The Bass River Mercantile

Bass River Mercantile

A Long-Standing Presence in South Yarmouth

If you’ve ever spent much time in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, you’ve probably seen the building. Or maybe you’ve missed sight of it, but have driven by countless times, leaving it peripherally in the rearview as you gauge the queue of cars on the Bass River Bridge and count your lucky stars, (or shake your fists to the sky, respectively), at the visual oracle of impending traffic and time. If you are generationally local to Yarmouth, chances are your grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-great-grandparents had memories of the beautiful old building, as it has resided in that spot for 230 years. Making its way through time as a rope factory in the 1790s, a general store, a post office, a gathering place for whispers of Victorian-era ghost stories, and eventually an established spot for local goods, crafts, and treats. By the existence of steam-powered cars, the timeworn building had already been settling its bones for nearly a century, presiding over the metamorphosis from the dusty, horse-cloven streets of Olde Cape Cod, to the pavements bustling with the honking horns and fleeting pop songs of vehicles passing by.  

A Tranquil Escape in South Yarmouth

Although it overlooks one of Yarmouth’s most notoriously busy traffic stops, intersecting Rt 28 and the North and Old Main Streets at the bridge, once inside the goldenrod building with its front porch trimmed in scalloped forest green, the door closes behind you and the roadside din of Cape Cod summer fades into a comfortable hum. Your eyes adjust from the brightness of the mid-afternoon sun, and you take in the warmly worn wooden floors, the nickelodeon, shelves of old-timey candies, clove gum, and glass bottles of moxie, walls adorned with hand-carved silhouettes of mermaids, ships, and captain’s wheels, and the heavy beams still proudly holding it all together strong and steady for hundreds of years.

Immersed in Historical Cape Cod Charm

The longer you look the more you realize that you are standing in the belly of a historical monument to Yarmouth. If you linger in the room off to the right, (and it’s hard not to), where it’s adorned year-round for Christmas with decorations and ornaments, you can imagine its layers of time ago when it was still a post office and general store, and families would walk in after church for penny candies and brown paper parcels tied up with twine.  

Discover Local Treasures at Bass River Mercantile in South Yarmouth

Equally as intriguing as Bass River Mercantile’s historical influence in Yarmouth, is the seemingly endless array of things to look at. Most of what they carry is locally sourced, discovered at farmers’ markets and fairs, or brought in by Cape Cod entrepreneurs, but each item has a unique draw with its story, be it the connections to the Cape or its altruistic causes, from saving the turtles with The Turtleman Foundation to cleaning up coastlines with 4 Ocean. Every shopper will find something to take home here, whether it’s your first visit to the Cape or you’re a long-time year-rounder who likes to support local artists and businesses. Among the ample shelves of specially branded soaps, ornaments, and sodas, are lines of vintage model cars. Organic, lotions and lip balms, and scented candles are presented with a nautical backsplash of fishnets and glass floats.  

Unique Finds and Local Delights at Bass River Mercantile in Cape Cod

Here you will discover local treasures you won’t easily find in the typical beachside tourist shack. Shoppers who enjoy the thrill of an exceptional find will be elated with the racks of Cape Cod-inspired jewelry of silver and sea glass and pearls. The Original Cape Cod Chokers is a small family-owned, woman-founded business based in Barnstable, best known for its simple beach-inspired leather and pearl pieces.  In the front of the shop is a small stack of copies of Dead Tide, the debut novel of young Orleans author Jane Marks. A handwritten sign welcoming local soap maker, Michele Montalvo is displayed over generously cut artisan soaps in scents of Cranberry Pomegranate and Cherry Almond, gift-wrapped in tulle bags and silky ribbon. The Lighthouse Keepers jams, jellies, and mustards are in the back room with jars of honey and jerky and coastal-themed woven trivets. Lovely individually crafted pottery, mugs, and bowls made by a Chatham artist are laid out on tables and shelves amongst an assortment of hydrangea.

Experience Old-Fashioned Charm with Modern Appeal in South Yarmouth

The Bass River Mercantile manages to combine the unassuming charm of an old-fashioned general store, with what patrons are looking for in 2023: Quality craftsmanship with community roots that won’t break the bank. Stop in from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm any day of the week. From the ubiquitous to the unique, you’ll find just what you didn’t know you were missing from your Cape Cod Shopping experience.        

