- Sage Advice from a Travel Expert: Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
Arthur Frommer, the legendary travel guidebook author known for his iconic “Europe on $5 a Day” guide, offered some sage advice on how to travel intelligently and economically in a recent interview in AARP magazine.
“Experience new ideas,” he says. “Stay in a bed-and-breakfast. Meet the owners, and guests from other countries. You’ll save money and have a better vacation.”
Music to my ears.
In the 15 years we have been innkeeping, we have witnessed thousands of interactions among guests of varying cultures, ethnicities, economic status, and sexual preference. Winter, spring, summer or fall, guests gather around our breakfast table, out on the deck, or in front of the fire to eat and drink, share stories of their travels and offer opinions on everything from the best seafood restaurants to the most remote beaches.
We have seen friendships form among strangers and have forged fast friendships ourselves with guests we may never have encountered had it not been for the commonality of our Inn.
Apart from the obvious creature comforts offered–a comfortable bed, private bath, home-cooked breakfast–a stay at a bed and breakfast inn is an opportunity. An opportunity to engage your hosts and elicit insider information on the area your visiting. An opportunity to expand your horizons by interacting with guests from foreign lands. An opportunity to share insights and exchange ideas with visitors young and old, world-travelers and neophytes alike.
It’s inspirational when I see guests sharing email addresses for future contact with people they’ve just met. And when handshakes turn into hugs and goodbyes leave the promise of hellos I know that my guests have experienced a phenomena that has added significant value to their stay…a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. And it happened at a bed and breakfast inn.
- February Happenings on Cape Cod
February may be the shortest month of the year, but Cape Cod is not short of fun things to do and see in the month that brings us Valentine‘s Day, President‘s Day, and Ground Hog Day. Once Punxsutawney Phil predicts if an early spring is in the offing this year or not we can turn our attention to more important things like music, love, chocolate, and boats.
On February 7-9, the 8th annual Boatbuilders Show returns to Cape Cod via the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis. Billed as “the best little boat show in the Northeast” it’s the perfect opportunity to start dreaming about warmer weather and, to quote the Wind in the Willows, “believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” On tap will be an array of custom and limited-production sail and power boats, both small and large, fashioned in wood and fiberglass.
If boating is not your thing, then consider attending the Osterville Chocolate Fest held this year on Saturday, February 8th. Everything from steaming cups of hot chocolate to decadent chocolate desserts and candies will be front and center in the shops and business of the lovely village of Osterville. Festivities begin at 9:00 AM and continue throughout the day.
On February 14-16, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra presents “Piano Men,” a multimedia rock-musical-tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John. Featuring hits from the 70s including “Rocket Man”, “My Life”, “Only the Good Die Young”, and “Crocodile Rock”, guest artist Jim Witter and his band will join the orchestra for what proves to be a rollicking good time. Tickets are selling fast for this one, so book early and come “Just the Way You Are”.
Of course, the High Pointe Inn should be your headquarters for all of these events, so we’ve created the perfect two night package for you and your honey to enjoy on Valentines Day or anytime in February. We call it the “February is for Lovers” package.
So sweep your Valentines off their feet with this romantic getaway. Choose a deluxe ocean-view room or a spacious fireplace suite and pamper yourselves with luxury. Your two night Cape Cod escape includes breakfast by candlelight, a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolates in your room on arrival, a romantic couples massage, and a 3-course gourmet dinner for two one night. Rates start at just $699 per couple complete.
- Cape Cod Vacation: Ahhhh…Summer at Last
When I was a little girl my family took a two week Cape Cod vacation every summer in a little cottage in Brewster right on Cape Cod Bay. Those two weeks were always magical. Days were filled with visits from family and friends, lots of lazy hours exploring the tide pools in front of our cottage, and evenings punctuated by the sweet smells of sand and sea wafting up from the beach. I remember weekly band concerts on the town green, fishing for flounder in Town Cove in Orleans, and the drive-in movie theater in Wellfleet. We never missed an opportunity to see the sunset over Rock Harbor, enjoy an ice cream treat at Cobie’s, or shop for penny candy at the Brewster General Store. Those memories are among my fondest, though decades have passed since we last vacationed here.
