From Past to Present

The Quick History:

Welcome to the Old Manse Inn – your home away from home!  Of the many Cape Cod bed and breakfast inns, the Old Manse is a romantic, antique, sea captains manor located in the heart of historic Brewster, Cape Cod, Massachusetts – the ‘Sea Captains Town’.  Built in 1801, the Old Manse Inn became home to generations of legendary seafarers.

The Inn’s main house was not originally a sea captain’s home however – or even 3 floors!  Originally built on about 12 acres of farm land – on both sides of Lower Road – the house was only 2 stories high at the time in 1801 with orchards, pastures, barn, carriage house and a silo out back.  Once purchased by the Nickerson-Knowles family of sea captains did a 3rd floor get added to the main house with the French-style mansard roof to accommodate the widow’s walk to see out to Cape Cod Bay for returning ships coming home.  Although out of reach today from the inside of the mansion, you can still see the outlines of the staircase leading into the attic and the short stairs to the roof itself and the widow’s walk.  Believe it or not, you can still see out to Cape Cod Bay even though the chestnut trees surrounding the house are much taller than in the 1800s!  The descendants of the Knowles, of which there are many, are very interested in their heritage and history and have come to stay at the Inn a few times.  Please feel free to review their history here at the Inn if you like.  They have traced their history all of the way back to the Boleyn family in England (of Henry VIII fame and Anne Boleyn).

Many years later, the Inn received its name Old Manse around 1970.  Before this time, the main house was a ‘manse’, meaning a minister’s home to the church across the street from the Inn.  The dining room today with 14 windows was once a chapel, complete with small pews and a baptismal font.  We know this from a guest during a tour of the Inn who described the room to us as she was baptized in the room when she was a little girl!  Once the Manse moved down Lower Road to a smaller residence, and the house sold to become an inn, did the Inn receive its name as The Old Manse.

Today, we offer eleven (11) Standard, Deluxe and Luxury rooms, plus 1 Suite for a total of twelve (12) rooms altogether, that are all individually decorated and preserved rooms, each with private bath.  Enjoy a multi-course gourmet breakfast each morning in our Cape Cod Inn’s sun-filled fireside dining room, relax in one of our ample common areas, and take advantage of our ideal Brewster lodging location, just a short stroll to the Cape Cod Bay.

Photos of the inn before renovations

Upon entering through the Guest Entrance, our guests encounter an introduction to one of the great historical displays on Cape Cod!  Indeed, throughout the first floor of the Inn, are sweeping narratives of the lives of the sea captains who lived here, which come complete with famous maritime artworks, invaluable wooden ship models, antique maps highlighting trade routes, and even guidebooks as well.  Then, on the second floor, guests experience the world of New England pirates – did you know that Captain Kidd and Blackbeard hailed from here?!  And, finally, visitors experience the wonders and surprises of the “Amazing See Stories” exhibits on the third floor.

Our guest rooms are luxurious – and getting more so by the year with the many upgrades happening to enhance your experience.  Each room was named after a Cape Cod Lighthouse significant as a seafaring beacon to reach home safely!  As the crow flies, you could reach each lighthouse via the direction the room faces.  Depending on the room selected, rooms come complete with hand-inlaid fireplaces, antique armoires, period furnishings, sumptuous beds, hardwood flooring, oriental carpets, luxurious linens, and handsome marine and landscape paintings throughout.  All include private luxury baths, brand new air conditioning, cable television and access to all common areas to relax and enjoy our daily wine & cheese reception!

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