The Bass River Mercantile:

2 North Main Street

South Yarmouth, MA 02664

Phone: 508-760-1888

(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)

Photo Credit: Britt Skinner

This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.

The Flower Angels Thrift Store: A Must-See for Bargain Hunters in Yarmouth

Charming floral arrangements set in a teacup have warmed the spaces and spirits of lonely seniors in residential care homes for nearly a decade. To date, more than 55,684 of these individually handcrafted bouquets utilizing over 104,799 volunteer hours have been assembled and twice weekly delivered by The Flower Angels, a self-funded project of Community Connections, an organization that provides day habilitation, a wide variety of life and vocational skills, and social engagement opportunities and programs to individuals with disabilities, the

Spreading Love and Hope in South Yarmouth

Flower Angels began its mission to address the isolation and loneliness felt by elderly patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice centers, and hospitals.  Before the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, Individuals enrolled in Community Connections programs were very active in the flower deliveries, and as restrictions begin to lift in the facilities the hope is that the Community Connections group will once again be able to take on the enriching and involved roll in the community that they so enjoy.

Crafting Connections in Yarmouth: The Heart of The Flower Angels Workshop

In the meantime, volunteers gather on Mondays and Thursdays at the workshop to pick apart and artfully reassemble the bundles of buds and blossoms generously donated by local grocery stores, wedding venues, and funeral homes, and adhere the teacups with the complimentary saucers that will serve as the base.  Adele Lally, Workshop Coordinator, also manages the team of committed volunteers who come week after week.

Support a Worthy Cause: Visit The Flower Angels Thrift Store in Yarmouth

Like the workshop, the Flower Angels Thrift Store in South Yarmouth is made possible by contributions of gifts and donations from the community. The Flower Angels Thrift Store opened in June of 2022 and recently celebrated its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce. Often landmarked by its colorfully illustrated namesake van parked in the front of the lot, the thrift shop/workshop combo is conveniently located on Rt. 28 in the Lighthouse Landing Shopping Plaza. Though it is clearly visible from the street the shop, while swiftly approaching its first birthday, is still a pleasant surprise to many who walk through its doors.  

Explore Hidden Treasures in Yarmouth at The Flower Angels Thrift Store

Thrift Store Manager Tara Weatherbee says, “I feel like a lot of people still don’t realize that this is a thrift store.” She elaborates, “We are here to support the amazing mission that the Flower Angels do. And it’s shopping for a great cause! I think it’s still not out there that the thrift store exists.” It makes sense. While the Flower Angels are locally renowned for the heartwarming arrangements handmade in the adjoining workshop, they don’t yet seem to conjure the collective minds of bargainers on the hunt for an exhilarating thrift. Nevertheless, it has begun to gain traction with a small following of dedicated shoppers who stop in regularly to peruse the store and lay claim to the newest trinkets that adorn the shelves. What you won’t find at the Flower Angels Thrift Store is junk. Each piece selected to be put out for sale is ready to be gifted or enjoyed on display at home. Much of what can be found here are boutique-quality items for genuine thrift store prices.

Uncover Unique Finds for a Good Cause in Yarmouth

This seemingly secret-in-plain-sight thrift store contains such an unexpected bounty it’s easy to lose track of the minutes spent browsing and chatting with the friendly staff. It has a cottage-chic meets favorite-auntie’s-closet vibe, with lots of framed wall art, and a rack of tenderly used pocketbooks and clutches. Silk scarves, table linens, and beautifully presented hydrangeas and azaleas are displayed for sale amid vintage garden-themed coffee table books and magazines. Unique pieces of sparkling costume jewelry are tucked away like Easter eggs amongst milky pastel glass vases, decorative baskets, and lacey doilies. A family of gently worn gnomes sits in wait amongst a display of garden tools, ceramic and terra cotta planters, and seed packets.

Tara mentions plans to expand the thrift store space to make room for more home highlight pieces. “Right now our main focus is going to be adding accent piece furniture, we are looking for small furniture pieces as well as gently or new garden items. Fairy garden stuff, gnomes, flowerpots, and any kind of gardening tools that are gently used. That’s what we’re focused on.” She goes on to say, “We do normally advertise what we’re looking for on social media, our Facebook page.

