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Ships that Pass in the Night

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Tales of a Wayside Inn”

Although it may be stating the obvious, New England is full of history. In one charming chapter of this region’s rich legacy stands the story of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, a nationally significant landmark located in Sudbury.  In 1716, an otherwise unremarkable family opened their home as a tavern and inn and maintained a successful business over generations for almost 150 years. Now still in business and recognized as the nation’s longest running inn, it is easy to imagine 300 years of tales and adventures shared by guests and patrons, many of which found their way into Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s classic work, Tales of a Wayside Inn.While most of us can’t cite centuries of shared stories, laughter and memories in our own homes, it was just that kind of ambiance that a husband and wife wanted to create when they bought a historic home in Cummaquid.

“My husband and I are empty nesters and the time was right for a second home,” recalls the homeowner. “We both had ties to the Cape. Mine were a bit stronger since I discovered as a young teen that my ancestors were early settlers in Eastham. We have traveled to England numerous times and love the charming inns where we would stay. We knew we would be hosting friends and family as they came to the Cape to visit, so it just made sense that we would welcome them as though our home was as accommodating as an old inn.” In pursuit of that objective, the owners’ quest brought them to a consummate professional, Irina MacPhee, principal of Dennis-based Pastiche of Cape Cod.

“It was clear from the beginning that this would not be the typical project so many people are looking for on the Cape,” explains MacPhee. “Not light and bright, not sweeping, open, shared spaces. But more grounded, sophisticated spaces that subtly spoke layers and layers of history. It was really about honoring the history of the home.”

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