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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Remembered

Veteran’s Day 2015
Written by Charlie Preus

At 11:00 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month, a ceremony was held at Sandwich Town Hall in Sandwich, MA. On this rainy day, Sandwich, like many towns/cities across the country, celebrated Veteran’s Day to honor and thank all who have served in the military services in time of war and peace. Memorial Day in May specifically commemorates those who died in defense of the United States of America. 

The first year we had our Inn, I was impressed with the patriotism demonstrated by the great 4th of July parade and the Memorial Day parade and ceremonies. The Memorial Day parade goes in front of the Inn and stops at the war memorials in Eaton Square, which is across the street from the end of our driveway.  After a brief speech, the honor guard does a 21 Gun Salute followed by the playing of Taps, always a very moving moment. This sense of patriotism is historically well founded in that a son or daughter of Sandwich had fought and died in every war ever fought by the United States, from the Revolutionary War to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Today’s Veteran’s Day celebration included the dedication of a beautiful plaque identifying those men from Sandwich that fought in the Civil War. The plaque is on the first stairway landing on the way up to the second floor Town Meeting Hall. The new wood plaque with gold lettering matches the existing plaque on the second landing dedicated to the Sandwich men and women who served in WW l and WW ll.

In 1861, the 294 men who enlisted were sworn in at this very Town Meeting Hall and marched from Town Hall to the train station and off to war for a three year enlistment. Of those who served, 54 died in battle or from injuries occurred during battle. These deaths are noted by a gold star on the plaque. A heavy price paid by the small town of Sandwich in the Civil War, which is still the deadliest US war ever fought with more than 600,000 Union and Confederate dead.   

In the little square at the end of our dive way stands the town’s large granite memorial to the Civil War. I have often observed it but appreciate it much more now that I read the names of those men from Sandwich that served and died in this tragic war.

When you stay with us at our Inn, you can see this piece of history and more in the oldest town on Cape Cod. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Guy Fieri's Visit to Cape Cod

Guy Sent Me!

by Charlie Preus 

Dana’s Kitchen, Falmouth, MA (Season 23, Episode 6 on September 11, 2015 "Name That Kitchen")

When we have any time off from our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, we look for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives recommended by Guy Fieri on his Food Network show of the same name.

I always say 'Guy sent me. I think it's funny but I am not sure what the owner’s think. Often I get a little smile as if they are thinking here is another jerk who watches too much Food Network.  Actually, I am sure all of the establishments visited by Guy Fieri are very proud of being featured on his Food Network show and most have posters and pictures prominently displayed so all new customers are made aware of the celebrity visit and the accolades they received for there culinary prowess.

We have had guests at our Inn who planned a good portion of their New England vacation around food establishments featured on Guy's show. These "foodies" selected our Inn, at the beginning of Cape Cod, to permit easy day trips to Rhode Island and Boston to punch their list of Guy’s recommended restaurants, sometimes hitting two a day. We are usually too busy and focused on our B&B to visit these close-by eateries. We have more time for this sport when we have closed for the season.

When we travel, much of our time is spent looking for the next interesting place to eat. We claim it is business related research; Jan looking of new breakfast recipes and me looking for new wine ideas. It’s tough work, but someone has to do it. As we travel off the beaten paths, we always check Guy’s website for gems he has visited.

Jan is a loyal Food Network fan year round and, even with our next road trip still months away, she recently tuned into Guy’s Triple D show to find him visiting only twenty miles away in Falmouth, MA. His first stop was the Pickle Jar on main-street in downtown Falmouth, where we have been on those rare occasions when we can sneak away for lunch. It's fun to see a place you know featured on a national TV show. His next stop was Dana’s Kitchen in North Falmouth, where we had not been.

The next Monday after seeing the show, between checkouts and check-ins, we raced down to find this local gem recommended by Guy. Although we had heard the name, we had never been there. It is off the main road on the way to Falmouth center, and took us was a few turns to locate. A local bridge was closed for repairs, which also added to our confusion and limited our approach choices. 


