Holiday Home tours and Open Houses on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Captain Freeman Inn

Captain Freeman Inn

The holidays are almost upon us and many of our Cape Cod towns are busy getting ready for their unique celebrations. This year we are having a tree lighting party the day after Thanksgiving. One of my favorite times of the year is decorating the inns for the holidays. We have so many special family decorations and have added some new ones now that we have two inns, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

December 2: We have our own tour at the Captain Freeman Inn which is put on by the Brewster Historical Society and is part of the Brewster for the Holidays Celebration. This year the tour includes 3 of the other historical inns in Brewster, the Old Manse Inn, the Candleberry Inn and the Sea Meadow Inn.

The tour includes a narrated bus tour to the inns with the tour at 2:30 being by candlelight. Each inn will have refreshments as well as historic information along with details about the inn’s architecture. For more information or to purchase tickets call Sandra Tubman at 508-896-3128 or email us at brewsterhstours@comcast.net.

December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16: Country Christmas- Holiday decorations inspired by a country home in bygone era. Taste a sampling of delicious Jam Kitchen products and a cup of mulled cider. Browse among a variety of great holiday gift ideas including jams, jellies, relishes, books and nature related items. For more information http://www.thortonburgess.org or come to Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich.

December 7& 8: Chatham Historical Society’s Annual Hearth warming. Celebrate the holidays “Artwood House-style” Hot mulled cider and baked goods, caroling, Christmas tree lighting, crafts, pictures with Mrs. Claus at the Atwood House Mueseum. See http://www.chatahmhistoricalsociety.org for more informaiton.

December 9: Christmas Open House at the Manse Dennis “Villages” Stroll- Docents in colonial attire will guide you through the festively decorated home of Reverand Dennis. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

December 9: Holiday House Tour and Boutique- Tour beautiful homes festively decorated for the season and shop for unique gifts and decorations at the Boutique, which will be held at the library. For more information see http://www.westfalmouthlibrary.org

December 9: Holly Days Home Tour- Homeowners and innkeepers, along with area designers, florists and retailers decorate Snadwich’s finest homes as a welcoming celebration of the season. Docents will be stationed at each destination to point out historic and architectural features, unique furnishings and special decorations. For more information see http://www.sandwichhollydays.com

December 9: Chatham Historic Inn Tour- Participating inns throughout Chatham are decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in ten of Chatham’s intimate inns and elegant ocean front resorts. For more information see http://www.chathaminfo.com

December 16: Dennis Historical Society Christmas open House- Celebrate the season at the home built for Captain Theophilus Baker in 1801 now called “Jericho Historical Center”. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian decorations and traditional holiday refreshements. For more information see http://www.dennishistsoc.org

Happy Holidays to all!

Cape Cod Art Galleries

Fall is my favorite time of year to be on Cape Cod, as most of the crowds have left for the season but all of the beauty that surrounds this special place remains. It’s this unique natural beauty that brings so many artists to the Cape – they come here looking for inspiration and boy do they find it! Brewster is home to many talented painters and sculptors, several of whom have works displayed right here at the Captain Freeman Inn, and some of my favorite galleries are sprinkled throughout Cape Cod and the Islands.

This is a painting of the Captain Freeman Inn by local artist Karen North Wells

Karen North Wells is an award winning painter of both watercolors and oils, and she has one of the most interesting galleries you will ever see. The Underground Art Gallery was designed by her late husband, renowned architect Malcolm Wells, back in 1988. It is an earth-covered structure that was built to demonstrate environmentally sound construction practices, and it houses both Karen’s studio and her exhibit space. They are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12-5.

Chatham Cat by Timothy Jon Struna

Timothy Jon Struna works with the mediums of watercolor, oil, acrylic and copper plate engraving. Over the past four decades he has developed his own characteristic style, incorporating subtle abstract qualities into traditional realism. His work reflects a great appreciation for this area – focusing on the beaches, marshes and cranberry bogs as well as classic studies of Cape architecture, all with an apparent absence of people. “I rarely put figures in my paintings because I want myself, and in turn the viewer, to be the human element in the painting. I want my viewers to experience the scene on their own, just as I painted it in the studio. To see the subject as I am seeing it, like the beach at sunrise before there’s another footprint in the sand.” To see his subjects in person, visit Struna Galleries in Brewster, open daily from 11-5.

