Posts Tagged ‘Cape Cod inn’

What Makes a Good Bed & Breakfast on Cape Cod?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Cod, the first thing you will want to do is decide where to stay. As one of the top vacation destinations in the country, Cape Cod is filled with options, with everything from large resort-style hotels to family-friendly motels to historic inns. Should you want to soak in a bit of Cape Cod history, in addition to visiting beaches and museums, dining out, and experiencing a plethora of unique attractions, such as whale watching and kayaking, a Cape Cod bed and breakfast will prove the perfect place to lay your head.Unlike national and international chains of hotels and motels, where consistency is part of what guests expect, each historic inn on Cape is quite different. So what makes a good, dare we say great, bed and breakfast on Cape Cod?

A great place to begin your search for an exceptional historic inn on Cape Cod is online travel review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Google also has reviews of many inns and hotels. Reading about past guests’ experiences will give you a sense of what sets each property apart.


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Many of the historic B&Bs on Cape Cod were once homes, and our inn is no exception. At the heart of Ship’s Knees Inn is an 1820-built house that retains its original charm and character. It has been added on to over the years, and now has 16 guestrooms and suites, and an apartment with a full kitchen. As is true of most inns, staying at Ship’s Knees Inn is a more personal experience than staying in a chain hotel. But because we’re one of the larger bed and breakfast/inns on the Cape, you’ll feel like you have your own space here, rather than like you’re a guest at a relative’s house.


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While maintaining the historic integrity of Ship’s Knees is important to us, the overall vibe here is beach chic rather than antique furniture museum. We offer modern amenities as well. Nearly every room, all of which are individually furnished, has an attached private bath. Each room has AC, a flat-screen TV, a hairdryer, a refrigerator, and an alarm clock with USB charging ports. Complimentary WiFi is offered throughout the inn and the surrounding grounds.


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At Ship’s Knees Inn, a homemade, complimentary continental breakfast is served every morning. Prepared personally by innkeeper Denise Butcher, breakfast at our inn goes far beyond what one might expect to find at a chain hotel. Fresh fruit and homemade baked goods, such as scones and muffins, are always offered. Denise will also frequently add one of her signature dishes such as baked spiced pears, bananas brûlée, or individual frittatas. Freshly baked cookies, and coffee and tea, are available every afternoon, as well.



On nice days, many guests opt to enjoy breakfast, or an après-beach treat, in our lushly landscaped courtyard. In the courtyard you’ll also find a gas fire pit that casts a cozy glow over the area every evening. Tucked off into one corner of the property is an in-ground swimming pool surrounded by chaise lounges. Should you prefer to head to Nauset Beach, which is within easy walking distance, complimentary beach chairs, towels and umbrellas are at the ready.


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In addition to the amenities offered at an inn, location is another key factor when choosing a bed and breakfast on Cape Cod. Look for one that is secluded enough to let you really unplug, yet located within an easy drive of beaches, restaurants, shopping and attractions.

Located in East Orleans, Ship’s Knees Inn is just up the street from Nauset Beach, the Town of Orleans’ only ocean beach. In the village of East Orleans are a handful of restaurants, an ice cream parlor, and a couple of shops. It’s a sleepy little hamlet. Yet just three miles away is downtown Orleans, the hub of the Lower Cape.


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While Orleans is by no means a large city, it has dozens of restaurants, and charming shops and art galleries. It is also the home of the Orleans Firebirds, one of 10 teams in the world-renowned Cape Cod Baseball League, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile long bike path, runs right through the center of town.

Should you wish to spend time on the water when you visit Cape Cod, East Orleans and Orleans have several options. In East Orleans, within a mile of Ship’s Knees Inn, is Blue Claw Boat Tours, which offers seal cruises and sunset sails. On the bay side of Orleans is Rock Harbor, which has the largest charter fishing boat fleet on the Cape. If you’d like to get in a little workout while you’re out on the water, grab a kayak or SUP at the Goose Hummock shop, and paddle away the day.

Equidistant from Hyannis and Provincetown, Ship’s Knees Inn is also ideally located to act as your home base for exploring Cape Cod and the Islands. West of the inn is Hyannis, where you’ll find Cape Cod Beer, the oldest and largest craft brewery on the Cape, and ferry service to both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (ferry service to Nantucket is also available in Harwich Port).











