For many, the mere thought of the holidays conjures up quaint and sentimental images of Christmas celebrations through the ages. Maybe it is because of the collective conscience of classics like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” or the fact that every holiday season uncovers memories of our own childhood and the anticipation and awe experienced through younger sets of eyes and more youthful sensibilities. For those looking to revive the wonder of days gone by and the simplicity of a homespun holiday, crossing the threshold of Scout Vintage in Dennis village is like stepping through the wardrobe and entering the frosted and fantastical kingdom of Narnia.
God bless the merry gentlewoman, owner Melissa Cox who is no stranger to a successful retail recipe, having previously co-owned a special shop in Concord, Massachusetts called Nesting on Main for eight years. Cox’s deft touch clearly resonated since the shop was recognized by Boston Magazine three times over with a coveted ‘Best of Boston” recognition. A career opportunity for Cox’s husband Joe found the couple relocating to the quaint and historic north side of the Cape, and just like that, Scout Vintage was born in 2013.
In addition to her retail acumen, Cox spent a significant part of her life selling antiques, vintage and curios at group shops throughout New England. With her love of garden, architectural, French and European antiques, she was a regular insider at the infamous Brimfield Antiques Market (the largest outdoor antique market in the country) for almost 20 years. Many of her Brimfield customers have followed her to Scout.
“I always enjoyed setting up displays and chatting with my customers,” Cox recalls. “As things began to change in the antiques world, the answer was to mix old with new, as so many of us do in our own homes, and now in my own store.”
And indeed, she does seem to have discovered the answer. Scout Vintage is a journey through a century of design and culture. The displays Cox says she enjoyed creating in the fields of central Massachusetts have put down roots and bloomed in Dennis village, beginning with her original petite and charming little shop of 5 years. When she realized she was outgrowing the space and in 2018, she spread her wings and moved just down the street to her current location. The rustic building was originally a horse barn, built in 1895 and includes two stories of hardwood floors that creak with age and history, all connected by an extra wide stairwell with a charming landing. It’s the perfect backdrop to Cox’s creatively curated collection of gifts, décor and indulgences such as jewelry, baubles and addictive French soaps.
It is not long before one wonders where Cox finds the curious and unexpected treasures that are invariably discovered on any visit to Scout. “One of my favorite things to do in the world is to attend the flea markets, or as the French say, ‘Brocantes’ in France. I love exploring Paris’ markets as well as in the south of France. Sometimes I have a wish list of what I’m looking for, but honestly, the most fun is when I stumble upon something I never expected,” Cox exclaims with a wry smile.
“There are many antique venues here in the states I shop, but I’m always drawn to certain pieces with a European farmhouse style. As far as the new merchandise I carry, I go to the big gift shows in Atlanta and New York, and I find companies that mix well with vintage and antiques, all while seeking out the unique and affordable.” That explanation is evident when considering the shop’s intriguing finds that include soapstone hearts, Grecian vases filled with guinea hen feathers, and miniature Eiffel Tower ornaments, all perfect as gifts for someone special: like yourself!
Cox’s treatment during the holidays is truly a spectacle to experience. Luxuriously soft cashmere scarves, hand-knit gloves and alpaca wool hats become a thoughtful gift for a hard-to-buy-for-someone. Glittering choker necklaces will acknowledge a niece’s transition from a little girl to a young lady. A leather-bound travel diary is perfect for the young graduate who is traveling before settling down, and a cuddly newborn’s blanket will be cherished for generations.All of these treasures are backlit and supported by a twinkling menagerie of sparkling lights, woodland creatures and natural elements like fresh greens spilling forth from rustic market baskets. “Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year,” Cox explains. “It goes all the way back to my childhood. It has always been a joyful time, and my memories are full of the years my grandparents and my mother and father just embraced the holiday for all of us. It was truly magical.”
This year, Cox says that she is looking forward to the “big reveal” when Scout re-opens after closing for a week or so at the beginning of November. Paper covers the windows so no one can peek, and Scout is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, re-opening in time for Veteran’s Weekend. “There is a lot of sparkle in ornaments and jewelry, there is nature and woodland, whimsy galore and some one-of-a-kind vintage and antique treasures this year. Visitors can poke around the displays and creative vignettes, go from trees to wall decor, and just take it all in,” she explains.
Scout’s following is venturing along the same path as Cox’s previous endeavor in Concord, and with the introduction of social media channels, the dedicated and supportive client base is regularly engaged in meaningful discourse. Case in point: in response to Cox’s announcement that she was once again Europe-bound to Belgium on a hunt for the store in October, a recent comment from a fellow antique lover on Scout’s Facebook page included a bit of English slang:
Coddiwomple: (kod’e wom pel) (v.) To travel purposefully toward an as-yet-unknown destination.
Cox may not know her next destination, but the path that has led her to the sweet village of Dennis on Cape Cod, is certainly one that has been navigated with purpose and an understanding that she is exactly where she is supposed to be.
Visit Scout Vintage online at scoutvintage.net