Being thankful this Memorial Day weekend

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

I recently wrote a blog about spring and how energized I feel this time of the year when everything is blooming and coming to life. We are full at both of our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn this weekend. Guests are enjoying the sunshine and all the natural beauty found on Cape Cod. We are thankful that our businesses are thriving and that we live in such a beautiful area.

As I was watering this afternoon my mind reflected on the true meaning of what Memorial Day weekend represents. While some think of barbecue and family gatherings to welcome warm weather, the true meaning is honoring all of our veterans. It’s being thankful for the freedom we have in our wonderful country and being grateful to all of our veterans that have served to protect that freedom. I recently saw a picture of a young mother crying over her husbands grave as a young toddler was on her lap. My heart broke in two and cannot image the pain this young mother must have to endure.

And so this Memorial Day weekend I want to say thank you to all of the men and woman that have served to protect our freedom. As a dog lover I also want to be thankful for all of the wonderful canines that have helped our soldiers in war time.

U.S. war dog memorial guarding the gateway to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey.

U.S. war dog memorial guarding the gateway to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey.

God Bless America!

Kite Flying on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

I have always loved kites and have fond memories of flying kites as a young girl. I was tickled when guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn mentioned that they wanted to go kite flying on the Brewster flats. How perfect…..I never really thought about flying a kite on our famous Brewster tidal flats, but what a perfect spot to let your old fashion kite fly high in the sky.

Low tide in Brewster

Low tide in Brewster

During low tide the water goes out to the middle of the bay leaving plenty of room to run with your kite.

Our guests purchased their kite at Dr.Gravity kite and toy shop in Harwichport.

Dr. Gravity Kite and Toy Shop

Dr. Gravity Kite and Toy Shop

Dr. Gravity’s Kite & Toy Shop has been a Cape Cod fixture for 39 years under the same ownership.Located in the quaint village of Harwich Port at the Cape’s elbow, the Dr’s vast selection of kites, kite accessories, windsocks, flags and unique toys is unsurpassed.

Fantastic new kite

Fantastic new kite

Happy to report that our guests had a wonderful day of kite flying on Cape Cod!

Exhaling on Cape Cod and enjoying all of the wonderful blessings that Cape Cod offers.

Brewster in Bloom at the Freeman

Captain Freeman Inn

Captain Freeman Inn

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

We  love our inn for many reasons but the one that stands out over and over is that we are so blessed to live in our wonderful small town of Brewster. It is a small community that is on the quiet side of the Cape and the town captures what many of us remember as “old time America” .

Brewster in Bloom is a town celebration that captures that feeling and includes a band concert at a local church, craft fairs and hopefully tons of daffodils in bloom. This years the daffodils coincided perfectly with the celebration. Our favorite part is the parade which runs down main street right in front of the Freeman. We love to sit in our rockers and watch the parade go by.

Rocking  at the Freeman

Rocking at the Freeman

Some of our favorite pics from the parade:

Family School float

Family School float

Brewster in Bloom parade cycling

Brewster in Bloom parade cycling

The loud part of the parade

The loud part of the parade

great music

great music

great fun

great fun

Clam water from the library:)

Clam water from the library:)

parents joining in on the fun

parents joining in on the fun

Exhaling on Cape Cod and happy spring to everyone.

New Cooking School Calendar at the Captain Freeman Inn

by Donna Cain

Cooking School at the Freeman

Cooking School at the Freeman

We have a fabulous time each winter during our Cape Cod Culinary cooking schools at the Captain Freeman Inn. Chef Carol will continue conducting the class. This year’s calendar is filled with some new comfort foods including bread and soups, all from the areas that we love in Europe including Italy, Spain and France.

