Day Trip #2- Martha’s Vineyard

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Edgartown Light

Edgartown Light

Martha’s Vineyard makes for a great day trip from our inn, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. We like to recommend that you have an early breakfast at the inn and catch an early ferry out of Woods Hole. You can take your car on the ferry but most of our guests either ride the public transportation, take their bikes or rent mopeds to traverse the island.

Since I am such a history buff I have to include some of the island’s interesting history.

Bartholomew Gosnold was the first European known to have visited Martha’s Vineyard in 1602. Gosnold named the island after the bountiful grapes he found on the island and possibly Martha was his daughter. The island was formally colonized in 1640, when English settlers bound for Virginia ran short of supplies. They docked in Edgartown and found the resident Wampanoag friendly and decided to stay.



In the early 1800’s the whaling industry took off. The Vineyard enjoyed a whaling heyday from the 1820’s to the Civil War, with hundreds of sailing vessels sailing in and out of Edgartown. Whaling captains took their enormous profits from whale oil and built large Federal and Greek Revival homes all over the island.

Whaling Church

Whaling Church

After the Civil war, with whaling industry in decline, tourism became the Vineyard’s principal source of income. My 1878 the Methodist Campground of Oak Bluffs had become a popular summer resort, with 12,000 people attending annual meetings.

At the center of the campground is the Tabernacle, which is still used today for concerts of local artists such as Livingston Taylor.

At the center of the campground is the Tabernacle, which is still used today for concerts of local artists such as Livingston Taylor.

The area started out in 1835 with a group of Methodists who camped in tents for a retreat. Eventually the gingerbread cottages replaced the tents.

The area started out in 1835 with a group of Methodists who camped in tents for a retreat. Eventually the gingerbread cottages replaced the tents.

Over the next 30 years, other travelers discovered the island and returned summer after summer to enjoy fishing, warm waters, boating and a genteel lifestyle. Each of the different towns has an ambiance all of it’s own.

Upscale Edgartown is full of grand white Greek Revival ship captain’s homes, with fanlights and widow walks. The quaint town is filled with unique shops, galleries and restaurants.



Vineyard Haven has year round residents and is the commercial center of the island. The harbor is home to many wooden boats and has it’s own boatbuilder that still rebuilds wooden boats, Gannon and Benjamin Boatbuilders.


Oaks Bluff is both charming and honkey-tonk, in the words of travel writer Kim Grant. In 1835, Wesleyan Grove was the site of the Methodist congregation’s annual summer-camp meetings. The camper’s small tents became family tents, then primitive, wooden tent like cottages, and finally brightly painted cottages ornamented with fancy trim. The whimsical, precious, and offbeat cottages have become a must see during your trip to Martha’s Vineyard.


West Tisbury is often called the Athens of the Vineyard because of it’s fine New England Congregation Church, Town Hall and Grange Hall.

Music Street, where descendants of the 19th century ship captains still live in large houses, was so named because many families used whaling profits to purchase pianos.

This is just a little summary of what to see and do on your trip to Martha’s VineYard. The island has beautiful beaches-


serene country sides-


wonderful sailing-


World class fishing-


and last but not least one should always have ice-cream when on vacation, Mad Martha’s has wonderful homemade ice-cream.


Information in this post from Kim Grant’s Explorer’s Guide and pictures from

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5 Favorite Ice Cream Parlors

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner


I have always loved IceCream. I have distant memories of my side job in college working at an old fashion Ice Cream parlor in Newton. I think it was called Brighams Ice Cream and they made all sorts of fun sundaes and floats. I became an ice cream expert! (I just did a google search and was sad to learn that that last Brighams Ice Cream closed last year after being in business for 99 years.)


As I get older I just can’t eat as much ice cream as I’d like but hey….life is too short to totally deprive oneself from simple life pleasures of eating an old fashion ice cream cone or sundae. So this post is dedicated to all of our favorite spots on Cape Cod.


1. Smugglers in Dennis is within walking distance of the Cape Museum of Art and Cape Cod Theater and makes for a wonderful nighttime snack after enjoying a play or movie. They have wonderful frozen yogurt and ice-cream with flavors such as Chocolate Almond and Coffee Oreo, Apple Pie and French Raspberry Truffle. I like their old fashion coffee which is so rich and flavorful.

Cape Cod Creamery

Picture courtesy: Cape Cod Creamery Web Site

2. Cape Cod Creamery in South Yarmouth has the most creamy and flavorful ice-cream with creative flavors such as Barnstable Banana Foster, Nauset Peach and Chappaquiddick Chocolate Chip is delectably filled with chunky chocolate chips. Just the way we like it. And if you can’t decide on a flavor, why not try a sampler of six flavors? If you’d like to make a meal out of ice cream, this is the place to do it.


Picture Courtesy: Chocolate Sparrow Web Site

3. Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans. The Sparrow has wonderful coffee, sandwiches and ice-cream. I love their chocolate sundaes or their special chocolate lattes

4. JT’s in Brewster- when you are in the mood for a perfect plate of fried clams finished off with a perfect ice cream cone this is the perfect place for you. Well run with true Clam Shack staples.