Highland Light Sunrise by Amy Sanders, featured at the Addison Art Gallery

Addison Art Gallery in Orleans is a rare and special place that cultivates relationships between artists, collectors and gallery staff to create a truly memorable experience. Set in a classic half-Cape full of natural light, the gallery has a comfortable atmosphere and feels more like a private home than a business. There is a sculpture garden in front, cathedral ceilings upstairs to display more contemporary art, and a fireplace so people can see what a painting would look like over a mantle.

The Haze by Patrick Kitson, featured at Tree’s Place

Also in Orleans is Tree’s Place, one of America’s finest contemporary art galleries specializing in realism, impressionism, and post-modernism. Their goal is to recognize and support those artists whose work demonstrates the competence of classical training while simultaneously depicting the modern world, and they are committed to presenting traditionally rendered original works which preserve the integrity of fine art.

Memories Evoked by Peter Quidley

And though the Quidley & Company Gallery is located all the way over on Nantucket, I would be remiss to leave it out of my list of local favorites. Their featured artist, Peter Quidley, is a personal friend of mine and truly one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. As one critic said “The first thing you notice about Peter Quidley’s oil paintings is the shimmering, lustrous character of the light which seems to radiate from the inside out, as if each picture is infused with its own individual incandescence.” Trust me, it is definitely worth stopping by this gallery the next time you are on the Islands!

It’s Wedding Season on Cape Cod!

by Shannon Lane

Cape Cod is one of the most desirable wedding destinations in the world, and the newly remodeled Captain Freeman Inn is a perfect venue for intimate ceremonies on the beach or in our beautiful gardens. We specialize is small weddings and elopements that are highly customized, which means that each event is as unique as each couple we host.

One of our unique and beautiful flower arrangements

Our first wedding of the 2012 season was for a wonderful Scottish couple named Elaine and Sandy. After 20 years together they finally decided to tie the knot, and we were honored that they selected us to help plan their special day. Traveling across the Atlantic to celebrate with them was their amazingly fun family, and boy did those Scots know how to celebrate! The gents all wore traditional Scottish kilts, sporrans and brogue shoes while the ladies donned some fabulous fascinators. They even had Scottish themed plaid confetti to throw at the happy couple when they were pronounced husband and wife!

Elaine and Sandy at Linnell Landing Beach in Brewster

Another happy couple to get married at our Inn this summer was Deana and Chris. To say that these two lovebirds were crazy about each other would be an understatement. They were so in love that I honestly wept as I watched them say their vows to each other (I wasn’t alone – Chris later told me that he had successfully managed to avoid crying himself until he saw me doing so, and then his own tears started flowing). Along with their family, they married on the beach, toasted with champagne and strawberries back at the Inn, and enjoyed fine Italian food at Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse for their dinner reception.

Deana and Chris at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewster

As much as we love planning weddings, we also love hosting vow renewal ceremonies and this summer we were fortunate enough to do so for Erik and Aprile as they celebrated their 10 year anniversary. They chose the always beautiful Paine’s Creek beach as the setting for their special day, and this time around it was Byron who got teary-eyed listening to their touching and heartfelt vows. Not even the hot sand could put a damper on the happiness of the day, because Erik and Aprile just cooled their feet in the always refreshing Atlantic Ocean, wedding dress and all!

Aprile and Erik at Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewser

A true elopement is always such a romantic occasion, and Julia and Simon are a gorgeous German couple who decided to elope in secret here on Cape Cod before they have a larger wedding for their friends and family back home. They chose to have their ceremony at a beach in Harwichport and it was a perfect location for them, with the waves crashing at their bare feet. Even a group of children playing nearby wanted to get in on the action, and they managed to pose in many of the post wedding pictures with the glowing bride and grinning groom. Afterwards they headed to a romantic dinner for two at the Ocean House in Dennis, capping off a perfect day with a perfect dinner on the water!

