Saving Eden

Walking on Long Beach in Centerville this morning, we were struck by the constant changeability of this place...

Walking on Long Beach in Centerville this morning, we were struck by the constant changeability of this place less than a mile from our back door. Late winter storms have kept us away from the beach for a while, confining us to quick walks around the cranberry bog on Bumps River Road. But this morning the sun was finally warm enough—with a tantalizing hint of spring days to come—for us to grab our birding book and binoculars and head down Craigville Beach Road to one of our favorite places.

Saving Eden

The low dunes and marsh of Long Beach, a thin peninsula between Centerville River and Nantucket Sound, have endured some bad weather in recent weeks and the landscape has changed since our last walk. New ribbons of water now cut through the marsh and the contours of the gentle dunes have been transformed by waves and wind.

In the river, flocks of Buffleheads swam and Sanderlings swooped over our heads as we walked along the beach. There is always something unexpected on Long Beach. On this walk, we saw something we had never seen before. We rounded a rise through the beach grass and came to a stretch of regularly placed sticks, bordered with cautionary signs. “This Innovative Coastal Restoration System Mimics Native Vegetation by Collecting and Stabilizing Sand,” the signs, posted by the Safe Harbor organization, read. There was something almost inspirational about these thin sticks stuck in the shifting sands of a place that can be transformed instantly with one strong blow.

There are people like these conservationists all over the Cape who are preserving our Eden for future generations. In this issue, we visit a Cape Cod estate just up the shore from Long Beach that has been carefully protected by a famous American family for more than half a century. In our cover story written by freelancer Sara Hunter and beautifully photographed by Dan Cutrona, we take you to the Mellon home and gardens in Oyster Harbors for a glimpse of this cherished oasis that combines wild natural beauty with careful, yet passionate stewardship of land and sea.

Hope to see you on the beaches we all cherish soon.


Susan Dewey

Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor In Chief

Fit for LIFE

Cape Cod LIFE is a busy place these days...

Cape Cod LIFE is a busy place these days. It may be mid-February as I write this, but we are already full steam ahead on plans for spring and summer, especially since we are celebrating our 35th anniversary in 2014. We will be telling you soon—in our magazines, on our website, and in our iPAD issues—about all our plans for this milestone in the company’s long history.

Fit for LIFE

Since I became editor of Cape Cod LIFE in 2009, I have often told people that I have one of the best jobs in New England. I work at something I love every day. Putting together every issue of our magazines, including Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART—is an adventure for all the writers, editors, and artists who shape the magazines’ look and content. We get to travel all over the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, exploring each unique community, meeting fascinating people, and reveling in the glorious natural world all around us.

All of us who work for Cape Cod LIFE Publications love the fact that our magazines—and our exciting new digital products—are doing so well. In 2013, two of our magazines, Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod HOME, won national design awards. We were the very first, regional lifestyle magazine in New England to launch our magazine on the iPAD; in 2014, all three of our publications are available for purchase digitally. In 2014, we will be redesigning our website to make it more user-friendly and to offer innovative new features to our readers and our advertisers. Digital publishing and e-commerce are areas that we are exploring in depth as we move ahead to our fourth decade of publishing excellence.

Since we are expanding our publishing world to include new products and services, we have realigned our editorial staff so that I can work more closely with our Publisher, Brian Shortsleeve, on digital and print opportunities. To be sure that our flagship publication continues to be the best—and most widely read and distributed magazine—we have promoted our Managing Editor, Matt Gill, to take over as Cape Cod LIFE’s editor. Matt brings nearly a decade of experience as a former editor for Gatehouse Media. He is a wonderfully talented writer and has already gotten what we call “love letters” from some of our readers, who said they laughed out loud when reading Matt’s humorous take on how to navigate the Cape’s sometimes bewildering highways and byways.

I will work with Matt as editor in chief of Cape Cod LIFE and all our publications. I am excited to learn about ebooks, content coverage, mobile apps, analytics, trends, platforms, and discoverability hubs. Watch our pages—whether they are in your hands or on your screens—for new features that will still bring home to you our essential message; this is where you will always find and treasure your Cape Cod life.


Susan Dewey

Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor in Chief


From Our Home to Yours

From Our Home to Yours

In this issue, we share a treasure chest of resources for coastal living that will help any Cape or Islands homeowner create that perfect seaside abode, whether you live in a small cottage on a sandy byway, or in a grand home with the ocean as your front yard.