Picture courtesy: Sundae School Web Site

Picture courtesy: Sundae School Web Site

5. Sundae School Ice Cream in Dennis Port is a Cape Cod landmark. I remember talking to a guest that purchased a home just because the Sundae School was just down the street… that’s a true ice-cream lover. A Cape Cod landmark to many followers, with 30 flavors to choose from including
the classic Oreo Crunch, Black Raspberry, or the perfect “breakfast” ice cream—Grapenut (vanilla ice cream with Grapenut cereal). They also have great  frappes, floats, and your choice of mini or giant banana split.

Hard to choose a favorite as each is unique and wonderful in their own ways. We love hearing stories from our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea of their ice cream experiences. Exhaling on Cape Cod at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast.

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Provincetown Portugese Festival on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and Owner

Portugese Festival

Portugese Festival, Photo by Jane Booth

For over sixty years, Provincetown has honored its Portuguese ancestry with an annual Blessing of the Fleet and weekend-long Portuguese Festival, which runs from June 26th to June 29th. Centuries ago, the tradition of blessing a ship before it departed on a dangerous journey  included a blessing from the Bishop.

The tradition continues today, beginning with a mass at St. Peter’s Church, followed by a festive procession to MacMillan Wharf and the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony.

The Blessing of the Fleet is one of the highlights of the annual Provincetown Portuguese Festival.

The Festival is a celebration of all things Portuguese, including food,culture, dancing and music.

During the festival, Commercial Street ripples with the festive red and green of the Portuguese flag.

And you don’t have to be Portuguese to enjoy this vibrate cultural celebration.

This family-friendly festival features incredible food and entertainment and fun activities for adults and kids.

There is a full schedule of events beginning Friday evening, but you won’t want to miss the procession and the blessing on the last day.

Sunday, following mass at St. Peter’s Church, the Blessing of the Fleet procession winds its way towards MacMillan Wharf at 12pm. Before the blessing at 1pm, the traditional Portuguese dancers perform on the wharf.

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Princess Marconi visits Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

I have always loved history and have been fascinated about the Marconi historical site on Cape Cod where Guglielmo Marconi pioneered the technology to transmit the first wireless message from the United States to England. It was a special treat to learn that his daughter, Princess Marconi is here on the Cape to honor her father.

Princess Marconi

Princess Marconi

Shown in this picture with a biographical book, Marconi my Beloved,  written by her mother, Marchesa Maria Cristina Marconi where she details the life of her famous husband and Nobel Prize winner, Guglielmo Marconi. In 1901, he accomplished the first trans-Atlantic wireless transmission and became known as the Father of the Age of Communication. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII exchanged first messages between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and England. The book also contains Marconi’s other experiments, especially those dealing with radar.

The Princess will be on Cape Cod Friday, June 20th and her itinerary included a stop at the Eastham’s Visitor’s Center where the students from the local elementary school will present a 10 minute program on the history of communication followed by a question and answer session with the princess…how fun!. Later she will go to the Seashore headquarters in the Marconi Site Road where she will be presented with gifts from local artists, Roberta and Mark Sherwin. Then she will go to the original site of the Wireless Station, where there is a scheduled two way amateur radio contact in which the princess will read a “Marconigram” wishing the World Radiosport Team Championship well in their 2014 international competition. The competition, dedicated to advancing amateur radio and radio technology, is set to take place in July.

She is also a special guest fro the Chatham Marconi Maritime Museum and Educational Grand Opening celebraiton this weekend, which will officially open it’s doors to the public on Saturday, June 21st at 10 am.

Shown in this pictures on her eighth birthday, onboard Marconi’s yacht Elettra.


We always tell our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa that Marconi is our very favorite beach on the National Seashore. It’s just an extra bonus to learn about the history in that area and to walk the wonderful White Cedat Swamp trail which is also in the complex.

Marconi Beach

Marconi Beach

Exhaling on Cape Cod and feeling very blessed to be sharing this beautiful part of the world with our guests.

White Cedar Swamp

White Cedar Swamp

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Brewster by the Sea received accolades from travel writer Kim Grant

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Cape Cod Explorer's Guide

Cape Cod Explorer’s Guide

Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa just received a wonderful review in Kim Grants’s 10th addition of Cape Cod Explorer’s Guide.


Quoted by Kim Grant in her Explorer’s Guide about Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa, “Nothing is ordinary here: Everything is elevated to an art form. Let’s start with the full breakfast served to you on the back deck (surrounded by splendid gardens and a hydrangea-ringed pool;DSC00142

from a fruitini glass of melon and mint to goats cheese, gruyere and ham panini. You’ll find English Country decor in seven luxurious and spacious suites and stylish guest rooms. “

Thanks Kim for such a great right up. We love your Guidebook and have provided a copy in each of our guest rooms for our guest’s to use during their stay at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa.

Exhaling on Cape Cod and feeling blessed to be the stewards of such a beautiful guest house that is surrounded by so many beautiful gardens.


