Dining on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Monk Fish

Monk Fish at the Brewster Fish House

I love good food and  always pay attention to guest’s comments about their dining experiences while visiting Cape Cod. We feel very fortunate to have so many great restaurants that are close to our two inns, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and the Captain Freeman Inn. I thought it would be fun in this blog to summarize some of our favorites.
28 Atlantic at the Wequassett Inn Resort, Chatham- whenever we have guests that want a very special place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary we love to recommend 28 Atlantic. The restaurant boosts beautiful views of Pleasant Bay and the food is top notch…fresh fish that is brought daily to their docks along with  many creative dishes.

BlackFish, Truro- modeled in a British pub style of eatery featuring Italian and French cuisine. Really unique dishes including rabbit ragu. $$

Brewster Fish House, Brewster- still probably our favorite restaurant ever and we are lucky to have it right up the street from the Captain Freeman. Many of our guests walk for their evening meal or light lunch. The Fish House boasts a menu full of top notch seafood and a loyal following that reflects the quality of the food and service. Guests will wait several hours for an evening meal, all for good reason.

<em>Land Ho, Orleans -sometimes one just craves a good hamburger and if so, this is the place to go. The Ho serves a combination of Cape Cod cuisine with a pub atmosphere including great chowder, fried clams and daily specials.

The Lobster Claw in P”Town- it’s always a special treat to spend the day in P’town where we love to recommend to our guests that they go whalewatching, see the sights and have lunch at the not to be missed Lobster Pot. The restaurant has beautiful views of the harbor along with a true Cape Cod lobster experience.

Steak at Mahoney's

Steak at Mahoney’s

Mahoney’s Atlantic in Orleans- we have been recommending this restaurant to our guests for years. It’s just a short drive form both of our inns and the food is always fresh and creative. The atmosphere is upscale pubby with plenty of great martinis to choose from. They do not take reservations but handle crowds very well. The menu has basically stayed the same for years but we understand why the chef owner has kept it over the years….the menu has plenty to choose from with great seafood and salad choices. My husband is always happy as they always have great beef.

Salad at PB Boulangerie Bistro

Salad at PB Boulangerie Bistro

PB Boulangerie Bistro- PB combines local flavors with traditional French dining. They offer a lovely neighborhood feel with an elegant French menu. The restaurant also includes a fabulous french bakery where you can purchase a croissant or baguette for your home dining.

Red Pheasant in Dennis- creative classic American cuisine with emphasis on native seafood, lamb and game. Romantic cozy atmosphere with a large old fashion fireplace in the winter.

Abba’s in Orleans- a unique fusion of Mediterranean and Thai cuisine. Specialty dishes include curries and sauces…..this is a real favorite for our adventuresome diners.

Ocean House  in Dennis- what separates this restaurant is the beautiful Atlantic views along with fabulous unique dining that has a slight Asian infusion.

Bucas Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich- i I had to choose one restaurant for my last meal I think it would have to be Bucas. This restaurant is sooooo romantic and the food so true to Northern Italy cuisine, with just a touch of Cape Cod twirled in. My only problem when I dine here is what to have for dinner……so many great choices!

Lost Dog Pub in Dennis- there logo says Come Sit Stay and that’s exactly what you want to do at this pub. We love to sit in the bar and order their chicken barbecue pizza, all home made. There are plenty of TV’s if you want to keep track of your favorite team.

Fin in Dennis- this is a great seafood restaurant that does take reservations. The chef owner’s husband has his own oyster farm so you know you’ll always enjoy the very freshest oysters around. Farm to table philosophy that really stands out!

Chillingsworth in Brewster- creative modern French cuisine in a very formal atmoshere with old fashion attention to detail. The mac and cheese and creme brulee are to die for!

Bramble Inn in Brewster- wonderful traditional American cuisine with plenty of Cape Cod touches. Dining room is set in an old fashion building with china that you may remember from your grandmother’s house.

We love to help our guests make their dining choices during their stay at the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

We feel so blessed to have so many wonderful choices close by. During the high season advance reservations are recommended for many of the fine dining spots, and we would be glad to help plan ahead.

Bon Appetite to all of our special guests staying on Cape Cod.

April happenings on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

I think everyone is ready for spring this year. All of our guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa are commenting on what a long winter it has been on the east coast. It just feels like the cold, snow and winter winds will never go away.

