Day Trip: Plymouth
A Hometown Welcome
Aptly named America’s Home Town, Plymouth is proudly embracing the moniker.
It is absolutely where it all began, and more relevantly, it is where it still continues: Plymouth. This geographically sprawling town (134 square miles) feels more like a small hamlet thanks to the welcoming business owners who are enthusiastically sharing their innovative products and services. The downtown area, complete with the historic rock that acknowledges the genesis of our country, is a thriving network of old world shops, eateries and attractions.
The Plymouth Exchange
Antiques, arts and collectibles, as well as furniture, rugs and ephemera are what you will in the 5,400 square foot gallery. Owner Peter Smith has decades of experience in the auction, antique, art and collectibles industry and can offer in-sight as well as value estimates for most anything.
Anchoring Main Street is The Plymouth Exchange, a hidden jewel that quite literally has an expansive collection of antiques, ephemera, furniture, estate jewelry and art. Owner Peter and Judy Smith have made antiques and collectibles more than their business; it has become their life. The Smiths, who are well known among the Cape Cod antique auction crowd have carefully curated the endless array of treasures in their 5,400 square foot gallery in the heart of Plymouth. Peter who is a nationally certified appraiser, and has a popular weekly radio show, Antiques Airshow, says, “The world has become accustomed to searching for items online, so it is essential to have a really good website. But in order to have a really good website, you need to have a great brick and mortar space, because that is how you connect with both your buyers as well as your sellers.” Smith’s next phase of his almost 40 years in the business of art, antiques and collectible, involves a new auction venture that will provide an opportunity for a large segment of the population not previously served by standard auction houses. “I imagine a good old-fashioned country auction,” Smith says joking about functioning as the auctioneer in the back of a pick-up truck with the help of a bullhorn. “There is such a need for someplace people offer their items to interested buyers. Now it seems that it is easier to pay someone to take something of value away. I plan to give people an opportunity to sell it themselves.”
Setting the Space
For over 10 years, Setting the Space has been the place to find a unique home accent, quality furniture and distinctive accessories. The flagship Main Street Plymouth location offers over 15,000 square feet of coastally inspired items to complement you home. Professional interior design services, as well as staging available.
Also on Main Street, just a few doors down, is Setting the Space, another eclectic furniture and accessories showroom. So much more than an attractive shop for the home, Setting the Space offers interior design and staging services as well as their retail operations across five locations, including a new concept showroom on Water Street. The oldest and largest (15,000 square feet) of their retail locations is Plymouth, which opened in 2010. Their latest venture is opening in North Conway, New Hampshire. Owner Blair Hamity says things are busier than they have ever been. “Short-term rentals, like people listing with Airbnb, have become an active portion of our business because we now offer kitchen and bath packages for them which provide all of the accessories a homeowner needs to provide renters.” The universal appeal of the unique and eclectic items Setting the Space has become known for has made them a style unto themselves. “Every single day I meet people and it is always the same thing,” Hamity confirms. “If they haven’t done their entire home from our store, they have some item from us.”
Jim “Wojo” Wojciechowski and his team have been finding the perfect home for their clients for years. Their commitment to making the process as seamless and profitable for all parties as possible it what distinguishes them from the rest. Based in Norwell, and now welcoming clients to their new downtown Plymouth location.
The South Shore in general seems to be experiencing a renaissance as more and more retirees, families and singles find just the right home in a community perfect for them. No one knows that better than Jim “Wojo” Wojciechowski, co-owner of Preferred Properties, a full-service realtor based in Norwell, with a downtown Plymouth location on Main Street. Jim, who has been serving sellers and buyers for years, started the company seven years ago, says his business distinguishes itself not only by his commitment to his clients, but also because of his unique ability to attract the best brokers and agents in the business. “The most important part of a real estate transaction are they people involved—the clients as well as the professionals,” he says. “That is why we compensate our agents at a premium no one else is offering. When you have good people working for you, dedicated to your business, there isn’t anything that can stop you.” Wojo’s passion and commitment is immediately evident. It clearly has an effect based upon the lasting relationships and repeat business Jim and his team have earned.
Plymouth Bay Winery
Plymouth is known for cranberries, and at Plymouth Bay Winery visitors can taste how this iconic berry complements a standard grape wine. In addition, over ten fruit wines expand your palate and understanding of what fruit wines can offer. Moderately priced tasting flights allow visitors to sample varieties, as well as take home a commemorative glass. Open every day at noon.
Richard Sparrow House
A bit of history, a bit of shopping, what could be better. The oldest surviving house in Plymouth (1640) offers a glimpse into the past, as well as significant architectural contributions over the 300+ years. Pottery, glass, jewelry and accessories make the shop a destination for anyone looking for the perfect gift.
Not every home of distinction in the Plymouth area is new and move-in ready. In fact, the oldest home in Plymouth, The Richard Sparrow House is both a museum and a gift shop. The nonprofit business, just a short stroll away from Main Street is recognized by the American Craft Gallery, which supports the historic house and museum. Manager and resident potter, Lois Atherton says the gift shop is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike who are looking for a perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or just a personal indulgence. The pottery, jewelry, glassware, scarves, and purses, are some of the items visitors can expect to find. All of the handcrafted offerings are created by North American artisans, making the shop the perfect stop in this historic town.
