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Monday, September 26, 2011

Cape Cod Arts and Artisans

 Fall for the Arts 2011

Edward Hopper's "Corn Hill"
We love Cape Cod. We think it is a beautiful, wonderful place to live, and that our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, located in Sandwich, Massachusetts, is the perfect place to stay and explore all that is available here. Not only do we who are lucky enough to live here think it is special, but so do the millions of people who visit here each year. Scenic Cape Cod, with its’ beautiful light, quaint villages, the sea, and lifestyle, has attracted people of talent and imagination since John Audubon came here in 1835. Edward Hooper summered in South Truro and painted numerous famous Cape landscapes. Ralph Cahoon is perhaps the most famous folk artist to reside and work here. Marcus Waterman’s paintings featured the outer areas in the Provincetown area. Provincetown is America’s oldest art colony where, in 1899, artist Charles Hawthorne was so besotted with the intense sunlight here that he founded the Cape Cod School of Art and taught and painted here for 30 years. In addition to visual artists, poets and writers have also been drawn here. Thoreau spent time on Cape Cod and Eugene O’Neill wrote his first play here.

For the entire month of October, the rich artistic community on Cape Cod is celebrated with the "Fall For The Arts Festival." The Festival covers the Cape with events scheduled from Sandwich to Provincetown to Chatham to Woods Hole. There are over 125 special events, including live performances by local musicians, special exhibits, readings and lectures, guided art and heritage walks, and much more. See the complete schedule by town at the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod website.

A handy guide to find your way to see the work of wonderful artists and artisans is the second edition of the Arts & Artisans Trails of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket published by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. The guide divides the Cape into five distinct "Trails." The Old King’s Highway Trail starts right here in Sandwich and follows Route 6A through Barnstable, Cummaquid, Yarmouthport, and Dennis. We are proud that a third of the all the artist and artisans listed in the guide are in Sandwich, many within walking distance of our B&B.

Although Sandwich has always been on the map for its' historical sites (it is the oldest town on Cape Cod), it is also a haven for the many of today’s talented artist and artisans. Sandwich is home to the Sandwich Glass Museum, which houses a wonderful collection of Sandwich Glass, and the Heritage Museums & Gardens where you will find one of the most important collections of American antique automobiles in the country.

We are offering a special "Fall For The Arts" package at our Sandwich Inn during October that includes a free copy of the trail guide to help plan your day trips. See our Specials & Packages page for more information about our package and come experience the season on Cape Cod. You may even find some wonderful holiday gifts for the people on your Christmas list.

Charlie Preus, Innkeeper's Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Martha's Vineyard: A Day-trip Away

Many of the guests who stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast take day-trips to Martha’s Vineyard. It is just a short hop on one of the ferries to a wonderful adventure on that lovely island. There are two ferries from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months and one that runs year-round.

The Island Queen, with plenty of safe parking in a paved lot nearby, leaves from the harbor in Falmouth from late May through mid October. This is a charming pedestrian ferry that is a 35-minute mini cruise across the sparkling blue water of Vineyard Sound to the village of Oak Bluffs on the island. During the summer months you will cross with other day-trippers, folks who are staying for the week, people who have summer homes there, and families who live on the island. You are welcome to bring your bike, the dog, and the kids on board. Keep in mind that they only accept cash or travelers’ checks for tickets.

The Steamship Authority travels to the Martha’s Vineyard year-round. It leaves from quaint and charming Woods Hole, with ferries to Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. If you are planning on taking your car, be sure to plan ahead and check schedules and rates. You may be surprised at the cost of taking an automobile over to the island during the summer months. You may even find that it is more economical to rent a car on the island for the day.

You can also rent bicycles and mopeds to get around Martha’s Vineyard, but there is also great public transportation there. Bus service is available between Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven and you can get limited service to the other villages of Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury. The frequency of the busses varies with the season, but the service is year-round. You can pay as you go or get daily and multi-day passes. You can board at regular stops or just wave the bus down en-route. There is also taxi service available on the island.

There are three main villages on Martha’s Vineyard: Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. All three have visitors’ information centers where you can pick up maps and other information about each village so that you can make the most of you day on the island. These are the larger of the Vineyard’s villages and each is very different and charming.

Vineyard Haven has beautiful public beaches and a year-round waterfront and harbor. Just across the street from the Steamship Authority building is the Vineyard Haven Visitor Information Center. Be sure to stop in there if this is your first trip to Martha’s Vineyard. You can pick up maps there and directions to shopping, the Williams Street Historic District, public restrooms, West Chop Lighthouse, and other must-see places.