Now as innkeepers on Cape Cod, Rich and I are in the position of helping create memories for our guests at the Inn. Each morning at breakfastwe inquire what folks have planned for the day and offer up dozens of possibilities for those who ask for our assistance. Looking for the perfect beach? No problem. We’ve got you covered. We even have printed directions for those who need it, a cooler if necessary, and of course beach chairs, towels and totes. Feel like an adventure on the high seas? Slam dunk. Whale watching on the Hyannis Whale Watcher out of nearby Barnstable Harbor. We can even save you the price of parking by providing a voucher for a discount. Think a ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard might be the perfect daytrip? Give us a second and we’ll book your ferry tickets online and produce directions to the satellite parking area. Perhaps you’d like to do a driving tour of the lower Cape and check out a lighthouse or two; take a bike ride on one of the paved bike trails; kayak the Great Marsh; or shop ‘til you drop. We’ve got a map, blog article, or brochure that will point you in the right direction. Need recommendations for lunch, dinner, the closest farmer’s market, or the best clam shack? Been there, done that.
Our guests are often amazed at the wealth of information we provide, the amenities we offer in the rooms for their convenience, and the honest-to-goodness joy we take in sharing our knowledge of Cape Cod with them.
Both Rich and I are “from away” though each Massachusetts natives. We choose to live on Cape Cod and built a business here that allows us to do so year-round. Our guests visit for just a few days, though we are convinced that you could spend weeks here and not see all that the Cape has to offer. If we can help to make your vacation a memorable one, one that you will think back on often and smile, then I believe we have served you well. And perhaps you will return again and again.
- Serving Up Homemade Jam at our Cape Cod Inn
We buy all the jams and jellies we serve to guests of the High Pointe Inn from the Chatham Jam and Jelly shop right here on Cape Cod. Of course, as a small business on this magnificent peninsula, we support as many other local businesses as we can. But the Chatham Jam and Jelly shop is really something special. What started as a way to earn some extra cash during the busy tourist season some 30 years ago, has blossomed into a full time career for Carol Cummings and her husband Robin, along with help from their children. In the beginning she made small batches of jam based on family recipes in the kitchen of their home to sell at local gift shops. But their popularity soon soared and the Mom and Pop operation needed to expand quickly to fill orders and meet the demand, so the business eventually took over both their living and dining rooms as well. Their tiny storefront on Vineyard Avenue in Chatham that has served them well since 1983, however, is about to expand once more.
Chatting with them yesterday, when we stopped in to pick up our latest order, we found out that the entire shop will be moving to a new location, hopefully this August, where Carol will have a licensed commercial kitchen in a new facility at 16 Seaquanset Road in West Chatham. There she will once again be able to create her chutneys and relishes, along with the jams and jellies for which she is so famous. They were busy picking out counters and cabinets to hold the nearly 120 varieties they already produce annually and talked excitedly about adding even more creative concoctions to the inventory.
When we first sampled their jams nearly 10 years ago to choose the ones we thought our guests would enjoy most at breakfast, it was an extremely difficult decision. Should we go with standbys like strawberry and blueberry, or more exotic varieties like cranberry fig or spiced peach? In the end we chose something native to Cape Cod (Wild Beach Plum) something traditional (Raspberry), and something a tad more unusual (Cranberry Vanilla). Our guests love these jams, as evidenced by the number of times we need to reorder.
In addition to their jams and jellies, the Chatham Jam and Jelly Shop also carries an assortment of gift items. Store hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. As a courtesy to our guests who can’t make the trek down to the shop to purchase items to take home to friends and family, we stock a few jars in our gift shop here at our Cape Cod Inn as well.
- The Simple Pleasures of Life on Cape Cod
So I’m up early this morning. Force of habit, I guess, as strangely we had no guests at the Inn last night. It being Monday night of Memorial Day weekend, I’m not surprised. Most everyone had to cross the bridge to return to “America” leaving their idyllic escape on Cape Cod behind. Back to reality, routine, and keeping pace with the rhythm that carries them day to day.
Anyhow, for the first time in the nearly 10 years we have been innkeeping on Cape Cod I have the pleasure of having coffee on the deck, reading the paper while listening to the birds singing, and enjoying the sunshine that evaded us until yesterday. Man I could get used to this.
The silence of the early morning, before alarm clocks chirp and buses swing by to pick up school children, is hypnotic. I am entranced by a humming bird at the feeder, the distant purr of cars cruising along scenic Route 6A, and the gentle burble of the fountains in the courtyard below. The blue sky and green grass seem more intense this morning, perhaps because of the gray of recent mornings.
