Bird House

A theme park of a store that's not just for the birds

capePhoto: Nicole Pasquale

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he bathroom. That’s the secret of the Bird Watcher’s General Store. It’s wallpapered, floor to ceiling, in (mostly) hilarious cartoons, photographs, and bumper stickers. You could stay in there all day, but there’s more to do in this counter-culture theme park of a shopping experience, housed in a low-slung building behind a weathered sign that’s easy to miss. Nor do you have to care about bird-watching to find something you’ll like. Filled with the piped-in sound of bird calls, the store has an endless selection of binoculars, telescopes, books, bird carvings, ornaments, and other art, birdseed, bird feeders, and bird baths. But a big part of the experience is being made fun of by the good-natured employees, trying your luck at the customer joke-telling contest, or visiting on the day of one of the store’s frequent events.

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Apparently all the good records had been broken by the time Englishmen John Ridgeway and Chay Blythe left from Orleans in 1966 on the first successful transatlantic crossing in a dory. A plaque in Nauset Harbor marks the spot.

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