Field Guide

There’s something about the atmosphere at Field Guide that transports you to another time and space. A time when explorers followed hidden treasure maps, when mountains were climbed for the first time, when stories and spirits were shared around campfires. A space where other cultures are celebrated and studied, where tales are told, where legends are made.

All this in a shop in Provincetown!

Field Guide opened this year at 167 Commercial Street, in the space previously inhabited by the Jo Hay studio (and, before that, the beloved Ruby’s), and it suits owner Jess Hughston Ewas to a T. “People have been returning here for years,” she says, “and we hope to build that same kind of relationship with our clients.”

Field Guide sells, according to its tagline, “apparel and objects that will enhance experience, not hinder it.” What that translates to is a combination of specialized retail apparel and carefully curated antiques that blend together to give Field Guide its air of quality, thoughtfulness, and timelessness.

“If you’re going to spend money on something,” says Hughston Ewas, “then it should be something that enhances your experiences, something durable, rugged… and beautiful.” And that’s certainly what’s on display in the shop. A handstitched Field Guide t-shirt. A cream-colored women’s cotton knit sweater. Hand-tooled leather goods. An apothecary of balms and oils.

Everything on display is elegant, durable, ready for travel or work—or for just a hike in the woods or over the dunes.

The antiques are in collaboration with White Star Antiques and Interiors of Providence, Rhode Island, Hughston Ewas’ home when she’s not in Provincetown. “It’s eclectic on purpose, mostly late-17th century to the mid-20th century pieces,” she says. “We were anxious not to go down the one-design rabbit hole. The common thread is in their styles: things that are brass, gold, gilded, that work together even if they don’t come from the same place or period.” They’re pieces of quality and weight, pieces that clearly have stories to tell if you listen to them carefully enough.

The combination is certainly working for Provincetown. “The demographic in town understands what we’re doing,” says Hughston Ewas. “Opening a retail establishment is so difficult—this is really the only place I’d ever consider doing it.”

She speaks from experience. She’d been coming here for over a decade, saying—as many other washashores have—that she needed to find a way to stay. “Over the last five years, my husband’s been saying there’s an opportunity here, there’s not much available in upscale travel or women’s offerings.” He was the one who thought up the name, though “we kept throwing out names at each other. This one made the most sense.”

Hughston Ewas has a timeless quality about her person as well. Perhaps it comes from spending time and energy and imagination in the past—her graduate work in archaeology centered around the colonial time period, meaning that New England is very much her center of operations. She brought that background—combined with work in the hospitality industry—to bear in designing the shop and what it would offer, though she co-curates the antiques with Alex Correia of White Star, and Correia did the shop build-out as well.

“Provincetown has a certain ethos,” Hughston Ewas says. “The community has been so supportive of us. Other business owners have given me tips and information—the Captain’s Daughters have been really helpful. We’re reaching our goals for this first season; what we anticipated would do well has done exactly that.” She is committed to the town and to how she fits into it, and is already incubating plans for the future.

So stop by sometime this fall. Breathe in the spicy air that makes you think of hot desert nights. Try on some of the clothing made to help dreams of exploration come true, even if all you’re exploring is Beech Forest. Pick up a hand-tooled collar for your canine companion. And be transported, for just a few minutes, to another time and place.

Field Guide will remain open weekends through January 1. After that, or at any time, you can get your fix online at fieldguideadv.com.

For more information on news, events, people and places in town this year, be sure to check out the ptownie 2019 Fall/Holiday Guide to Provincetown!