|Himalayan Handicrafts, a bit off the beaten path, offers lovely handmade items,|
as do a number of unique Provincetown workshops, emporiums and boutiques.
The actual number is probably well over 80, because even as I'm writing this, I can think of a number of others that I hadn't added to the count. For example, I didn't number every shop and artisan's studio in the Whalers Wharf, where you'll find photography, jewelry and all kinds of fetching items handcrafted by local folks, along with a fun assortment of curios, knickknacks and tchotchkes.
There are also many places in town where you can find a lovely gift in a shop that isn't exactly a boutique, like the Provincetown Fudge Factory. Besides their amazing fudge in about a dozen varieties, they also have beautiful handmade chocolates and treats. The Purple Feather comes to mind as well, and what about PAAM? The Provincetown Art Association and Museum has a wonderful array of prints, calendars, books and other things relating to PTown's rich artistic heritage. Great (and certainly unusual) gifts can be found at local thrift stores, like Ruthie's Boutique at 14 Center Street (actually on Bradford Street) or at the Methodist Church on Shank Painter Road, and don't forget all the shops that aren't right on Commercial Street...
A number of Provincetown addresses are confusing, if not downright confounding, like Himalayan Handicrafts, officially listed at 277 Commercial Street, which is one long building on the corner across from Town Hall, stretching all the way down what ought to be called Ryder Street, toward Fisherman's Wharf. Every shop in the building, from the photographer on the corner to the kite shop on the beach, shares that same Commercial Street address. So to find the ever-changing variety of beautiful imported clothing, masks, antiques, musical instruments, jewelry, prayer wells, meditation singing bowls and other treasures at Himalayan Handicrafts, you'll have to walk around the corner, and about halfway down the length of the building, near Cafe Maria, which also shares the address "277 Commercial Street."
The new Artist-Loft, listed at 135 Bradford Street, Unit F, filled with a huge assortment of artist supplies and tools at very reasonable prices, is actually found by walking around the corner, onto Standish Street, and then up the stairs on the far end of the building, to the floor above the dentist's office. Another wacky PTown address.
Just down the street is Recovering Hearts, to feed your more spiritual side, with beautiful gifts, incense, books, art and a lot more, at 4 Standish Street, despite the fact that they share the building with the ice cream shop and the T-shirt store, which each have separate addresses though they are in the same building, while Recovering Hearts shares the 4 Standish Street address with Art's Dune Tours, which is actually found in a separate building up the street, shared with a tiny convenience store. So that pretty much throws all the "rules" about PTown street addresses right out the window.
Anyway, look for terrific shops and boutiques that might be just around any corner, and especially for the ones in little alleyways, or on side streets, footpaths, or boardwalks, or maybe up or down a few stairs, just off Commercial Street. You'll find some wonderful treasures, unusual gifts and holiday delights, along with a number of sales. Be quick, since a few shops do stay open all winter, but many are open just Friday through Sunday at this time of the year. That leaves just enough time for a quick dash around the town to pick up some unique, last minute gifts. Happy Holidays!