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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday Entertaining Inspiration for 2012

On Friday, November 30, 2012, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm,  lifestyle guru Matthew Mead will be at our inn for an evening of sharing holiday ideas and Christmas cheer. Guests will meet Matthew and received a signed copy of his newest "bookazine" Matthew Mead Holiday, a lovely ornament for your tree, and Matthew will guide you in creating a mini terrarium in a reproduction jelly jar. Attendees will also enjoy wonderful desserts and beverages provided by the Spotted Cod.
photo of Matthew Meads Christmas magazine

This holiday event is being conducted by the Spotted Cod gift shop that is located in the heart of historic Sandwich Village. Holiday inspirations from this lovely store are featured in the 2012 Matthew Mead Holiday magazine.

 Matthew is a nationally known lifestyle and entertaining expert whose magazine is sold throughout the United States. He has been a contributor to many publications that are household names including Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, and Victoria magazines. He is a frequent contributor to HGTV and the Discovery Channel.

Mr. Mead is known for his use of vintage treasures to design beautiful spaces for the home. He has authored books featuring decorating and lifestyle ideas for each season of the year and for Halloween and Christmas. Each of these beautiful books includes fabulous recipes that will inspire you to create beautiful food for entertaining family and friends. You will also find ideas for re-purposing your own treasures to create beautiful spaces in your home. I think of him as the man for all seasons.

This is just one of many events throughout the weekend that will certainly put you in the holiday spirit. On Saturday, December 1st, from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, Mr. Mead will be at the Spotted Cod for a book signing. If you can't make the Friday evening event, be sure to stop by on Saturday and pick up a copy of his beautiful holiday magazine and get a head start on your shopping for those on your holiday gift list. For more information, and to make reservations for the Friday evening event, call the Spotted Cod at 508-888-8263.

Be sure to visit Matthew Mead's website to learn about the things that inspire him and to meet the members of his team.

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nantucket & Martha's Vineyard Bike Trails

Off the main roads, safe and beautiful bike trails on the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard

Fall color is reaching its peak here on Cape Cod and the weather has been great. Some recent guests at our historic bed and breakfast raved about their bike excursion on Martha’s Vineyard. I have written a few blogs about our favorite bike paths on Cape Cod, but my guest’s enthusiasm reminds me that the travel industry advertises us as the ‘Cape and Islands’. So to be fair and balanced, I need to also cover biking on the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. I also should not digress too much into the discussion that, in fact, Cape Cod is also an island since it was separated from the main land by the building of the Cape Cod Canal in the late 1800s.

Many of our guests want to see one or both of our famous sister islands. Jan has blogged about the ease of day tripping to them in previous blogs and the many sites to see, so I’ll just focus on the biking opportunities. From our Inn in Sandwich, the docks for the ships to these islands are about 20 miles away. To Nantucket you sail from Hyannis and to Martha’s Vineyard you sail from Woods Hole. The Massachusetts’ Steamship Authority which charges a small additional fee for taking your own bikes with, services both islands: Nantucket is $7.00 and Martha’s Vineyard is $4.00.

Of the two islands, Nantucket is the smallest and the most biking friendly. The main part of the island is only about 10 miles long by about 3 miles wide and has an extensive network of paved bike paths that allows you to see up close the natural beauty.
photo of Nantucket Bike Trail map
Nantucket Bike Trails
The well-marked trails lead from Nantucket Village to beaches on all sides of the Island. In the village you need to watch the cobblestones, they are historic but very hard to ride on. The trials are of varying length from 3 to 4 miles one-way to over 10 miles one-way. All are mostly flat with great scenery along the way and upon arrival you are at beautiful beaches on either the Atlantic Ocean or the Nantucket Sound. If you need to rent bikes, I recommend Young’s Bike Shop right on the wharf where the ship docks. This year while we were there, Jan got a Nantucket Bike Basket Co. woven basket for her bike complete with the official brass nameplate from Young’s store. It is a great source for all the info you will need to enjoy a great day of biking on Nantucket Island. Young’s is a landmark open since 1931 and worth a visit even if you don’t need to rent bikes. I am sure they will have something you need or will want for your ride.

map of Martha's Vineyard Bike Trails
Martha's Vineyard Bike Trails
Martha’s Vineyard is another must see for our guests. It is almost three times larger than Nantucket, being about 22 miles long and over 10 miles wide, but is closer to the Cape. It is only about a 30 minute boat ride verses the hour on the fast ferry to Nantucket or two hours on the slow ferry, officially they call it the Traditional ferry but believe me it is a slow ride. So a plus is you get there quicker and it is great place to bike, especially if you are a more ambitious rider.

Again, you take the Steamship Authority to either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. The Vineyard has seven separate villages including the two ports. Paved bike paths run parallel to most of the major roads, but it can be a long hall from one village to the next. Our favorite place is Edgartown and before we started inn keeping we annually stayed at B&Bs in Edgartown. I was younger then, but in fact may not have been in as good of shape, but I found out how far it is form Edgartown to Oak Bluff the hard way. We rented bikes in Edgartown and rode the  six plus miles to Oak Bluff along the breath taking Beach Road which is the famous beach from at least two of the JAWS movies. I could not make the return ride and happily learned that all the public buses on the Vineyard are equipped with bike racks for wimps like me. The very efficient bus system is a most convenient way to cover the whole Island, jumping off with your bike to ride to a specific beach or village, then back on the bus for the longer trip back to the boat. Also, a short ferry ride takes you from the Edgartown dock to Chappaquiddick where you can ride to Wasque Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and visit the unique and beautiful Japanese gardens in the Mytoi preserve. Martha’s Vineyards Information has good information about the bike paths and rental options.     

The fall season is here, the crowds are gone, and the biking is still great on the Cape and Islands. Come stay with us at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast and we’ll help you get to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard for a very memorable experience.

Happy Trails

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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cape Cod Bike Trails: Outer Cape

Off the main roads, safe and beautiful bike trails in Outer Cape Cod.

A lot of visitors to Cape Cod, including guest at our bed and breakfast, are interested in varying degrees of cycling. From the hard core to the easy riders, the Cape has biking trails for all. In previous blogs, I described some of our favorite bike-ways on the Upper-Cape and Mid-Cape, and now I’ll finish off the rest of our island. From Sandwich on the Upper Cape to Provincetown at the very tip of the Outer-Cape it is sixty-five miles, which I do not recommend anyone try to bike. I know a lot hardy souls do it, but that is not our typical guest. But, I do recommend all our guests see Provincetown. If you also want to bike, you have some great options on the Outer-Cape and along the way.

On the way to P-town, on scenic Route 6A in Brewster you pass Nickerson State Park, a very popular summer campgrounds on 1900 rustic acres. Jan and I love to stay in state parks when we travel in our motor home during the winter months. This Massachusetts state park has 400 tent campsites set in great natural scenery with abundant wildlife. It offers campers hiking, biking, fresh water ponds for swimming, fishing, and access to the beaches on the Cape Cod Bay. The 8 miles of dedicated bike paths are open to non-campers and are connected to the longer Cape Cod Rail Trail. Two specific parking lots with direct access to the paths are conveniently located off 6A. Bike rentals are also available in the Park. It is a very doable ride that takes you up close to nature in this unique preserved coastal woodland. Parts of the ride can be a little hilly, but it is well worth the effort.