Head east (technically north, but the signs on Route 6 claim it’s east) to Provincetown, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world. The famed artists’ colony has an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and galleries. Should your travels take you to Provincetown, and time permits, a whale watch is an absolute must!













With limited vacation time, you want to do research – on both a destination and the available accommodations – to be certain you will enjoy your holiday, and savor the memories for years to come. Should you decide on Cape Cod, and are planning on visiting during the busy summer season, try to reserve your stay as early as possible, to ensure that your preferred dates are available. Like many historic inns on the Cape, we do offer reservations for a limited number of our rooms on booking websites such as Travelocity and Expedia. However, booking directly with Ship’s Knees, either online or by calling, will give you access to our complete selection of available rooms, and the best rates…guaranteed.

History with a contemporary touch; a beach within easy reach; and just the right combination of downtown and action: This is what makes a good Cape Cod bed and breakfast!

Our Favorite Waterfront Restaurants on Cape Cod

Friday, May 31st, 2019

Cape Cod is all about the ocean. It was the miles of sandy beaches that first drew summer visitors to our shores in the 1800s, and they are what have made the Cape one of the top vacation destinations in the world. When you visit, you’ll want to spend as much time taking in the gorgeous oceans views as possible. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together information about our favorite waterfront restaurants. All are open seasonally and serve lunch and dinner.

Cap’t Cass Rock Harbor Seafood; 117 Rock Harbor Road, Orleans

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Photo via Facebook
















Don’t expect to find white linens and crystal at this weatherworn seafood shanty on Rock Harbor, located just a few miles from the inn. Do expect heaping plates of fresh, local seafood perfectly fried to a golden crisp, a hefty lobster roll at a reasonable price, and classic clam chowder. While the views of the water inside the humble dining room – think flip-flops and sandy floors – aren’t spectacular, the food is, and, with one of Orleans’ most picturesque harbors right outside the door, you can opt to take your food to-go and enjoy a beachside picnic.

Outer Bar & Grille; 2173 Route 28, Harwich

cape cod bars and restaurants

Outer Bar

With a dazzling view of Pleasant Bay on one side, and the stunning waterfront pool on the other, there are no “bad seats” at Outer Bar at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, which is about seven miles west of Ship’s Knees Inn. Most of the seating is on a large, wrap-around veranda, which means you can savor the ocean breezes as you tuck into fried clams or one of their signature poke bowls – Asian-inspired dishes added to the menu this season. Outer Bar does serve lobster rolls, fish and chips, and chowder, so it’s kind of a clam shack, but done at an elevated level and with unexpected touches.

The Beach House; 297 Shore Road, Chatham

The name kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Continue west another four miles past Wequassett and you’ll arrive at Chatham Bars Inn, where The Beach House is located. Like Outer Bar, The Beach House has an upscale resort vibe, but while Outer Bar is perched above the water, The Beach House sits right in the sand. Ample amounts of outdoor seating, and retractable walls in the dining room, make this another great spot to feast the senses on the ocean view, sea breeze and salty air. Seafood, much of it locally sourced, is the main attraction on the menu.

Ocean Terrace; 2907 Main Street, Brewster

cape cod waterfront dining

Photo via Facebook

Located in Brewster, northwest of our inn, is Ocean Terrace, the rooftop bar at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, which boasts views of beautiful Cape Cod Bay and the famed “flats” – the miles-long sandbar that emerges at low tide. An enormous horseshoe-shaped bar is a favorite place for tapas and signature cocktails; one of the fire pits surrounded by sofas is a great place to relax with friends…or make new friends. The crab cakes with charred pineapple alone are worth a visit. Open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

Sesuit Harbor Café; 357 Sesuit Neck Road, Dennis

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West of Ocean Edge is Sesuit Harbor Café, another clam shack perched on yet another picturesque harbor. There are several choices for those who don’t enjoy seafood. Those who do enjoy seafood will be in heaven. The lobster roll is the go-to choice for many who visit this dockside eatery, but should you prefer fried local seafood, you’ll find a huge selection. Chowder, steamers, stuffed quahogs, and raw bar items round out the expansive menu. The food is served on paper plates; seating is at picnic tables: you get the idea. Fun. Casual. Fabulous. Please note: This restaurant does not accept credit cards; there is an ATM on-site.

