Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 1062: Owner, The Boathouse
3bed house, sleeps 6, Cape Cod, Eastham, Massachusetts
summer 2004, 2 weeks
The Boathouse is located on Cape Cod Bay, right overlooking the water. The house is set back from the edge, so you are shielded from the wind yet still have a lovely view of the water and glorious sunsets. You reach the house via a footpath from the parking area, and the footpath continues past two other houses, then to the steep stairs down to the beach. Four cottages use these stairs, so you get to know a few other people as they pass by the deck. We could sometimes hear the music from the cottage closest to the Boathouse, but it was never intrusive.
It is an easy walk or bike ride down to a little neighborhood store for simple groceries, newspaper, and snacks. The kids loved doing this on their own. A longer bike ride to places on Route 6 in the company of adults. A 10-15 minute drive to Orleans for large grocery stores, Eastham has a small convenience -style store, some fish markets, there's ice cream and sandwich shops galore. Plenty of restaurants in Eastham and Wellfleet. Movie theatre and Mass Audubon Sanctuary 5 minutes away in Wellfleet. Ocean beaches a 5 minute car ride away. This location is great for using the backroads into Orleans and avoiding Route 6!
The Boathouse was built on Billingsgate Island, an offshore settlement in Wellfleet. In times past, Billingsgage was used for the shadier business dealings in the area, and there's a lot of interesting local history about the place. Hurricanes washed away most of the island, the population abandoned it in the eary part of this century, and the remaining buildings were moved ashore. The Boathouse was probably used as a fishing shack.
The structure has been added onto over the years, leaving most of the rough wooden interior intact. A large deck is between the front door and the path to the beach. Inside, you enter to a living room with futon sofa, small loveseat, and woodstove. A step down in the dining area, with a small tv and two chairs at the end. Three small bedrooms (one with Queen bed, one with double bed, and one extremely small one only suitable for children with a bunkbed.) A bathroom with shower, and a simple kitchen. This is a very rustic, "beachy" place, where you focus more on the location and that view than luxury. The place is comfortable, as long as you are expecting simplicity. We loved it!
A deck with lounge chairs and wooden picnic table, and an outside shower around the side of the house. Also a large charcoal grill. No yard because of the heavy vegetation. In front of the deck is a neighbors yard (you don't see his house except for the rooftop, as the land slopes) -- and the water view. All of Cape Cod Bay is at the bottom of the steps. During high tide, the water goes to the steps, and is great for swimming. Lowtide is wonderful for walking and beachcombing.
Furnishings are standard "beach house". Beds OK, sofa fine for brief periods. You spend most of your time outside here!
Bedrooms are small, wood-paneled with just a bureau for storage. Beds comfortable, though my kids thought the bunk bed was lumpy. The bunkbed room is barely larger than the bed, and whoever gets the top bunk needs to watch out for their head! Bathroom had shower with plenty of hot water.
Kitchen was small and simple -- electric stove, sink, toaster, coffee pot, large fridge, microwave. Plenty of pots, pans, cooking stuff.
Problems or Bonuses
Just how relaxing this place is! So many of these simple beach shacks in the dunes are being torn down to build McMansions. Nice that a few still remain.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner is a very nice man--he also owns a larger, fancier house up the road which he uses and rents out. www.summerhome.com/eastham/bdono02.htm
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I'd happily stay here again! Just sitting on the deck with a good book, watching the tide creep in and out is my kind of Cape vacation. I stress that this is a rustic place, so if you want lovely furniture, fancy kitchens, and big tv's, look elsewhere. But if you just want a simple beach shack on the water, it's a treasure.
Things to do in this area
We love to ride the Cape Cod bike trails, walk the Bay, hike the nature trails at the Audubon and the trails in Truro, play tennis at the elementary school courts, get sandwiches at the Box Lunch, explore galleries in Wellfleet, fish from a canoe at the pond in Wellfleet, go on a bluefish charter from Wellfleet. My kids love minigolf, the arcade room, and pizza at The Barn in Eastham; the Nature Daycamp at the Audubon (we highly recommend this place, as well as the short programs for younger kids); watching the boats at the Wellfleet marina; daring themselves in the waves at the ocean beaches; eating outside at Mac's Seafood at Wellfleet Harbor. For young kids, the ponds in Eastham are great. For an adult restaurant with excellent food, we recommend Aesop's Tables in Wellfleet.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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