I have seen a few hints around the inn which includes some of our bulbs sprouting the first signs of green in our gardens.

tulips and hyacinths- soon to come!

tulips and hyacinths- soon to come!

It’s so encouraging that the days are getting longer and I was thrilled to see so many activities on Cape Cod for the month of April. What a great time of the year to come to the Cape to enjoy the quiet before the crowds arrive, to see the gardens come to life and to walk our beautiful beaches. Listed below are some events to enjoy during your stay on Cape Cod:

April 1- Opening day at the Pilgrim Monument- Open to the public and a tribute to Provincetown’s rich whaling heritage. A tribute to the whalers, called Forgotten Port will be on display in the East Gallery. The exhibit will feature tools and artifacts from whaling vessels, photos and art, whale bones and other objects that represent the whaling legacy on Cape Cod.

April 5- In search of the Right Whale- North Atlantic Right Whales, the rarest and most endangered of all of the whale species, stop over in Cape Cod bay each spring to feed in the zooplankton rich waters. Join Mass Audubon members at Herring Cove and Race Point in Provincetown for a chance to observe right whales from the shores of local beaches. Preregistration is required. Call 508-349-2615.

April 5-6 Letting Go- Conductor Jung-Ho Pak will lead the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra as they perform a symphony featuring a fusion of classical, jazz, country and funk. Call 508-362-1111 for tickets.

April 9- Wildlife on Tap Lecture- Join NPR “Bird News” host and birding expert Vern Laux for his lecture on “Bird Life of the Cape and Islands, the Common, The Not So Common and the Megas!” to learn why the Cape and Islands are so good for birds and why so many vagrants (bird spotted well outside their normal locales) have been and continue to be detected here. A donation of $10 is requested.

April 19- Opening Day at Heritage Museum and Gardens. Visit the museum on opening day and browse a collection of permanent and traveling exhibitions that represent the best of American culture.

April 26-27- Sandwich Daffodil Festival- Celebrate Sandwich’s 375th year at the Daffodil Festival which will feature food, music, gardening and a local artists sale.

April 30- Meet the Fleet:Conch – Given how hard it has been for local fisherman to catch cod, many have switched to fishing for channeled whelk, or conch as it is commonly called. Conch is in high demand in Asia and Mediterranean countries, but is has gone through boom and bust cycles. Cape fisherman will share their stories and discuss their conservation efforts for this important fishery and Chef Tony “Scungilli” Pasquale will share tips on how to prepare this local delicacy. Held at the Fisherman’s Alliance headquarters in Chatham.

Can’t wait for April to arrive….Happy Spring!

 

Right whales are back on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

Whale watching on Cape Cod

Whale watching on Cape Cod

Thar they Blow!……..as recently quoted in the Cape Codder. The Right Whales are back on Cape Cod and are attracting attention. Eight right whales were sited by the naked eye of off Herring Cove in Provincetown last week by employees from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. Herring Cove is the perfect place to watch as the cove is situated just south of the Atlantic’s gate, offering optimal viewing of these rare and endangered creatures as they enter and move around Cape Cod Bay in search of food. Over the last few years, more and more Right whales have made the bay a destination, with scientists estimating that up to half of the North Atlantic population has congregated to Cape Cod bay. That means that summer whale watching will be especially popular and an event that we encourage our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn to enjoy during their stay.

The Right whales that have been recently seen early in the season can be observed by the naked eye or with binoculars from the beaches in Provincetown. It’s an opportunity to see one of the rarest animals on earth. The spring action of these whales may not be as spectacular as whale watching during the summer months when the whales breach high in the air near the whale watching boats. But to the naked eye straining from shore, the whales head appears as dark wedges plowing slowly along the surface. They are actually skim feeding where they graze on dense patches of zooplankton. Their whole game now is food as they have not eaten a good meal all winter long. Other clues to identifying the Right whales are in the tail. At this time of the year, if you see a whale lift it’s tail before it dives, it’s almost certain that it is a Right whale. Humpback whales do the same thing but they have not arrived yet. And if you see a lot of thrashing at the surface and flippers flashing into view, that’s likely a group of Right whales engaged in heavy flirtation.

During the summer months we have created a wonderful whale watching package that includes  a care package for your adventure, tickets for two for a whale watching boat ride and a harbor view lunch afterwards.

