Cape Cod has a long history of tales of restless ghosts, from widowed sea captain's wives that still tread the widow's walk waiting for their husbands who are never coming back from sea, to poor souls from shipwrecks or vessels taken over by pirates. Cape Cod is no stranger to hauntings in it's stately old homes and windswept beaches.
One of the oldest places to feel the chill of past inhabitants is the Old Yarmouth Inn Restaurant and Tavern. Built in 1696, it is the oldest inn in America which is still operating as an inn. Ghostly apparitions, lights going off and on by themselves, cold and hot spots, objects moving magically, whispers, and more are all thanks to the resident spirits. Plus, there's a hidden door in the attic thought to have been used as part of the Underground Railroad.
The Old Yarmouth Inn through its long history, also was used as a dentist office, family homes, a boarding house for the school teaching staff and perhaps a place where Revolutionary era soldiers were stationed; but this isn't clear as the historical records were lost in a fire.
Before the Civil War, the owners of the inn were part of the underground railroad, and hid runaway slaves in a secret room in the attic, which was found by the future owners, the Powell family, when granddaughter Althea was playing in the attic and discovered it.
Throughout the years, many owners and many visitors have lived and stayed here. No one knows if any died in their sleep. There seems to be at least 2 ghosts, a man and a woman who make The Old Yarmouth Inn their home. It is suspected that the male entity may be Althea Power's grandfather. The female entity may be the woman who died in a fire on the second floor or could be a slave woman from the underground railroad days. It was rumored that she was the mistress of the owner of the Inn at that time.
We had dinner there this summer in the tavern and while walking around, I did get the sense that some of the dining rooms were colder than others - it definitely had the feel of an old building with lots of stories and the food was very good so I would encourage anyone looking for a wonderful fireside dinner and a (possible) show to visit this charming old inn on Route 6A this Fall.
Probably not who you were thinking right away when you read this post's title but the true magical blue bloods of Cape Cod in my book have to be the interesting, still prehistoric* looking horseshoe crabs. If you walk the beaches on the Cape in September you might notice that the shoreline is mysteriously littered with hundreds of horseshoe crabs and worry that we have another disturbing, confounding mass exodus from the sea onto our lands. Luckily that is not the case here. Horseshoe crabs molt their exoskeletons as they grow older and bigger, pushing out of the front of their shells to get out. Their new shell is soft and malleable and can fit under their harder outer shell allowing them to shimmy out of their old one to dispose of it upon the shore. But the true magical feat of these upside down swimming horseshoe crabs is their blood. Horseshoe crabs use hemocyanin to carry oxygen through their blood. Because of the copper present in hemocyanin, their blood is blue in color. This valuable blue blood has aided in human medical research over the years. These interesting creatures from the sea are just another example of the wonders of the world around us and remind us again of the delicate symbiotic balance at play on this earth.
*The earliest horseshoe crab samples were dated roughly 450 million years ago.
Photo: Ann Cutting
SAT, SEP 15, 2018 10:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Get your ducks in a row at the annual Rubber Duck Regatta, Saturday, September 15, at Corporation Beach in Dennis. The numbered racing ducks will launch at 11:30. The first duck to cross the finish line wins $750. Second prize is $500, and third prize is $250. For information about buying duck race tickets, go to DennisConservationTrust.org or call 508.694.7812. This is a rain or shine, fun, free-to-watch, family friendly event. Proceeds benefit land conservation throughout Dennis.
There is something about the light on the Cape that washes away the worries of the world. There is something about the air on the Cape that lets you sleep soundly at night. There is something about the wind in the pine trees above that lulls you into peace. Water, sky, earth combine to whisper that all will be well with the world.
That's Cape Cod
Where the friendly little houses are
With the blinds of blue and green,
Where the water-lilies lift their cups -
The fairest ever seen -
Within the sound of Ocean's roar.
That's Cape Cod.
Where the gaily painted wind-mills whirl.
And Bob-whites call and Whippoorwills:
Where the roads wind among the trees.
And every breeze some white sail fills;
Where roses climb on old grey walls
When soft-voiced summer stands and call.
That's Cape Cod...