The cooking school package includes a one or two night stay at either the Captain Freeman Inn or our sister property Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. The package includes a fabulous breakfast each day, cooking school for two and wine tasting and dinner afterwards. We pair both red and white wines to compliment our evening meal. Guests can sample different wines and decide which one they would like to enjoy with their meal. The dinner always concludes with a wonderful dessert or biscotti that I love to dunk in the dessert wine:)

Savory breakfast the the Freeman

Savory breakfast the the Freeman

2014/2015 Schedule

November 8, 2014- France

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In Paris the crisp fall air is filled with smells of baking bread and simmering comfort food. The flavors are amazing but the best part is that these classic dishes are simple and fun to make. We will make French bread, classic French Onion soup and French garlic sausage and butternut bisque that will transport you to Paris.

mushrooms from a previous class

mushrooms from a previous class

January 17, 2015 – Northern Italy

Winter chills mean fragrant country loaves and simmering soups overflowing with the bounty of the Tuscan hills. We will make country bread, stracchiatella, chicken and egg soup and hearty white bean and kale soup. Flavors to delight an Italian palate.

February 7,2015- Spain

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Winter is the season for warm bread dipped in fragrant olive oil and simple but beautiful paella, the comfort food of Spain. This hearty and simple rice sauté traditionally loaded with seafood and poultry. We will honor our local seafood bounty and prepare a sausage and scallop delight with all of the seasonings of Espagna!

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February 21, 2015- France/Provence

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As the cold mistral winds blow across the lavender fields of Provence, learn to shape French loaves in many shapes and sizes and enjoy classic Bouillabaisse, the provencal city of Marseille’s world famous seafood soup made with our local bounty of fish and seafood.

March 7, 2015- Southern Italy/Sicily

As spring approaches the hills of Sicily we will make hearty Sicilan country bread and two wonderful soups: Ribolitta (literally bread soup)and escarole soup with veal meatballs.

April 11, 2015- Spain, Portugal and Morocco

Where northern Africa meets southern Europe the flavors of Spain, Portugal and Morocco are all influenced by their common geography and unique histories. We will make traditional flat bread with its soft pillowy texture and amazing flavors. To accompany our bread, a selection of delicate soups and hearty tagine highlighting the local flavors of the region.

Our winter classes fill up quickly so it’s important to get your reservations in early. The package price includes best available room at time of booking giving you even more reason to book early so that you can reserve your favorite room.
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Bon Appetite and Exhaling on Cape Cod!

Brewster conservation

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

For us, conservation is a lifestyle. For example, we strive to do the right things in being green at the inn, using farm to table practices and reusing things whenever possible. This philosophy took on a new twist when we lost part of a beautiful Norwegian Maple in the back of the Captain Freeman. This tree is probably about 125 years old, based on it’s size and countable rings. When we purchased the Captain Freeman our new neighbors came over to introduce themselves and laughed when they said they had adopted our tree, as the inn had been vacant for several years. The grass on the rest of our property was several feet high, but our gracious neighbors had mowed the grass around the tree and had set a bench at the base. It really was a lovely thought as their grandchildren came to visit in the summer, and they all gathered around  this tree to let the kids play in a small  pool. Since then we have lovingly restored the grounds around the inn and have also enjoyed it’s shade and respite in the summer months. This past winter we had several North Easters that brought down two large limbs of the tree.

Side lawn at the Captain Freeman

Side lawn at the Captain Freeman

We were saddened as it was evident that the tree was diseased and would probably have to be totally removed in the next few years. My husband Byron cut up some of the branches and again our neighbor came and asked if we would mind if a friend took some of the wood as he was a craftsman that made lovely bowls. We were glad to share and know that the wood was put to some good use.

This morning as we were finishing up breakfast and had a surprise visit from Craig McConchie. Criag is a talented artist who specializes in wood and glass. He brought us a beautiful round bowl made from our tree:)

Wood bowl by Craig McConchie

Wood bowl by Craig McConchie

Byron and I were both so tickled when we looked at this web site, Tobias Wood and Glass and saw all of his beautiful pieces.Some of Craig’s other pieces that can be purchased on Etsy include:

Wood bowls

Wood bowls

Stained glass

Stained glass

Stained glass

Stained glass

We had a great conversation with Craig and were delighted to learn that his grandparents use to own “High Brewster” We had heard many stories from our guests about this restaurant and inn that was renowned for their great home style meals.

High Brewster Homested

High Brewster Homested

High Brewster was built in 1738 by the Winslow family on the north edge of Lower Mill Pond. It was run as an inn for most of the past century. The Thorne family bought it in 2001 and have been restoring it ever since.

