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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cape Cod for the Holidays

Holiday Events 2011

No place are the Christmas Holidays celebrated more beautifully than on Cape Cod and here in our Village of Sandwich, which resembles a Currier & Ives painting this time of the year.The spirit of the season abounds at our Sandwich bed and breakfast and throughout the village in brightly lit shops, museums, art galleries, and homes. There are tree lighting ceremonies, parades, caroling, holiday open houses, and a warm holiday welcome to visitors in every village throughout the Cape.

Celebrations are taking place all along beautiful Route 6A from Sandwich to Brewster, along Route 28 from Falmouth to Chatham, and from Orleans to Provincetown. The Cape Cod Chamber has a listing of events Cape-wide but we wanted to tell you about a few of our favorites.

Historic Sandwich Village exudes Christmas spirit in every church, home, shop, bed and breakfast, and restaurant. The warmth of the holidays is extended to residents and visitors alike. Holly Days in Sandwich will begin Friday, December 2nd with carol singing in front of the First Church and then the lighting of the town Christmas tree. Seasonal events in the village will continue through the Antique Home Tour on December 10th.

The Second Annual Glassblowers' Christmas will begin on November 21st and run through December 30th at the Sandwich Glass Museum. Hundreds of beautiful glass ornaments will be on display and a special ornament for your tree will be available for sale in the museum gift shop. An exhibit of a famous collection of nativities from around the world will show how other cultures celebrate Christmas. Admission is free for members and children and only $5 for non members.

Gardens Aglow – Celebration of Lights - Visit Heritage Museums & Gardens on November 25th – 27th, December 2nd – 4th, 9th – 11th, and 16th – 18th to stroll through the grounds as they are “aglow” with holiday lights. There will be musical performances, visits with Santa, and rides on the holiday carousel. Children can enjoy drop-in crafts to make a trinket to take home. Tickets for members are $7 for adults and $4 for children. For non-members, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children under 2 will be admitted free of charge. There will be something for the whole family to enjoy.

The Green Briar Nature Center will celebrate the season with A Country Christmas, an open house during the first three weekends in December. The center will be resplendent in decorations inspired by a country home of a bygone era. Sample the Jam Kitchen products and have a cup of mulled cider. Some of their jams, jellies, and relishes will make wonderful holiday gifts.

Titcomb's Bookshop on Route 6A in East Sandwich will celebrate the season with an open house on December 3rd and 4th. See an exhibit of vintage Madame Alexander dolls. As December 4th is National Cookie Day, they will treat you to a cookie from one of their featured Holiday cookbooks and a cup of tea in Nancy Titcomb’s antique teacups.

In Barnstable Village on December 2nd – 4th, the Barnstable Historical Society will hold a Holiday Boutique featuring over 40 artisans and craftspeople. On December 3rd, St. Mary’s Church on Route 6A in Barnstable will hold their annual Holly Fair.

The Yarmouth Port Christmas Stroll will take place on December 4th from 1 – 4 pm. Enjoy caroling and the tree lighting on the Village Green at 4:15 pm and tour museums and B&B’s to see their beautiful Christmas decorations.

Brewster For the Holiday-On December 2nd and 3rd from 9 AM to 5 PM, enjoy a traditional Cape Cod holiday celebration. Participating businesses along Main Street will be displaying “Brewster For the Holidays” flags. Shops, inns, museums, galleries, and restaurants will be aglow with holiday spirit. Drummer Boy Park is the site of the wreath and tree lighting on Friday evening, December 2nd, followed by a band concert at the Brewster Baptist Church. The Cape Cod Natural History Museum will hold a Gala Family Holiday Party on Sunday afternoon, December 4th.

Chatham’s annual Festival of Trees will be on December 3rd from 1 – 4 p.m. The Annual Chatham Christmas Stroll will take place on December 9th through December 11th. The festive weekend will start with the tree trimming and lighting on Friday evening. Main Street shops will welcome shoppers with warm holiday spirit. There will be caroling, musical entertainment, a Historic Inn Tour, and much more to celebrate the season.

Orleans - A Seaside Christmas in Orleans will be celebrated on November 26, December 2nd, 10th, and 17th with events throughout the village. There will be a candlelight stroll with Mrs. Clause, hayrides, chowder to warm you, carol singing, and of course Santa. Visit shops and galleries and enjoy holiday refreshments. This will be a great time to do some Christmas shopping.

Provincetown’s Holly Folly celebration is December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Enjoy shopping, holiday events, and music of the season as the entire village celebrates the holidays.

Falmouth Holidays-by-the-Sea Weekend is December 3rd and 4th. There will be concerts, the lighting of the Village Green, the Annual Christmas Parade on Sunday at noon, Santa’s Arrival and much more to celebrate the season.

The Falmouth Theatre Guild’s production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" will take place at Highfield Theater in Falmouth on December 2nd – 4th, and 9th – 11th. There are afternoon and evening performances and tickets are $16 and $14. Check their website for more information or call 508-548-0400.

Hyannis Village’s annual Harbor Lighting and Boat Parade will takes place at 4 p.m. on December 3rd as part of Hyannis Village Christmas. There is a Main Street Stroll complete with music and holiday activities including the arrival of Santa.

Grab a bit of the Christmas spirit this year by visiting Cape Cod. Share the warmth of the season with us at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. We would love to have you.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sandwich Thanksgiving 1750 & 2011

Plimoth Plantation
   As Thanksgiving Day fast approaches, Jan is scrambling with the preparations for a traditional dinner with friends at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. I was wondering what the first Thanksgiving in our house in 1750 must have been like. Jonathon Bassett built our house in Sandwich only about twenty miles from where the Pilgrims and Indians celebrated that first Thanksgiving. Today, at the Plimoth Plantation they commemorate the occasion with a full re-enactment of the event. A visit to this re-creation of the 17th century English Village built by the Pilgrims shortly after landing here in 1620 is always fun but especially meaningful on Thanksgiving.   

