Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: Really Retro Rentals
Before the Mayflower sailed over to Plymouth in November of 1620, the Pilgrims made a stop in Provincetown. Within just a couple of decades, homes were being built on Cape Cod. There are plenty of historic homes available as vacation rentals on the Cape and Islands, ranging from small cottages to large antique homes.
Corn Hill Cottages in Truro are near one of the landing sites of the Pilgrims and the cottage colony was built circa 1896. Most of the rustic but adorable cottages have two bedrooms and one bath and all have a wide front porch offering stunning views of the sunsets over Cape Cod Bay.
“It’s the epitome of what Cape Cod living used to be like,” says Steven Downey, Realtor at Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency in Truro. “A lot of our tenants meet friends once a year up at Corn Hill. The kids play together, the families get together and it’s just a wonderful Cape Cod story.”
John C. Ricotta & Associates in Chatham has an assortment of historical properties that are very popular with renters. Stormfield, a beautifully restored antique with breathtaking views of Lighthouse Beach and South Beach easily accommodates a family of nine in its five bedrooms. The former Old Port Fortune Inn, located in Chatham’s “Old Village,” has been given an award for preservation. With six bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, and a wrap-around patio off the dining area, it is an ideal house for entertaining.
“We have a wide selection of rental homes but there seems to be something very special about the historical, antique homes,” says Rental Director Sonnie Hall. “It’s almost like ‘if these walls could talk’ what stories would we hear?”
Bryan and Anne Carlson, owners of the Crocker Tavern House, in Barnstable Village, have studied the history of their property in the 11 years they’ve owned it. Located on the historic Old King’s Highway, the Crocker Tavern was built circa 1754 and was a hot spot of rebellion in the pre-Revolutionary War years.
“There were like 21 or 22 declared Whigs, including James Otis, and they met there and conspired there to try to figure out how to influence the political sentiment on the Cape,” says Bryan Carlson.
President John Adams credited James Otis’s four hour “Writs of Assistance” speech in February of 1761, with being the spark that led to the flame of the Revolution and the Crocker Tavern House has a lithograph of Otis in the living room. The rooms are all decorated with antiques and reproductions and each of the bedrooms is named after a different patriot. With seven bedrooms and six and a half baths, it is the perfect gathering spot for reunions of family and friends.
Dawn Monkiewicz, rental manager at oldCape Sotheby’s International Realty in Orleans has several antique properties for rent. For those seeking a rustic cottage on the beach, she has an Eastham property with a brand new deck that provides views that stretch all the way to Provincetown. The three-bedroom cottage, filled with antiques, sleeps six and has charming features like wood-paneled walls, beamed ceilings, and an antique wood cookstove next to the original brick fireplace.
In Brewster, the circa 1799 Cobb House is an old sea captain’s home with four bedrooms that sleeps eight. Details like wide-pine flooring and period furnishings create a sense of stepping back into the past. The wrap-around porch is an ideal spot to rest after a day at the nearby private beach.
Do-it-yourself-renters, who like to do their own research, can visit WeNeedaVacation.com to find more than 3,000 rentals listed by private owners. Even though antique is not one of the search categories, they do have plenty to choose from. “Some of them are absolutely charming and have a very strong family history behind them,” says Joan Talmadge who owns the website with her husband Jeff.
One example is a seven-bedroom rambling antique farmhouse (#9023) a mile from Barnstable Village that offers plenty of room for a large family with a living room with working fireplace, formal dining room and charming attic playroom for the kids. A path through a field with ancient stone walls leads to a freshwater pond with a dock, rowboat and canoe and guests can use a small sandy beach for swimming.
Birdwatchers will love “Stony Brook” (#14401)n a four-bedroom antique farmhouse built in 1865 in Brewster. The home borders the bird sanctuary of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and the beach is just a 15 minute walk away. The owners spent eight months restoring the property, keeping its original architectural character, but dressing it up with a mix of modern and antique décor and adding a beautiful bluestone patio to the expansive grounds.
For a historic Island vacation, you can’t go wrong with the Josiah Coffin House (#19332), which has only been owned by two families since it was built in 1724. The eight-bedroom home has been featured in many whaling era books of Nantucket history, and aside from the additions of modern conveniences, little has been changed in almost 300 years, offering vacationers a chance to experience historical living at its most authentic.