I was also excited to learn that Craig raises chickens (I have wanted to get a chicken coop for year) and honey and would be able to provide us with some fresh eggs and honey for our breakfasts at the Captain Freeman Inn.

So all in all a great day! So much fun to have a beautiful bowl to remember our beautiful tree. We are talking about what species we will replace it with ….. thinking about a Tupelo or Swamp Oak Tree.

Spring has sprung at the Captain Freeman Inn on Cape Cod

By Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

Spring has always been my favorite season and a little sad this year as my dear mother passed away in January. She too, loved spring, and we would always walk the gardens together and comment about all the flowers that were pocking their heads up to the sky. This morning I was preparing breakfast for our guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn, and I happened to look out the window at our raspberry patch. Sitting on top of two of the posts are homemade birdhouses made many years ago by my Uncle Al. This past fall I had our handy man Antonio repair and repaint them and we just hung them last week in our raspberry patch. To my surprise I saw a chickadee making a new nest in this house……so sweet…… my mind thought back to so many wonderful memories when I was a little girl.  I was very close to my Uncle Al who was the brother of my father. He was very handy with woodworking and also had many beautiful flowers growing in his greenhouse. I think he would be pleased that we placed his houses in our beautiful raspberry patch.

Bird house

Bird house

We started our raspberry patch at Brewster by the Sea from small plants from my Mom’s garden in the Berkshires. These particular plants are so hearty and provide us with two crops- one in July, and if the weather cooperated, one in the late fall.  Hoping we will get some nice berries this year to make our famous raspberry jam.

Raspberries

Raspberries

I am always amazed in the spring how you will be driving down the road one day and the trees will be bare and the next day everything will be green…..happening overnight! I am encouraged as these buds are almost ready!

New buds

New buds

I love fountains and am especially attached to this one as it use to be in my mom’s garden back in the Berkshires. We have placed this one near our porch where our guests enjoy breakfast overlooking the pool and gardens. Fountains make such a soothing sound….perfect for relaxing our guests.

Fountain

Fountain

This was my mother’s favorite peony. When she moved in with us at Brewster by the Sea ten years ago we transplanted it from her gardens back in the Berkshires. Last year we retransplanted it to the gardens at the Captain Freeman. So glad to see that it is healthy this spring.

Favorite peony

Favorite peony

Brewster in Bloom festivities start this upcoming weekend and I was so tickled to see the daffodils are all in bloom. These particular blooms grace our beautiful gardens around the pool.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Not quite sure which flower this is but the brilliant lavender color is a joy to see from inside the inn. I keep telling myself…..summer really is coming:)

Spring color

Spring color

Last but not least is a picture of our pool at the Captain Freeman, a boutique inn on Cape Cod. it was just opened last week, and the water is a little cold but once we get a few warm days it warms up quickly. Here is to a wonderful summer filled with laughter, sunshine and fun for all.

Captain freeman pool

Captain freeman pool

Herring run in Brewster

by Donna Cain, Innkeper and owner

We always know when spring is here as we hear all of the seagulls “squaking” with content at the Stoney Brook Grist Mill which is just behind our second inn, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. It’s quite a sight to see the seagulls swooping down and eating many of the herring that are jumping upstream to reach Upper Mill pond where they will spawn over the summer months.

Herring Run

Herring Run.

It was interesting to read that the herring population is very healthy and increasing every year. The article below was written last year by the “Wicked Local” There is much debate as to why the population is increasing. When we first moved here over 10 years ago it was fun to watch the kids catching the herring in their nets. When the population starting decreasing you could not get a permit to catch the herring.

Herring at Stony Brook

2007 – 22,300
2008 – 25,289

2009 – 11,062

2010 – 48,099

2011 – 37,091

2012 – 41,028

2013 – 153,262

(one wonders how they can count the actual number of herring:)

Herring in Brewster

Herring in Brewster

They won’t be packing barrels of smoked herring out of the Stony Brook Mill site like they used to 100 years ago, but maybe some day folks will be able to dip their nets in to catch the sparkling silver fish once more for their private smoking.

The Association to Preserve Cape Cod reports last spring’s estimated record run of herring was 153,262 fish.

