“When you’re working in a corporate office with long hours and demanding hours, the opportunity to escape during the day came around 3 p.m.,” O’Connor, 34, explained. “We’d look at our watches and go get tea time.”
When the friends left their long-spanning careers in fashion and design, they decided to turn their daily ritual over to the parched masses with the Captain’s Daughters, a mixed concept tea and retail space they opened in late May in Provincetown. They purchased the sun drenched Commercial Street gallery after spending time at the tip of the peninsula via Marc Jacobs’ up-the-road shop.
Twenty-nine exclusive variations of teas, available hot, iced, or sparkling, make up the menu, with sea-inspired names, from vanilla bean-infused Race Point Rooibos to the fermented PTown Puer and the Cape Odd Chai, a sweet chipotle-tinged Assam tea reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate. The teas are available dry, by the canister, or in sachets, for purchase, and mulling kits will hit shelves in the fall.
Developing the opening menu was a two-month process, and the owners worked with a Pacific Northwest importer to ensure quality.
“[The menu development] was a process of discovery, while making sure we get the absolute best quality,” said Niedzielski, 32. “Many of our teas are organic but not all of them, because it was important to us that the point of origin be correct. For example, our spearmint is organic and domestic, but our chamomile is from Egypt. We wanted to find the right person to help us navigate bringing in these teas from all over the world. ”
Moon Dust, powdered concoctions of plant-sourced supplements beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop crowd, also appears on the menu at the Captain’s Daughters, an exclusive to the area. The inventions of Los Angeles’s cult-followed Moon Juice, the dusts are mixed into six tea-based, wellness-purposed drinks, like Sex Dust with the shop’s First Mate, blended with almond milk for “creation energy.”
The concept of wellness boosting permeates the retail aspect of the store as well, where shoppers can purchase Zenbunni small-batch, biodynamic chocolates and single glass vials Quintessential BioTerrain Restore, a Marine Plasma-rich solution — essentially seawater — to be imbibed as a cure for weak immunity and focus. (“Or the perfect hangover cure,” added O’Connor.)
The Captain’s Daughters also teamed up with Happy Camper — the donut-slinging sibling of the Canteen — to create tea-laced sweets for the shop, like lemon-poppyseed scones dipped in matcha and lavender and Earl Grey shortbreads.
“Their values are in line with ours — they believe in their local community and making sure their business supports the local economy as much as possible,” added Niedzielski of their Commercial Street neighbor. “We also needed to make sure we partnered with a business that is open year round, because we intend to be open year round as well.”
The tea shop also doubles as a sundries retail and gallery space, with owner-selected artists collaborating to reinvent the Nils Berg-designed interiors each month. Works by Beverly-based mixed media artist Kevin Lucey and MassArt grad Andy Li are currently on display, alongside conscientious menswear designers Idea Lab. Dreamy abstract landscape painter Morgan Dyer will take over the space come October.
Handpicked merchandise that O’Connor keenly refers to as “elevated souvenirs” include cheeky T-shirts embroidered with “Daddy,” bandana-bundled smudge sticks, and nutrient-rich skin and hair oil — addictively fragranced with chamomile — made by New York-based makeup artist and avid surfer Joan Gray, a friend of the owners. Longnook Meadows Farm honey from Truro and woven canvas and rope bucket bags by Provincetown’s Ancillary Projects also line shelves.
But perhaps fittingly another of the shop’s offerings calls back to O’Connor and Niedzielski’s quiet afternoon tea breaks: stool-lined windows that peer out onto a clear bay view. (They needed a special permit for that.) A seasonless seat to enjoy your tea — seaside.
“We wanted re-create the escape we were looking for every day,” said O’Connor. “We don’t only offer tea — but the ability to escape, sit in the windows, get the wellness and time you need for yourself and your body.”
The Captain’s Daughters is located at 384 Commercial St., Provincetown. Find updated hours and e-commerce updates at captainsdaughters.com.