Over the years, Claire has had a presence in some of the most popular destinations in the country. From Nantucket and Cape Cod, to Hilton Head, SC, Naples, FL, and Annapolis, MD, to Carmel, CA. Rarely have they ever been in malls or big box shopping centers, except for a few in outlet or commons centers. Her stores are a reflection of her unique design and merchandising identity focusing on blending her products with the region. But, she is also fascinated with historic homes and buildings and has completed extensive renovations in the past. The words "turn-key" have never really been a part of Claire Murray stores' lexicon! The Captain's house in Osterville, the Inn on Nantucket, the dairy barn in New Hampshire and the Blossom Farm in West Barnstable to name a few. Perhaps that is why we find them today at two historic buildings out of the three Cape Cod stores currently open.
It is and always has been important to Claire that her stores are more than just retail space. They are a history of her artwork through the years, a place to bring your crafts and sit with others and just relax, or a place to learn. Over the years, she has conducted classes in rug-hooking, needle arts, and crafts like making sailor's valentines. Today, instruction is still available at the West Barnstable store in rug-hooking. (Check with them for class schedule!) And, when you enter a store and take in the displays of her rugs it's as if you have walked into a fine-art gallery - because as she is famously quoted as saying, "who says great art shouldn't be walked on?"
WEST BARNSTABLE (770 Main St. - Rt. 6a)
On the scenic, historic Route 6a is the West Barnstable store, affectionately known as "the barn." The building sits on a portion of acreage that was originally part of a land grant in 1643. The Blossom family acquired the farm in 1650, and except for a brief change of ownership from 1819 to 1829, the farm remained with the Blossom family until 1969. Beside the barn, in 1815, they built the white farmhouse that has been continually occupied since. A few other families acquired ownership of the buildings until 2000, when Claire, searching for the perfect place for her retail, design studio, and offices, purchased the barn and farmhouse. And with her usual flair for renovation, Claire brought the house new life with a modern addition upstairs, and beautiful formal gardens in the front facing 6a. The barn now houses the retail store with it's original barnwood posts and beams, and brick floor. Just 6 miles West of the Village of Barnstable, its location on Cape Cod's most scenic and historic highway is definitely worth the visit. (For information and hours, call 508-375-0331)
Chatham (403 Main St.)
Not much is known about this building except that is believed to have been transported to its current location from Nantucket by water barge! Originally built in 1770, it is a representation of a typical Nantucket Cottage with cedar shake shingles, low ceilings and efficiency in a small space. Evocative of a time when mariners were at sea and the wives were home tending the gardens, the Chatham store is a step back in time filled with Claire's enduring and timeless products. A bit off the main shopping area, it is worth the time to visit. For information and hours, call 508-694-5675.
One thing you will notice is that all three of Claire's Cape Cod stores have a Main St. address! You might think this odd ... but on Cape Cod, Route 6a (or Old King's Highway as it was once known) is significant. Stretching 62 miles it was originally a Native American trail, Old King’s Highway became a cart path for early settlers, and during the 17th century it became an extension to the Plymouth Colony’s “King’s Highway.” (roadtrippers.com) Today, Route 6A still follows much of the original path. According to capecodroute6a.com, "Route 6A, which is on the northern, or bay side, of Cape Cod, winds its way through some of the oldest villages in America, including Bourne, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster and Orleans. Many of the homes and churches along this tree-shaded road are listed on the National Register of Historic Places."
For those people who aren't fortunate enough to live or visit the Cape, there are many websites that can give you more information to augment your trip. One in particular is the Chatham Historical Society (https://chathamhistoricalsociety.org/) located in the beautiful Atwood Museum. There is a whole online collection devoted to oral recollections of residents whose ancestors kept the lighthouses, plied the waters as fisherman, or memorialized the area with paintings and art.
BREWSTER (230 Main St.)
Claire's third location sits high on a hill overlooking Route 6a at the entrance to Brewster, first settled in 1656 and home to many wealthy sea captains because of its proximity to Cape Cod Bay, and these homes are now some of the areas most beautiful inns and bed-and-breakfasts as can be seen in the stately mansions along the route. While not necessarily an historic building, the architecture reminds us of those captain's homes and from this, Claire picked this location as a mid-point on the historic route.
For more information and map directions to all the stores, visit the "contact us" page here:https://clairemurray.com/pages/contact-us