Oak Bluffs is home to the famous and colorful Gingerbread Cottages and the Flying Horses carousel. The village is lively with a casual atmosphere and offers something for everyone. The Oak Bluffs Visitors Center is located near the carousel on Circuit Avenue. The folks there will direct you to public restrooms, the Gingerbread Cottages, East Chop Lighthouse, the arts district, and they can tell you what time the tours are at the Tabernacle in Trinity Park. If you like the beach, there are three public ones in Oak Bluffs.

Edgartown Harbor
Eight miles from Vineyard Haven and 5 miles from Oak Bluffs is the village of Edgartown. This charming village was home to sea captains during the wealthy whaling era and may of the elegant captains’ houses still stand. You will love the white picket fences intertwined with rambling roses that you see all around the village. Stop by the Church Street Visitors Center where you will find public restrooms and lots of information about the village. Some interesting places to visit are the Old Whaling Church, the Edgartown Lighthouse, and the historic Dr. Daniel Fisher House. If you like to shop, you will love all the lovely boutiques in the village. For the beach lover, you will find several public beaches here but watch out for the rough surf.

A "Must Visit!"
From the harbor in Edgartown, you can take a ferry just across the way to Chappaquiddick Island to visit the Mytoi Oriental Gardens. Created by Hugh Jones, this Japanese-style garden is nestled within the island and sheltered by a pine grove. There is no Japanese translation for the word “Mytoi.” Mr. Jones chose to use this spelling to name the garden as he always referred to it as “my toy.” This garden includes a pond with an island that is accessed by a raised bridge. The pond is home to turtles, frogs, and goldfish. There is a footpath leading to a stone garden and a salt marsh. This beautiful and tranquil garden is open all year.

The villages of West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah are smaller and more remote but charming none the less. Aquinnah is the western most village on the island and where you will find the beautiful, gray, Gay Head cliffs that are a great attraction for visitors. It is also home to many of the island’s original residents, the Wampanoag Native Americans. West Tisbury is a quintessential New England village with its white church, old mill, Alley’s General Store, and post office. There are art galleries to explore and a glass blowing studio. Chilmark is largely rural and quite picturesque with tree lined country roads where you will see sheep grazing in stone wall bordered fields overlooking the ocean. Located within Chilmark is Menemsha, a quaint fishing Village and harbor.

If you are visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the first time, you may want to take one of the sightseeing tours of the island when you arrive. Tours originate in both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs but they are seasonal so you may want to check with the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce for more information.
When planning a visit to Martha’s Vineyard, be sure to keep in mind that it is a seasonal island and that some restaurants and attractions are closed before Memorial Day and after Veterans Day.

This is just one of the many splendid adventures that is just a day-trip away from our bed and breakfast.

Jan Preus, the Innkeeper, chef, and artist in residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cape Cod and the Cranberry

Labor Day has gone, but as the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce announced immediately after the passing of the tropical storm Irene, Cape Cod is open for business. In fact, we are very busy at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast and the weather has been great. So great in fact, that so far in September, we have served breakfast to our guest on our garden patio more often than weather permitted in July and August.

As fall approaches, the focus shifts from beach activities to more foliage and seasonal celebrations. The scenic and bucolic drive along Route 6A, the Old Kings Highway, is always beautiful, but is enriched now by the changing colors in the trees and the maturing cranberry bogs. 6A is dotted with working cranberry bogs, which evolve from a mousy brown to bright green as the harvest approaches. When the bogs are flooded for a ‘wet harvest’ and the red fruit floats to the top, our country lanes are bedazzling with a patchwork of brilliant greens and reds.

Cape Cod and New England have a long history with the cranberry, that little red berry that graces almost everyone’s table at least once a year on Thanksgiving Day. The cranberry, the blueberry, and the Concord grape are believed to be the only three native, American fruits. All other fruits were brought to America from other parts of the world. The cranberries special place as part of our traditional Thanksgiving Day meal reflects it significance to the Native American Indians who shared that first meal with the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Indians used the versatile wild berry as food, a fabric dye, and a healing agent in addition to using it as a key item of barter.

Today, the cranberry is still an important part of the agricultural life of Massachusetts. Over 12,000 acres of cranberries are grown in the Southeastern corner of the state, and it is still the number one cash crop. Cranberries are harvested between mid-September and the end of November. Besides adding great color to our landscape, the cranberry and its annual harvest is a cause for celebration and another reason to visit us at our Sandwich Inn.

