Standing with Standish:Starting Our Day at Pilgrim Pond
The one thing I love about rain is that one tiny little drop can land on your nose and shift your entire universe. We were on our bi-weekly trip to Truro, leaving Sandwich at sunrise and getting into Truro for some hiking and fresh air before most coffee shops had started percolating their first pot.
The sun was starting to come up but with some darker clouds in the distance, ready to crash the party. We had just parked the truck on Pond Road next to the Pilgrim Pond Memorial plaque. A cool breeze was keeping the early morning August temperature comfortable, so we let our two normally adventure seeking Yorkies, Jiminy Cricket and B.G, in their back seat beds, still groggy from the early wake up call. I stopped by the pond for some photos and read the plaque that rested in a tiny meadow. Back on November 16, 1620, Myles Standish led his troops to this very place and stood on the ground that I was walking. More specifically, he and 19 other pilgrims “encamped on the shore of this pond for their second night on American soil” as the plaque pointed out. It also mentioned that the pilgrims experienced their first New England corn nearby at Corn Hill (see the blog on Corn Hill a couple posts back) and sipped their first fresh Cape Cod water at Pilgrim Spring. I had never been to the actual spring, if there even was such a thing, but I was aware of Pilgrim Spring Trail in North Truro. The trail is located just over a mile north of the very popular Head of the Meadow Beach. The plan was to walk the trails behind Twine Field, located on 10 acres of conservation land opposite Pilgrim pond, then head to Pilgrim Spring. That was the plan…until the first rain drop hit.
Savory & The Sweet Escape
With the weather looking uncertain, we decided to temporarily scrap our hiking plans and shoot for some shops. One of my traits (that I’m guessing could be one of Ali’s favorites) is the fact that I truly enjoy shopping. I can’t say I love buying stuff–I really don’t spend much money on myself –but I do love looking around–especially in small, privately owned stores. Since the shops were not open yet, we decided that coffee and pastries were in order. The nearby Salty Market was just getting their lights on (opening at 8am) so we headed west on Route 6 to Savory & The Sweet Escape (opening at 7am–yes!) for our waker-upper. For many years, the shorter named The Sweet Escape had been my favorite Cape Cod destination for homemade ice cream (specifically the Black Raspberry Truffle Brownie–yes, I just typed that) and their amazing chocolate chip cookies. In fact, I would send a lot of my outer-Cape bound inn guests to The Sweet Escape when we were innkeepers, telling them how (hint, hint) much I loved their (hint, hint) chocolate chip (wink) cookies and inevitably they would thank me for all the good dining ideas with a…can you guess?? It worked every time. Years later, The Sweet Escape renamed itself “Savory & The Sweet Escape” adding a pizza oven, crispy grilled wraps and melts, decedent breakfast sandwiches and a list of burgers, crunchy panini and hot subs worth the trip to Truro alone. They tout themselves as “The hearth and soul of Truro” which is a brilliant tagline, and one that’s hard to argue with. They still make my favorite chocolate chip cookie, but the pastry cases are now filled with way too many other temptations, including beautifully adorned special occasion cakes (it’s a good thing we sold the inn, otherwise I would have definitely retired my bathing suit by now). Sometimes, when I can’t get up to Truro, I’ve enjoyed the guilty pleasure of scrolling their newest food photo posts on their Instagram page.
Off the Beaten Path: “Creations on Pond Road”
That’s the name of the store. It was recommended by my friend and “Truro Guru” Kristen Roberts of Truro Vineyards when I took a chance on an early morning call. “I know Ali is known as the “sparkle queen” (this is true) so if you’re shopping in Truro, make sure you take her to ‘Creations on Pond Road”, Kristen demanded. We had just been on Pond Road a couple of hours earlier checking out Pilgrim Pond, but it was pre-coffee, so missing the building was understandable. Now that Truro was awake and greeting the new day, we headed back to #4 Pond Road.
Suzanne is the owner and operator of her home-based jewelry store. It is lovely from the outside, decorated with rock sculptures, well-loved flowers and Buddhas, and speaks of the peace of Truro. Her gallery is located in the front of her house, just inside the front door.