Summer whale watching on Cape Cod

Summer whale watching on Cape Cod

The whalewatching boat tours begin in April but what a wonderful adventure to come early and see these spectacular whales with your binoculars while relaxing on a beach chair while sunning and relaxing on the beach. You can also enjoy unhurried dining and off season rates at both the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

Here’s to a wonderful whale watching season on Cape Cod.

 

It’s a tough job on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

As mentioned in the title, it really is one of the hardest parts of our careers as innkeepers…regularly checking out all of the restaurants on Cape Cod so that we can give our first hand experience to our “foodies “…… kidding aside, we really love dining out and would do it 7 days a week if our budget and middles would allow.

Brewster Fish House

Brewster Fish House

Last night we dined with good friends at our favorite restaurant just down the street from our two inns, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn, the Brewster Fish House. We always laugh each spring as during the quiet season we travel all over Cape Cod checking out the restaurants, and we always come back to saying that we are very blessed as our favorite is just down the street.

Oysters at the Fish House

Oysters at the Fish House

Guests staying at the Freeman can walk to the Fish House and we love to give them flash lights so they can meander back to the inn the old fashion way. For our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea it’s just a short drive back to the inn. (3 miles)

Last nights meal was really extraordinary, and we were so pleased to learn that the Fish House owners have just hired Toby Hill as their new chef. Toby is an accomplished chef who did great things at some of our other favorites including the Ocean House and Lyric.

First let me start out by talking about the ambiance at the Fish House. It’s a humble yet elegant atmosphere that was instrumental in guiding us in our two inn’s ambiance twelve years ago. Just before we purchased Brewster by the Sea many years ago we had lunch at the Brewster Fish House. As we sat there being a little nervous about our upcoming purchase we both talked about the feeling that we had sitting at our table as the sun shined in. It was a feeling I have embraced with all of the decorating I have done at both inns. You might think me crazy as with most dining establishments the decor is mainly made up of tables, but this was more about a feeling. The food was light, fresh, flavorful but very gourmet. The service was friendly and helpful but not over the top formal. The decor on the walls was soothing yet joyful. I summarize my decorating style as casually elegant and that is exactly how you fell at the Fish House. During the summer months you could walk in with flip flops and shorts and feel comfortable or if it was a special occasion you could dress up and feel totally comfortable as well.

Well on to the important part and as my husband would say, let’s talk about the food and not the feelings.

We decided to share an appetizer and ordered the beet salad. I love beets and grow them in our gardens during the summer months. We love to pickle them and enjoy them in our salads year round.

Beet salad

Beet salad

The Fish House served theirs with a delicious goat’s cheese and lemon grass and chives. The combination of flavors was unique and delicious. I also enjoy the Fish House’s portions as they are a healthy European size. We do hear complaints now and then that their portions are not large enough. For us they are perfect!

Calamari at the Fish House

Calamari at the Fish House

Our friends shared the Calamari. They loved the flavors as well, and we noted that recent guests said this dish was their favorite part of the meal.

Everyone loved their main courses as well.

Broiled salmon

Broiled salmon

I had the broiled salmon that was served with Broccolini, all perfectly prepared.

Byron had……”where’s the beef” as his eye always goes to the beef choice. They served a perfectly prepared sirloin. Needless to say he was very happy:) p.s. his portion was very large and nothing was left at the end of his meal:)

Brewster Fish House Sirloin

Brewster Fish House Sirloin

I was debating about having the Cod which was encrusted with something delicious that I cannot remember.It looked extraordinary as well.

Cod

Cod

The last entry was Monk Fish that our chef extradianaire, Carol had. She has remarkable taste buds and was very pleased with her meal. Carol is the chef for our culinary classes as the Captain Freeman.

Monk Fish

Monk Fish

Thanks Brewster Fish House for such a wonderful evening.

Eddy Bay Trail on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Edy Bay Trail on Cape Cod

Edy Bay Trail on Cape Cod

Byron and I are always looking for new places to walk on Cape Cod. We had heard about a new trail in Brewster and were anxious to check it out. Our resident Labradoodle, Harrison, is always game for a good adventure.

