The nature of this charming cul-de-sac inspired the name of the Mews Restaurant and Café, which opened here in 1961 as the Inn at the Mews and remained until 1993. It then moved to 429 Commercial Street while keeping its name, which is now somewhat hard to understand at first glance since the current restaurant property looks nothing like a mews. The restaurant was established by Nicholas “Nicky” Wells (d 1985), a real estate developer, and his wife, the artist Ray Martan Wells (1908-2011). They are the namesakes of Nicky’s Park and of the Ray and Nicky Wells Conservation Area.
Ray Wells, a celebrated dune shack dweller who lived to be 103, decided in 1964 that the “time had come to do something about creating a non-commercial gallery where the work of Provincetown’s painters could be exhibited and, hopefully, sold, on a year-round basis.” Working with Reeves Euler, Jim Forsberg, Joseph Kaplan and Ross Moffett, she established the Provincetown Group Gallery at the Inn at the Mews. Its members (at one time or another) included Arthur Cohen, Morris Davidson, Salvatore Del Deo, Richard Florsheim, Dorothy Lake Gregory, Lily Harmon, Gerrit Hondius, John “Jack” Kearney, Nancy Whorf Kelly, Conrad Malicoat, Philip Malicoat, Bruce McKain, S. Edmund Oppenheim, Mischa Richter, Alvin Ross, Henry Steig, Tony Vevers and George Yater — among others; about 25 in any given year.
Channing Wilroy was a chef at the Inn at the Mews in 1969 and 1970.
At least as recently as 2008, the retail ensemble here was known as Merchants’ Hall. Tenants included Small Pleasures, Little Gorgeous Things, Yule Tide, Cape Cod Artisans’ Gallery and Mahogany Furniture Gallery. In 2010, Cassandra “Cass” Benson, a real estate developer and broker, opened the Harbor Lounge in the waterfront space overlooking the harbor. “It’s just a matter of time before this lovely lounge is discovered,” Ed Salvato wrote on the OutTraveler blog in July 2010. “The bar faces an open airy, comfortable lounge, which gives onto a long deck that stretches towards the water.” Among other projects, Benson redeveloped the Gull’s Nest Inn motel at 6 Sandy Hill Lane, with Jerry Anathan.