The fascinating story of Fernbrook
Historic Centerville inn has ties to Hollywood, the Oval Office and more!
Built in 1881, the Fernbrook estate in Centerville has had its share of noteworthy owners and guests over the years. Famous visitors to the stunning property on Main Street have included Walt Disney, Gloria Swanson, Audrey Hepburn, JFK and Jackie Kennedy, and many others, and to this day Fernbrook—which is open during the summer as a bed and breakfast—remains a historic Cape Cod icon.
The inn’s current proprietor and innkeeper Mary Ann English has owned Fernbrook since 1997, and has renovated and refurbished the home in grand fashion, adding modern touches here and there while retaining the opulent look and feel of bygone eras.
“I had the entire house re-shingled,” English says. “Then I had it painted as close to the original colors as possible. The ballroom, in which I had the floor and ceiling redone, had already been added in 1951.” English also restored wood flooring, painted walls, added vintage furniture and upholstery to blend with the history of the home, meticulously decorated each of the six guest rooms and the studio cottage, added new windows—including some stained glass—and had a new tent installed to cover the outdoor dancing pavilion. A 50-foot lap pool, a more recent addition, sits discreetly next to the home and is surrounded by flowers, fountains and terraces.
“This home has seen a time when people didn’t use their yards just for cookouts,” English says. “People literally entertained their guests. Here, they could have cocktails on the veranda, play cards, enjoy the gardens, or they could go out to the tent for music and dancing. There was no need to go anywhere else. Everything they wanted was right here.”