Two weekends ago was Labor Day weekend, and I managed to book our getaway last minute to Provincetown, on “the Cape” as they call it in Massachusetts. Any accommodation in the small downtown area was fully booked, so we stayed in a divey beach hotel more than 2 miles away in North Truro and took the bus in every day.
Being socially very progressive, P-town is infrastructurally still very quaint. A lot of hidden gems are to be experienced only in person because they don’t have much of an online presence. When I searched for potential perfume shopping, the results were discouraging. Good Scents showed up, but it looked like they specialized in simplistic oils and blends, which didn’t interest me much.
Well, my friends, I was pleasantly surprised.
I’m not normally tempted by candles, either, but this store was so cute and inviting that I had to go in. Scents of Adventure make their own candles in the shop and each one is themed—many are inspired by various cities around the world or to support research for conditions like Alzheimer disease.
They even group them into fragrance families.
I bought a few tins on the spot and we ended up lugging them around while passing the shop several more times as we walked up and down the streets.
Another notable store was French Feelings, which stocked a lot of Desigual clothing (not French), beautiful leather bags made in Italy and France, and lots of perfume. I wasn’t familiar with the brands, but one of them was Les Senteurs Gourmandes and most centered on natural ingredients. When I asked for blotters, the owner (I’m guessing) went to the back and returned with a large handful of cut-up card stock—I used up at least half of them!
Good Scents is much more than the website implies. They have a small, curated selection of niche brands, as well as a range of Molton Brown fragrances, shower gels, and lotions.
The aforementioned divey beach hotel did not provide any toiletries except a thin bar of soap—not even shampoo. So, I almost bought a Molton Brown one, and then I saw a selection of Good Scents’ own brand. The sales associate explained that I could customize it with any of their oils. How many? Up to 2.
I went on a sniffing frenzy of oil blends, some with mysterious names like Blue Musk and China Rain. In the end I went with Champagne Dreams (something quite light that I couldn’t identify, but turns out to be “a burst of delicate White Peonies submerged in notes of soft Suede, juicy Apples and tempting Violet and Jasmine”) and Black Ambrosia, which is a dominant, boozy, chocolate-coffee scent. Several drops and a vigorous shake of the bottle later, I had my own custom-fragranced shampoo with conditioner!
It smells quite rich when lathered, but the scent doesn’t stay on the hair after a rinse.
So, is Provincetown a fragrance destination? No. But it has its fragranced charms to explore. Many great boutiques.
Also, be prepared to buy canned water, because the bottled water might be sold out!