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In 1699, Barnstable’s Ashley Manor was built up on a hill, tucked away as its own lavish retreat. In its 300 years, the walls of Ashley Manor have witnessed defining historical moments. Early on, the home was a safe house amidst the Revolutionary War, harboring soldiers within its walls, behind fake bookcases and trap doors. Today, Ashley Manor sits back off of the picturesque Route 6A, and lies in the caring, talented hands of Keith and Allison McDonald. Owners since January 2020, the couple is passionate about maintaining the property’s historical integrity while adding their own modern flair. In just their first year of ownership, the McDonald’s have enriched the inn and its amenities amidst the pandemic’s unpredictability. Named Bed & Breakfast of the Year Cape Cod for 2021 by LUXlife Magazine, Ashley Manor’s goal is to continue being an industry leader in the coming years.

The McDonalds both have over 50 years of experience in the hospitality and restaurant industry in California, working with luxury brands like the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, and JC Resorts in Laguna Beach, where they first met. In 2017, the couple decided to embark on their own adventure, dreaming of owning an inn and working together in a smaller setting. That summer, they set out along the east coast, starting in Connecticut and exploring up through Maine. “It was very resort oriented in California. Being near the water was important to us. We found that back East, there was more of a culture for bed and breakfasts and inns,” Allison shares. The couple searched for the right fit by staying in various properties on the market. On a subsequent visit to the Cape, their agent convinced them to look at Ashley Manor. “I knew as soon as I walked in that this was the place. It reminded me of an old Victorian with grand scale rooms. With the guest rooms, the public areas, library, living room, and the feel of the house, I thought, this could work,” Keith says.

“Our rooms are unique, they’re grand scale and have wood burning fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. I was able to picture ourselves here,” Allison says. The couple liked the idea of the owners’ cottage providing a bit of separation from their work and began to envision life at Ashley Manor. “The cottage is a little bit more modern with the high ceilings. We also have a tennis court and we both play tennis,” she adds. 

The inn can accommodate 13 guests within six guest rooms, four of which are considered suites. Each suite is equipped with a wood burning fireplace and an oversized jetted Jacuzzi tub. The inn has nine total fireplaces, enhancing its historic New England feel throughout the living and dining areas. On the exterior, the gardens, gazebo, and 44-foot French-inspired patio are beautiful havens to wander and relax. 

The McDonalds officially took on the project in January 2020. Come March, the world shut down, but the McDonalds chose to get moving. “We made the situation into an opportunity,” Allison shares. “We knew that we were going to be closed in March regardless, because the previous owners always closed in March. So, we got to work, and then March became April, May, and half of June. That gave us the time to really put our finger print on the property. We wanted to set our brand,” Keith adds. The extended time frame offered an opportunity to do the work themselves and understand what worked best stylistically. 

The McDonalds have paid close attention to upholding the history and character of the home while weaving in modern amenities. Keith describes their style as “eclectic and elegant”, with a simple approach to design. The couple has brought in new furniture to refresh the space, keeping with fewer, larger pieces. They have also painted and updated flooring and lighting for a modern feel. With comfort a priority, the inn feels approachable and more like a home for their guests. 



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