Our staff had fun this year coming up with an alphabet of A to Z resources—everything from the latest in architectural designs to a great place to find mattresses for easy zzzzzz’s; from bathroom creations to weathervane wonders. All alliteration aside, we think you’ll enjoy hearing the straight scoop from the people who own and work in some of our region’s best businesses.

Since this is also our first issue of 2014, I would like to take a moment to thank Cape Cod LIFE’s terrific staff, who have given endless hours of time and creativity for Cape Cod HOME all year long. In every department, we have a hard-working crew of talented, caring people who always go the extra mile to make this magazine a keeper for our readers from coast to coast.

Our staff’s dedication to making this magazine a success—the sometimes crazy press days, the late nights working to get a layout just right, the warm summer days when the whole world is vacationing on the beach and we are working inside on magazines about autumn and winter—are what have made this magazine a keeper for decades.

I hope you will join me in wishing a very Happy New Year to our staff—and to a legion of freelance writers and photographers out there who are also a huge part of Cape Cod HOME, Cape Cod LIFE, and Cape Cod ART. 2014 promises to be even better—especially since Cape Cod LIFE Publications will be celebrating its 35th year of riding the crest of the wave.

Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous 2014!

Susan Dewey

Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor

Holiday Ornaments

Add Some Glow to your Holidays with Cape-Crafted Holiday Ornaments.

1. She Sells Seasonal Shells

Shore Shopping

Nantucket artist Jeanne van Etten creates whimsical hand-painted ornaments perfect for adding a merry seaside touch to any holiday decor. The island artist—who gathers her shells from a Cape Cod friend—says the line of wired and varnished ornaments ($22 in a gift box) can be personalized at no extra charge. For information, call 508 332-9829, or email

2. Handmade for the Holidays

Holiday Ornaments

For handcrafted wooden ornaments that are pure Cape Cod, including this map ($10) available in a variety of colors, visit A Touch of Cape Cod in West Yarmouth. Other locally created holiday designs include the Cape Cod Santa, the Christmas Shark, and the Christmas Whale designs as well as many other fun coastal styles, ranging from $6 to $15. For more information, visit, or call 508 771-6488.

3. Catch A Cape Cod Star

Holiday Ornaments

Add some glow to your holidays with a lovely Cape-crafted ornament designed by Harvest of Barnstable. A bright cluster of berries and a festive red ribbon decorate pristine shells, adding a coastal glimmer to any decor. Check out Harvest of Barnstable’s full line of nautical gifts, handcrafted decorations, Nantucket Paperwhite baskets, and more at, or call 508 362-4595.

4. Beach Beauties

Holiday Ornaments

Artist Kellie Quinn creates holiday gifts capturing precious Cape Cod moments with Beachsand Snowflake ornaments ($18.95) customized with sand from your favorite beach. These unique coastal collectibles are available at Fein Things, Centerville; The Barn & Company, Dennis; Painted Daisies, Sandwich; The Plum Porch, Marstons Mills; and the Brewster General Store, Brewster; or at

Treasuring the Dunes

An Osterville interior decorator works with Bunny Mellon’s family to restore a famous Oyster Harbors cottage.

The Dune House has long been a cherished seaside retreat for family and friends on Paul and Bunny Mellon’s Osterville estate. Read more…

Sweet Harvests

In the warmer months on Cape Cod, when I am not at work writing for you, I am in my garden.

In the warmer months on Cape Cod, when I am not at work writing for you, I am in my garden. Read more…

Seaside Inspired

We finish up 2013 with several HOME Winter stories where inspiration is combined with talent....

A woman in Osterville who transforms her small, antiquated kitchen into the ultimate gathering place for her grandchildren. A struggling young family whose new home is built in Orleans in just five days—for free—by more than 100 Habitat Cape Cod and Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Cape Cod volunteers. A homeowner in Cummaquid who gets the chance of a lifetime to work side by side with a custom home builder to build the elegant house of her dreams.

Seaside Inspired

We finish up 2013 with several HOME Winter stories where individual inspiration is combined with the talents of Cape Cod’s architects, builders, interior decorators, landscapers, and artisans creating homes and interiors with distinctive made-on-Cape-Cod appeal.

The Cape has always been a place where people come together to make life better, sharing skills, valuable experience, and an understanding of and appreciation for the beauty—and the fragility—of our coastal environment.

In this issue we also profile several Cape and Islands residents who are adding a special sparkle to the holiday season this year, from the owners of Cape tea shops where you can enjoy tea and homemade delicacies on cold winter days, to a talented scrimshaw artist on Nantucket creating beautiful ornaments celebrating ‘The 12 days of Christmas.’