A little further down the road, or is it down Cape or up Cape, is what many think is a must see even if you are not biking, the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS). The CCNS is over 43,000 acres of ponds, woods, dunes, and beaches run by the National Park Services. It has over 40 miles of Atlantic facing beaches, considered to be the best on Cape Cod and by far some of the best surfing in the Northeast.

I could go on and on, but for this blog the important thing is the bike paths. The Nauset Marsh Trail starts at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham and runs 1.6 miles through this breathtaking landscape to Coast Guard Beach. It a short ride that you may never forget. If you have your own bikes it is easy to park and do the ride, if you need to rent bikes you may want to continue up to P-town. There is an entrance fee to all National Parks and we recommend that if you are over 62 you investigate an America the Beautiful Senior Pass. A few years back Jan and I discovered the pass while staying in Ocala National Forest in Florida. It saved us 50% a night on RV camping fees. It paid for itself in the first few nights. See, there are some advantages to getting older.

The last bike path is the Province Lands Trail at the tip of the Cape which is still in the Cape Cod National Seashore. This hilly 5+ mile loop starts at the Province Lands Visitor Center and winds through the dunes system and the unique Beech Forest. Side spurs take you to Herring Cove Beach, Bennett Pond, and Race Point Beach. Even if our guests are not bikers, I suggest they stop at the visitor center and take in the observation deck on top of the building. Jan and I never miss stopping when we make it that far from home, the views are unbelievable. Literally, you can see for miles and miles, some of the most beautiful views in the world.

Photo of sun setting on Race Point Beach in Provincetown, MA
Sunset at Race Point Beach
If you have your own bikes, you just unload and ride. If you need bikes, plenty of options are available a mile or so away on Commercial Street in P-town. A good resource for more info about these trails and bike rental, etc., is the Cape Cod Bike Guide web site. As you plan your biking adventure, stay with us at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast and we’ll tell you about all the other things you need to see in Provincetown

Happy Trails

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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cape Cod Bike Trails: Mid-Cape

 Off the Main Roads:  Safe and beautiful bike trails of Mid Cape Cod

Photo of a map of the Cape Cod Rail Trail
Cape Cod Rail Trail
A lot of guests at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast enjoy biking and are looking for scenic routes to get a little exercise and see more of the beautiful Cape. In an earlier blog, we introduced the two wonderful bikeways nearest to us on the Upper Cape, the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway and the Shinning Sea Bikeway. A little further down Cape is another great trail that many of our quests have experienced this year, the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

As the name implies, this trail started as the rail bed for the trains that criss-crossed Cape Cod in the late 1800s through the mid 1900s. For all the talk about rapid and mass transit we hear today, we forget that in the 1800s trains connected much of the country. The first railway on Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Branch Railroad, came to Sandwich in 1846 to service the large Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, as well as deliver the mail and passengers. Many of Sandwich’s first tourist arrived by train. Part of this original line still exists and is used today by the Cape Cod Central Railroad for ‘scenic adventures through Cape Cod’s hidden back country’ and still stops in Sandwich. After the Sandwich connection was made, other lines sprung up to link the Cape towns all the way to Provincetown. The advent of the automobile and improved roadways doomed most of the small lines and left the abandoned railroad right-of-ways winding through the countryside.

The old rail beds make the perfect bike path when reclaimed and paved. The Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT) may be the Cape’s best-known and longest bike-way. It starts in the mid-cape town of Dennis and runs 25 miles to the outer-Cape town of Wellfleet. From its beginning off Route 134 in Dennis, the original trail ran through Harwich and Brewster to Orleans. I remember fondly my first ride on the trail in the late 1980s. A friend had a summer cottage in Brewster and he introduced me to the trail that is just a short way inland. We biked along beautiful marshes and bogs, even stopping to swim in a wonderful, small, fresh water pond. We lay in the sun on the grassy/sandy beach until our shorts dried and then resumed our ride refreshed. What a great way to spend a Cape Cod day. This original portion of the CCRT to Orleans has been extended approximately 10 miles through Eastham to LeCount Hollow Road in Wellfleet. You will find plenty of cafes and ice cream stands along the way, but I always advise my guest to be sure they are ready for a 50 mile round trip. Honestly, that is a little too far for me these days.

Photo of the Chatham Fish Pier
Chatham Fish Pier
For our less ambitious guests, the CCRT offers a shorter ride to one of our favorite destinations on the Cape, Chatham. We always recommend visiting this beautiful up- scale town on the ‘elbow’ of the Cape and if a guest also wants to bike, this a great way to do both. Again, from the start of the CCRT on Route 134 in Dennis, the Chatham Rail Trail Extension winds its’ way the 11.7 miles to Crowell Road in Chatham. From there, a short trip down Shore Road takes you past the majestic Chatham Bars Inn to the Chatham Fish Pier. Lunch in luxury at the Inn’s café on the beach or casually on the pier watching seals beg for scraps as the working fishing fleet unloads it’s catch. The fish does not get any fresher. Another must see is the Chatham Lighthouse that over looks the breathtaking Chatham bars (sandbars for visitors). As the seal population has increased, a new attraction is spotting the Great White Sharks that also love the seals. If you remember the movie Jaws, take care before you go for that swim.

From our Sandwich bed and breakfast, it is only about 25 miles to the start of this great bike trail. A good source for detailed information about the CCRT, and other trials, is the Cape Cod Bike Guide web site. It has a downloadable trail maps, a complete list of bike shops, and directions to parking lots at the various access points on the trails. Stay with us and we will give you a list of our favorite ice cream stands along the trails.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cape Cod Bike Trails: Upper Cape

Off the main roads:  Safe and beautiful bike trails on Upper Cape Cod

Cape Cod is known for it beautiful beaches and summer fun. Also, it is now getting to be known for its network of splendid bike trails. Many guests at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast are cyclist, ranging in skill and dedication from the causal rider needing to rent a bike locally, to the fully spandex-decked-out nut with the clamp-on shoes (not the technical term, but you know who I mean). The first type wears his baseball cape and meanders about on a sturdy set of big tired wheels from the rental shop on Jarvis street. For these guests, the short rides around Sandwich Village, or maybe as far as the Boardwalk, is often as much exercise as they want. The second type dons a Star Wars like aerodynamic helmet and lovingly unloads his very expensive, ultra light, thin tired, racing machine from his custom-made bike rack with the half dozen locks. Lance Armstrong has nothing on these guys, including the faux near florescent yellow jersey.

photo of Cape Cod Bike Path mapI am pleased to say that Cape Cod and the Islands have much to offer both of these riders, as well as the many different leveled enthusiasts in between. Oh, a third type is the off road mountain biker, who most likely did BMX racing as kid, has had a few extremity fractures in the past, and I bet a total hip replacement or two in their future. In appealing to the biggest part of the bell curve of cyclist and needs of my most common baby-boomer guests, I will cover the trials that are paved and more civilized, leaving the off-roaders to find their own Trial of Tears.

