If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air
Quaint little villages here and there
You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod
The singer Patti Page had not yet visited Massachusetts’s seaside haven when she made this ode to the Cape a hit in the 1950s. Today the island’s sand dunes remain high and white and salt still pinches the coastal air. Cape Coders’ reverence for colonial history has protected some of the most charming hamlets from commercial intrusion.
Cape Cod is for all seasons, but late Spring into Autumn are especially resplendent. Depending on your state of mind and your traveling companion, here are three of the Cape’s most gracious B&Bs.
Best for romance
The Inn at Cape Cod (circa 1820), Yarmouth Port
Majestic, classic, refined, the Inn at Cape Cod has a distinct Kensington sensibility, owing to its English innkeepers who meticulously restored to its current grandeur the former home of the wealthy Sears family. The Inn is listed in the National Registrar of Historic Places, but there are a few additions, like a gloriously light-filled breakfast room where an ever changing four course breakfast is a culinary delight.
The Inn’s elegantly appointed rooms (tailored Georgian furnishings, antique carved beds with luxurious linens) have views of the hamlet’s old stone walls and classic saltbox homes. Legend has it that the four poster in the Sears Room was shipped from England for a visit by Queen Victoria, who never did arrive. Just across the lawn is the Old Yarmouth Inn (circa 1690), now an award-winning restaurant. Savor a pint or dine under its 17th century hand hewed beams before turning in.
Best for charm
The Captain Kelley House Bed and Breakfast (circa 1835), Centerville
This sprawling Greek Revival built by Sea Captain David Kelley is an architectural stand-out on an historic Main Street lined with antique seafarer’s homes. Inside, simple period pieces and dashes of color have revived The Captain Kelley House into a place of intimacy and warmth. Airy, light-filled bedrooms extend off a narrow, winding staircase. Each room is wallpapered with a nautical theme or cheerful stripes (yellow and white, blue and white). Fresh white linens, embroidered pillows and heritage patchwork quilts dress carved antique beds. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the flagship Captain Kelley Room overlook lush gardens.
Mornings, expect a breakfast performance known as the “Scone Wars” when the inn-keeping couple vie for baking the most spectacular scone. On one visit, gingered-Lemon Curd squared off with Summer Berry as the bakers serenaded guests with Broadway tunes and Jamaican Reggae, performed in full regalia. In October, the B&B will hosts its last Downtown Abbey weekend: High Tea, a formal, five course dinner served by “footmen,” and a champagne toast to the Crawley family.
Best for family
High Pointe Inn (contemporary), West Barnstable
For long stays, High Pointe Inn is a favorite among European travelers and families. Casually elegant in an upscale residential neighborhood, the Inn’s homey ambiance invites trekking in sand after a day at the beach or sipping an aperitif as the logs crackle in the living room fireplace. The rooms and en suite bathrooms are modern and spacious. In the Sand Dollar Room an impressive white brick, wood-burning fireplace cozies up the cathedral ceilings. Families favor the self-contained Treetops Garden Suite with its private entrance and living quarters equipped with gas fireplace.
From the second story deck, which runs the length of the Inn, there are views of protected marshland that extends to Cape Cod Bay. On a clear day you can glimpse the dunes of Sandy Neck Beach. A pin drop tranquility prevails. At breakfast, arguably the best popovers in New England are served with chunky local jams and steaming coffee poured into pre-warmed cups.