Day Trip: Duxbury
A Deluxe Day
A day trip to Duxbury has everything you need for a lasting impression that will have you returning again and again.
A trip to Duxbury is more than just a sojourn, it is truly a departure from the stresses and aggravations of everyday life. It is almost as though the highway signs should indicate an intersection of “Out of this world,” and “In a world of one’s own.”
The beautifully manicured hamlet is rooted in colonial history that is evident in every turn down a tree-lined back road where well-kept homes stand proudly with just a smidge of Yankee propriety, which keeps them from flaunting any supposition of nouveau wealth. In fact, behind those majestic front doors, crested with brass door knockers and bulls-eye glass panes, are residents of a town that is closely-knit, supportive and welcoming.
A good place to start when adventuring to Duxbury is at Millbrook Station. Once the Duxbury stop on the train to Boston all the way back to 1871, this newly developed site offers dining, shopping, professional services and apartment living in one charming location. Any good day trip will involve a memorable and delicious meal. The Oysterman anchors Millbrook Station and fills the bill on the dining front. Chris Schweiger and his partner Dermott Loftus opened the small, but fiercely popular restaurant in 2016 as one of the first tenants in Michael Juliano’s charming mixed-use project. Schweiger, who has a history of working for popular pubs, bars and restaurants in downtown Boston and on the South Shore says his small restaurant features a raw bar but has something for everybody. He jokes, “We used to call it Duxbury’s living room because the place would be packed, there would be a two-hour wait, but no one seemed to mind because all of their friends were at the bar. It was like an adult house party.” COVID did change the four-deep at the bar scenario, but the demand for the great food, inventive cocktails and fresh seafood was satisfied with plenty of outdoor seating during the period of pandemic restrictions.
Not many people open a second restaurant right next door to their existing one, but Schweiger and Loftus took Juliano up on his offer for another restaurant next door. At first The Anchor served breakfast and lunch offerings, but as Schweiger says, “As the business evolved we realized there was still a need for another place to have dinner, so we expanded the hours and the menu. For a while it was like it was the little brother to The Oysterman, but now it really stands on its own.” Schweiger says the success in both businesses is equally shared between the clients and his staff. Both restaurants are small, leaving scant extra room for the kitchen staff. “At the Oysterman, someone is behind the raw bar, behind that person is a wall with someone making salads and in that same space is our grill,” Schweiger explains. “People ask why we don’t serve dessert and I tell them we don’t even have a freezer. Besides, I opened a restaurant across from Farfar’s so why would I ever offer dessert?”
Farfar’s, across St. George Street, is a Danish ice cream shop that has been serving up a frozen dessert for 42 years that surpasses what Americans have come to know and love as ice cream. With an increased milk fat (14%) the ever-changing flavors of Farfar’s ice cream will stop you in your tracks. A popular seasonal attraction, local school kids, families and retirees can all be found, sitting in the shade of a large tree with a euphoric expression on their face as they savor their cup of heaven. Next door to Farfar’s is a bespoke consignment shop, B Home. Related to the popular furniture consignment in Chatham, At Home, the charming space offers coastal finds and furniture for your home.
Additional shopping at Millbrook station includes other Cape connections. Three Buoys and a Mermaid is a small boutique offering women’s fashions, tableware, jewelry and small gifts. The owner also has a location on Main Street in Harwich. A few doors down, the popular Chatham beach and casual clothing shop, White Marlin also has a small boutique. When you stop in, Emily, a junior at Roger Williams University will most likely be helping you decide which pair of Slyk Shades (another Cape Cod brand) look best.
SOUTH in Duxbury
A small shop that makes a big impact, SOUTH offers unique gifts for your hostess as well as the perfect pair of jeans and luxurious cashmere. Tabletop items, candles, and fashionable accessories for both you and your home will make your visit memorable.
Anchoring the sidewalk of the tony boutiques, is SOUTH in Duxbury, an accessories shop owned by Sarah Rhinesmith and Erica DeZitter, The two women also had a shop together in Chatham, Midsummer Nights that was very popular with their clients. Now with SOUTH, the two women bring a worldly sense of sophistication to a very small space, 600 square feet, making the careful curation of stock essential. Rhinesmith says, “We sell a lot of table top items. I think this year, with people being home, people really got into cooking and they want to make their meals a special event. Our pieces just make anything feel extra special.” The shop also offers a selection of high-quality casual clothing and Rhinesmith says that the jeans and cashmere items have been popular as women decide to abandon their yoga pants from the past year.
Frost and Found
This newly opened shop in Milbrook Station offers fresh floral and plant options as well as sustainable subscriptions and container garden planting services. Owner Bonnie Frost has built a reputation for unique and inventive arrangements often presented in unexpected heirloom or antique containers.