The small building was, as we learned, was once a Gas Station on what was then a very busy main road to Falmouth from Boston. The original overhead garage doors, now highly varnished and sparkling, are still there and add to the eclectic feeling. See Guy’s September 11, 2015 (LINK) show to appreciate the quaint setting and meet the owners Dana and Art Tillman. Art handed us the daily menu. About 20% of the offerings change daily, the other 80% contains what must be customer favorites. As the summer season has wound down, Art suggests calling ahead to make sure they are open and what the hours will be that day. He also suggests to check if they have made their famous Kale Soup and still have some left.

Enjoying the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
On this our first visit, I played it safe and had the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich that Guy featured on his show. How could I resist when described on the menu as “Sautéed Jumbo Soft Shell Crab. Avocado, Beacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Spicy Rouille Sauce on Toasted Homemade Challa”.

 Jan had the Middle Eastern Platter with Hummus. My sandwich is always on the Menu and Jan’s choice was one of the changing 20%, both were excellent and, as we learned, all of the bread is made by Dana daily.

We had some time before closing to speak with Dana and Art about the experience of being on Guy’s show and how positive it has been for their business. We also were pleased to learn they offer an extensive catering menu for that next holiday party we are planning. Oh, did I mention the fantastic assortment of muffins, scones, etc., also baked daily. Yes, we have been back and plan to eat our way through every item on the menu.

Needless to say, we have found a new favorite foodie destination and are recommending it to all our guests. In fact, if you stay with us at our Sandwich B&B, we’ll give you the shortcut directions to see Art and Dana at Dana’ Kitchen. You can tell them Charlie and Jan sent you, at Guy Fieri's suggestion of course.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Santa Clause on Vacation?



We had a surprise visit from Santa Clause at our Inn this summer, not something you expect in July on Cape Cod. Our guests come from around the world, but this is our first guest from the North Pole. Yes the Polar Express runs from Hyannis to Sandwich at Christmas time, but this time Santa came in a Toyota, I think. And truth be told he only came from New Hampshire.

What I in the world am I talking about? I normally check our guest in when they arrive, but I was away from the Inn and missed seeing our newest guests until breakfast the next morning. As the white haired couple were seated, I thought there was something very familiar about the man with the long white beard and shoulder length flowing white hair. With his wire rimmed glasses and a twinkle in his eye, yes for all-the-world he looked like Santa Clause. He in his bright red tee shirt and her in a red summer dress, they looked like Mr. & Mrs. Clause on a beach vacation.
Mr. and MrsSanta aka Dan & Diana Greenleaf

Over breakfast, we learned Dan Greenleaf is a professionalSanta in New Hampshire and his wife, Diana, does play Mrs. Clause. Another guest with thinning gray hair and spotty gray whiskers expressed his suppressed interest in playing Santa and peppered Dan with questions. Dan happily shared information and suggested visiting the website of the New England Santa Society, an organization he help found to bring more professionalism to the business of being a Santa.

The NESS holds regular meetings where Dan has presented on topics such as liability insurance and how to price you services. Recently they held a meeting on Cape Cod and I remember seeing a picture in the local paper of these Santa look a likes bowling in Mashpee. Dan had attended that meeting and was in the bowling picture.

Dan also proudly pointed out his affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, obviously one more very important selection criteria to think about as you look to engage aprofessional Santa for those Holiday parties.

I think Dan and his associates are in a league above the Mall Santa. Dan is more like the Kris Kringle character played by Edmond Gwenn in the 1947 Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, than the Bad Santa as played by Billy Bob Thornton, a movie not destined to be a true classic. Also, please make note that Billy Bob’s character was not a real bearded Santa.  

Jan and I have promised to be good for the rest of the year in hopes that Santa Clause with fill our stockings with Christmas joy this year. Come visit us at our Inn and you may even see Mr. & Mrs. Santa Clause on their summer vacation at our in; a very special way to have Breakfast with Santa.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pizza in our Sandwich?



I live in Sandwich, but all I can think about is Pizza. Even though on Saturday June 27, our town of Sandwich is celebrating its annual Sandwich Fest, all I can think about is Pizza. During Sandwich Fest, we close town Water Street, overlooking the beautiful Shawme Pond, for a festive all day street fair that this year includes over 90 Street Vendors, Juried Local Artists, Craftsmen, and Retailers. The main focus of the day is the selection of the “Best Sandwich in Sandwich”. The town’s restaurants and cafés offer their best culinary specialties in hopes of winning the Sandwich crown and bragging rights for the next year.  

