Latitude: 41.6921007 Longitude: -69.9562078, Captains House Inn.
When the Mayflower neared America’s coast line, her intention was not to land in Cape Cod. Luckily, she did, bringing with her, 101 passengers. The decision to sail to America was a last resort for a group of English Protestants. Wanting more religious freedom, the pilgrims moved from Scrooby in England to Leiden in Holland, before purchasing the Mayflower and setting sail for the promised land.
That English influence is still embedded in Cape Cod life. That and the seafaring rituals of living by one of the most spectacular coasts in America.
The Mayflower had a living space of approximately 58 feet by 24 feet, for all passengers. The voyage wasn’t hospitable. The ship had to drift with the wind and waves until it reached a safe haven. Pity its first stop wasn’t the Captain’s House Inn in Chatham and the welcome of its innkeepers!
Chatham is still populated by many descendants. That and rose covered cottages with white picket fences. The Captain’s Inn keeps with this tradition, it exudes colonial style grace mixed with patriotism and antique charm.
In Cape Cod, you don’t have owners, you have innkeepers. And it shows, the hard work and dedication provides a personal experience, one that I grew rather fond of. That was thanks to Innkeepers Jill and James Meyer, who bought Captain’s House Inn in 2006.
It was founded in 1839 by Captain Hiram Harding, a young captain of a packet clipper ship. He built it for his bride Lydia, they needed a large space, they went on to have nine children. The trimmings, blinds and mouldings were all made by hand made tools, the timber came via boat from Maine.
Everything that was built and made then, is still in place today. Perfectly preserved by the innkeepers and owners throughout the years. An addition was the Captain’s Cottage in 1928 followed by the Carriage House in 1972, it was previously a barn and stables. The Inn was now complete.
It is set on two acres of English inspired gardens, complete with a croquet set. The English gentry country feel permeates throughout.
Afternoon Tea is served each day, offering traditional English scones with local jam or ‘jelly’ as the Americans say. Sandwiches such as Branston Pickle and cheddar cheese, assorted cakes and pastries. A delectable English tea, possibly even better than you would source in England, is on tap. The tea is served by English girls. All hospitality students who come out to the Inn for a one-year work experience. They love it. It gives them experience of the US hospitality industry with the comfort of home.
Home comforts are key. You can come and go throughout the day, into the kitchen to make a cup of tea or grab a slice of homemade cake. In the evening, cookies and refreshments are offered, again, help yourself. Cream tea is served every day in the lounge, with moreish cake and biscuits. There is no shortage of a sugary fix and comforting nourishment.
The four-star diamond breakfast consists of homemade granola, eggs Italiano, or peaches and cream French toast. The menu changes every day, a delight to behold in the mornings. If you can’t wait for that first cup of coffee, the girls will bring you a cup to your room, just to start the day off perfectly. The breakfast menu is left on your pillow the evening before, along with a chocolate truffle. What better way to nod of than with the thought of the morning delicacies?
That and the carefully selected sheets. There is a gift shop at the Inn, selling condiments, such as the local jam, Branston pickle and also linen. The luxurious bedlinen that you sink into every evening, cool and fresh, soft and sensual. You can buy this these too. Chatham Linen Closet is the online boutique. With free shipping, there is nothing to stop you recreating this bliss at home.
And bliss it is. We stayed in the Hiram Harding Room in the Captains Cottage. It’s like stepping back in time.
As you enter the Cottage a flight of extraordinary steps awaits you, decked in chintz carpet, the musty wooden smell is alluring. Thankfully we turned left into the suite. The rustic wood hits your senses first. Followed by the magnitude of the bed. There are wooden steps, three to be precise, for you to climb into bed. Princess and the Pea eat your heart out.
The room is clad in wooden panels; a library surrounds the eastern corner. An antique writing booth sits by the door, the light that streams through the windows illuminating it perfectly, just for those budding novelists, or a captain double checking his charts.
A chest of drawers houses your welcome gifts. Cape Cod snacks, water and wine. Cape Cod Cranberry juice is cooling in the fridge, a local touch. The wide fireplace with black iron surround is impressive, a fire log is prepped, two brass anchors delightfully rest in front if the grate, a crown is carved into the ornate surrounding. Another nod to the pilgrim’s journey.
A wooden spinning wheel furnishes the fireplace, that and up-lighters on the panel. You can imagine a salty captain retiring to this room, having a local brew. Brews and ciders are a speciality of James’, try the Cape Cod red or the Brooklyn Lager. A broom hangs by the side of the fireplace, awaiting magical instruction. Books such as ‘Spring Storm’ are ready to be devoured beside the fire. Bed in.
If you should venture to the beaches take the supplies available. Beach chairs, towels and picnic coolers. There is a heated pool and gym though, should you feel like hanging around.
Wedding ceremonies are also an option. Jill is a Justice of the Peace and has the authority to marry. A romantic package is also available, for those who feel marriage is a step too far.
The Pilgrims fought hard to reach the Cape Cod shores, and as an homage to that voyage, the Captain’s House Inn remains loyal to the authenticity of its history. It’s been labelled as the ‘Cape Cod’s finest small inn’. It certainly is.
Rates change seasonally and range from $185 in the winter to $490 in the summer.
Belfast – Providence:
- Norwegian fly a twice weekly summer service direct between Belfast and Providence, Boston ideal for leisure and business travellers.
- Fares start from £129 one way.
- To book visit norwegian.com/uk