Simply sophisticated is the vibe that permeates this entire boutique. From jewelry by LOLA, Dovera and other high-quality affordable brands; to clothing and accessories that set the stage for casual and comfortable living, one stop is all you will need to feel confident and stylish.
For those looking to make a serious dent in their shopping list, 3 Daughters on Water Street has something for women of all ages. With a concentration in jewelry, the shop has casual and comfortable clothing and accessories that evolve with the seasons. Owner Joan Lyons landed on the name of the store because she has three daughters (and a son) and says the name also brings customers in who also have a house full of spirited progeny. “My goal when I opened the store was to provide jewelry and clothing for women that will make them feel comfortable and confident,” Lyons explains. Mission accomplished as she has created a comfortable space where regular customers and visitors are drawn into the warm and sophisticated boutique, and leave with something special.
Alyssa Smith, along with her parents had a great idea! Design, produce and sell soft, comfortable clothes you look forward to wearing that subtly promote your love of America’s Hometown. Using ethically sourced and often USA grown material, they make it easy to relax and get cozy.
A bit further down Water Street, Locally Yours is another retail space fueled by another bright and innovative woman. Owner Alyssa Smith was sharing a cold beverage with her parents Pam and Rob, when the conversation turned to catchy t-shirt slogans that would adequately represent their hometown. Together with her mother, a talented graphic designer, Alyssa and Pam now own this fun and approachable shop that truly does have something for everyone. In 2018 just after graduating from college, Alyssa hit the ground running as they opened their first store. “We refer to our apparel as hometown clothing,” Alyssa explains. “It just gives you that homey vibe. We try to use the softest and most ethically sourced material we can find, and as much USA grown as possible.” All of the designs are created by Alyssa and Pam, making a purchase from Locally Yours, uniquely yours.
The Pretentious Pickle
Pickles, relishes, vinegars, oils, you name it. If your pantry is a bit bare, this the place. Perfect stop for hostess gifts, souvenirs, or just something delectable to enjoy this weekend. Tasting samples and gift collections available at their bustling showroom.
When looking for a perfect hostess gift or a remembrance of your day in Plymouth, two stops top the list. First, The Pretentious Pickle on Water Street is nirvana for anyone who loves anything pickled, but definitely not pretentious. Pickles, Piccalillies, Bloody Mary mix, relishes, and even cornbreads are among the items you can sample and scoop up to take home. Also on Water Street is Plymouth’s oldest winery, Plymouth Bay Winery. Owner Michael Carr says, “We are in the business of hospitality, we just also make really good fruit wines.” The hospitality he mentions is evident as soon as you walk through the door with the warm welcome and accommodating navigation and explanation that accompanies every tasting. Visitors can choose from the number of wines they would like to sample, and most options include a commemorative wine glass. In addition to the 11 to 15 wines offered, the winery features a variety of jams, jellies, sauces, oils and vinegars. Many of the concoctions are surprisingly innovative and sometimes a bit perplexing. Not to fear, Carr and his team have a bunch of delicious recipes that feature the entire line of his products.
Cork + Table Kitchen and Bar
American cuisine with a southern flair is how owners Bill Cubbage and Deb Tanis characterize their unique cuisine. Cubbage’s background of growing up in South Carolina where he was a restaurateur, combined with the fresh offerings found here in New England make for a sensory excursion. An extensive wine list by the glass provides an opportunity to explore for those who want to expand their horizons.
After a day of shopping and exploring, a meal is the perfect ending. Plymouth’s dining scene has been getting rave reviews for some time now, making the town a bit of foodie destination. But not every restaurant and eatery are big, bold and boastful, some are just delightful finds that locals happily keep quiet about. One such place is Cork + Table Kitchen and Bar. This cozy and sophisticated bistro is a refreshing southern breeze that has blown up Court Street. The intimate and cozy restaurant features American cuisine with a southern flair. Owner Bill Cubbage, a South Carolina native along with his wife Deb Tanis have brought a culinary wake-up call to the New England seacoast. Another huge benefit to Cubbage’s approach to good wine and a great dining experience: every wine on their impressive list is available by the glass. What better way to explore and enjoy something a bit different?
Bramhall’s Country Store
Go back in time, when things were simple and wholesome. This authentic country store has been serving up groceries, homemade goodies and cheer for almost 200 years. Thursday nights in the summer, a new Beer Garden serves local Second Wind Brewing. Family friendly, including the dogs, everyone will leave with a smile on their face. Insiders tip: don’t miss their lobster rolls available at the store daily.
Bramhall’s Country Store might not be the first thought when thinking about dining out, but the 1700s historic location, on the outskirts of Plimoth Patuxet has been in the Bramhall family since 1828 when it was started by the current owners’ great-great-great-great grandfather.
Today Sally Bramhall shucks over 150 lobsters every morning for their famous lobster rolls that come in two sizes, a standard size on a toasted New England roll and a jumbo on a toasted brioche roll. Thursday nights now feature a Beer Garden with local Second Wind Brewing. The event is kid and dog friendly with corn hole, making it a generally good time for everyone.
When you feel as though you need to go home again, Plymouth is waiting to welcome you as though the town belongs to all of us.
Julie Craven Wagner is the editor of Cape Cod LIFE.
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