So why can I only think about Pizza?

Because the Brown Jug just fired up its new outdoor pizza oven and is now offering some of the best pizza I have ever tasted. Since we returned from Florida, we have watched as Brown Jug owner, Michael, transformed the side patio from what was a lovely secluded space to a wonderful Italian style outdoor Pizzeria. First, the old crab apple tree that dangerously bombarded you with falling apples was removed to expand the paver tiled area that was to be the future home of the new pizza oven. Michael also added a new gated side entrance and a beautiful canvas awning. We missed the day the crane lifted the massive oven over the arborvitae hedge into its new home. 

The oven itself is a work of art with its' hand crafted Italian mosaic tile exterior that houses a state-of-the-art oven assembly. It took a few days to connect and adjust the new equipment, but it was worth the wait. As always, Michael uses only the finest ingredients with which Jamie, the pizza master, was creating unbelievable pies. 

Many of us locals knew about the Saturday test run and soft opening that offered ‘free’ pizza; we did plan our lunch break around this event. Paula from the Dunbar Restaurant and Tea Room, also an accomplished chef, was already promoting the new pizza as not only the Best in Sandwich, but also the Best on Cape Cod. Our Inn guest from New York, who heard about the Brown Jug from us over breakfast, had high praise for creative offerings, and they are no strangers to great pizza options.  

This is why I can only think about Pizza and am looking forward to lunch and another great experience at the Brown Jug. I hope you will visit Sandwich for the annual, fun Sandwich Fest, but save a little room for a slice of pie at the Jug.
Charlie Preus, Pizza Taster, Assistant Innkeeper, and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cape League Baseball 2015

The Cape Cod Boys of Summer are back for the 2015 season. Founded in 1885, this is the 130th year of the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL). The CCBL is one of the premier summer leagues for college athletes to show their potential. It is one of the few leagues that use wood bats like in Major League Baseball (MLB). Remember, most organized non-professional baseball has been using only aluminum bats for years. So some college stars of today may never have competed using regulation wood bats. The CCBL is a proving ground of sorts to see if great armature prospects have what it takes to make the transition to the big time. In the first round of the MLB draft a few days ago, 14 of the 19 college players selected had played in the CCLB last season, and over 270 CCLB alumni played in MLB in 2014. The success of the players gives credence to the leagues motto: America’s League ‘Where the Stars of Tomorrow Shine Tonight’.     

Map showing Cape Cod baseball league team locations
Cape Cod Baseball League Team Locations
With 10 teams from Falmouth to Orleans, there are five games played almost every night from the June 9th opening day until to the final games on August 2; followed by the East-West regional playoffs and then the Championship Series. Often guests at our B&B will take in a game of our local team, the Bourne Braves, up the road at the Doran Park, overlooking the Cape Cod Canal. Admission is free and a night of exciting baseball is guaranteed. We provide camp chairs to our guest to make the viewing more comfortable. We have had quests who were related to a player plan their Cape Cod site seeing around where their hopeful future MLB player’s team was playing that evening, and to see all the scheduled games they can during their stay. See the CCBL website for complete list of scheduled games and location of team fields.

     The 2014 Cape League Champions, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, are off to an 0 and 2 start in the first games of the 44 game season. Not looking good for a repeat, but not as bad as their MBL name sake Boston Red Sox, who continue to sit on the bottom of the Eastern Division standings. For both teams, we hope for the best and say ‘Go Sox’!  If you love baseball, come and stay with usat our Inn and we will loan you a comfortable chair and direct you to the nearest ball field to see some top notch amateur baseball.  

Article written by Charlie Preus




Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 Cape Cod Tourism Season

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go

It's time to say goodbye to warm days, white sand, and the turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico. As we pack up the flip-flops and turn our tanned and re-energized selves north towards the feet of white snow blanketing Cape Cod, we begin looking forward to our 2015 season.
pink and yellow sky over water of Cape Cod Canal
Sunset on Cape Cod Canal

It is difficult to get our heads around the fact that we are starting our 13th season as innkeepers. However, starting April 10th, 2015, we will be open for business at the inn and looking forward to some warm weather and visits from the fabulous folks that we have become accustomed to having as guests.