Another unique and intriguing shop in the complex is in the stand-alone building that resembles the Station Agent’s office of the former railroad. Frost and Found is a stunning floral shop that opened at the beginning of 2021. Owner Bonnie Frost has been providing a variety of floral and décor services for her discerning clientele online for a few years and now is welcoming customers into her uniquely appointed setting that is full of inspiration. “We are sort of known for using unusual or antique items to create floral displays,” Frost says referring to antique silver trophies and champagne buckets that spill forth with cut or planted greens and flowers. Frost and Found also offers sustainable subscriptions in a variety of options allowing clients to have regularly scheduled arrangements that change monthly and with the season.
Snug Harbor Wine
Interesting wines from around the world for budgets large and small. A full-service wine shop with personalized service, offering in-store shopping as well as curbside pick-up. Complimentaru tastings on Saturdays 3-6 p.m.
One of the wonderful things about Duxbury is the variety of small enclaves for shopping and dining. The harbor front includes special shops like French Memories, a bakery and patisserie with scrumptious European pastries, Snug Harbor Fish Company, where fresh is never a question, and Snug Harbor Wine where owner Richard Marble is the man behind the popular Duxbury Food and Wine Festival each fall. Marble, who brings a formidable understanding of viniculture to everything he touches, whether it is the thoughtful selection of fine wine in his shop or one of scores of events he sponsors in this tightly-knit community, says the business has built a great reputation for being involved in most major events in the town. Duxbury residents embrace their community and relish any opportunity for good living. There is a long list of sponsored activities and events (even during COVID when most transitioned easily to virtual presentations) that Snug Harbor is proudly supporting with valuable product and knowledge contributions.
One of those partners Snug Harbor collaborates with is Mix It Up Kitchen, a unique culinary business that offers recreational cooking classes to kids, teens and adults. Owner Cheryl Farhat’s passion has always been cooking. When she left her corporate job nearly 8 years ago, she decided to pursue some baking classes with kids. It really took off and within a year, she and her architect husband rehabbed a former law office to create a commercial kitchen. Farhat’s Depot Street space is a sun-splashed, bright spacious venue that offers something for everyone: cooking/baking classes, camps and birthday parties for kids (for which she won Best of the South Shore), and with the help of a small team of chef-instructors, evening workshops and celebrations for adults—all sharing Farhat’s creativity and passion for the culinary arts.
Mix It Up Kitchen
Culinary classes for children, tweens and adults. Workshops and themed parties make getting together, learning new recipes and techniques a fun way for cooks of any age to share a delicious time together. Industrial kitchen space available 7 days a week for classes, special events and private parties.
STRAND, the Boutique
An intersection of West Coast meets East Coast style. The perfect stop for women’s clothing and accessories for a night out, a weekend away or just snuggling at home. High-quality, bespoke fashions for every generation of the classic, discerning woman.
Depot Street is the main business district of Duxbury, adjacent to Hall’s Corner, which spools various businesses off of its rotary style intersection. On Depot Street, Strand, an upscale women’s boutique has an eclectic and stylish selection of elegant, yet casual clothing. Owner Caroline Widman opened the storefront in the fall of 2020 after her original opening in May was postponed due to quarantine. “We quickly realized we had to build our website in order to launch the business without a store,” Widman recalls. “Actually, it established the brand and immediately we found ourselves shipping orders all around the country. Strand in German means beach, a fitting moniker since Widman’s carefully chosen stock epitomizes the laid back vibe coastal communities like Duxbury embrace.
Also on Depot, Rock Paper Scissors Toy Store is an award-winning delight for kids of all ages. Recognized year after year as being the best toy store on the South Shore, owner Kim Panton who has been in business for 10 years says, “Since we are a specialty toy store, we carry lines like HABA from Germany and Hape, another European brand, that you can’t find in larger or national stores.” The store moved across the street in May, 2021 effectively doubling their square footage. Panton says the Micro Kickboard Scooters are one of her hottest sellers and one of the best quality scooters she has ever seen.
Rock Paper Scissors
For 10 years, Rock Paper Scissors has been the go-to choice for baby showers, birthdays or even just rainy days. Their new location has double the space for toys, games and distractions for kids and kids at heart. Voted best toy store on the South Shore year over year.
South Shore Sotheby’s International Realty
We are a small business in a small town with deep roots going back 40 years. We live where we work, we love what we do. We are your guides to home buying in Duxbury.
Whether your goal is to play, shop, explore or indulge, a day trip to Duxbury will have you checking your calendar for your next visit.
Julie Craven Wagner is the editor of Cape Cod LIFE.
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