Photo of the Cape Cod Canal bike path
Cape Cod Canal Bike Path
As always, we see Sandwich as a great central location for all types of Cape Cod recreation and site seeing during any season, and our Inn as the logical and convenient place to stay. We happen to be only a mile or so from the start of one of the easiest bike paths, the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway. The man-made Cape Cod Canal was built at the turn of the last century and connected two rivers, separating the peninsula from the mainland and creating the island we have today. On either side of the canal, the Army Core of Engineers, that maintains the waterway, has built wide paved access roads. Walkers, runners, roller bladders, and non-motorized vehicles enjoy this almost flat, scenic 8-mile path right next to the water. On the Cape side of the canal, it starts next to the Sandwich Marina and runs under both the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges to the Rail Road Bridge in Buzzards Bay. The easy ride gives you time to observe the water traffic, which ranges from small fishing and pleasure boats, to three-masted tall ships, to huge ocean tankers guided by Tugs heading to Boston. After a round trip ride of up to almost 20 miles, you can enjoy refreshments at the Aqua Grille as the sun sets over the marina. I often do the sunset, even if I do not make the ride. Comfortable bikes are available for rent from Justin at Ecotourz.   

Photo of the Shining Sea Bikeway market
About 15 miles away in North Falmouth is the beginning of the Shinning Sea Bikeway that runs through Falmouth and Woods Hole. It was named for a line in the song America the Beautiful that was written by Katherine Lee Bates, a long time Falmouth resident. Like many of the paved bike trails today, this one started as an abandoned railway right-of-way and has been reclaimed, cleared and paved. Like the original rail lines, it meanders through the back woods, past small ponds and in this case along the beach on Vineyard Sound and past the Nobska Lighthouse. This mostly flat 10.7 miles path runs from County Road in North Falmouth to the Steamship Authorities’ parking lot in Woods Hole. Full service bike shops for rentals and repairs are conveniently located at the start and in Falmouth. At trail’s end, treat yourself in Woods Hole at Jan’s favorite spot for key-lime pie, the Pie in the Sky coffee shop.

These are two of our favorite bikeways on the Upper Cape that we refer our guest to for easy, scenic cycling. The Cape Cod Bike Guide web site  has more information on each of these trails including downloadable trail maps, a complete list of bike shops, and directions to parking lots at the various access points on the trails. Stay with us at our Sandwich Inn and we’ll fill you in on the other fun things to do while you enjoy the trails.

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

Visiting Cape Cod - Why Stay in Sandwich?

When we decided to become innkeepers, we wanted to buy a Cape Cod bed and breakfast located in an area that provided the best possible experience for guests. Having had a house on the Cape for many years, and commuting from Boston every weekend, we wanted a location that was easy to travel to from the airports in Boston and Rhode Island and for folks who come to the Cape from surrounding towns and states. Location was the most important aspect but our criteria was much greater.

A map of Cape Cod and the islands
The island of Cape Cod -- and yes, it is one of the largest barrier islands in the world--is such a spectacular vacation destination with so many quaint and beautiful villages that I think it is often difficult for folks who aren't familiar with it to choose just where to stay when they are planning their trip. This was also a challenge for Charlie and me when we began our search for the village in which we wanted to live and work. There are so many reasons we chose Sandwich, and particularly the historic village area, and we want to share them with you in the hope that it will encourage you to choose it when making your decision about where to stay on your visit to Cape Cod.

Aside from being the oldest and most historic village on Cape Cod, it is as the real estate slogan says; location, location, location. When staying in Sandwich, it is so easy to take day trips to any of the Cape's other villages and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The rich history here, fabulous restaurants (some on the water), beaches, great shopping, museums galore, hiking and biking trails, rivers and marshes for kayaking. What more could one hope for?

Photo of the Aqua Grille Waterside Patio
Aqua Grille Waterside Patio
 With the wide variety of restaurants in our village, there is something for everyone. We have one of the famous Seafood Sam's for some of the area's best fresh fish and shellfish. One of the finest restaurants on Cape Cod is located here in the renovated and re-purposed church that is the unique and elegant Belfry Bistro. We have the popular restaurant and tavern at the Dan'l Webster Inn and the wonderful Aqua Grille that is located on the Sandwich Marina with a beautiful outdoor patio for waterfront dining and a view of our spectacular sunsets. You can also have a cocktail and watch the sunset from Hemisphere Restaurant located right on town beach. We have a great little pizza parlor called Emelia's where some of the best pizza you ever tasted is made. There is the prized Cafe Chew (Sandwich's Sandwichery) for a great lunch and, for lovers of Italian food, we have Tomato's, Amari, and the Sagamore Inn. For traditional New England fare, you can have lunch or dinner at the Bee-Hive Tavern. We have two Irish Pubs; Flynn's and Bobby Byrne's. There is also a British pub and we have one of the top 10 English Tea Shops in the country in the Dunbar Tea Shop--you just gotta try their desserts. We have two of the best gourmet shops in Momo's and the Brown Jug and two great wine shops in the Brown Jug Wine Shop and Cellar 55 Wine Merchants. And, of course, you have to visit the Marshland Restaurant to try their quahog, which was named  'Best in the US' by the Food Network. And then there are our three amazing ice cream shops; Twin Acres, Sweet Caroline's, and Ice Cream Sandwich. They are only open during the summwe season but you want to try all three while you are here. You be the judge of which is the best. Right in the village are Beth's Teas and The Coffee Roost. So many of these great places you can walk to from our bed and breakfast.

We have antiques shops with some of the most affordable antiques shopping on the Cape, art galleries galore, and shops with divine gift items and lovely treats for yourself. We have shops that feature local artisans and crafts people and we have the very special Spotted Cod with the most beautiful gifts and home decorating items you will find anywhere....shades of Coastal Living. We have three glass blowing studios producing world class items. After all, Sandwich is known as the ''Glass Town' with a glass making history that dates back to the 1800s when Sandwich was the world center for pressed glass making. You can learn all about that era at the Sandwich Glass Museum, just across the street from our inn.

Photo of Dexter Grist Mill in Sandwich MA
Dexter Grist Mill
And speaking of fun things to do, in addition to visiting the Glass Museum,  we have the oldest operating grist mill, circa 1654, right across the street on Shawme Pond where you can watch corn being ground during the season and buy the meal to take home to enjoy. This mill is also one of the most photographed attractions in our area. And just up the street from the grist mill is the Hoxie House, the oldest completely restored house on Cape Cod where you can see how the colonials lived.

Located on Grove Street, and just up the hill from our inn, is one of the crown jewels of Cape Cod, and southern New England's largest public garden, Heritage Museums & Gardens. That in itself could be a day trip. In addition to the most amazing floral and tree covered grounds, this 100 + acre horticultural garden is home to three museums, including an auto museum with one of the finest antique American auto collections in the world. It is housed in a reproduction, round, stone Shaker barn. Housed in another museum is an antique carousel that has been fully restored. Be sure to take a spin back in time.

Before you leave Heritage Museums & Gardens, check out the Maze and the Labyrinth. If you are there in early summer, you will have the pleasure of walking the trails where 10,000+ rhododendrons will be in resplendent bloom. Don't miss Hidden Hollow and its tree house, believe me it's not just for kids.

Another part of Sandwich's history is that Thornton Burgess, famed children's story book author, lived here. Homage is paid to this environmentalist at the Thornton Burgess Museum and at the Green Briar Nature Center. At Green Briar, is possibly the oldest operating jam making kitchen in the country. If you love making homemade jam, you may want to schedule your visit here to include one of their jam workshops.

If you are like me and really enjoy visiting old cemeteries, we have several here in the village. Go for a morning walk and stop by the Old Town Cemetery just up the street, which dates back to the 1600s. The feeling that you have just stepped back in time is palpable there.