“It’s certainly encouraging to see this big increase at Stony Brook,” said noted Jo Ann Muramoto, senior scientist at the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, who oversees their work with herring. “Still it’s so, so low compared to historic records based on the barrels of fish they used to take out. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.”

Prior to 1903 Brewster had an official herring catcher who had to supply each town family with one eighth of barrel of herring a year. The average annual catch was 225 barrels. In contrast, in 1912, Harwich’s Herring River produced 1,200 barrels.

The official “record” only covers eight years, the formal herring counts began in 2007 but it still a good sign. The previous high was 48,099 in 2010 so this represents a tripling.

The question is, is the bounce due to the reworked (in fall 2010) culvert under Route 6A, which is now 18-feet wide instead of 4 feet, or does it reflect a general rebound of herring around the state?

“I’d like to think it’s a combination of both of those,” Muramoto said. “I do think making the culvert wider has made a difference. During the run itself a number of people including myself stood over the culvert and looked down at thousands of herring schooling to pass through the culvert whereas before maybe a dozen could move up at one time. An entire school could make it through now.”

Muramoto explained that herring seem to like to form a school before they move upstream.

“It’s probably the way they migrate upstream. If you watch at different points they seem to like to congregate in schools. This schooling pattern is pretty common,” she said.

Herring

Herring

That could be a way to reduce the chance of predation by gulls or other animals.

Massachusetts imposed a three-year moratorium on herring harvests (both alewife and blueback herring, both in the genus Alosa) on Jan. 1, 2006. That was extended for another three years in 2008 and has continued since. Connecticut and Rhode Island have also closed their herring fisheries however herring can be caught in the open ocean as a bycatch of other fisheries, especially Atlantic herring (Clupea Harengas). Most of the bycatch occurs around Cape Cod, according to a 2008 study.

“The effects of fishing at sea are not well controlled,” Muramoto observed.

Dana Condit, head of Brewster Mill Site Committee, puts more stock in the fishery shutdown than the new culvert.

“I grew up right there and I remember in the ’60′s they’d show up like this year and they would use that culvert,” Condit said. “In 1968 they changed the configuration where the fish go into the pond and they navigated that in huge numbers.”

The Stony Brook fishery was big business in those days.

“They used to sieve them out in the back of dump trucks and in barrels on tailor trucks. They took a lot of herring out of there,” Condit recalled.

Last year (2012) saw big runs of herring in the Charles and Black rivers, as well as at Stony Brook and in the Monument River in Bourne.

“This may have begun in 2012 and is continuing this year. We’ll know better when the Division of Marine Fisheries presents the results from around the state later this month,” Muramoto said. “I think 32 runs are monitored in Massachusetts. The highest numbers are on Cape Cod.”

Muramoto works with herring monitors in several towns.

“There are increases in some, others are the same,” she said. “The Herring River in Wellfleet almost doubled this year. Pilgrim Lake (in Orleans) was the same. The Mashpee River was the same but some counts were lost. The Quashnet (River) was the same. The increase for Stony Brook was one of the most dramatic.”

“I talked with construction guys from the DMF and they had wonderful numbers everywhere. It wasn’t just us,” Condit said. “A lot of runs did very well off Cape.”

The herring run generally peaks in late April and early May. Muramoto recruits 15 to 20 volunteers to do the counts. Nine counts are done each day at random times during herring season, at a designated location, each count lasts 10 minutes. Herring runs in Bournedale and Sandwich have electronic counters.

The herring do run at night, but nighttime counts have been problematic.

“We’ve tried to use a video camera underwater at night but had severe lighting problems,” Muramoto said. “We weren’t successful seeing fish.”

We stopped by the Herring run last night and Byron was able to get some great shots of the herring in the water. The pictures have an impressionistic feel and we both loved the shots so much that we want to frame some.

Herring in Brewster

Herring in Brewster

This particular evening the seagulls were flying overhead but were not swooping down for dinner…..maybe they had their fill for the day.

Herring

Herring

Many of our guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn and Brewster by the Sea love visiting the Brewster Grist Mill. This weekend the town is celebrating Brewster in Bloom and the mill will be open for tours. They will also be selling their wonderful ground corn meal. We love to purchase the ground corn for our wonderful Captain Freeman Corn Muffins which we serve regularly at the inn.

Happy Spring!