Julia and Simon at Ayer Lane Beach in Harwichport

Meet The Captain Freeman Inn 2012 Team

by Shannon Lane

I am one of those lucky people who is fortunate enough to love both what I do for work and the people I get to work with here at the Captain Freeman Inn. I have so enjoyed getting to know each of them, so it only seems fair for me to share the joy and let you get to know them a bit too!

From left to right, Nathan, Antonio, Mitzi, Corrine and Shannon enjoy one of Donna’s delicious breakfasts!

Lisa has been working as our Head Breakfast Chef, occasional Innkeeper and Housekeeper at the Captain Freeman Inn since it was purchased back in January 2011 (she had previously been doing Housekeeping over at our sister property, Brewster By The Sea). A native Cape Codder, Lisa lives with her boyfriend Bryan right here in Brewster at Sweetwater Forrest. Together they have three dogs, and Lisa also owns a horse that she rescued from the racetracks. She is an absolute genius in the kitchen, and especially loves making and decorating beautiful cakes for all of our guests’ special occasions. Someday she would love to go to veterinary school, but I selfishly don’t ever want her to leave us because I can’t even imagine this place without her smiling face :).

Nathan is our Property Manager, occasional Innkeeper and a general Jack of All Trades. Raised in Houston, he is a southern gentleman at heart who has temporarily relocated to New England for schooling. Nate does just about everything you can imagine around here, from landscaping to rewiring lamps to renovating bathrooms! He is currently attending UMass Dartmouth with a double major in Biology and Economics, which makes him an official smarty pants, and when not staying on campus during the school year he lives right here at the Inn. His sense of humor is appreciated by coworkers and guests alike, and his sharp intelligence has led to many interesting conversations in our guest lounge.

Corrine is our Main Housekeeper, and I like to call her Corrine the Machine because she is so good and so fast at what she does! Originally from Jamaica, she moved to the United States in 2009 to be close to her sister, niece and nephews. An Aunt Extraordinaire, Corrine loves to spend time at home with her family in Orleans playing games, going to the beach, and watching Disney movies. Her quiet demeanor and compassionate nature mask a wicked sense of humor, and we would be absolutely lost without her here.

Denise and Mitzi are the primary Housekeepers over at Brewster By The Sea, but we are lucky enough to be blessed with their company a few days each week when they help out here at the Captain Freeman Inn. They are both Jamaican residents who work on the Cape in the summertime, and between the two of them they could floor a room with laughter! Always up for a joke, a game, or a spontaneous dance party, their positive energy is positively contagious. Sometimes they will even cook a delicious Jamaican meal for the rest of the staff! They are both major assets to our team, and we are lucky to have them.

Antonio is our resident Handyman, and he can honestly do just about anything! Painting, landscaping, tiling, plumbing, electrical wiring, furniture repairing – you name it, Antonio does it. Born in Colombia, he has been living in the United States for the past 20 years and working hard to put his children through school and, he hopes, to eventually move his entire family here to be with him. His work ethic is unparalleled, and the fact that he does it all with a huge grin lighting up his face makes me respect him even more.

Our newest team member is Emily, and she has been hired as an occasional Breakfast Chef, Server and Housekeeper. Recently married, she and her husband live right here in Brewster and during the off season she works as a substitute teacher for the Brewster Elementary School system. She has been a most welcome addition to our summer staff, and her coconut cupcakes are already a guest favorite!

Last, but certainly not least, we have Donna and Byron Cain, Owners of this beautiful establishment. They are two of the most warm, genuine, compassionate and well-intentioned people I have ever met. Byron is originally from Wyoming, and his previous career as a geophysicist allowed him to travel the world from China to Nigeria to Colombia. Donna was born in the Berkshires and she spent many years catering in that area before becoming a furniture buyer in Houston. Luckily for all of us, they decided to leave their “normal jobs” back in 2003 to open their first Bed & Breakfast, Brewster By The Sea. After mastering the art of Innkeeping there, they decided to purchase their second B&B, the Captain Freeman Inn, in January 2011 and have lovingly restored this beautiful property ever since.