Photo of Sandiwich Boardwalk
Sandwich Boardwalk
A visit to Sandwich is not complete until you have visited the Sandwich Boardwalk, which spans the marshes and mill creek and leads to the sand dunes of Town Beach on Cape Cod Bay. Just this year, our lovely boardwalk was named one of the 10 most beautiful in the world by National Geographic magazine.

If that isn't enough to keep you happily engaged, how about an afternoon kayaking along Mill Creek and Scorton Creek or biking along the Cape Cod Canal Bike Path. You can bring you own bike or kayak or Justin at EcoTourz would be happy to rent you one and you can even schedule a kayak tour with him. There are also many trails to hike and beaches to stroll. Folks love to search our beaches in hopes for finding some small pieces of beach glass, perhaps even a particle of the illusive Sandwich glass.

Photo of Justin kayakingAs I have said, Sandwich is the perfect place to call 'home' while you are visiting Cape Cod. We will give you maps and direct you to other parts of the Cape for great day trips and adventures. We can also help you plan your visit to the other islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. We hope you will come stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast and think of it as your seaside retreat while you are here.

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest 2012

Photo of Cranberries on the vine
Some people think the ‘season’ on Cape Cod ends on Labor Day, when many Cape Cod residents wave goodbye from the overpasses on Route 6 as tourist stream home. For us at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, we are just swinging into our fall season, which many of our guests think is nicer than the summer season because the weather is still great, the crowds are gone, and there are great things to do. Take Cranberry festivals for an example of unique and truly Cape Cod experience that does not involve the beach and sand. 

Fall is harvest time in any agriculture community and the cranberry is the Cape’s number one farm product. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is one of the largest growers of cranberries in the United States, with over 900 bogs and 14,000 acres in the Southeastern part of the state, more than half of which are right here on Cape Cod. Cranberries have been an essential food crop since the Pilgrims landed 20 miles north of here in 1620. The Native American Indians introduced them to this versatile little fruit that they used for everything from creating colorful clothing dyes to a powerful healing potion. A fact I find interesting is that the cranberry is one of only three fruits indigenous to North America. The other two are Concord grapes and blueberries. All three are native to our New England state.  

Cranberry harvesting usually starts after Labor Day and, depending on the weather, can go through late October and early November. The berries grow on short evergreen shrubs in ‘bogs’, which are flat sandy rectangular plots surrounded by dykes. During the summer, the shrubs turn from a dull brownish color to a dark green. Most are harvested by what is known as the ‘wet-picked’ method, where the bogs are flooded and the red berries float to the top. The berries are loosened from the vines and corralled to a corner of the bog to be pumped out for processing. We have all seen the Ocean Spray commercial with the two men standing in water surrounded by floating berries. It does look something like that. During the harvest season it is fun to drive along 6A or down the back roads off 6A, and come around the corner to see the brilliant patchwork of squares of green and red as the bogs of the lush green plants are flooded and the ripe bright red fruit floats on top of the water. Great information about the cranberry industry is available from  the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

The cranberry harvesting season is not only a visual delight, but a fun time as festivals and special events around the Cape celebrate the bounty all during September and October. The town of Harwich is credited with establishing the commercial cranberry industry on the Cape in 1847. Harwich’s relationship with the berry continues with their annual Harwich Cranberry Arts and Music Festival Saturday and Sunday, September 15th  and 16th. See their website for details of their ‘Cran-Jam’ music line up and parade schedule.

Photo of Jam Making Class
Jam Making at Green Briar
On October 6th you can actually make your own cranberry jam at the 1903 Jam Kitchen at the Green Briar Nature Center, a mile or so down the road from our Inn. The Centers’ bogs and ponds served as the inspiration for the stories of the famous children’s book author, Thornton W. Burgess. On a stroll of their nature trails and wild flower gardens you may see a descendent of Peter Rabbit or Peter Cottontail.

Also, the weekend of October 6th and 7th is the 9th Annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration, sponsored by the A.D. Makepeace Company and the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association. The two-day event features cranberry bog tours, helicopter rides, pony rides, cooking demonstrations, juried crafters and artisans, and musical performances. A.D. Makepeace Company is one of the largest growers in Southeastern Mass and located just across the canal in Wareham.   

Come and stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast anytime and we will you tell you where our local Sandwich bogs are so you can see one for yourself. We can also help you set up bog tour with at the Cape Cod Bog and Farm in Harwich. Jan may also be cooking up some of her tastey cranberry bread to help celebrate the harvest. 

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

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lighthouses of Nantucket Island

Lighthouse hunting is a favorite pastime for guests who stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. Nantucket is a magical island like no other I have visited and it is home to three picturesque lighthouses; Brant Point Light, Sankaty Light, and Great Point Light. These beacons of safety have been guiding mariners into harbor for centuries.

During the 1800s, Nantucket was a major whaling port. Many books have been written about this small island  and it's whaling history. One of my favorite is Ahab's Wife written by Sena Jeter Naslund. This magical book weaves fascinating stories about whaling in and around Nantucket.

Brant Point Light
Photo of Brant Point Light on Nantucket
Brant Point Light
The first light, and the second to be built in the colonies, Brant Point Light was built on the island of Nantucket in 1746. It was a wooden structure built on Nantucket Harbor. It was replaced several times over the years as it was destroyed by fire or storm. The first brick tower was built in 1856 and was lit on December 10th of that year and bore a Fourth order Fresnel lens that beamed a fixed  light. Although this structure still stands, because of erosion a new tower was built in 1901. It was only 26 feet tall and was again constructed of wood. It was fitted with a Fifth order Fresnel lens. Some years later, the light would be changed to a flashing red so that it was more easily differentiated from the lights of the town.

Brant Point Light is still guiding mariners today. Although its flashing red light is only 26 feet above sea level, it can be seen ten miles out to sea. When you visit Nantucket, it is one of the first things you see as the ferry rounds Brant Point and heads into the harbor. You can walk to the grounds on which it stands but the lighthouse itself is not open to the public.

Sankaty Light
Photo of Sankaty Light on Nantucket
Sankaty Light
Built in 1850 of brick, Sankaty Light is located on Sankaty Head in Siasconset (known as Sconset to the locals) and stands 70 feet tall. The lighthouse was originally fitted with a Second order Fresnel lens, making it the first in the United States to have one of these lenses. The fixed white light that it emitted could be seen for 20 miles out to sea and was called by fishermen 'the blazing star'.

Sankaty Light was electrified in 1933 and changed to a flashing light. In 1950, the Fresnel lens was replaced by a modern rotating beacon and in 1965, the light was automated. The original Fresnel Lens is now on exhibit at the Nantucket Whaling Museum located at 13 Broad Street near where the ferry docks . The museum is a must see when visiting Nantucket. Some guided tours of Nantucket Island include the lighthouse but the tower is not open to the public.

If you decide to go it on your own, leave Nantucket Village by Milestone Road and head out to Siasconset. When you reach the rotary, take Sankaty Avenue to Butterfly Lane and turn right. When you reach Baxter Street, turn left. At the end of Baxter, you will see where the original light was and the new one 400 feet from the original site.