A great annual event is the Cranberry Harvest Celebration sponsored by the Cape Cod Cranberry Association and A.D. Makepeace Company. The two-day event on October 8-9, 2011 is held in Wareham, MA. Centered at the Tihonet Village Market, it includes cranberry information, local food vendors, unique arts and crafts, plus activities for children.  See the complete schedule of events and directions. If you look closely you may even see those two characters from the Ocean Spray Cranberry commercials, one of the event sponsors.

So it may be fall, but there is still lots to do on our little slice of heaven we call Cape Cod. 

Charlie Preus, Innkeeper's Assistant, and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cape Cod Jazz Fest and Grape Stomp

Fall is just around the corner with many fun adventures in store for guests who visit our Sandwich bed and breakfast. On Sunday, September 18, 2011, from 2:00pm until 6:00pm, Truro Vineyards will be site of the 14th annual Grape Stomp and Jazz Fest. Oenophiles, foodies and jazz aficionados, bring your beach chair and a blanket and prepare to enjoy live music by "Moby Dick & The Whalers," great food from local vendors, wine by the glass, and local arts and crafts. Have some fun with free admission and parking.

Truro is the least populated of Cape Cod’s villages and surely one of the most beautiful areas. It is located almost at the tip end of the Cape but is well worth the visit, if just to see the dunes and the verdant and tranquil setting of Truro Vineyard. The warm ocean breeze and the sandy soil make an ideal growing place for wine grapes.

Truro Vineyards is a working vineyard with a nearly 200 year old, rambling captains’ house that was immortalized in Edward Hoppers 1930 painting entitled Rich’s House. This is one of the few buildings on the Outer Cape featured in Hoppers paintings that is open to the public. Built in 1813 and situated next to 44,600 acres of National Seashore, the Federal style farmhouse was first owned by John and Hannah Hughes. Sporting a rich history and later proving to have soil that would be perfect for growing grapes, the property became a vineyard in 1992.

In 2007 the vineyard was purchased by the Roberts family. It is first and foremost a family business that now, thanks to the Roberts family, has a newly built “green” winery practicing recycling and composting. Their work here is producing enjoyable, increasingly respectable wines. They grow Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes which are hand-picked at harvest time. They also purchase grapes grown by other premium vineyards to allow them to produce a greater variety of wines.

There are free guided tours of the vineyard and winery each day from 1:00pm to 3:00 pm from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Enjoy a wine tasting or a picnic on the beautiful grounds out back of the farmhouse overlooking the vineyard. And, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop where you will find great gifts for the wine lovers in your life.

You don’t have to go to California to have that vineyard wedding you are dreaming about. Talk to the folks at Truro Vineyards and let them help you plan your special day.

Jan Preus, the Innkeeper, chef, and artist in residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sandwich, MA: New Sound in Town

The sound of music is back in Sandwich Village, where our Cape Cod bed and breakfast is located. When we first moved to the beautiful historic Town Hall Square district in Sandwich Village nine years ago, Jarvis and Main streets hosted several musical options. On the north corner was a piano store and adjacent to that, a small music shop.  Upstairs across the street, in what is now the Brown Jug Wine Shop, was a recording studio. On an afternoon walk through the village, it was common to hear the sounds of piano and guitar lessons or music tracks being laid down at the studio.

The piano store moved to 6A and the other music shops are long gone, but music has returned to Jarvis street. Most of the summer, the Brown Jug has hosted music on its’ patio on Sunday afternoons, featuring the talented Gregg Harper.

Gregg Harper
Gregg’s mellow, Burl Ives like voice and acoustic guitar fill the patio with life. He entertains listeners with great folk, blues, roots, and jazz. Both his original songs and his covers of standards are done in his own memorable style. He makes each arrangement his own, from Cat Stevens to Bob Dylan, to catchy island tunes.

A life-long musician, Gregg has written and produced his own music. His CD, “Dragonfly” features such pieces as What We Want, Walk In Beauty, The Affair, and the title song, Dragonfly. This cd is available at various places around Cape Cod and from Gregg directly at the Brown Jug on Sunday afternoons.

It has been a joy to take a brief break from our inn keeping chores and walk over to the Brown Jug to enjoy a bottle of wine, a beautiful plate of cheese, and the smooth sounds of Greg Harper, al fresco with friends and guests on a Sunday afternoon.

The sound of music has returned to Sandwich Village. So, before the summer ends, meet us on the patio at the Brown Jug from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon to relax and enjoy the sounds and tasty delights offered in this little slice of heaven.

Charlie Preus, Innkeeper's Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts