Posts Tagged ‘Nauset Beach’

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.

What Makes a Great Cape Cod Stay?

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

A truly memorable vacation is about more than stunning scenery and fun things to do. Or even great dining options or luxurious accommodations. An enjoyable vacation, one that sets the bar by which future holidays are measured, is about all of these things coming together to create a balanced harmony between the excitement of discovering a new favorite place and savoring much-needed downtime.

With more than 400 miles of shoreline, a deep sense of history, and endless options for exploring, Cape Cod has long been recognized as a premier vacation destination. Elevate your visit to the Cape to “truly memorable” status by choosing East Orleans, and our inn on the beach, as your home-away-from-home for your vacation. Location, Location, Location

Those who are unfamiliar with Cape Cod often assume that it is one town, yet it actually measures 65 miles from the Cape Cod Canal to the easternmost tip. Set nearly equidistant between the canal and Provincetown, East Orleans is within an easy drive of all that Cape Cod has to offer. A whale watch in Provincetown one day and a daytrip to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard the next is easily done. East Orleans itself is a quiet, residential village with just a couple of restaurants and shops, but just up the street is Orleans, the largest town on the Lower Cape, where you will find dozens of shops, restaurants and galleries. If you have chosen Cape Cod as your vacation destination, chances are that spending time on the beach is at the top of your to-do list. In East Orleans, within walking distance of Ship’s Knees Inn, is Nauset Beach, which regularly tops “best beaches” lists not only for the Cape, but for the entire country!hotel on the beach cape codIs “Inn-Style” Right for You?

Some people may not consider a B&B the best choice for their vacation accommodations. An inn offers a more intimate experience than staying at a larger hotel, and many people choose an inn specifically for this personal ambiance. As innkeepers, we are here every day, preparing breakfast, offering recommendations, and ensuring that our guests have everything they need. Inns are also often historic homes with individually decorated rooms, rather than new commercial buildings in which each room is the same, and we are no exception. The main house at Ship’s Knees was built in 1820 by one of the preeminent families of Orleans, and while each of our rooms has its own distinctive style, the décor in most is more “beach chic” than “history lesson.” And with an in-ground pool and fire pit, complimentary WiFi, and flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and hairdryers in every room, we offer the perfect blend of history and modern convenience.cape cod beach hotelWondering What to Do?

With one and a half acres of beautifully manicured grounds, a flower-filled courtyard arranged with comfortable furniture and a pool, doing absolutely nothing at Ship’s Knees Inn is always time well spent, as is spending a day in the sand at nearby Nauset Beach. But should you decide to venture out and explore, and would like suggestions, we are at the ready. As innkeepers, we consider it a part of our job – a very fun part – to personally experience what Orleans and Cape Cod have to offer. We dine out regularly and have compiled a list of our favorite restaurants on our website. Whether you are looking for a unique item for your home, a trendy new pair of shoes or a Cape Cod souvenir, we know just where to send you. Hiking and biking, kayaking or boating excursions? Just name your pleasure and we’re happy to share our insider info!kayaking on cape codA vacation is something you look forward to all year long, which makes it so important that the experience leave you feeling both relaxed and recharged. Your visit to Cape Cod will do just that… and leave you with happy memories to last a lifetime.

The Ship's Knees Inn is open year round