Great Point Light
Photo of Great Point Light on Nantucket
Great Point Light
During the 18th century, the area between the mainland and Nantucket was one of the busiest shipping routes and one of the most treacherous. Residents of the island requested the building of a lighthouse to reduce the number of shipwrecks in that area.

In 1785 the first lighthouse was constructed on what was then called Sandy Point and was made of wood. It was destroyed by fire in 1816 after which a 60-foot stone tower was built and finished in 1818. In 1857 a third order Fresnel lens was installed and in the 1950's, the light was automated.

As erosion began to threaten the lighthouse, Islanders appealed to the Coast Guard to move it inland. The request was rejected and in 1984, the lighthouse was destroyed. Because of he efforts of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, federal money was made available to build a replica of the original light some 300 yards from the old site. It is made of concrete and plastic and stands 60 feet high. A solar powered white light flashes every five seconds.

You can reach Great Point from Nantucket Village by traveling east to Polpis Road and then turning north on Wauwined Road. You will need a four-wheel drive vehicle and a permit to travel the seven miles from Wauwinet to the lighthouse.

The area where Great Point light is located is not open to the public as it is a nesting area for the endangered piping plover. From May to October guided tours of area are available through the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. The tour includes a climb to the top of the tower. The Fresnel lens is fittingly on display in an area outside the Nantucket Lifesaving Museum which is located at 158 Polpis Road.

The lighthouses are not the only attraction to Nantucket but a visit there isn't complete until you have paid homage to these historic beacons of safe harbor.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cape Cod Has Baseball Fever

It is only August, but baseball play-off fever is gripping Cape Cod. How can that be? It will take until the end of September before we even know who will be contending for the Major League Baseballs (MLB) championship. Boston Red Sox fans of old never gave up hope for their team, but even the stoutest old timers are not counting on seeing this years woeful team in the October finals. What gives on Cape Cod now?

All summer long, baseball-loving guest at our  Cape Cod bed and breakfast have enjoyed Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) games. This premier college, student-manned summer league wrapped up its forty-four game regular season and are into the first round of the playoffs leading to the August 17, 2012 CCBL Championship. The compressed elimination series allows the student athletes to spend a little time at home before resuming classes at schools all around the country in September.

Sandwich does not have a team in the ten-team league, so I follow the Bourne Braves who play a few miles up scenic Route 6A at Doran Park as my ‘home’ team. I don’t get to enough games, but daily I track the standings. My Braves finished the regular season in fourth place in the Western Division with a 17-win, 27-loss record. In this regard, they remind of the MLB Boston Red Sox, who also seem to have a hard time getting over 500 and are also near the bottom of their division. Since the CCBL only has five teams in each division, the top four make it to the best-of-three first round playoffs. Bourne in fourth place had to play the Division leading Cotuit Ketteleers, with a 30 win, 14 lost, regular season record. In a shocker, the Braves won the first game, lost the second and hung on in a 6 to 4 victory to advance to the Eastern Division Finals.

In this next best-of-three series, Bourne faces the Wareham Gatemen. Wareham, the second best in the Western Division, advanced by beating the third best Falmouth Commodores in two straight games, the last in a lopsided 20 to 7 slug-fest. In the Western Division, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox beat the Chatham Anglers in two straight and will face the Orleans Firebirds, who beat the Harwich Mariners in two straight, in the Western Division Finals.

My Bourne Braves have their work cut out for them, but they have already beat the best of the regular season, so let’s hope the magic holds. If only the Boston Red Sox can do as well. If not, as the saying goes, there is always next year. And next year, guests at our Inn will again be able to enjoy the unique experience of a summer night baseball game on beautiful Cape Cod.

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

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Martha's Vineyard Lighthouses

If you love lighthouses, we hope you will visit us where you can explore them to your heart's content. In a previous blog we have written about the Lighthouses of Cape Cod but we don't want to forget about the islands to our south; namely Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. In this blog, we will be sharing information about the lighthouses of Martha's Vineyard.

During the 1700s and 1800s lighthouses were paramount for the safe harbor of mariners, especially when navigating the waters approaching an island. The island of Martha's Vineyard is home to five of these guardians of ports. They are all located on the north side of the island overlooking Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, the entrance to Edgartown Harbor, and Cape Poge. All are easily accessible with the exception of Cape Poge Light.

We hope the following information is helpful to you in exploring these beautiful and historic beacons of safety from a bygone era. It is through the efforts of organizations that recognize the importance of maintaining them that we are able to enjoy them today.

East Chop and West Chop Lighthouses in Vineyard Haven
From the mid 1600s to the mid 1900s, the harbor called "Holmes Hole" was considered one of the most important ports of protection on the Atlantic coast. In 1871 it acquired the name Vineyard Haven and was Martha's Vineyard's busiest port. The harbor is protected by two areas known as East Chop and West Chop with lights in each area. In England, the word "chop" meant the entrance to a channel.

East Chop Lighthouse  
Photo of East Chop Lighthouse in Vineyard Haven
The first lighthouse in East Chop was built and privately owned by a sea captain and was funded by local mariners and some who were just passing through. The government bought the little lighthouse in 1878 and built the current structure out of cast iron. It was built on a cliff and stood 79 feet above the ocean. It was fitted with a forth order Fresnel lens that emitted a fixed white light. It was later converted to a flashing red light and then a flashing green light. The lighthouse was originally a reddish-brown color and was called " the Chocolate Lighthouse". It wasn't until 1988 that it was painted white. The lighthouse was automated in 1934 and the original Fresnel lens was replaced by the more modern optic lens in 1984. The lighthouse is open to the public for tours on Sundays right before sunset from mid-June to mid-September.

West Chop Lighthouse
Photo of West Chop Lighthouse in Vineyard Haven, MA
The current brick lighthouse was built in 1838 and replaced the wooden one built in 1817. On October 5th of that year, the fixed white light went into service. In 1846, the tower was enclosed in wood shingles, giving it an octagonal shape. In 1891, this was replaced by a new 45-foot red brick tower. It was painted white in 1896. Twice during the 1800s it was necessary to move the structure back from the edge of the cliff due to erosion. Although the original fourth order Fresnel lens remains in place today, the lighthouse was  automated in 1976. Its flashing white light is still visible for 15 miles out to sea. Although it is closed to the public, you can see the lighthouse from West Chop Road and from the ferry entering Vineyard Haven.

Gay Head Lighthouse  
Photo of Gay Head Lighthouse
The mutit-color, clay cliffs of Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard rise 130 feet above the sea. This picturesque location is home to the Gay Head Lighthouse. On November 18, 1799, the wooden lighthouse that was built on a stone base went into service. Its revolving light could be seen for more than 20 miles. In 1844, the tower had to be moved back from the eroding cliffs edge. In the mid 1800s, this light was deemed to be the 9th most important in the United States. In 1855 work began on a new, 51-foot, brick lighthouse that would house a first order Fresnel lens. In 1885 the light was converted to kerosene and in 1952, the Fresnel lens was replaced by an electric beacon. In 1998, Gay Head's name was changed to Aquinnah. Because of erosion the cliffs are closed to the public but the lighthouse is open on weekend evenings from one hour before sunset until a half hour after sunset from mid-June until mid-September.