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Melodies on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

Summer sunset in Brewster

Summer sunset in Brewster

Just love the beginning of summer on Cape Cod when everything is coming to life! Especially exciting is all the summer culture including “the sounds of summer” recently quoted in the Summer Times Edition of the Cape Cod Times. They summarized very well all of the music our summer visitors and locals can enjoy. For those music lover’s here’s a summary:

* The Cape Cod Melody Tent is the premiere musical venue in Hyannis. The 2,250 seat theatre in the round draws a mix of musicians and comedians. The 2014 lineup includes Ziggy Marley, Martina McBride, Boz Scaggs, Gregg Allman, Boyz II Men and Bill Cosby, plus tribute bands for the Beatles, Abba and Pink Floyd.

*The Payomet Performing Arts Center in North Truro is another tented venue that draws impressive talent. This summer’s acts include Rosanne Cash, Tom Rush, Judy Collins, Delbert McClinton and Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis.

* The Wellfleet Beachcomber where nothing beats the seating- perched on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This summer’s schedule includes John Brown’s Body, Rhett Miller, Dick Dale and Fishbones.

* The Hy-Line Cape Cod Canal Live Music Cruise lets you hear local bands while on a mellow boat ride through the Cape Cod Canal. Friday and Saturday cruises feature rock and R & R bands and launch at 8pm. The Sunday afternoon jazz cruise starts at 1:30- what fun!

*The Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival offers nearly a month (July 27-August 22) of classical and contemporary chamber music: 13 performances in seven towns. Performer’s include young musicians as well as established groups like the Emerson String Quartet.

*The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will be conducted by Keith Lockhart for the 29th annual Citizen’s Bank ( on August 10th in Hyannis. On August 23rd, the Cape Cod Symphony plays the 25th anniversary Cape Cod Five Pops in the Park concert (

* Barnstable County Fair ( where you can catch some touring legends from July 21-27. Acts include the Spinners, Tommy James and the Shondells and former Journey singer Steve Augeri.

*Provincetown Jazz Festival ( can’t be contained to one town. In Provincetown on August 16: Kathy Kosins, Dane Vannatter and Cape Cod Jazz Quintet. Two nights later, in Cotuit: Rebecca Parris, Shawnn Monteriro and Avery Sharpe.

Exhaling on Cape Cod



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Cape Cod National Seashore

by Donna Cain, innkeeper and owner

National Seashore beach

Marconi beach, photo by John Kovalcik

The National Seashore is a Cape Cod treasure. The creation of the Seashore in 1961, with the signature of President John F. Kennedy, helped to preserve 40 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and neighboring lands and animals while allowing residents and visitors to enjoy hiking, swimming, sunbathing, birding, biking, picnicking and camping. The National Seashore encompasses 44,000 acres and we like to recommend that our guests stop at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. It has a lovely bookstore, historical exhibit and plenty of rangers to help you decide which beach to visit. We are continually amazed how each beach is unique and original. We use to say to our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast guests staying at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa that Marconi Beach was our favorite but after visiting Head of the Meadows that may be our new favorite.

Marconi Beach

Marconi Beach, photo by John Kovalcik

Listed below are some top places to visit in the Seashore:

* Watch a sunset at the north parking lot at Herring Cove Beach. We like to think that our sunsets in Brewster are the best on the Cape, but Herring Cove beach also provides a perfect angle to see the sunset over the bay.

Cape Cod sunset

Cape Cod sunset from Breakwater Beach, photo by John Kovalcik

* Visit the Old Harbor Life Saving Station at Race Point Beach, to see how the rescues from sunken vessels used to happen before the U.S. Coastguard existed.

Life Saving Museum

Life Saving Museum, photo by John Kovalcik

*See the Highland light or the Cape Cod Light. This brick tower dates from 1857, and is on the site of the first lighthouse built on Cape Cod.

Highland Lighthouse

Highland Lighthouse, Photo by Byron Cain

* Step back in time at the old North Truro Air Force Station off Old Dewline Road. It’s a 110 acre property with walking trails that is in transition from an old military base to what is planned as a science, education and arts facility known as the Highlands Center.

* Hike Great Island, one of the few areas in the seashore on Cape Cod Bay with views of Wellfleet Harbor. The trail begins at the end of Chequessett Neck Road.

Great Island, Photo by Byron Cain

Great Island, Photo by Byron Cain

* Marconi Beach- named after the famous Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, who in 1903, on a site here completed the first transatlantic wireless communication between the U.S. and England. The site also includes the White Cedar Swamp trail that we love.

Marconi Beach, photo by John Kovalcik

Marconi Beach, photo by John Kovalcik


* Visit Coast Guard and Nauset Light beaches, and the Nauset and Three Sisters Lighthouses, all east of Route 6 at the intersection of Nauset Road. Ocean View Drive and Cable Road connect the beaches and lighthouses.

Nauset Light House, photo by John Kovalcik

Nauset Light House, photo by John Kovalcik

* Explore Fort Hill, off Route 6 at Govenors Prence Road, with walking trails, views of Nauset Marsh and the historic Penniman House.

Penniman House

Penniman House

Exhaling on Cape Cod and so appreciative that we have so much natural beauty around us.

Photos in this blog by John Kovalcik and innkeeper, Byron Cain

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