Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thrift Shopping, Still An Option on Pricey Cape Cod

If you need a reason to come down to Cape Cod, besides the beauty and relative calm, how about bargain-shopping? When considering thrift shops, best to check the local Thrift Shop Guide first. As a rule, most shops are open from 10 to 2 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, although some have longer hours and some are open other weekdays, too. Wellfleet's Outer Cape Health Thrift Shop (AIM) will be open mornings through the end of the year. The prices are up for 2011, but it’s still possible to score a valuable piece of artwork or antique jewelry.

Where to start looking for bargains, if not in Wellfleet? How about Provincetown? Most tip-of-the-Cape stores are selling off merchandise before winter. You get the most bang for your buck per hour, as the shops are grouped along Commercial Street.

Ruthie’s, on Bradford in Provincetown, must be one of the most famous thrift shops around. I always enjoy perusing the merchandise. Among other treasures, Ruthie’s features clothing originally purchased by transvestites. Think feathers, glitter, bling, attitude.

Orleans now offers several excellent options for thrift-shoppers. Check out the Community Exchange, which boasts a great selection of second-hand jewelry partially visible above, then cross Main Street for a wide range of goodies, including furniture, at The Hope Chest. If you want to limit your shopping excursion to this one town, don’t miss the thrift shop off the bike trail, beside Snow’s. Prices are so low items fly off the shelves.

Two of my favorite Cape Cod thrifts are in Chatham. I took Sven down last month. St. Christopher’s is stocked with high-quality items, such high-quality, in fact, that the name has been changed from Thrift to Gift. St. Christopher's has garnered quite a reputation over the years. In fact, tourism buses make a special stop to allow passengers to explore the new venue, across the parking lot entrance from the church. During my visit, I saw several pairs of Cambio jeans for $15, as well as a set of fine porcelain teacups. Chatham’s other thrift is also affiliated with a church and offers bargain pricing.

Thrift shops usually support some type of charity, like a church. Talk about guilt-free shopping! The money spent always goes to a good cause.

My friend Carolyn visits every fall, and one of her favorite activities is thrift shopping. We found lots of bargains during our excursion into Orleans last week. Had there been more time, I would have taken her to Yarmouthport, where I recently discovered St. Timothy’s. This church-affiliated thrift is stocked with lower-priced items. They were holding a “sale,” which allowed me to pick up two pairs of black jeans for $1 each.

Sven is not an avid thrift-shopper. He does tolerate my habit, although it's not something he fully understands. I explain that thrift-shopping allows the recycling of goods. There’s the delight of finding that unique object, perfect for some relative or friend at Christmas. When I do succeed in getting my husband to accompany me, his beat is sure to be the book nook, often located in a dark corner of the shop.

Do you enjoy thrift shopping? If so, why? Do you have a favorite thrift shop, one you can depend on? What’s the biggest prize you have ever found in a thrift shop?