Walking in, Suzanne greets us wearing a flowing white outfit, sparkling jewelry and a welcoming smile. But the first thing in her shop to catch my eye wasn’t so much her handmade jewelry–which was tastefully displayed in sections of the shop–but one of Suzanne’s large shell mirrors, which was eye-poppingly impressive. Many of the shells that frame the mirrors she brings home from Sanibel Island in Florida. There are other pieces in the shop, including jewelry, which feature local shells and stones from Cape Cod beaches, but it’s the Floridian pieces that are really in a class of their own. Although Suzanne’s store might speak more to the “high-end” jewelry and home decor lover, at closer look her prices are quite reasonable. Ali finds a couple of homemade beaded necklaces that are well within her price range (around $45-$50 each), and after hemming and hawing as to which one to get, Suzanne closes the deal with a small discount on the purchase of both, making Ali a very happy girl! Suzanne used to sell on Etsy, but the demand became too high to keep up with, so she pulled her listing. She also does not have a website, but does have an Instagram page with a few other photos. To be honest though, the detail in her work is best appreciated in person, and her shop is well worth the drive from anywhere. I just heard about some earrings Ali spied while there, that might go very well with her two necklaces, so I’m pretty confident we’ll be back to check out more of Suzanne’s “creations” soon enough!
Jules Besch Stationers: Truly One of a Kind
I was in the market for a couple of greeting cards and googled stationary stores “near me”. Jules Besch Stationers came right up as the self proclaimed “one of the finest stationary stores in New England”, so we took the quick drive over to 5 Great Hollow Road–and another hidden treasure was found! The greeting card selection was massive, and divided up by styles and artists. Quilted cards here…glitter cards there…fantasy style cards in one section, while sarcastically funny cards and nautically themed cards were in others. My favorite type of greeting cards tend to feature famous surreal artists like Michael Sowa, and there were plenty of that style in stock. Of course, Truro being home to countless creative artists, locally made Cape Cod-themed cards were plentiful, and many signed by the artist.
What makes the building particularly cool is that the sections look like tiny houses all to themselves, so the whole time you’re in the building it feels like you’ve been downsized and you’re meandering through some unusual doll house. Throughout the store there are also homemade candles, handmade paper, antique writing instruments, journals and local art for sale on the walls. The upstairs of the old house is dedicated to fabrics of every color known to man or woman. There are also bins of unusual and beautifully colored wrapping paper on the second floor, making this stop a must see when you’re in the market for a gift idea. To be honest, I think they’re selling themselves short. Jules Besch just might be one of the finest stationary stores in the world.
A Long and Winding Road to Cold Storage Beach
The sun continued to elude us throughout the late morning and afternoon, so we decided that postponing walks and hikes for later in the day should be considered to be postponed until the next trip to Truro. But, just as this blog I’d been asked to write, stemmed from the combination of my sheer curiosity of Truro, matched with my lack-of-knowledge of the Truro, my curiosity got the better of me once again. I asked Ali if it was all right that we rest our wallets and do a little sightseeing. I mentioned in an earlier installment that Truro can absolutely typify what exactly Cape Cod stands for–beautiful beaches, majestic lighthouses, incredible history and, of course, the arts. But I also marveled how some parts of Truro are totally “un-Cape Cod-like”. Especially the homes. On the day’s drive I was reminded about a month back when we explored the Corn Hill area of Truro, with its rolling hills and fascinating homes–each more unique than the next. Many of these homes you won’t find on the main roads–you have to go looking for them, which is exactly what we decided to do. I made a random turn onto Hughes Road (no significance there) which turned into Priest Road and eventually made a right onto Bay View Road, which kept it’s promise, with beautiful views of the ocean. The Truro hills continued to crest, twist and then descend, only to make their way up yet another hill. The homes were just as fascinating as our Corn Hill excursion, and Ali noted that several of them looked like they were helicoptered off of Fire Island (Long island). Ultra-modern and slick, but not as “cold” as some of the newer glass homes we’ve seen in our winter trips to Florida. Again, not the kind of home you’re likely to see on a Cape Cod post card, but a neat and interesting addition to the Cape Cod landscape. To our surprise, Bay View Road turned into a very familiar part of Truro…the sign read “Pond Hill Road”. The very road we started our day on. There was also a sign that read “Cold Storage Beach”, which was a beach I’ve heard about for the last 21 years, but never stepped foot on. Rather then make our way back toward the Pilgrim Pond and Suzanne’s shop, we made a sharp left and headed toward the beach. “This looks like a good spot to walk the dogs,” Ali said. “This looks like a great spot to just chill!” I answered. And with that, we decided to extend our break from the Truro shopping spree and take advantage of the break in the rain….
Curious About Shopping in Truro as I Am? Stay Tuned for Part 2!
~ Tommy Dott is an innkeeper, restaurateur and award-winning food writer. He lives on Cape Cod with his partner Ali and their two Yorkies, Jiminy Cricket and B.G.