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Cotuit shop sells antiques, vegetables, and much more

A Cotuit couple’s shop is a celebration of their many passions.

A Cotuit couple’s shop is a celebration of their many passions.

Photography by Jennifer Dow

“Being involved in the basics is not a bad thing,” declares Anne Barrett. She would know. Anne and her husband Joe Barrett own Etc., a colorful craft, fresh-grown produce, and antique shop on Route 28 in Cotuit.  “You know how to do all of this stuff,” Anne says. “You know that there’s a way to iron clothes. You know how to cook and grow food. There’s a way to sew. All these things you can do—or not do. But when you do it, you probably have some confidence in doing it; chances are you enjoy doing it.”

Etc. is the kind of intriguing place you’ve probably driven past for years, always intending to stop in, but never seeming to find the right moment or the right state of mind to break out of your routine—and pull off the main road.  Places like this—you know, the ones with the hand-scrawled sign for “strawberries” in spring and “tomatoes” a few months later—are the treasures of the Cape. There’s just something special about a timeworn, rusty red Colonial house on the corner, overgrown with perennials and daffodils. Adding to Etc.’s allure are a few scattered antiques propped under a Black Walnut tree on the front lawn, a dirt driveway, the sun filtering in from the fields behind, a rototiller. There’s an old sailboat, too, tucked away in back.  There are stories here.     

For those who do venture off the main drag and out of the constant parade of summer traffic filing along Route 28, opening Etc.’s heavy front door to reveal the dim light of the hallway inside is akin to stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. Leave those precious to-do lists and smartphones outside. Within, the shop—which also houses the couple’s Buckle Works business—offers the simple, modest beauty that comes with handmade items. Whether it is a piece of antique linen or a finely crafted wooden chair, there’s a satisfied coziness found in objects made by human hands, like that first warming taste of hot cocoa on a dreary winter day.

A stop here, after all, is not really about shopping—though you can certainly walk away with an armful of gifts sure to charm even the most discerning recipient; from a hand finished brass belt buckle with an accompanying handmade leather belt to a pair of hand sewn sheepskin slippers. No, the pleasure of this place is the experience, simple and sensual.   

Anne and Joe—79 and 84, respectively—are artists.  Their story winds and wanders, as artists’ tend to.  They are searchers and seekers.  Curious folk.  “Life is an exploration of how things work,” says Anne. “We both have always been curious people, probably from having been brought up by parents who were curious people.  My father, who was a painter, was always reading, doing something.”

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