Your Innkeeper’s Perfect Day in Brewster by the Bay

by Shannon Lane

I grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Brewster for my high school and college years. Coming home now after 10 years in the Boston area has brought back a flood of great memories, and recently I’ve been dreaming about what my perfect day in this beautiful town would be like.

This is the poolside porch at the Captain Freeman Inn, where guests often enjoy their breakfasts and where Shannon dreams of enjoying hers!

It would honestly start here on the Captain Freeman Inn’s poolside screened-in porch, eating one of Lisa and Donna’s delectable breakfast creations. Fresh squeezed orange juice and a cup of Harney & Sons Earl Grey Tea would definitely be involved, as would fresh pineapple with dried cranberries, Crème Brûlée French Toast and a couple of slices of hickory smoked bacon. Yummers! To complete the perfect breakfast experience, I would enjoy one of our warm, lavender and grapefruit scented hand towels draped over my welcoming face.

Creme Brûlée French Toast

After that I would head over to the John Wing Hiking Trail at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. This is one of my favorite walks, as it passes through the coastal pitch pine woodlands, across a salt marsh to Wing’s Island, and finally descends through a salt marsh swale to the barrier beach and tidal pools of Cape Cod Bay. It is truly a microcosm of the Cape’s landscape, highlighting the natural and human development which has shaped this fragile land from geological times to the present. The tidal flats and creeks are home to a variety of fish, crabs, shellfish, worms, and snails as well as many seaside plants, grasses and trees. I discover something new every time I walk there, and always leave with a smile on my face :)

This is the end of the Wing’s Island Trail at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

From there I would bike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Nickerson State Park for a quick swim in Flax Pond. This is one of the cleanest and loveliest bodies of water I have ever encountered, a 48 acre natural kettlehole pond sitting along 1.1 miles of undeveloped shoreline protected within the confines of Nickerson State Park. The water transparency is excellent, aquatic vegetation is scant and the bottom is composed primarily of soft, light sand. All of this combined makes for a perfect swimming experience, with no worries of unwelcome critters or dark, mysterious algae preventing you from diving right into the refreshingly cool waters. You can even rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats there through Jack’s Boat Rental!

Flax Pond at Nickerson State Park has some of the cleanest swimming water around!

Next I would drive on over to Paine’s Creek Beach to watch the sunset. In my most humble opinion, this is the prettiest place in the world to watch a sunset! There’s as good a western view as you can get here on Cape Cod, and the landscape seems to reflect the light as if by magic. Words cannot describe how peaceful and beautiful this experience can be but the amazing picture below, taken by our very own and very talented Byron Cain, should give you a sense of it!

Watching the spectacular sunset at Paine’s Creek is awe inspiring!

Finally, to cap off my perfect Brewster day I would enjoy dinner at the Peddler’s Café on Thad Ellis Road. This is undoubtedly the best hidden gem I have found in 25 years of eating on the Cape. From the moment you walk through the front door you are transported to an intimate French Bistro where food is meant to be enjoyed to its fullest and guests are encouraged to take their time savoring every delicious flavor they encounter. The smells alone are intoxicating, but the first bite that hits your mouth will have you literally moaning with pleasure! The service is welcoming and personal, the ambiance warm and romantic, and the wine list surprisingly expansive.

Head Chef Alain Hassan prepares another delicious entree at the Peddler’s Cafe & Bistro.

12 reasons to visit the Captain Freeman in May

By Donna Cain, Innkeeper and Owner

We absolutely are in love with Cape Cod and enjoy living here year round. My husband and I own two lovely inns in Brewster, the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. We have been busy over the past 8 years  restoring both properties and enjoy welcoming guests to this lovely area. I especially enjoy Cape Cod in the spring……there is something about the warm sunshine, seeing all of the flowers and plants come to life that touches my soul. I find a new energy that  fuels me through our busy season and the holidays toward the end of the year. May is just a few days away, and we decided to run a special at both inns for the full month. Come stay with us 3 or more days and you will receive a $50 coupon toward your stay and also enjoy a lovely spring bouquet of flowers in your room that you can later take home . We have also lowered our mid week prices from Sunday – Thursday  to make your Cape Cod getaway a pleasant surprise to your pocketbook! Now, on to a few reasons for you to start planning your trip:

1. The whales are back and many guests have taken beach chairs and binoculars to Race Point Beach in P’Town where many have seen the whales with their naked eye. It’s fun to grab a Lobster Roll lunch on the way that you can enjoy on the beach.