Edgartown Lighthouse   
Photo of Edgartown Lighthouse
During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Martha's Vineyard had a booming whaling industry. Edgartown was home to more than 100 captains of whaling ships. The homes that they built remain among some of the most beautiful in all of New England. In 1828, the government appropriated money to build a lighthouse that sat off shore on pilings. It had a fixed, white light that could be seen for 14 miles out to sea. In 1830, a wooden bridge was built to provide easier access to the lighthouse. In 1856, a fourth order Fresnel lens replaced the old lamps. After a hurricane destroyed the building in 1938, a cast iron, 45-foot  tower was brought to Edgartown from Ipswich, MA and fitted with an automatic, flashing red light. In 1990, a new plastic lens was installed and the light converted to solar power. Over the years, sand has filled the area between the lighthouse and the island until it sits on the beach today. Renovations began in 2007 and this lovely lighthouse is now a popular spot for wedding photos. It is open to the public at specified times from Memorial Day until Columbus Day. VTA buses will drop you off on Church Street and it is about a 15 minute walk to the lighthouse.

Cape Poge Lighthouse     
Photo of Cape Poge Lighthouse
Chappaquiddick is a small island just east of Martha's Vineyard and near Edgartown Harbor. Cape Poge is at the northeast tip of this tiny island. In 1801, a 35-foot, octagonal wooden lighthouse was built there. In 1838, it had to be moved back from the eroding bluff. A new lighthouse with new lights was completed in 1844 and a forth order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1893, a new wooden tower was built 40 feet inland. It was intended to be temporary but still exists today. Because of erosion, It has since been moved inland four times. It has also been refurbished, has had a plastic lens installed, and has been automated. Cape Poge Light still functions as a navigational aid. If you are willing to hike the three and a half miles from Dike Bridge, you can visit the lighthouse. Tours are offered May through November and reservations are required.

The island of Martha's Vineyard is an easy day-trip from our Cape Cod bed and breakfast inn. Come stay with us and explore these fabulous pieces of history.

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

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lighthouses of Cape Cod

Imagine it is the 1800s and you are Captain of a whaling ship that has been at sea for 3 years. Your ship is laden with the whale oil from your catch and you are headed back to your family and your home on Cape Cod. You know from past experience that the waters off the Cape are treacherous and that heavy fog can make coming into port extremely hazardous. As you approach land you pray for guidance from above as you scan the horizon for the beacons of light that you know will give you your points of reference and lead you to safety.

Nobska Light Photo by Rick Constantineau
From Wings Neck in Buzzards Bay to Race Point in Provincetown, Cape Cod is home to 16 lighthouses. These beautiful and historic structures were built to aid mariners with navigation when shipping was vital to life in America.

Today, many visitors to Cape Cod go in search of these picturesque symbols of safety to seafarers (try saying that three times). Whether you want to photograph them, tour them, or perhaps spend the night in one of them, we wanted to give you an introduction to each one.

Wings Neck extends from Pocasset out into Buzzards Bay. The first lighthouse to sit on this spit of land was built in 1849. In 1857 a fourth order Fresnel lens replaced the multiple lamps and reflectors and in 1928 the lens was replaced and the light changed to a flashing one. In 1934 the light was converted to electricity. A new tower was built to rise 44 feet above the water in the 1890s, and in 1902 a fog bell was added. In 1945 the light was discontinued and in 1947 it was sold to a private party. The grounds are not open to the public but it is available for rent. Wings Neck Lighthouse can be seen from a gate near the lighthouse. From Route 28, take Barlow’s Landing Road onto Wings Neck Road and follow it to the end.

One of the most picturesque of the Cape’s lighthouses is the circa 1828 Nobska Light in Woods Hole. It was built to facilitate boat traffic in Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay. The present tower was built in 1876 and the light was automated in 1985. The grounds are open to the public but the lighthouse is open for tours only during scheduled times.  To reach the lighthouse, take Route 28 in Falmouth to Woods Hole Road and turn onto Church Street and follow it to the lighthouse.

Lewis Bay Light has been know as Hyannis Light and is sometimes referred to as Channel Point Lighthouse. It was built to resemble Brant Point Light on Nantucket. The original light was built in 1849. By 1854, Hyannis had become a major harbor. At that time, the lighthouse was refitted with a 6th order Fresnel lens. When the channel into Lewis Bay was dredged in the early 1900’s, Hyannis Light was no longer needed. In 1929 the lantern room was removed and it was sold as private property. Lewis Bay light is not open to the public but you can see it from North Street and Lewis Bay Road. The best views are from a boat. If you take a ferry from Hyannis Harbor to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, you will pass right by the lighthouse.

Bass River Light went into service on April 30, 1855 with a fifth order Fresnel lens that displayed a fixed white light. In 1880, the lighthouse was closed and sold at auction. In August of 1810, after the lighthouse was built on Stage Harbor in Chatham, Bass River light was closed and the property sold at auction. A local mariner appealed to his relative, then President James Garfield, and in July of 1881, Bass River Light was reinstated by executive order. With the building of the Cape Cod Canal, the government deemed the lighthouse unnecessary and on June 15, 1914 the light was extinguished and the Fresnel lens removed. The property was sold at auction and today operates as an inn.

Stage Harbor Light in Chatham, built in 1880, is the Cape’s most recent lighthouse. Fishing traffic and thick fog around Chatham prompted the building of this lighthouse, which went into service in 1880. As this is now private property, it is best viewed from Harding’s Beach. Take Route 28 in West Chatham to Barnhill Road and turn on Harding’s Beach Road and follow it to the beach.

Fourth Order Fresnel Lens
Chatham Light was established in 1808. To help mariners distinguish it from Highland Light, it had two fixed white lights. It was fitted with fourth order Fresnel lenses with fixed white lights. In 1857. The current tower was built in 1887 and towers 48 feet into the air. It was electrified in 1939 and was automated in 1982. This is an active lighthouse and is not open to the public except during specified times in which guided tours are provided. From Route 6 (Mid Cape Highway) take exit 11 to Route 137 towards Chatham. Turn left on Old Queen Anne Road and stay on that until you reach Main Street and turn left. From Main Street take a left on School Street and a left on Water Street. Turn right on Silver Leaf Avenue and follow it to the lighthouse.

Monomoy Light was the fifth lighthouse to be constructed on the Cape. It was built to help mariners navigate the shifting sands, the rising and falling tides, and the rip currents that flow around what was then Sandy Point. In November of 1823, eight lamps shone a fixed light twenty-five feet above sea level over what is now known as Monomoy Point. The lighthouse was essential for ship traffic along the east coast. It received a Fresnel lens in 1857. After the opening of the Cape Cod Canal and the increase in intensity of the Chatham Light, the need for the light on Monomoy Point was no longer necessary. Day-trips aboard the Monomoy Island Ferry are let by a naturalist and include a visit to the lighthouse if you wish to go.

The Three Sisters (3 lighthouses) are located in Eastham. Because of so very many ship wrecks off the coast of Eastham, in 1837 congress appropriated funds to build a lighthouse there. To help mariners tell the difference between Highland Light (with one light) in Truro to the north and Chatham Light (with two towers) to the south, three towers with three lights were erected to mark the dangerous sandbars off the coast of Eastham. They became known as the “Three Sisters”  because some thought they resembled three sisters wearing white dresses and black hats. You can determine that for yourselves when you visit. In 1920 the three sisters were replaced by Nauset Light which is still operational today. After the Orleans Rotary on Route 6 east, turn right onto Nauset Road. Follow this to Cable Road and turn left. The Three Sisters are at the end of Cable Road in a clearing on your left.