The Brewster Conservation Trust recently cleared a hiking path starting at the ruins of the old Hassard House on Lower Road down to the water. There are beautiful views of the bay at the end of the trail head and this point is actually the highest land area above Cape Cod Bay in Brewster. The plot of land includes 32 acres that the Eddy sisters donated to the trust in 2000. Fifty feet high, rising dramatically straight up from the beach, it’s the last wild bluff in Brewster. The trail is a mile long and you can either park at the Brewster Community Gardens or on the shoulder of Lower Road at the ruins of the Hassard House.

Rear wall of the Hassard House  c.1870

Rear wall of the Hassard House c.1870

Near the trail head, you will see the dry wall foundation of the Hassard home and barn. c. 1870. John Hassard and Sara Hicks emigrated from Ireland as children to work on the Freeman farm and built a house on the Freeman land when they married. The Hassard raised 5 children in this house before they moved onto Main street in 1899. The house was abandoned and used by the Thorndikes (the Eddy’s grandparents) as a cranberry shed for the then extensive bogs on the south side of Lower road. Behind the ruins look for a secret treasure- a grove of mature holly trees with a contemplation bench in the heart of the hollies. Interesting that the holly is recommended when planting new gardens as it has a beneficial environmental impact that survives well in Brewster’s soil and climate.

Holly trees on the trail

Holly trees on the trail

At the Bay Overlook, you can see west to Plymouth and east to Eastham, a 150 degree marine panorama. This bluff lost about 20 feet of it’s face to the Blizzard of 2013 and has no easy way to the beach…..best to just enjoy the view from above.

The view!

The view!

We had a wonderful walk back and so appreciated the work that the conservation trust has done to share this beautiful property with the public.

Byron and Harrison walking on the Eddy trail

Byron and Harrison walking on the Eddy trail

Home for the Holidays at the Crosby Mansion

by Donna L Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Angelic Tree at Crosby Mansion

Angelic Tree at Crosby Mansion

I have always had a soft spot for the Crosby Mansion in Brewster. All summer long I love to recommend to our guests that they enjoy the wonderful Crosby beach and then walk around the mansion and peak into the windows to see all that the “friends of Crosby mansion” have accomplished over the last few years.

Every three years the Nauset Garden club bring an extra special twist to the mansion when they decorate the house to usher in the holidays in Brewster. The events runs from Friday November 8th through Sunday November 9th. History buffs will love the history of the Crosby Mansion.

Crosby Mansion

Crosby Mansion

The Crosby mansion was built in 1888.Standing tall on a rise of land with sweeping views of Cape Cod bay, the three-story mansion is also a monument to romance. It is the legacy of a man who went west to make his fortune and returned to the cape with a bride 20 years his junior, for whom he built the mansion called Tawasentha.

Albert Crosby was born in 1823 and raised in a modest cape house in Brewster that still stands where the mansion is, as he had the mansion, in effect, wrap around his old family homestead. Albert moved to Chicago and made his fortune producing distilled alcohol . He sold this to the army during the Civil War, and sales of this non-taxed medicinal alcohol made him a wealthy man.

Albert spared no expense for the three story, 35 room home overlooking the Bay. Completed in 1888, the home was named “Tawasentha”, probably after Longfellow’s poem, “Song of Hiawatha”. It was built in the grand style of Chicago’s Gold Coast Mansions and featured a 60 foot viewing tower, 15 fireplaces with imported tile, hand carved mahogany and oak walls, a parlor fashioned after one at the Palace of Versailles, an entrance duplicating one at Buckingham Palace, a two-story billiard room, marble sinks and floors in the baths, and gas lighting and heating throughout. Because of its heightened construction, the Old Colony Railroad laid a side track to the site. The mansion was designed for the lavish entertaining his young wife, Matilda, loved. Legend has it that when her soirees became too much for him, Albert would slip away to the old homestead and sit peacefully in his favorite rocking chair.

The mansion’s crowning glory was a two-story 75×50 foot art gallery filled with valuable paintings and statuary, including works by Childe Hassan, El Greco, Albert Bierstadt and other famous artists. After Albert’s death in 1906 at the age of 83, Matilda opened the art gallery to the public one day a week in summer, apparently in return for the town’s not raising her taxes. The gallery was legendary, and a number of famous people were said to have visited, including the Duke of Wales, Helen Keller and Samuel Clemens.