The Cape is larger than many first-time visitors expect. There is so much to do and see in Sandwich, the other villages of Cape Cod, and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - all easy daytrips from the inn. Many of our guests also like to spend a day in Boston or Newport, Rhode Island. We do our best to provide information to folks who stay at our inn that, we hope, will help them get the most out of their time with us.

As in past seasons, we are offering specials and packages to help guests in planning their visit to Cape Cod. We have a whale watching special, a special for visiting each of the islands, and a special for folks who want to stay 7 days that gives the 7th day for just $17.50 and substantially lowers the average daily rate of your stay.

This year, we are offering a new special that lots of folks have already booked. Because of the extremely competitive market we are in, it has become necessary to list our inn with Online Travel Agency sites like Booking.com and Bedandbreakfast.com. This year, we have added a special that lets folks save $10 per night by booking their stay directly from our website or by calling us. When booking online, be sure that you are on our website at www.innatsandwich.com and not on a site that advertises the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center.

In appreciation to our loyal, returning guests, we are continuing the special rate of 10% off during the high season months of June, July, August, September, and October.

As Sandwich enters its' 376th year, it continues to have much to offer visitors. In addition to the Cape Cod Bay beaches, fabulous restaurants, quaint shops, and galleries, our village exudes historic charm. All within walking distance are the circa 1600's Dexter Grist Mill and Hoxie house and the 1800's Town Hall. Enjoy the continually changing exhibits at the Sandwich Glass Museum and new and exciting happenings at Heritage Museums and Gardens.

In future blogs this season, we will be sharing upcoming events and exhibit details taking place throughout Sandwich and Cape Cod. We hope you will come for a visit this year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Heritage Museums & Gardens 2015 Season

I never tire of visiting the lovely gardens and museums at Heritage or writing about my visits there. Each year brings new and exciting exhibits in the museums and, as always, the verdant gardens offer vibrant and fragrant blooms for each season of the year. We are fortunate to be able to walk there from our historic bed and breakfast.

green grass and red brick sidewalk leading to car barn
Heritage Museums & Gardens will be opening for the 2015 season on April 18th. This season brings several particularly exciting exhibits and events that you will not want to miss. Among them, an international conference, an exhibit featuring one of America's most well-known family of artists, an outdoor nature exhibit, and an "aerial" adventure.

The much anticipated show, The Wyeths: America Reflected, will open on June 6th and will include paintings from three generations of this famous American family of artists. You will have the opportunity to view the works of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth.

Each year Heritage features an outdoor exhibit that combines the work of artists with the natural beauty of the gardens. This year, also opening in early June, will be Secret Shelters. These structures were designed by artists and architect for the purpose of meditation, contemplation, and creation in a natural setting. They will be tucked in among the flora and fauna in hidden places throughout the gardens. Half the fun will be finding them all.
pink and white flowers

Most folks are very familiar with the Heritage rhododendrons that are truly resplendent in the early summer months. In recent years, working in concert with the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society, the hydrangea collection is expanding and has become increasingly popular with visitors to the gardens. This seems a befitting trend as the climate on Cape Cod is particularly suitable for growing hydrangeas. As the peak blooming season is in July, Heritage will host an international conference on July 14, 15, and 16 featuring this magnificent bloom. There will be lectures, tours, and displays by major hydrangea suppliers. Local nurseries will have hundreds of hydrangeas available for you to see and to purchase. Contact Heritage for details and to register for the 3-day conference.

A new outdoor exhibit with an aerial feature will open this spring on four acres in the area where Charles Dexter created hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons. It will surly offer a new perspective of the famous Dexter Rhododendrons. While wearing safety harnesses, visitors will explore five aerial trails with various degrees of difficulty, and a truly spectacular view of the gardens that has not been previously available. I hope to be one of the early explorers and will post a blog with video at a later date.
black iron gate shaped like antique auto grille
In the always popular auto museum you will find "Driven to Collect", an exhibit of some of the finest antique automobiles in the Heritage collection.

We are looking forward to many trips to Heritage Museums & Gardens this year and hope to meet you above the treetops. Come stay at our bed and breakfast and spend a day at the gardens.