With a history that is tied to the Three Sisters, Nauset Light with is red and white tower is recognizable as the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips. Traveling east on Route 6, Nauset Road is the third traffic light after the Orleans Rotary. Turn right onto Nauset Road and follow it to Cable Road and turn left. At the end of Cable Road, turn left onto Ocean View Drive and you will see Nauset Light.

Highland Light, also known as Cape Cod Light, went into service on November 15, 1797 and was the twelfth lighthouse in the United States and the first on Cape Cod. It was also the first to have a flashing light. The light was erected because of the increase in maritime traffic around Cape Cod and the treacherous sand bars off the coast or Pamet, which later became Truro. In 1996 the lighthouse was moved back from the cliffs edge due to massive erosion. Guided tours of Highland Light are available from May 1 through late October but the grounds are open year round.  Take Route 6 east to Highland Road and turn right. Follow this to the end and turn right on Coast Guard Road. Turn left onto Highland Light Road. Be aware that signs to the lighthouse will say “Cape Cod Light”. 

Race Point Light
Race Point Light went into service on November 5, 1816 and was the Cape’s third lighthouse. It was erected to help mariners with the nightmarish navigation around the end of Cape Cod. It is located on Race Point Beach at the northernmost of Cape Cod in the National Seashore. During the summer months there are regular tours available to visitors and pre-arranged overnight lodging, but you must park in the lot at the Race Point Coast Guard Station and hike the 2 miles to the lighthouse.   From Route 6 in Provincetown, take Race Point Road and follow it to the beach.  Park in the parking lot and walk towards the Coast Guard Station and follow the trail to the beach and the lighthouse.

Woods End Light was built in 1872. It is unmanned and requires a long and treacherous hike to reach the lighthouse.  It is about a mile to the breakwater and across the sand to reach the lighthouse. If you choose to visit, bring drinking water, bug spray, and sun screen.  You can reach it by walking to the breakwater and across the sand. You might prefer to rent a kayak and paddle out to the light but you will still have a hike through the sand to reach it. You can actually see the lighthouse from a distance at the foot of the breakwater on Commercial Street in Provincetown.

Long Point Light is located at the entrance to Provincetown Harbor at the tip end of Cape cod. It can only be accessed on foot or by boat. It sports a green beacon and has horns that are activated by fog. Construction on the lighthouse began in 1826 with the first lamp being lit in 1827. The oil lamp was replaced by a Fresnel lens in 1856. Threatened by erosion, the structure was replaced with a 38-foot brick tower in 1875. Since 1982 the light has been powered by solar panels. It is still an active lighthouse and is maintained by volunteers.

Sandy Neck Light stands as a symbol of Barnstable Harbor’s past as an important port for trade and fishing during the early 1800s. The first lighthouse on what was then known as Beach Point was constructed in 1827, and in 1857 it was replaced by a brick tower that was painted white. Today, this area is called Sandy Neck and is a wildlife refuge.

All of these historic lighthouses are within easy driving distance of our bed and breakfast. We have had many guests who came to the Cape for a pilgrimage to each of these historic structures. We will be happy to give you a map that will help you locate them when you come for a visit.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cape Cod is for Book Lovers

 Books, Books, Books

With the Nook and Kindle now ubiquitous, there are some who still like the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, and the sound of the page turning. For those die-hards, there are some unique book stores on Cape Cod in which the smell of paper and ink will send your tender heart thumping. I know the feeling well, as I am one of the afflicted.

Not far from our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, nestled into the scenic beauty of Route 6A, is one of my favorite book sellers, Titcomb's Bookshop. For over 40 years, the Titcomb family has been selling antique, new, and used books, games, puzzles, and cards. This lovely little book store has been recognized by the International Booksellers Federation as one of 50 unique bookstores in the world and we are so fortunate to have it in our lovely village.

Throughout the year Titcombs holds events with notable authors that include book talks and book signings. Their many book clubs offer something for just about everyone including one for men and one for knitters.  They have many events for children to encourage reading. They feature a Children’s Storytime with notable children’s book authors where kids are able to listen to the author read from their publication and then they can get their book personally autographed. Who knows, this could encourage a budding future author.

Some of the notable authors they have featured include: Gail Tsukiyama whose books include The Samurai’s Garden and Women of the Silk; Heidi Jon Schmidt who wrote The Harbormaster’s Daughter and The House on Oyster Creek;  Ron Anderson author of Long Taters: A baseball Biography of George “Boomer” Scott; Steven Raichlen writer of Island Apart; Frances McNamara author of Death at Woods Hole;  and Liza Klaussman, great-great-great-granddaughter of Herman Melville who spoke about her debut novel Tigers in Red Weather.

The events at Titcomb’s Bookstore have included such delights as a Mother/Daughter American Girl Craft-Tea, a Food and Book series, and a Find Waldo in Sandwich event that involved 20 Sandwich business and celebrated Waldo’s 25th anniversary.

The folks at Titcombs will impress you with their expertise and their passion for books and you will find the customer service unsurpassed. Be sure to sign up to receive their newsletter. Their staff recommendations for books will keep you in reading material all year long. Pick up a good beach book. What better time to relax with a good book than when you are vacationing on Cape Cod.

Titcomb's Bookshop is easy to find. As you are driving along scenic Route 6A in East Sandwich, you will see their statue of a colonial man standing along the road. Just turn in there and prepare for a few hours of eternal bliss.

Titcomb's Bookstore
432 Route 6A
East Sandwich, MA  02537

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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

50 Reasons to Stay in Sandwich

Whether you are planning a holiday or a quick get-away to Cape Cod, Sandwich Village is the ideal location for a visit. After all, Cape Cod begins here. Aside from the fact that this is the oldest and quaintest of the Cape’s villages and the most historic, Sandwich has it all. There are so many interesting places to visit and amazing things to do and to see when you come stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. Here are 50 of them.