New items pop up as quickly as they disappear off the shelves. “People will call me or they will just show up during the hours that I’m open and they just bring in donations,” Tara mentions, as a customer carrying her chosen creamy leather handbag boasting a $7 price tag in the crook of her elbow, eyeballs a blue whale glug pitcher still with its original tags, and an additional handwritten price tag of $3.50. Minutes later Tara rings up the purchase and hands the smiling patron their carefully packed paper bag of merchandise. The bells hanging on the door jingle on her way out, and a breeze flutters the sheer curtains of the front window as it closes behind her.

Visit the Flower Angels Thrift Store

851 Route 28 #3, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Current Thrift Store Hours are Wednesday- Saturday 10-3

Starting Mid-May the hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10-4

Do you want to support the cause? Donations to the Flower Angels are always welcome.

The Flower Angels are delighted to present another “Flowers After Hours” event on May 22nd from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm at the workshop.

At this event, you will make a floral arrangement to bring home for yourself or a loved one. The Thrift Store will also be open for shopping during this time. Tickets are limited and available for purchase.

(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)

This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.

Beat Winter’s Chill with Hot Deals at Yarmouth’s Inns and Hotels

interior of hotel room

Need a break from the shopping, the housework or just the daily grind? Yarmouth’s inns and hotels are ready to accommodate you.

hands holding up champagne glasses and toasting

When the beach crowds fade each fall, innkeepers and hotel managers look for new ways to fill their rooms – often cutting prices and partnering with other businesses for creative promotions. That means smart shoppers can find some terrific deals – including discount packages with brunches, dinner coupons, brewery tours, spa treatments, and other amenities.

The off-season rates can also spark heart-warming get-togethers. Think about the friends or relatives you’ve been meaning to connect with. Now think about how many times you promised you’d “get together soon.” Booking an off-season package at one of Yarmouth’s inns or hotels can make that visit possible – without forcing you to renovate the spare bedroom.

front of Inn

It’s all about thinking like a winter traveler to figure out what they want, said innkeeper Chris Kennedy, who owns and runs the Inn on Main on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port with his life and business partner, Sarah Bradburn.

One popular package is a local brewery tour with Tap Tastings. Destinations vary depending on the number of participants, but the tours include safe transportation with stops at three or more of the Cape’s breweries. Guests get to sample beers and learn about the techniques used by brew masters at each stop. There’s also appetizers and swag from the Tap Tastings crew, and guests can buy beer and keep it cold until they get back to the inn. Brewery tours are typically scheduled for Friday evenings and include a 20 percent room discount for three-night stays or 10 percent for a two-night stay, Kennedy said.

The Inn on Main will also tailor packages to guests, depending on what they want. Options include massages by Body Sense Day Spa (either at the spa or in your room); gift coupons for dinner at local restaurants (Oliver’s, Old Yarmouth Inn and Grill 43); and arts and theater trips. The inn is currently arranging privately curated art tours and theater packages, Kennedy said, noting that details will be announced in mid-January. If you’ve got a furry friend, the Inn on Main is also pet friendly. Find more at the Inn on Main’s website.

front of Inn at yarmouth port

For a decadent treat, try the Inn at Yarmouth Port, which also partners with local businesses to create memorable visits. Owner and Innkeeper Kathleen Larson Day recommends the Relax and Eat Cake package. A two-day stay in one of the historic Inn’s seven luxury rooms comes with a $50 gift certificate toward dinner at The Old Yarmouth Inn or Grill 43. And when you return from the romantic meal, Larson Day will serve you a freshly baked cake for dessert (she’s also a baker and chef). Guests can choose chocolate or vanilla, and there’s even a gluten-free option. The inn also features a gourmet farm-to-table breakfast, along with snacks and beverages that are available 24/7.

She and her husband Chuck Day purchased the 176-year-old sea captain’s house in January of 2018 and spent the next year completing a massive renovation, carefully blending the property’s historic assets with contemporary features.

Prices vary by room, with information and reservations available on the Inn at Yarmouth Port website.

At the Bayside Resort Hotel on Route 28, General Manager Rod Sroczenski says convenience, pricing and the variety of off-season packages all contribute to satisfied customers.

Most of the guests that visit between November and April come from within the Boston, Worcester and Providence area, Sroczenski said. People just want to get away for a weekend, he said, and they find they can do it for a lot less money by booking an off-season stay on Cape Cod. Once they arrive, they also find great deals on so many of the terrific restaurants that make the Cape such a special destination.