2. We have always recommended the Heritage Gardens and Museum in Sandwich to our guests. This year there is an added attraction of a Norman Rockwell exhibit that will be opening on May 5th. After your tour of the lovely property enjoy a high tea at the Dunbar Tea House right next to the museum.

3. We are blessed to have a wonderful state park right here in Brewster called Nickerson State Park. Our favorite trail is to the back of the park where you can enjoy a lovely walk around a pristine lake. The park also has wonderful hilly bike trails.

4. We love Wellfleet and have found a great new trail out to the “Great Island” where you can walk the beach or venture into the forest. Afterwards, enjoy a “Wellfleet Oyster” at the Wicked Oyster restaurant.

5. May is the perfect time to grab or rent a bike so that you can enjoy the beautiful cycling on the Cape Cod Railroad Bike trail.    You can easily petal by cranberry bogs, stop for an ice cream or ride to the National Seashore. This path is great for novice or out of shape bikers (like myself) since it is flat and well surfaced.

6. I love Lobster Rolls and finally all of the Clam shacks are opening for the season. The Yankee Magazine just voted Arnold’s in Eastham one of the 12 best places to get a lobster. My favorite thing to do is to get a lobster roll to go and grab some beach chairs and relax on the beach with that delicious lobster roll….ummmmmm!

7. Marconi beach on the National Seashore is still our favorite. Each of the beaches on Cape Cod is unique and wonderful but there is something really special about Marconi!

8. We love Lavender at both of our inns and have a homemade lavender and grapefruit spray in our guest rooms. The Lavender Farm is in Harwich and is a great place to visit in the spring. Her plants are robust and reasonably priced, and we love to walk the many acres of lavender plants on the farm.

9. The Osprey couple that comes back to Brewster year after year have returned and are busy preparing their nest at the Natural History Museum.It’s really fun to walk on the boardwalk and watch them in flight.

10. We love the Brewster Fish House restaurant in town but always dread the long wait in the summer for our guests. This time of year they are only closed on Mondays and most nights there is just a short wait.

11. Flowers, flowers, flowers…….we have already placed all of our outdoor furniture and both pools will be opening soon. We also refurbished and decorated the gazebo at Brewster by the Sea so guests can relax in the new wicker while they read or enjoy a glass of wine. The Hydrangeas are fully budded and all of the flowers in the perennial garden are starting to bloom.

12.  Last but not least is shopping. The Cape is a wonderful place to find unique art, pottery or jewelry. Most of the galleries, boutiques and antique shops are now opening.

Many, many reasons to consider a May trip to Cape Cod. Experience the wonderful hospitality at one of our two inns, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn.

If you are booking on line for a 3 night or more stay in May, mention the password “Harrison” to receive the $50 coupon and the wonderful spring bouquet of flowers.

We love Cookies at the Captain Freeman!

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and Owner

At both of our Brewster, Cape Cod Inns, Brewster by the Sea and Captain Freeman Inn we always have plenty of cookies on hand. Our house cookie is an old fashion molasses cookie that has been in our family for many years. We often joke with our guests that we make 1,000′s of this cookie a year. It’s actually a little addictive since the flavor is so comforting.

Every afternoon we serve a different sweet as our afternoon tea. Today’s cookie was a  wonderful light cookie that we found in an old cookbook at the Captain Freeman called Mrs. Field’s Cookie Book, published in 1992. We thought it worthy to publish on our blog.

Lemon Chocolate Chip Buttons

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure lemon extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300

Combine dry ingredients

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a stand mixer. Add eggs and lemon extract and beat well. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add the flour mixture and add chocolate chips and mix lightly until combined. Do not over mix.
Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake for 15 minutes. Do not brown. Immediately transfer with a spatula to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!