A Timeless Retreat

Architect Bruce Miller restores an authentic Cape cabin in the woods of Wellfleet.

It’s not every day you come across a property that evokes a sense of charm and nostalgia for old Cape Cod. Read more…

By Plane, By Ferry, By Sleigh

More than 10,000 people flock to Nantucket for the three-day-long 39th Annual Christmas Stroll, the highlight of Nantucket Noel, a month-long celebration of the holiday season hosted by the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce. The festivities begin the day after Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, but the stroll, which begins on Friday, November 30, is the main event.

By Plane, By Ferry, By Sleigh

Elaborately decorated Christmas trees and storefronts illuminate the cobblestone street, while carolers enchant all within earshot. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on Saturday to everyone’s delight via a coast guard vessel.  “It’s all very Charles Dickens-y,” said Jean Cawley of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce. New this year is the Nantucket Sleighride, a bus service that brings pedestrians to must-see destinations outside the town center, including Bartlett Farms and Arrowhead Nursery. Call the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce at (508) 228-3643 or visit for more information.

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201203hsp_007 After just one visit to Nantucket, Darren Sukonick and Matthew Sapera fell in love with the island’s seafaring history, quiet windswept beauty, and pure architectural forms. So much so that they decided to draw upon their home design talents—both are designers for Matthew Sapera Fine Homes in Toronto—and build a getaway home for themselves. Read more…

Fabric of a Community

Dated between 1890 and 1900, the “Log Cabin”  quilt includes 42 blocks  of colors with black  embroidered lattice strips and a crochet edging.

The historic quilt collection at the Atwood House Museum in Chatham holds a treasure-trove of stories in its folds. Study the quilts’ intricate patterns, deep colors, rich textures—and sometimes even handwritten messages—and a swirl of history passes by.

Consider Marjory Smith, who bought the material for her gorgeous red and green quilt in Boston, when she traveled there to shop for bridal clothes for her 1833 wedding to John Atwood. Or Mehitable Atwood, whose friends and relatives pieced a multicolored “friendship” quilt in honor of her 1848 marriage to Benjamin Boylston and wrote bits of wisdom on its back (“Remember me when night closes in on thee” and “True friendship is everlasting” are just two of many).

With their captivating visuals and messages that were sometimes inked or stitched onto the back, the quilts give a glimpse of Chatham life in the 1800s and early 1900s—life that is as profound as any history book.

Read more…

Holiday Getaways

Ringing in the holidays with a festive Cape Cod mini-vacation has a bonus: you can find great accommodations without breaking the bank. Here are a few standout deals from some of our region’s finest establishments. Whether you’re looking for a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner without setting foot in the kitchen or a Christmas shopping respite, the perfect destination to spend this season is within reach.

DAN’L WEBSTER INN & SPA  Sandwich From Dec. 2-4, ride the Cape Cod Central Railroad’s North Pole Express (see page 37) and return to a cozy night at the inn. Package includes a 15 percent room discount, a breakfast voucher, two tickets to the North Pole Express, a welcome gift, and $100 in coupons. Package starts at $243. The Yuletide Gardens Aglow package, which is available Nov. 26-Dec. 17, includes one night’s accommodations, breakfast, and tickets to Heritage Museum and Garden’s “Gardens Aglow” display of colorful holiday lights. Prices start at $222. Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa – 149 Main St., Sandwich. 800-444-3566,

CAPE CODDER RESORT & SPA  Hyannis Feel the glow of the holidays with 100,000-plus lights, Santa’s workshop, and costumed carolers at the Cape Cod Enchanted Village in the Cape Codder’s courtyard. Enchanted Village packages start from $119 ($169 Friday or Saturday) and include one night in a deluxe room and $100 in dining, lodging, and shopping certificates. Visitors can also take a magical ride on the North Pole Express departing from Sandwich, with train tickets and discounts for lodging, meals, and spa services, starting at $233. Cape Codder Resort & Spa – 1225 Iyannough Rd., Hyannis. 888-297-2200,

THE COONAMESSETT INN  Falmouth Relax in the inn’s cheery décor featuring an exquisite poinsettia tree, gingerbread houses, and an assortment of holiday greens, with a dining and lodging package. The $130 package includes one night’s accommodation, breakfast, and dinner for two in the dining room warmed by the crackling fire. Seasonal menu specials include New England traditions like pot roast, plus such year-round favorites as fresh seafood and steaks. The Coonamessett Inn – 311 Gifford St., Falmouth. 508-548-2300,

THE ORLEANS INN   Orleans Savor the season in a gracious sea captain’s home overlooking Nauset Harbor. The Thanksgiving Weekend Away package, available Nov. 24-26, starts with a bottle of Truro Vineyards wine in your waterfront guest suite, two nights’ stay, Thanksgiving dinner for two, and breakfast each morning. The Seaside Winter Holiday Es-CAPE, available Nov. 26-Dec. 31, includes two nights’ stay in a waterfront guest suite, $100 dining credit to the Orleans Inn Waterfront Restaurant (weekends), and breakfast. Each package is $650. The Orleans Waterfront Inn – 3 Old County Rd., Orleans. 800-863-3039,