The Bayside Resort caters to couples and families, who take advantage of the package deals, but also use the facility’s indoor pool, fitness center, game room and other amenities. Two favorite specials are the Beer Lover’s Brewery Package, which includes tours of local breweries and brews in your room’s refrigerator, and the New Year’s Family Fun Getaway Package, with a New Year’s Eve family pizza party, DJ and dance contests, followed by a countdown and midnight toast (with non-alcoholic beverages, of course). Other popular packages include the Girlfriend Getaway (when one girls’ night out isn’t enough) and trips to explore Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Find more at the Bayside Resort Hotel’s website.

Still looking for more? Check out the YCC’s Member Directory page and scroll through places to stay and places to play, along with dining and shopping options. Descriptions of member businesses include links to the individual websites where you can search for deals.

Andy Tomolonis is a nonfiction author, travel writer and multimedia journalist.

Top 5 Best of Yarmouth: Foodie Experiences

Yarmouth is a diverse town full of vibrant local businesses, and its restaurants are no exception. Some of our favorites  have been in business for decades, serving Cape Cod classics and new twists on tradition; others are brand new, chef-owned establishments, with modern menus to please even the most discriminating palate.

For a full list of Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce dining options, please click here.

By Cape Cod Foodies

#1 All Day Brunch

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

No foodie trend is more important right now than the “All Day Brunch,” and Yarmouth has several great spots where you can indulge your inner hipster, where every day feels like Sunday, and you can enjoy your poached eggs and avocado toast well after noon. The Hearth and Kettle and Keltic Kitchen have done this for years, and we’re happy to see the many restaurants extending their breakfast menu hours to accommodate the happy brunchers. New restaurant Y’all’s Wicked Kitchen, Ann and Fran’s have some creative dishes that might even make you try something new.

Cape Cod Foodies Favorite: Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes at Ann and Fran’s Kitchen, or the Buckwheat Waffle if you eat a gluten-free diet.


Yarmouth Y'alls Wicked Kitchen Banana Bread French Toast#2 New Hot Spots

What’s better than discovering a great new restaurant to brag about to your friends? Thanks to a wave of new chefs and restaurateurs coming to Yarmouth, we have some exciting new places for you to try. We’re rooting for the newcomers at Y’all’s Wicked Kitchen, Bashful Tarte Bakery, Ella’s Bakery Sandwich and Ice Cream Shop, Caffe Gelato Bertini, and new owners at Mary’s Lil Caboose.

Cape Cod Foodies Hot Take: Grill 43 in Yarmouth Port, a sister restaurant to The Rock Harbor Grill in Orleans, promises the same exciting flavors. Doors open at 4:30 PM.

Yarmouth Grill 43 Candied Bacon Mac and Cheese


#3 Cape Cod Favorites

Yarmouth Captain Parker's Clam ChowderWhat would Cape Cod be without our favorite seafood restaurants? Whether you’re craving a buttery mountain of lobster in a big brioche roll known as the Wicked Awesome at The Skipper, a creamy cup of delicious Captain Parker’s Clam Chowder, a fried seafood platter from Seafood Sam’s, or a Riverway Lobster House stuffed quahog, Yarmouth’s restaurants keep serving the freshest seafood all season long. Everyone has their favorites, and it’s safe to say Cape Cod’s traditional fare never goes out of style.

Cape Cod Foodies Favorite: The Wicked Awesome – a Connecticut style hot buttered lobster roll, best enjoyed on the outside deck at The Skipper Chowder House watching the sunset over Nantucket Sound.

#4 Diners
Yarmouth Keltic Kitchen Potato Pancake

A bit of dining nostalgia that we all hold dear, is the traditional diner experience. Delicious, wholesome food, a casual environment, with a fast, friendly service. Yarmouth is lucky enough to have several of these fine establishments. Piccadilly Deli and Cafe has a menu that you might see in New York or New Jersey, with all the traditional diner fare. There’s something special about the open kitchen, where you can see your french toast being flipped, and hear the spatulas on the griddle. If you’re more of an early riser than an midday eggs benedict bruncher, you can get your eggs any style starting at 5:30 AM at the Rt. 28 Diner.