1- Bike the Cape Cod Canal bike path,
2- Visit our newly restored Town Hall, one of the first built after the separation of church and state,
3- Ride the carousel at Heritage Museums & Gardens,
4- Play mini golf at one of the Cape’s oldest and most charming mini golf courses,
5- Stop by Titcomb’s Book Shop and browse through the new and used books,
6- Check out the 1903 jam kitchen at the Green Briar Nature Center,
7- Sit on the patio at the Brown Jug and have a cool pitcher of their delicious Sangria,
8- Go to Town Neck Beach and search for sea glass,
9- Watch glass being blown at the Sandwich Glass Museum and learn about the history of Sandwich,
10-Explore the Olde Town Cemetery with stones dating back to the 1600s,
11-Visit the swans in their natural habitat on Shawme Pond,
12-Go for a long beach walk at Sandy Neck Beach,
13- Visit the Sandwich Boardwalk, voted one of 10 most beautiful in the world by National Geographic,
14- Jump off the boardwalk at high tide,
15- Kayak along the river
16- Visit the Cape Cod Canal Visitors Center & Museum and explore the many exhibits,
17- Stop by the 1600s Dexter Grist Mill and watch how corn was ground by the early settlers,
17- Visit the Hoxie House, the oldest on the Cape (Circa 1640) and experience life in the 17th-century,
18-Peruse the Norman Rockwell: Beyond the Easel exhibit at Heritage Museums & Gardens
     (Summer  2012),
19- While at Heritage, visit the tree house at Hidden Hollow,
20- Try the Queen’s Tea at the Dunbar Tea Shop (one of the top 10 in the country),
21- Play golf,
22- Visit the Pairpoint Glass studio to watch glass blowing,
23-Kayak Scorton Creek,
24- Visit East Sandwich Beach for a beach walk or to work on your tan,
25- Go in search of all the Whimsical Garden Gates at Heritage M&G,
26- Take a guided walking tour of Sandwich Village on Wednesdays in July & August and on
       Saturdays in September,
27- Rent a stand-up-paddle board and give it a go,
28- Go hiking in Briar Patch at the Green Briar Nature Center,
29- Go hiking, or canoeing at the East Sandwich Game Farm,
30- Visit the Fish Hatchery,
31- Have an ice cream at Twin Acres or Ice Cream Sandwich,
32- Hike Talbots Point and find the fresh water spring,
33- Visit Maple Swamp for the most dramatic topography on Cape
34- Visit Muckwood for an unparalleled panorama of salt marsh, bog,
       and barrier beach,
35- Canoe, kayak, or Stand-Up-Paddle along Mill Creek and the beautiful marshes near the Boardwalk,
36- Play tennis,
37- Sit by the Cape Cod Canal with a good book and watch the boats go by,
38- Go for a swim in the fresh water of Wakeby Lake or Snake Pond,
39- Kayak or canoe along the shores of Shawme Pond,
40- Take a walk up beautiful Grove Street, one of the most picturesque in Sandwich,
41-Watch the sun set over the Cape Cod Canal,
42- Waterfront dining on the Sandwich Marina at the Aqua Grille and on Cape Cod Bay at Hemisphere,
43- Dine in a restored church, the most unique restaurant on Cape Cod,
44- Fish off the rocks at the Cape Cod Canal but be sure to get your permit,
45- Visit Sweet Caroline’s for an oh so good, so good, so good  tasty treat,
46- Chew and the Brush: Visit Café Chew and then step next door to Brush gallery,
47- Explore historic Town Hall Square and the Sandwich Heritage Trail,
49- Have a refreshing drink of water at our artesian well,
50- And, of course, stay at a fabulous bed and breakfast. We hope you will choose ours.

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SandwichFest 2012

Photo of SandwichFest crowd in Sandwich, MA
 It’s time for the annual SandwichFest in our quaint little village. Guests at our bed and breakfast really enjoy this event every year. It is part entertainment, part street fair, and, most importantly, an opportunity to try sandwiches featured in our local restaurants. You will actually help select the best Sandwich sandwich. This is small town fun at its best.

We are fortunate to have so many good restaurants here. Putting their best sandwich forward will be the Aqua Grille (who has won this event a couple of times), the Belfry Inne, Beth’s Special Tea’s, Bobby Byrne’s, the British Beer Company, Momo’s, Hemisphere, the Dan’l Webster Inn, Café Chew, The Clubhouse Sports Bar & Grille, and the newest restaurant in town, the Café Riverview. There will be three seating’s for attendees. The first is at 11:00 am, there is one at 12:00 noon, and the last is at 1:00 pm.

Gregg Harper
The entertainment will begin at 11:00 am when Gregg Harper will be performing. Gregg is a wonderful local talent who is well-known on Cape Cod. Following him at 12:30 pm will be Brian “Fishmonger” Kelly and at 2:00 pm will be Brian Sances and The Big Three.

In addition to great food and entertainment, there will be a fun Pet Tricks Competition and Parade, Sandwich Bag Races, an Antique Car Show featuring autos from the Heritage Museum & Gardens private collection, a Farmers Market, a Sandwich Artisans Show and Sale, and a Raffle for $10,000.

The event is on Saturday, June 30th from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm, and is on Jarves Street. The street will be closed to automobile traffic and vendors will be set up all along the street. Tickets to sample sandwiches and vote for your favorite are just $15 per person. The street fair and entertainment are absolutely free. For more information, contact the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce.

The generous sponsors for this event are Scenic roots, Vermont Pure, Nauset Disposal, Reid-Hofmann Insurance, and radio stations WXTK and COOL.

The Sandwich Food Pantry will have a donation location at the street fair. Please remember those who are in need and stop by.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Provincetown, MA Day Trip

Or - Jan's and Charlie's Day Off

Recently, Charlie and I took advantage of a rare night off from taking care of guests to take a little trip to Provincetown. As most folks know who have stayed at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast, we travel in a motor home during the winter. When we return to Sandwich, we always hope for a short get-away before the season gets really busy and we have to put our winter home in storage for the summer. One such opportunity presented itself this week. So, off we went.

Photo of Charlie at the PO Cafe in Provincetown, MA
Charlie at the Post Office Cafe
 We had some things to take care of in Provincetown so we packed the RV for an overnight stay, grabbed the kitty, and jumped on Route 6 headed down Cape. The weather was picture-perfect and the drive to P’town was glorious. We had reserved an over-night camping spot at Dunes Edge Campground. We checked in and were shown to our site. It was nestled amongst the trees and so peaceful, with a slight breeze and the smell of the ocean and salt marshes in the air. We had brought along burgers to grill and a large salad for dinner. Really, doesn’t food just taste better when cooked and enjoyed outdoors?

Chalie at the Provincetown Town Hall
Provincetown Town Hall

The next morning, we headed into P’town for breakfast at the Post Office Café. What a treat to have someone else cook breakfast for us. By the way, we loved this little café and they have a great menu for lunch and dinner as well. After enjoying our breakfast and watching people come and go, we headed off on our errands and to do a little exploring.

We have been to Provincetown many times but we always find something new when we are there. We had not seen the Town Hall since the restoration began, and we wanted to have a look. We both love historic buildings and, built in 1816, this one is a real Victorian beauty. The pale green color with a cream highlight echoes the original colors of the building. Town Hall is the real heart of town life and the scene of art exhibits, concerts, performances, lectures, dances, and Town Meetings  ---well this is New England where public Town Meetings are still held to decide town policy. If you go there, be sure to check out the inside and the murals entitled Spreading Nets and Gathering Beach Plums.

Pat and Bill of Habitat for Humanity with kayak.
Pat and Bill with HfH Kayak

What a treat for us when, outside of Town Hall, we ran into some old friends whom we had not seen in years. Pat and Bill were selling raffle tickets for a kayak they built to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. This is an annual project for these amazing people and we were truly delighted to run into them.
Next, we stopped by one of our favorite restaurants, the Lobster Pot. We have a Whale Watch package during the summer months that includes a gift card to have lunch or dinner there. We were fortunate to find the owner, Joy, out front controlling lunch traffic into the busy and oh-so-popular restaurant. Joy has owned this restaurant for 40 years.

Charlie & Lobster Pot owner, Joy.
Charlie and Joy
After stopping in Cuffy’s for one of their great sweatshirts and checking out the shoes at the leather shop, we walked over to the Chamber of Commerce office to pick up information about Provincetown to give our guests. The folks there are so friendly and helpful. After a quick visit to the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch office, it was time to head home.

Provincetown is an easy day-trip for guests who are staying at our inn. If you go there, stop by the Chamber of Commerce office and pick up one of their great pamphlets that will guide you on a Historic Walking Tour of the town. They can also tell you what all is going on that day so you won’t miss anything.

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