The deck is freshly painted and the furniture scrubbed clean of winter’s grime. The hanging baskets and potted plants are basking in the sun. The bird feeders are filled and the bird bath ready for action. It is summer finally and we are ready. Ready to greet our guests with smiles, counsel them on the best ways to take in the beauty that is Cape Cod, serve them coffee and breakfast al fresco, and create an ambiance that affords them an opportunity to truly unwind and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Like coffee on the deck.
- Cape Cod Getaway: The Ultimate Package
Our guests frequently ask us what the ultimate Cape Cod getaway activities are when visiting Cape Cod. We have our favorites, of course, and we are happy to share advice, offer counsel, make reservations and otherwise assist guests at our inn on Cape Cod however we can. We want each and every guest at the High Pointe Inn to have the most authentic experience possible while staying with us.
A Welcome Book bursting at the seams with great “insider information” sits on the desk in every guest room. We have a “Directions To…” box loaded with pre-printed directions to our favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations, restaurants, and beaches located right at the front door so guests can grab whatever they need for a day of spectacular sightseeing. And just recently we added a photo slide show of some really beautiful shots of the Cape that Rich has taken over the years to the guest computer in the living room. Sort of a “preview of coming attractions” for arriving guests.
But today we decided to take it one step further and add what we are calling the “Ultimate Cape Cod Getaway Package” to our roster of great specials and packages. This would be the perfect package for a honeymoon, first time visitor to Cape Cod, or for anyone wanting to see what makes this destination so special. In five leisurely days you can take a day trip to Nantucket via high-speed ferry, experience the thrill of a whale watching adventure on Cape Cod Bay, dine at one of the most romantic restaurants on Cape Cod, and enjoy the laid-back luxury of a one-hour side-by-side couples massage in the comfort and privacy of one of our spacious and elegantly appointed rooms or suites. A bottle of hand-selected wine and a specially prepared cheese board are yours to enjoy whenever the spirit moves you during your stay.
This extra-special package is available from mid-May to mid-October, with rates starting at just $1999 complete. Here is a round-up of the highlights of this one-of-a-kind vacation package:
- Five nights in a spacious ocean-view guest room or garden suite with deck.
- A 3-course gourmet dinner for two one night.
- Round trip high-speed ferry tickets to Nantucket.
- Two adult Whale Watch excursion tickets.
- One-hour side-by-side in-room couples massage.
- A bottle of red or white wine in your room on arrival.
- A cheese and cracker platter in your room on arrival.
- Full farm-to-table hot breakfast each morning.
- Afternoon home-baked treats.
- 24-hour hot coffee and tea.
- Complimentary after-dinner drinks at the Inn.
- Access to our super-secret self-guided driving tours.
For more details or to book your Ultimate Cape Cod Getaway package, call us toll free at 1-800-362-4441.
- April, My Favorite Month on Cape Cod (or anywhere)
I love April. It brings so many harbingers of spring. Today we saw an osprey sitting on top of the telephone pole where he built his nest for the past several years. Unfortunately hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nemo blizzard destroyed whatever was left of last year’s nest. Hopefully he won’t get discouraged by having to start all over again and soon we will be seeing him with his partner in the nest high above the marsh.
Earlier this morning Rich pointed out a brilliant yellow gold finch at the feeder. This prompted me to put out the hummingbird feeder. No hummers have visited it yet, but I expect to see one soon. I’ve heard the spring peepers a couple of times and no doubt the skunk cabbage is fermenting by now in the swampy areas of the woods.
The daffodils are up in our yard about 7-8 inches and the lawn is definitely greening up, at least here at the high Pointe Inn on Cape Cod. Soon we’ll see the sand dollars scattered on Sandy Neck Beach, and hear the street sweepers clearing the roads of winter’s sand and debris.
Besides all the signs of spring, April is my birthday month. I can’t help but be happy in April. It was my Mom’s birthday month too. In fact today is her birthday. She would have been 96. So naturally I have been thinking about her a lot today. I pulled out this recipe card, handwritten by her ages ago. She was a wonderful baker, perhaps because had a sweet tooth, but I think mainly she just loved to make things with her hands. I remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread and donuts on Saturday mornings. How can you not be happy waking up to that?
So I’m sharing her recipe with you, with apologies for the lack of details, in honor of her birthday. If you try it, let me know how it works out.
- 2013 Cape Cod Seasonal Events and Annual Celebrations
Every year brings the return of beloved celebrations and annual events to Cape Cod. This year we again celebrate a number of traditional observances plus a few quirky ones, and are introduced to a new event or two hoping to win us over for the long run. From high-brow to down-low, every month it seems there is a happening that piques our curiosity, pulls at our heartstrings, or just plain tantalizes the taste buds. So for you planners out there, here is a list of our favorite reasons to make a beeline for Cape Cod this spring, summer, or fall.