During the open house, 17 rooms of splendor, all showcasing individual themes of holiday cheer, are decorated. I always love to go to get new decorating ideas for our two inns in Brewster, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn.
Blue room at the Crosby Mansion
The Blue Room’s theme this year was titled “A fantasy Christmas in Antarctica” The wonderful penguins in the room are on loan from the Red Balloon and Penguin Digital. The woman from the garden club enjoy the creativity of designing each room, along with the camaraderie and energy they get from each other. This year there are rooms from around the world with themes like Home in Holland, a Dutch kitchen, Afternoon Tea in Scotland and Home from the Orient.

Proceeds from the $25 admission fee benefits the ladies scholarship funds and the community outreach.

Activities on Cape Cod that let’s your inner child come out and play

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and Owner

Sunset at Breakwater Beach

Sunset at Breakwater Beach

I have always been a believer of the importance of taking the time to be playful….with ourselves, our spouses and children. As a busy innkeeper on Cape Cod we take our play moments whenever we have the opportunity. Thankfully we have a beautiful bay beach very close bye to our inns that’s a great place to play and be happy. After writing the last post about activities on Cape Cod, I reflected later that I did not include some of the playful activities that are available for our guests staying at our two wonderful inns, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn.

Listed below with our favorite coming first and last are some of the wonderful “Play” activities available:

1. Miniature Golf- I have always loved Miniature Golf and the Cape is filled with many wonderful courses. We like to go to “Pirate’s Cove in Yarmouthport and then have a wonderful southern Italian meal at Girardi’s which is just next door. If room and time allows there’s also an old fashion Dairy Queen just down the road.
http://www.piratescove.net/south-yarmouth

Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove

2. Boulder Baby- Get a real feel for hanging on the edge when you climb up and the beginner, intermediate or advanced rock wall at Willy’s Gym in North Eastham. http://www.willysgym.com

3. Attend the Fair- In it’s 169 running season the Barnstable Country Fair runs from July 20- 27th. Spend the afternoon into the evening for the whole fair experience- feed the animals at the petting zoo, wander through vendor tents and catch a show on the stage. When the sun goes down it’s time to score some prizes at fair games, snack on fried dough and cotton candy, take a spin on the ferris wheel or one of the wild amusement rides, and finish under the night’s sky filled with colorful fireworks. http://www.barnstablecountyfair.org

4. Ride the Waves- At the Cape’s most notorious surfing spots get the opportunity to learn form the best. Brush up on style tips or if you are a beginner learn how to ride some of Cape Cod’s waves. The Sacred Surf School on White Crest Beach will help you to learn how to ride the perfect wave! http://www.sacredsurfschool.com

5. Rock the Boat- At Cape Cod Bumper Boats you’ll see why folks of all ages have fun here. Bump your boat into a target in the bumper boat pool and it will set off the new spray cannon guarded by the animated pirates. http://www.capecodbumperboats.com

6.Reel in the Big One- Fly fishing in shallow and rocky waters for striped bass can be a great way to spend your afternoon, Cape Cod Fly Fishing will help you learn how to fly fish on some of the best fly water’s on the East coast. Each guided wet wade trip includes rods, waders, a lunch, and guidance form the pros. http://www.capecodflyfishing.com

7. Parasail/ Jet Ski- Speeding around on the ocean can be exhilerating and fun. Gold Coast Parasail Jet Ski is located in South Yarmouth where they offer lessons and equipment to parasail, jet sky, banana boat rides and kayak rental. http://www.capecodparasailjetsky.com

8. Float on a Kayak- Choose form 20 different pristine locations to plop in a kayak and embark upon a tour with Cape Cod Kayak. http://www.capecodkayak.com

9. Paddle on the Ocean- it might take a little balance and a few trial runs before you take off, but once you’ve gotten the hang of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) you are in for a treat. Stop in at Adventure Chatham for lessons and tours to explore the beautiful waterways of Chatham and Harwich while getting a good workout too. http://www.adventurechatham.com

and last but not least our favorite Captain…..

Cape Sail "Sabbatical"

Cape Sail “Sabbatical”

10. Cape Sail- Captain Bob Rice has been offering sailing lessons and sailing rides since 1983. His 35′ Southern Cross ‘Sabbatical” is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of Nantucket Sound. Guests are free to assist in sailing or can just sit back and relax. http://www.capesail.com