Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: A Room With Some History
From rustic cabins in the woods and weathered beachfront cottages to luxurious condominiums and four-star hotels with all the amenities, Cape Cod has an abundance of lodging options. For many, the most interesting over-night experience is to stay in an historic inn where you will not only encounter enjoyable accommodations but a good back-story about the establishment’s former incarnation as well.
In Sandwich, the Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa has had a presence on Main Street for over 300 years. When stagecoaches passed through town en route from Boston to Provincetown, passengers were grateful to take a respite from the long journey by spending a night in the hostelry. The inn was also a meeting place for Revolutionary patriots. Although the 18th-century building was destroyed by fire, when it was rebuilt, it was modeled after the original structure. Today the inn retains its colonial charm in conjunction with plenty of modern-day luxury. The 48 guest rooms and suites are appointed with canopy and four-poster beds, fireplaces, and exquisite period furnishings. The inn’s lauded restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine—there are five dining rooms to choose from, each possessing a unique ambiance—and the on-site full-service Beach Plum Spa offers an array of rejuvenating experiences.
In Barnstable Village, Ashley Manor also has roots that reach back to the Revolutionary War: a secret passage connecting the first and second floors of the 1699 structure was once thought to be a hiding place for the Tories. The bed and breakfast has seen many additions and renovations over the course of its three centuries yet many aspects of the original structure remain, including the wide pine floorboards, open-hearth fireplaces—one with a bee-hive oven—and hand-gazed wainscoting. The inn’s four suites and two traditional rooms are graciously decorated, with large private bathrooms. Originally part of a larger farm tract, the inn is now surrounded by two acres of land with lush plantings and towering trees; for those who fancy a bit of recreation on their stay, there’s also a tennis court.
Over in West Barnstable is the Maple Street Inn, a beautiful Second Empire-style mansion with a mansard roof. Built in 1853, the now-graceful Victorian residence was in dire need of rehabilitation when the current owners purchased it in 2001. They undertook an exhaustive renovation to restore the home to its original glory and converted it to a bed and breakfast. The inn offers two king suites and two queen rooms, all with well-appointed en-suite baths. Also available are spa services including massage, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures.
In Yarmouth Port, the One Centre Street Inn was originally a residence built in 1824, owned by Elisha Doane, who was for a time the wealthiest man in Massachusetts. He acquired his fortune by owning shares in numerous sailing vessels. Upon his death, Doane left the home to the First Congregational Church and it became a parsonage. The stately Greek Revival was revered in the community and well-known to weary traveling pastors would find it a convenient stop over on their travels down the Cape. Located on the Old Kings Highway (Route 6A) the historic bed and breakfast is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The carefully restored inn pays homage to its origins with five guest rooms decorated in historic colors, all of which are named after prominent people who lived in Yarmouth Port during the 1800s.
The home of 19th-century author Horatio Alger before it was open to the public, the Candleberry Inn was built for a prosperous sea captain in 1790. In Brewster, also located on the Old King’s Highway and listed on the National Register of Historic Place, the Georgian-style home has many original architectural details including a fan window over the front entrance, wide pine floors, hand-blown glass windows, and wainscoting. Several guest rooms have working fireplaces and each room has a private bath. In season the inn’s private back gardens are positively enchanting.
One of the most unique lodging experiences in the area is to be had at the Lighthouse Inn. A West Dennis inn since the late 1930s, true to its name, the property actually incorporates a working lighthouse. The beacon’s origins go all the way back to 1800 when the Federal government appropriated funds to build a lighthouse near the breakwater at the mouth of Bass River. Construction began a few years later—oxen were used to drag the materials over the salt marshes and dunes. In 1855, the light was lit and it continued to serve as beacon for ships out at sea until 1914. When the Cape Cod Canal opened, the light was decommissioned.
The dark lighthouse and its surrounding property were auctioned off to a wealthy automobile magnate who enlarged the keeper’s house, built several buildings, and landscaped the grounds. After his death in 1933, the property spent five years on the market. Everett Stone, a developer, finally purchased the property and though he had initial intentions of developing the parcel and selling it, he and his wife turned it into an inn.
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The Stone family still runs the inn today. The light, now known as West Dennis Light, was relit in the late 1980s and is the only privately owned working lighthouse in the country; every six seconds a one-second flash occurs. Located on a small private beach, it’s a venerable Cape Cod resort, with a variety of accommodations. There are forty guest rooms spread out in five buildings, and 23 one- to three-bedroom individual cottages. In the main inn, an oceanfront restaurant serves quality New England fare, and a pool and tennis court are located on the grounds. A true family-friendly resort, in the summer the Lighthouse Inn has great supervised children’s activities so mom and dad can have some private time.