Unfortunately, here I am, once again, writing my column on a Monday afternoon in the office. I’m not usually feeling so blasé about the whole process, but over the weekend, I think I found my new calling.
Running a bed and breakfast.
We pulled up to An English Garden Bed and Breakfast in Dennisport just after 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. We hit the road right after mentoring that morning, traveling up 6A so we could hit all the consignment shops along the way. We stopped for lunch in Yarmouth, I think, but all of the Cape towns blend together with their rustic seafood restaurants and charming gift shops. And yet, I’m equally enamored with each main street we walk down. But after a glass of Cape Cod Beer – the red ale, my favorite – I had only Dennisport on the brain.
The B&B lived up to the charm promised on its website. The weathered shingled home, a staple in the Cape aesthetic, was built specifically to be a bed and breakfast, by the proprietors’ architect son. That translated into plenty of guest rooms with beachy color schemes, nautical watercolors over the beds and balconies that look out to the private beaches that are just a stone’s throw away. When we climbed out of the car to stretch our legs, an Irish Springer trotted over to say hello, his mother busy planting the first flowers of the season. Do you feel like you’re watching a British television show yet, or what?
As soon as we opened the front door, I fell in love. To the left is a shabby chic living room, and the owner, Anita, informed me that there were plenty of DVDs to watch if I was so inclined (a quick glance at both the entertainment system and the bookshelves confirmed that she did not, in fact, know the difference between a DVD and a VHS cassette). But really, who goes to the Cape to watch a VHS of “The Bodyguard?”
Not this girl, anyway.
To the right of the entrance is a sitting room with a couch and several comfy chairs, set before a fireplace, perfect to finish reading the second installment in the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series that I am currently engrossed in. Beyond a set of French doors is my favorite room of the house: a sun-drenched breakfast room with floral tablecloths, pale blue walls and several stained glass windows that give the room an ethereal feel. Both mornings during our stay, we chose the corner table next to the garden. The hydrangeas were not yet in bloom, but I can imagine my seat in the sun would be all that more enhanced by their presence.
The walk upstairs to our room was prolonged, however, by a visual storyboard of Joe and Anita’s lives. Costumes on dress forms were set before newspaper articles chronicling Anita’s life on the stage. Photographs and clippings on the second and third floors told us that she was a revered stage actress for many years, and it came as no surprise that she would land a catch like a Joe, a MIT-educated engineer who played baseball for the college and actually still plays for what he described as “an old timers league.” I was astonished when he revealed that he is 84, and that he and Anita have been married for 56 years, meaning that Anita (who looked like she was in her 60s) would be at least 74.
Together, they run the B&B and share their lives with the guests. Joe was busy in the kitchen both mornings, making scrambled eggs for William and Belgian waffles for me, while Anita was busy regaling us with her stories. Their candor with the guests fosters a sense of community, and I was completely taken with the entire experience. Never before during a hotel stay had I been greeted by all of the other guests. We would shuffle into the breakfast room, still in our slippers, and say hello to everyone before finding out where each party was headed that day. Late Friday afternoon, when William challenged me to a game of Scrabble (we’re totally wild, I know), I asked if we should open the door because it felt almost like my freshman year of college, when an open door was a welcome mat to make new friends. When I snuck downstairs around 10 p.m. that night to read, I was sorely disappointed to find no one else had the same idea.
For once, my stay in the Cape was defined less by how we filled our days and more by where we lay our heads at night. Maybe it’s because I’d never been to a bed and breakfast before, but now that I have, I almost can’t imagine staying away from home any other way. Because that was the difference – I felt completely at home. I apologize if this column turned into a TripAdvisor review (I did give them an excellent rating there, too), but when I thought of what stood out about my weekend, An English Garden took top billing.
So if anyone out there has a beach house they’re willing to lend me, I have a second career to think about.