Bernice Hall Legg
West Dennis July 2018, Photo by Barry Friedman
"Book this place before someone else beats you to it! Summer Pines Cottage represents the very best of what Airbnb has to offer: an incredible home, a stunning location, and a great host who wants you to have the best possible stay. The cottage itself is fabulous. It's flooded with natural light, the internet is extremely fast (well over 200 mbps down and 10 mbps up), and the recent kitchen renovation is a dream. Valerie had thought of every item we could need while cooking. In terms of location, Kelley's pond is a stone's throw away, the beach is just down the road, and West Dennis is perfectly positioned to explore all of Cape Cod. We travel extensively, and our week-long stay here quickly became one of our most memorable Airbnb experiences. If you're planning a trip to Cape Cod, look no further! - AirbnbNomad
We recently had bnbNomad stay at Summer Pines Cottage for a week for a comprehensive guest experience report. They gave us an outstanding review, a detailed report and beautiful new photos!
Spring is the season for whale watching on the Cape and there are many opportunities to take a whale watching cruise or to watch whales from the shore. Humpback, Finback, Minke, Pilot and Right whales swim the oceans around Cape Cod. The closest off-shore whale watching to to West Dennis is Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises https://www.whales.net. Their jet-powered, state of the art vessel Whale Watcher heads offshore to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for an unforgettable encounter with the whales. The waters around Cape Cod consistently rank as one of the world’s top 10 whale watching destinations and with over thirty years experience, and a sighting rate of 99%, Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises can provide you with the whale watching adventure of a lifetime. If you want to try to spot whales from the shore, the best place to do that is the observation deck at the Race Point Beach visitors center in Provincetown - you can borrow binoculars from the ranger to see whales off the shore if you are lucky. Happy Searching!
What a little bit of ingenuity and hard work can accomplish: Our cottage kitchen renovation story
Our vintage 1940's cottage kitchen at Summer Pines Cottage with an antique farmhouse cast iron sink was charming but it wasn't very functional for cooking so we decided to renovate the kitchen over this past winter. We were working with a tight budget and knew that we would need to do some of the work ourselves and try to source the materials in creative ways. We started by taking down the cabinets ourselves with a crowbar - an easy and strangely satisfying task. We found another happy home for the farmhouse sink and decided to tackle taking up the tile flooring next. After many long hours with hammers and not much progress, we realized that we had to turn the tile removal and refinishing the nice old wood floors to professionals who had the expertise and the right equipment for the job. That done, we set about looking for cabinets. We were lucky to find a Boston couple on CL selling their beautiful, fairly new kitchen as they were tearing down their house and rebuilding. Their only requirement (besides cash) was that we helped them take down their cabinets and appliances, so off we went to their house with hammers in hand. It was a long and hard process but we did learn how to use a crowbar and reverse electric screwdriver. We also learned that granite countertops are VERY heavy! That done, we shuttled each cabinet and appliance down to the Cape and drew up the plan of our new kitchen using the measurements of the cabinets and the space. We enlisted the help of a very talented carpenter to creatively build around the cabinets we had so that it all looked built in. He created a large island on wheels with some extra cabinets and added cabinets above the stove, fridge and washer and dryer for a "built in" look. We found matching paint and painted all the new pieces to match the cabinets. Due to the tight space, I had to forgo a sliding barn door to hide the washer and dryer but found that a curtain did the trick and added to the cottage feel. Wanting a clean look, we found the deep sink, smaller profile european faucet and white quartz countertops at IKEA. Add some rush stools and cottage decor and we were done - only took from October to March!
Planning a romantic getaway this spring to enjoy the Cape without the crowds? Here are some great spring events that couples might enjoy in April and May on the Cape. Come stay at Summer Pines Cottage and enjoy - we still have availabilities both these weekends~
Toast of Harwich on April 27th is a fun night of casual elegance with terrific food and wine and an auction at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. http://harwichcc.com/cape-cod-vacation/2018-toast-of-harwich
April 28th is The Festival of Museums, a free one-day celebration of Cape Cod’s museums and galleries offering a fun packed day of surprising and exciting events and activities. http://capecodmuseumtrail.com/current-promotions
May 4th-6th is Brewster Blooms, a free 3-day festival with a 2-day juried fine arts and crafts show, a Cape Cod 5 Bloom Run, an antiques and arts excursion to many fine galleries and a Friday night band concert followed by a town parade on Sunday. http://www.Brewsterblooms.com
I am a designer and Cape native who loves cottage style, simple, small house living and guiding people to the hidden treasures