop
Stop at Great Cape Herbs, 2624 Main St./Rte. 6A (about 2 miles east of town center), in Brewster (tel. 508/896-5900; www.greatcape.com), to pick up all manner of herbs, vegetarian takeout, or an espresso. The store is open daily in summer.
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