Whale Watching and seal cruises begin in mid-April
April 13 – Oct 27: Driving Our Dreams: Concept Car Exhibition, Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich
April 26 – 28: Annual Brewster in Bloom Festival
April 27 – 28: Spring Festival, Main Street, Hyannis
May 1 – October 31: Harbor Your Arts artists Shanties open at Hyannis Harbor
May 15 – 19: Nantucket Wine Festival, Nantucket Island
May 17 – 19: 32nd Annual Herb Festival & Plant Sale; Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen, East Sandwich
May 18 – 26: The Rhododendron Festival; Heritage Museum & Gardens, Sandwich
May 19 – June 21: 20th Annual Cape Cod Maritime Days.
May 25 – 27: 42nd Annual Figawi Regatta. Hyannis to Nantucket
June 2 – 28: 18th Annual All Cape Art Show, Creative Arts Center, Chatham
June 8: Inaugural Falmouth Food & Wine Festival, Barnstable County Fairground
June 8: Antiques, Crafts & Flea Market, Orleans Historical Society
June 12: Cape Cod Baseball League opens for the season
June 16: 19th Annual Father’s Day Auto Show, Main Street, Hyannis
June 19 – 23: 14th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival
June 21: 5th Annual Cape Cod Quahog Day, West Dennis
June 26 – 30: Annual Provincetown Portuguese Festival
June 29 – 30: 11th Annual Art in the Village, Barnstable Village
June 30: 66th Blessing of the Fleet, Provincetown
July 1 – August 9: Arts Foundation Summer Concert Series, various towns throughout the season
July 1 – August 30: Cape Harmony A Cappela Concerts, Artist Shanties at Hyannis Harbor every Friday night
July 4th Parades & Fireworks: various towns throughout Cape Cod
July 5 – 7: Annual Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal PowWow at Barnstable County Fairground, Falmouth
July 11: Palette to Palate: Art and cuisine celebrated at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis
July 19 – 21 Annual Grecian Festival: St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Centerville
July 20 – 27: Barnstable County Fair, Barnstable County Fairgrounds
July 27 – Aug 3: 2nd Annual Whale Week,
July 27 – August 3: 22nd Annual woods Hole Film Festival
August 9: La Tavolta Feast Under the Stars at South Cape Village, Mashpee.
August 11: 28th Annual TD Bank Pops by the Sea Concert at Hyannis Village Green.
August 11: 41st Annual Falmouth Road Race, Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights
August 17 – 18: 43rd Annual CraftFest Cotuit at Cotuit Village Green.
August 17 – 19: 9th Annual Provincetown Jazz Festival
August 18 – 24: Annual Carnival Week, Provincetown
August 24: 24th Annual Pops in the Park at Eldredge Field, Orleans
Sept 1: Truro Agricultural Fair
Sept. 1: 8th Annual 5k Labor Day Road Race, Johnny Kelley park, South Dennis
Sept. 6 – 8: Eastham Windmill Weekend
Sept. 7: 13th Annual Seaside le Mans Kart Race, Mashpee Commons
Sept. 7 – 8: 26th Annual Cape Cod Antique Glass Show & Sale, Sandwich Glass Museum
Sept. 7 – 8: Bird Carver & Wildlife Arts Show & Sale, Green Briar Nature Center, East Sandwich
Sept. 13 – 15 Cape Cod Bird Festival
Set. 14: Annual Cape Cod Wildlife Festival, Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable
Sept 20 – 22: 44th Annual Bourne Scallop Festival at Buzzards Bay Park, Bourne.
Sept 28: 2nd Annual Cape Cod Brewfest, Barnstable County Fairgrounds
Sept 29 – Oct 28: 7th Annual Fall for the Arts Festival, Cape-wide
Oct 4 – 6: Jazzfest, Falmouth
Oct 12 – 13: 35th Annual Yarmouth Seaside Festival, Route 28, Yarmouth.