Pearl; 250 Commercial Street, Wellfleet

cape cod restaurants

Photo via Facebook

While a couple of our choices are classic clam shacks, and others are at posh resorts, Pearl, which is east or “down Cape” of the inn – is right in the middle of the high-low restaurant spectrum. Flip-flops are certainly appropriate here, but so is getting a little dressed up for an evening out. The first-floor dining room has rustic appeal, but it’s the open-air, second-story deck with epic views of Wellfleet Harbor that gets our vote. Like the overall feel of the restaurant, the menu spans the space between shanty and swanky, with appetizers such as stuffed quahogs and stuffed brie, and entrees that include fried seafood and simply prepared grilled local fish.

The Beachcomber; 1120 Cahoon Hollow Road, Wellfleet

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By day, the Beachcomber, set on a dune overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, is a family restaurant where people wander in from the beach – often in their bathing suits – for a casual meal on the outdoor terrace. By night, it’s a rocking good time. Well, that is with the exception of Sundays, when it’s a rocking good time from opening until closing. Open, and nearly unchanged, for 42 years, the ’Comber is the very embodiment of the let-your-hair-down vibe that vacationers crave. For that matter, locals love it too, which is why this place is packed all season long. The menu is extensive, and the food quite good, but it’s the atmosphere – it is just so Cape Cod – that makes a visit one of our “musts” every season.

A Brief History of Nauset Beach and Nauset Heights

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

As the Old Colony Railroad reached each town on Cape Cod, that town was ‘put on the map’ as a destination for summer visitors. The railroad’s first depot on Cape Cod was in Sandwich; it opened in 1848. Service extended from west to east – with spurs running south into Falmouth, Hyannis and Chatham – across Cape Cod until it reached Provincetown in 1873. Although rail service had reached Orleans by 1865, Nauset Heights in East Orleans – the area surrounding Ship’s Knees Inn and Nauset Beach – would remain nearly deserted for another fifty years.

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What is now the inn when it was a private home, circa 1900











An 1858 map of Nauset Heights shows the house of Freeman Snow, the home built in 1820 that is now the Ship’s Knees Inn, as the only structure in the area. The remainder of the area was undeveloped with the exception of the Doane farm, 90 acres purchased by Timothy Doane – a member of a prominent Eastham family – in 1762 and used as farmland. By 1873 there were a handful of fishing camps in Nauset Heights: small parcels on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, purchased from Doane for $25 apiece, where the owners pitched tents. These were combined into Camp Cummings in 1878.

In 1890, the Seaver brothers bought much of the Doane land. They sold a few lots immediately, but didn’t subdivide the land until 1915. The 200 lots were snapped up by city dwellers who built summer homes and brought about a relative population explosion in the desolate area. At roughly the same time, the Cummings family deeded several acres of land that ran behind the dunes of Nauset Beach to the Town of Orleans.

These ‘early settlers’ – the families who purchased lots from the Seavers – would have had a front-row seat when a German U-boat opened fire on the beach, and a caravan of boats being towed by a tugboat in nearby waters, in July of 1918. The tugboat was hit and sunk, but the shells directed at land fell harmlessly into the sand and surrounding marsh. It was the first and only time the United States received enemy fire in World War I.

It wasn’t until the 1950s, 30-plus years after the German U-boat attack and more than 50 years after many of Cape Cod’s beaches had become established as sought-after summer destinations for tourists, that the town purchased the six and a half acres of land that is now Nauset Beach.

Priscilla Landing in Nauset Heights

Since then, Nauset Beach, which is within walking distance of Ship’s Knees Inn, has become a regular on many ‘best beaches’ lists and is beloved by both residents and visitors, with more than a million people visiting each year to enjoy the cool water and rolling surf. With the demise of the decades-old Liam’s Clam Shack following a nor’easter in March of 2018, gourmet food trucks now line the parking lot in the summer months, much to the delight of beachgoers. Free concerts are offered each Monday evening in the summer months, with a gazebo set in the dunes (it was rescued and relocated after the same March 2018 storm) serving as the stage for bands.

A spring day at Nauset

If You Go: A daily parking fee of $20 is charged at Nauset Beach from mid-June through mid-September. The bathhouse, open seasonally, offers bathrooms, dressing rooms and outdoor showers. There is also a satellite office operated by the town which sells weekly parking passes and over-sand vehicle stickers for the southernmost portion of Nauset Beach. A 4-wheel-drive vehicle, safety equipment and inspection are required to obtain an over-sand sticker.

The Ship's Knees Inn is open year round