By November of 1750, Jonathon Bassett and his family would have been settling into their new house in the bustling Sandwich Village. The new family house was located across from the Mill River, on Franklin Street (now Tupper Road), just a short distance down stream from the Grist Mill. The Grist Mill was the center of industry then and now, fully restored, is again grinding corn daily during the summer season. On that Thanksgiving Day, the Mill would have been closed and since the future Town Hall (1834) was not built yet, the entire square would have been very quiet.

Hoxie House
The Bassetts may have invited neighbors to dine with them. Although Sandwich was still sparsely settled, I am sure they knew some of the Pope family. John Pope had the next house a little to the north (now 110 Tupper), and Seth Pope lived a little south on Grove Street (10 Grove). The original Bassett house was a classic saltbox and much more rustic than our home today, which was expanded into our current Federal style home in 1830. In 1750, our house would have looked more like the Hoxie House on Water Street, which is also now a museum and like the Grist Mill open to the public during the summer season. Our current dinning room was the original kitchen and would have been the center of activity and entertainment. 

Newcomb Tavern
If the Bassett family had not prepared a meal at home, they most likely would have gone to a local tavern to dine. Maybe Mr. Bassett just escaped the after dinner clean up and went to join his friends for a toddy, no televised football games in those days, but still a good time for male bonding. He was in luck, since in 1750 two of Sandwich’s taverns were very near by. The Newcomb Tavern at 8 Grove Street would have been the closest, but maybe too close to home. The Fressenden Tavern on Main Street was only a short walk up River Street. Even though the Revolutionary war was still more that 25 years away (1776), the talk may have been about taxes and politics….some things never change. Mr. Bassett’s political disposition could have dictated his Tavern choice; the Fressenden Tavern became the patriots’ headquarters and Newcomb Tavern the Tories’ headquarters. The Newcomb Tavern still stands on Grove Street and is now a private residence and The Dan’l Webster Inn is on the site of the original Fressenden Tavern.   

The Bassetts may have served corn bread made from meal from the Grist Mill, just as Jan makes muffins from the meal for our guest. Mr. Bassett may have secured his wild turkey main course from the vast open forests surrounding the Village. Today, some of that sense of the wild and a potential source of turkeys remain just up the road in the Shawme Crowell Forest. A few weeks ago at breakfast, my American and British guest raced for their cameras as a flock of 30 plus wild turkeys pecked their way across our front lawn. A flock of turkeys may be a rare sight for most, but here in Sandwich we are accustomed to seeing the turkeys wonder down main street (Route 130) from the Forest, through the Village to the Marsh, and back.

As the holidays approach and the price of fresh turkey increases, you would think the birds would be more cautious. They should be thankful every time they make it home in one piece. I am thankful that I live in Sandwich and can experience the turkeys and all the history just as the Bassett family did in 1750. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are very special times in our little village. We would be glad to have you join us at our historic Sandwich Inn to share this unique experience.

Happy Thanksgiving

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cape Cod Holiday Season 2011

 An old-fashioned Christmas is synonymous with spending the holidays at our Cape Cod B&B in the quaint and historic village of Sandwich, MA. The celebration of Christmas in our lovely village is complete with a magical train ride from the train station in Sandwich aboard the North Pole Express to visit Santa’s workshop, tours of some of our most beautiful historic homes all decked out for the holidays, and our own Holiday ornament to commemorate the occasion. On November 27th, the magic of the season will begin in Sandwich with the lighting of the littlest Christmas tree that will float on Shawme Pond throughout the holiday season.

A Seaside Christmas
 Holly Days in Sandwich is a two-week long series of events that exude the spirit of the New England holiday season. The official kick-off of our “Christmas Stroll” is December 2, 2011, when local residents and visitors gather in front of the First Church of Christ on Main Street to share in the singing of seasonal carols and to watch as the town Christmas tree comes alive with brightly colored lights. For the next two weeks, there will be holiday celebrations throughout the village commencing with the Holly Days Home Tour on Sunday December 11, 2011 from noon to 4:00 pm.

The celebration of the holiday season in Sandwich will begin this year with the 2nd Annual Glassblowers’ Christmas at the Sandwich Glass Museum. This event will feature a special exhibition entitled Nativity Artistry featuring nativities reflecting a variety of local customs from around the world. Creches incorporating wood, natural fibers, clay, tin, and glass are the artists’ interpretations of their cultural traditions. Also on exhibit will be holiday decorations in glass created by some of the region’s finest glass artists. The exhibit opens on Monday, November 21st and runs through Friday, December 30th.

Another seasonal celebration that will certainly get you in the spirit is Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens. Each year starting the Friday after Thanksgiving the gardens are literally aglow with millions of lights. Stroll through the gardens, visit the antique automobile museum, listen to holiday music performed by strolling musicians, ride the antique carousel, and toast marshmallows at the outdoor café.

During our Christmas Stroll, all of the lovely shops in Sandwich village will be festooned with gifts to delight anyone on your shopping list. We have a Holly Days Special that we hope will entice you to come for a stay at our Sandwich bed and breakfast to get "In The Spirit". While you are here you can have lunch or dinner at one of our lovely restaurants, enjoy the seasonal festivities, and do your Christmas shopping. What a wonderful way to spend a winter weekend.

As you stroll around our lovely village you will feel as though you are stepping into one of the paintings of Currier and Ives. In the words of the old Christmas Carol by Irving Berlin….let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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