‘There is something for every lover of Cape Cod and the Islands in this issue of Cape Cod HOME. We think it is a fitting tribute to our inspirational seaside region’s colorful diversity and deep coast-to-coast resources.

All of us at Cape Cod HOME wish you the merriest of holiday seasons!


Susan Dewey

Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor

Our Kitchen’s Blooming

A kitchen in an antique Cape comes alive in the hands of talented local professionals.

In our old Cape house, the original kitchen was once the most important room in the house. Read more…

Holiday Decorations

Step-by-step guide to making all the holiday decorations in our Native Bright story.

Cape Cod and the Islands are fertile territory when it comes to finding natural materials for holiday decorations. We are especially lucky when it comes to evergreens like Juniper, Arborvitae, White Pine, Spruce, and Fir, which thrive in the Cape Cod landscape. Both native and exotic (or imported) species are so abundant that you can decorate your house from top to bottom with materials plucked from your own—or a neighbor’s—backyard.

And then, of course, there is holly. Cape Cod is a holly belt and our woods are full of wild American holly,Ilex opaca, which fruit with glorious abandon. Unfortunately, Ilex opaca does not last very long in cut arrangements or decorations—so we usually leave our native holly bushes and trees as landscape adornments and turn to imported varieties like the ever-reliable Ilex x meserveae for cuttings. Our favorite imported hollies are the Blue Prince and Blue Princess varieties. This year (2013) seems to be especially good for all kinds of holly fruiting; the bushes around our house are heavy with berries.

Evergreens—like native Juniper, Cedar, and White Pine—will survive for more than a month after cutting, making these tough species a great choice for holiday decorations that you can make before Thanksgiving and leave in place through New Year’s. Arborvitae is another good choice; lots of varieties are covered in small pinecones right now, which can add a lovely texture to your decorations.

Speaking of texture, before you clean out your perennial gardens this fall, save any interesting dried flowers or foliage to add an artistic flair to any decoration. As you can see from our story, Native Bright in Cape Cod LIFE’s November/December issue, dried Allium flowers can look like starbursts and dried lavender adds a quintessential Cape Cod beauty (and scent!) to any arrangement or decoration.

Below is a step-by-step guide to making all the holiday decorations in our Native Bright story. Feel free to email me at with any questions, or suggestions, and we will share your thoughts with our readers, Happy Holidays! ~ Susan Dewey, Editor

Hydrangea Wreath with Blue Fir, Juniper, Dried Lavender & Starfish

(Page 38)

Nature Bright

To learn how to make a hydrangea wreath, please refer to the blog story on this website entitled “Creating A Simple Hydrangea Wreath for Year-round Beauty” which gives photos and instructions.

When the wreath is complete, you are ready to decorate it for the holidays. You will need the following supplies:


  • Thin wire (green coated floral wire is best; you can find it locally at Country Garden in Hyannis.)
  • Four to six starfish (available at Harvest of Barnstable and other local shops that carry shells)
  • Dried lavender (If you do not grow lavender, you can purchase it at local nurseries and craft shops as well as at Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich
  • Juniper (cut sprigs with berries)
  • Blue Fir
  • Silver or gold, wired ribbon

Once you have made your wreath, decide on an overall layout for decorations. In my experience, it is good to have three separate focal points arranged in a triangular pattern. On this wreath, the focal points are the hydrangea with two starfish grouping at the top of the triangle, supported by the lower left-hand single starfish with lavender and the lower right-hand bow.

Build your wreath enhancements around this triangle, adding in sprigs of Juniper, Blue Fir, more lavender bunches, and other shells if you wish.

The lavender bunches are wired together with floral wire, or picture hanging wire. If you have a small drill, you can drill holes in the starfish and wire each shell around the wreath. It is not necessary to wire in the evergreens and lavender unless you want to keep this wreath long past the holidays. (The wreath I made two years ago for my blog is still vibrant on my office door!)

For a more colorful wreath, use small bunches of wired holly, instead of lavender, sprigs of white pine and a more colorful bow.

This wreath lasts best indoors; it is a great addition to a kitchen or a bathroom all year-round!

Vintage Holiday Tablescape

(Pages 40-41)

Nature Bright

This tablescape features some family treasures—silver candlesticks, napkin rings, bowls and baby cups, and a vintage lace tablecloth—and natural treasures such as pinecones, dried Allium heads, sprigs of Hinoki cypress, and American Arborvitae, and pinecones of all shapes and sizes.

To create the tablescape, start with the centerpiece of candle holders surrounded by randomly placed cups and bowls. Fill the bowls with evergreen sprigs and pinecones and place the Allium flowers on top of the baby cups. Pinecones—surrounded by evergreens—are placed in a natural pattern around the bowls and cups—this design should look free form and relaxed. The touch of silver (pewter is good too!) adds a festive glimmer.

Cloth napkins in complementary colors can be wrapped in napkins rings and decorated with evergreen or holly sprigs.

For the finishing touch, spot glue a starfish atop your largest pinecones on the candleholders.

If you do not have dried Allium flowers, this design also works with dried Hydrangea, baby Kale plants, and small pumpkins atop the cups, or small bowls!

Antique Find Decorations

(Page 42)

Nature Bright Nature Bright

Brass Teapot: This lovely teapot belongs to our publisher’s wife, Judy Shortsleeve. We decorated it with sprigs of American Arborvitae, added a few tiny pinecones, and sprigs of Blue Fir, and a little feathered bird.

The Arborvitae, Blue Fir, and pinecones came from our backyards. The bird can be found at Country Garden, Hyannis and local shops. Cardinals are also available for a touch of bright color.

Blue Glasses with Evergreen Sprigs: These small glasses in cobalt blue belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I filled the glasses with sprigs of Blue Spruce, Juniper, Blue Fir, and Arborvitae for our kitchen windowsill. Another good idea is to use baby cups, or shot glasses!

Bookends with Bow and Evergreen: This couldn’t be easier: add a touch of green, a starfish or two and a bright bow to your bookends bringing a festive touch to shelves. Thanks to our Comptroller, Liz Flynn, for lending us these sweet bookends!


Lobster Buoy Beauty

(Page 43)

Nature Bright

This lobster buoy belongs to the Shortsleeve family; our publisher and his sons like to collect buoys of all shapes and sizes! We decorated this buoy with some seaside touches—scallop shells, a fishnet glass ball and an old fishing net—surrounded with festive clippings of holly, Blue fir, and Spruce all tied up with a coastal blue bow.


  • Fishnet Ball
  • Fishnet
  • Blue Prince Holly
  • Blue Fir
  • Spruce
  • Scallop shells
  • Blue wired ribbon
  • Floral or picture-hanging wire

To begin, tie a big bow out of an old fishing net around the buoy. It helps to fasten the bow with a couple of pushpins on the back to carry the weight of the other decorations. Add your evergreen and holly sprigs in a pleasing, fan-like pattern all around the fishnet bow. Wrap the wire around the base of the clustered scallop shells and wire into the fishnet. Wire the fishnet ball on one side of the buoy, balanced by a wired-in bow on the other side.

This decoration can be inside or out; it is especially beautiful on the front door. Add as many shells as you wish; starfish add a bright white touch. Dried hydrangeas can make the design larger; just wire the flower heads into the fish net.

For more information, contact Susan Dewey, editor, at

Nature Bright

Gracefully Arching Pine and Evergreen Boughs...

Gracefully arching pine and evergreen boughs. The sharp scent of sky blue Juniper berries and the glimmer of red holly. Sweetly scented lavender woven into last summer’s hydrangeas bringing back memories of summer days. For holidays with a Cape Cod sparkle, head out to your backyard and snip an aromatic armful of nature’s winter wonders. Our editor, Susan Dewey, provides step-by-step instructions on how to make all of these decorations; Happy Holidays from all of us at Cape Cod LIFE!

The coastal hues of dried hydrangea, fastened to a straw wreath and festooned with Juniper berries and foliage, sprigs of dried Cape lavender, and starfish accents will stay vibrant on your door long after the holidays are over.

Nature Bright

For a glimmering tablescape during the holidays or a winter party, combine the shine of silver or pewter with some unique natural textures. These include dried Allium heads, sprigs of Hinoki cypress (native Cape Cod cedar is also a good choice!), and pine cones of all sizes brightened with two starfish above a vintage lace tablecloth.

Nature Bright Nature Bright

Small whimsical touches can bring the spirit of the holidays to every corner of your house. An antique brass teapot full of American Arborvitae sprigs (add some Cape Cod holly or Juniper berries for more color) comes alive with a tiny feathered bird; old-fashioned blue glass cups add a scented touch to kitchenwindowsills, and bookends can become decorative elements with the simple addition of a few evergreen textures and a bright red bow.

Nature Bright Nature Bright

For a true touch of Cape Cod, decorate a lobster buoy with a fish net, a bright glass netted ball, scallop shells, sprigs of evergreens, and bright holly from Cape Cod bushes. The Cape bursts with holly during the holidays; it is one of many natural gifts we all can treasure during the holiday season.

Nature Bright
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