Oct 19 – 20: Wellfleet OysterFest, Town Pier, Wellfleet
- New for 2013 on Cape Cod
In a never-ending quest to entice more visitors to Cape Cod and to improve the experience for returning guests, new services, events, attractions and activities debut each year on this little peninsula we call home. Some are seasonal, some experimental, and others just a tip of the hat to what’s currently hot elsewhere in the world. Never one to just sit back and rest on its laurels, Cape Cod, like a few other savvy tourist destinations, strives to keep pace with the demands of the market. As innkeepers here on Cape Cod, we applaud the efforts of so many local, regional, and state organizations to enhance our guests’ vacation experience. Here in a nutshell, are a few of the most promising new offerings for 2013:
Rail Service from Boston to Cape Cod
A partnership among the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, MassDOT, and the MBTA has resulted in rail service returning to Cape Cod after almost 25 years. Beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend, the CapeFlyer will offer rail service from Boston to Buzzards Bay and Hyannis. Trains will leave South Station in Boston on Friday nights and offer roundtrip service on Saturdays and Sundays. From the Hyannis terminal it will be easy to connect with local bus service on the Cape or hire a rental car. Transit time is expected to be under two hours and will allow visitors to skip the summer weekend traffic often encountered at the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. The final schedule will be available shortly at capeFLYER.com
First Ever Cape Cod Bird Festival
Birders rejoice. The Cape Cod Bird Club is hosting a three-day bird festival September 13th through15th at the Cape Codder in Hyannis. Birding expert, Pete Dunne from the Cape May Observatory, will be the keynote speaker. Among the scheduled activities are field trips to birding hotspots across the Cape; workshops led by birding specialists; a series of lectures; a pelagic trip; and much, much more. Enjoy fall birding at its best! Registration opens April 1st. For more information visit the Cape Cod Bird Club.org.
The Lanes Bowl and Bistro
Combine a 10 pin bowling alley and a casual bistro and what do you get? The Lanes Bowl and Bistro. Recently opened at Mashpee Commons, it is Cape Cod’s first-ever boutique dining and entertainment venue. In addition to bowling, the bistro offers evening entertainment, an al fresco seasonal bar, and a bocce court. Aimed at busting the stereotypes often associated with a typical bowling alley, the Lanes offers upscale dining and contemporary décor in a casual environment. For more information, visit lanesbowlandbistro.com
HyARTS Cultrural District
Home to Cape Cod’s first state-designated cultural district, the HyARTS Cultural District in downtown Hyannis encompasses cultural and historical attractions alongside local restaurants and shops. Open year round, and centered on the Kennedy Legacy Trail, the district celebrates the long and storied history of the Kennedy’s and their influence on Cape Cod. The trail itself, a 1.6 mile self-guided route linking key locations along Main Street and the waterfront, features 10 signed stops offering a brief insight into the relevance of the site to the lives and works of the Kennedys. For more information visit kennedylegacytrail.com.
- Finding Heart Rocks on Cape Cod
Rich and I spend a lot of time walking the beach at Sandy Neck near our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. Walking on the beach always reveals something new, especially after a storm. Waves pounding against the sand can wash up all sorts of things: beach glass, driftwood, dislodged lobster buoys, you name it. No matter what the season a long walk on the beach can sooth the soul, clear the mind, or be the source of inspiration. We have had some of our best talks while walking the beach. There is something about being so close to the ocean, sand in your toes and wind in your hair, that sheds some new perspective on problems that need to be resolved or ideas that need impetus.
Often our walks lead us to treasures too good to be left behind. On one a few years back we found an old oar head that resembled the silhouette of a whale. It was so unique that Rich had it made into a sculpture for me for Christmas that year. But mostly we find sea glass, and my new passion: heart rocks.
A friend of mine first introduced me to the phenomenon of finding heart-shaped stones on the beach. Heart rocks, as they are called, come in all manner of sizes and colors. The first heart rock I found had a small crack in its upper lobe. I nicknamed it “Heartbroken”. I have found so many heart rocks on the beach that I display them on the window sills of the dining room where we serve breakfast. Our guests are fascinated by them and eagerly hunt for them on their own walks on the beach. Some even bring one back to add to my collection.
By but far the most unusual heart rock in my collection I found right after the blizzard in early February this year. Strolling along the coastline marveling at what Mother Nature had done to the beach landscape and the dunes of Sandy Neck, I spotted a dark grey rock with a bright white heart in the center. No bigger than 2 inches long and an inch and a half wide, this rock lay among dozens of others tossed up by the sea. Small rings of white encircle its perimeter, but a very distinct white heart shape adorns its front. I call it my “Ghost Heart”. It was right before Valentine’s Day and I wondered what force of nature sculpted such a perfect symbol of love in stone.
It adorns a special corner in my collection now and everytime I look at I smile. I love the beach and I love that we live so close to it.