THE CENTERBOARD GUEST HOUSE  Nantucket Escape to the island for a three-night Thanksgiving getaway at a charming bed and breakfast. The package, which is offered Nov. 23-27, includes welcome wine and cheese, breakfast and afternoon tea, and Thanksgiving dinner at award-winning Oran Mor Bistro and Bar (alcohol not included). From $585 for two in a queen-bedded room with private bathroom. Centerboard Inn – 8 Chester Street, Nantucket. 877-228-2811, –Susan Spencer

Preserving the Cape Cod Character

Gazing across the Fort Hill overlook in Eastham, the magnificence of Cape Cod’s natural beauty and rich cultural history comes into full view. The Nauset salt marsh and ocean that sustained native peoples and early European settlers spreads out below. Heathland and fields, still populated by migratory birds, butterflies, and rabbits, reflect the agricultural past of the site, the former Knowles farm. The 19th-century home of Captain Edward Penniman, framed in view by a whale’s jawbone for a garden gate, recalls the region’s maritime heritage. It is a scene of fleeting serenity that has been eons in the making. Read more…

The House That Heals

On Cuttyhunk Island, you won’t find any board meetings or traffic jams, no deadlines to meet or expectations to beat. Cuttyhunk visitors have known for a long time what the rest of us are just figuring out—vacations, stay-cations, and day-cations are vital to a long and healthy life. Cape Cod Life

The Avalon, Cuttyhunk’s inn, was built in grandeur in 1909 by wool magnate William M. Wood as a summer home for his family. Wood knew the value and the benefits of vacation time. Soon after its completion, the Avalon was at the disposal of Wood’s wool mill executives; guests could stay for two weeks and enjoy numerous land and sea sports. At the end of World War I, the house extended a welcome to disabled WWI allied officers in need of a convalescent home and rehabilitation with promises of “invigorating sea air and seashore sports such as swimming, sailing, and fishing combined to facilitate convalescence.”

In 1957, entertainment executive David Baumgarten purchased the Avalon and continued to operate it as an inn. Since his death in 1994, the house has become jointly owned by the Baumgarten family and a nonprofit foundation, which seeks to preserve the Avalon and dedicate it to the needs of the island of Cuttyhunk.

The Avalon uses the revenue from guest rentals to preserve the house and expand its medical and cultural enrichment activities. The owner’s commitment to have the Avalon continue to serve Cuttyhunk and its visitors is strong and ongoing.

The Avalon has offered rooms free to local doctors and experts who come to speak to the islanders about various such topics as tick prevention. In addition, for over 10 years through the generous invitation of the Marilyn Snow House Foundation Inc., physicians have enjoyed summer residence opportunities at the Avalon. These visiting doctors are available to residents, visitors, and boaters to help with urgent or emergency medical needs.

For over 100 years, guests who vacation at the Avalon enjoy the slower pace of the past and leave the island as firm believers in the restorative power of vacationing.

THE AVALON Cuttyhunk

Nantucket’s Finer Union

Cape Cod Life When you meet innkeeper Ken Withrow at his highly regarded bed and breakfast, Nantucket’s Union Street Inn, it is obvious that this is a guy who loves his job—which is probably the reason why Union Street is a perennial award-winner in travel and lifestyle magazines from coast to coast.

On a warm June morning, Ken welcomes guests to Union Street’s outdoor dining patio nestled beneath a green hillside of ivy and sheltering trees in one of the island’s elegant neighborhoods right off Main Street. While guests start off their day with heaping plates of pancakes bursting with blueberries or fresh salmon cool with cucumbers on fresh bagels (Union Street is the only B&B to offer complete gourmet breakfasts on Nantucket) Ken walks from table to table.

“What would you like to do today,” this urbane, former Manhattanite says to guests who look rested and happy having slept in one of Union Street’s 12 rooms in this painstakingly restored 1770s antique residence. Each room here is a masterpiece of carefully selected furnishings and amenities, ultra-comfortable beds beside fireplaces piled high with Frette linens, baths gleaming with imported Italian marble. Read more…

9th Annual Goreyfest & Gala

Goreyfest 2010

The 9th Annual Goreyfest & Gala in South Yarmouth. See the whole gallery →

Visit for information on next year’s event.

Sole Food

Stacey Hedman
My initial reaction upon being offered the assignment of writing a story on Cape Cod winter walks was a mortified and stupefied, “Me?”

I’ve never been much of a walker, unless the journey included 18 holes featuring fairways, bunkers, and greens. When I did walk, I just about ran, as though the undertaking were something to endure-—think root canal surgery-—rather than to savor like a vintage wine. But exploring wonderful Cape Cod winter walks seemed like a fine idea, combining exercise, fresh air, and an opportunity for reflective isolation that is usually unavailable in these parts during peak summer season. Read more…

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