Cape Cod Foodies Favorite: More of a restaurant than a diner, The Keltic Kitchen counter is a great place to sit and watch their formidable team as they crank out plate after plate of delicious food with lines out the door. The counter’s surrounding woodwork is covered in patches from law enforcement across the country, and the friendly vibe is definitely part of a great experience.

#5 Sweets and Treats

Cupcakes, Ice Cream and Candy… OH MY. How can anyone resist the sweet temptations of Yarmouth’s bake shops, ice cream parlors and confectioners that bring us back to our childhood? Now there are some new kids on the block. Three that have just opened: In West Yarmouth, Ella’s Bakery Sandwich and Ice Cream Shop, in South Yarmouth, The Bashful Tarte, and also in South Yarmouth, Caffe Gelato Bertini. For a more formal experience, treat yourself to Afternoon Tea at The Optimist Cafe on 6A in Yarmouth Port.

Cape Cod Foodies Favorite: Mary’s Lil’ Caboose Ice Cream and More – Where I had my very first ice cream cone (orange sherbet) on Cape Cod at age six. Because tradition still matters.

Yarmouth Giardi's Dessert


For more Cape Cod Foodies visit us on Instagram @capecodfoodies
Share your favorites with #capecodfoodies

Yarmouth Conservation Areas and Walking Trails

KEVENEY LN CUMMAQUID cr William DeSousa-Mauk

Photo by William DeSousa

Explore the wild side of Cape Cod by walking or hiking through one of our many conservation areas. Yarmouth is home to some renowned spots including Callery-Darling Conservation Area and Crab Creek Conservation Area. Browse our list of local favorites and enjoy a nice walk by the ocean or some good crabbing opportunities!

Download the Town of Yarmouth’s conservation areas and trail maps to start exploring its 1800 acres of available land.

Bud Carter Conservation Area
The trail with the highest point in Yarmouth is situated on what is known as the Sandwich Moraine, a significant glacial feature left over from the last ice age of 20,000 years ago. The area boasts of two scenic vistas. Many side trails and loops occur within this 300-acre land tract.

Callery-Darling Conservation Area
This trail is located north of Route 6A and stretches from Homers Dock Road to the salt marshes west of Center Street. The area displays great ecological diversity in various stages of vegetative succession. Soil is rich and deep with organics, indicating an aggressive farming history. Abandoned cranberry bogs and ancient saltwater bogs are present with original dikes intact. The Bass Hole Boardwalk is one of the more popular attractions within the area.

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Photo by William DeSousa

Crab Creek Conservation Area
The trail winds its way along the shore of Crab Creek. This area has long been a favorite for crabbing enthusiasts with its abundance of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. Blue crabs measuring five (5) inches from point to point may be taken without a permit. However, a state permit is required when using traps or pots.

Dennis Pond Conservation Area
The main trail is approximately 3,285 feet long and winds its way through a variety of woodland communities. There is also a side trail that follows closely along the shoreline and rejoins the main trail later.

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Photo by William DeSousa

Horse Pond Conservation Area
These trails are located within a 400-acre tract of town-owned land. The main trail occurs along the northern perimeters of Horse Pond with spurs, loops, and connectors to other trail systems.

Meadowbrook Conservation Area
This area consists of brackish marsh, salt marsh, and relic Atlantic white cedar swamp fronting on Swan Pond. A 310-foot boardwalk leads from the parking area to the north shore of Swan Pond.

BASS HOLE GRAY'S BEACH cr William DeSousa-Mauk (11)

Photo by William DeSousa

Raymond J. Syrjala Conservation Area
This area is 15 acres in size with a trail approximately 3,500 feet in length and forms a loop that passes through a rather wet environment. A man-made reservoir to the east of the trail was created to store water for the now-abandoned cranberry bogs.

Sandy Pond Conservation Area
Sandy Pond is approximately 12 acres in area and presents itself as a classic “kettle” pond with steep slopes and a depth of 35 feet. A nature trail leads around the entire pond and connects to other trails to the north, west, and east.

BASS HOLE YARMOUTH PORT cr William DeSousa-Mauk (2)

Photo by William DeSousa

Thacher Show Conservation Area
This area consists mostly of salt march with a short trail through a wooded thicket. The marsh end of the trail boasts commanding scenic views of the salt marshes and island thickets. The Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown can be seen to the north on an exceptionally clear day.