Every summer for my whole life my family has spent at least one full week on Cape Cod. When I was a little girl we all piled into my grandparents' rental house in East Dennis and for the past 20 years we've stayed in the same house in Truro. For those who aren't familiar, Truro is the very last town before Provincetown, the final town at the tip of the Cape.
This year I arrived a day after my parents and my mother had already done a ton of research about any special events happening during the week we were in town. One of the things she was most excited about was a historic house tour in Wellfleet. Wellfleet borders Truro to the south, so it would be a quick, 15 minute drive to the tour.
My father, sister and brother-in-law weren't willing to give up beach time for the tour, so the morning of the event my mom and I hopped in the car and zipped over to Wellfleet Center. The tour was being put on by the Wellfleet Historical Society Museum and tickets were available at multiple locations in town. When you made your purchase you were given a booklet with the addresses of each home and a bit of information about each stop.
This was definitely a driving tour, not a walking tour, but thankfully the organizers marked each and every street so you knew you were on the right track.
The first home we visited was on Schoolhouse Hill Road. This Cape-style house was originally built in 1797. The property used to be a fully functioning farm, including a cranberry bog.
The current owners have nurtured the yard and created landscaping that is colorful yet tranquil.
There is stone path that leads to a beautiful archway of roses.
The back porch has plenty of room for savoring the view with guests. The owners have four benches and two Adirondack chairs for seating. Can you picture enjoying a cold glass of white wine or rosé on the porch after a long beach day?
I couldn't resist taking a photo of the view from the Adirondack chairs. I could get used to that!
Unfortunately the homeowners did not permit photography inside the house, so I am not able to show you the original details and the gorgeous restoration.
Before leaving we decided to circle the grounds and as you can see, the former front door of the house (when it was first built) is just as charming as the entrance now framed by the trellis.
Next we were off to house number two on Herring River Road. When I think of Wellfleet I think about the ocean beaches, the bay beaches and even all the great ponds for swimming and kayaking, but I never knew there was a river. This house, built in 1993, sits right on the bank of the Herring River.
This home belongs to artist Dorothy Strauss and her partner, Babe. Just above the front door they have a piece of artwork that say "Le Reve," French for "the dream."
Out front they are growing herbs and vegetables.
On the front porch there is a bear theme, including this cartoon-like sign for the Cape Cod Teddy Bear Company.
When we entered the home, Babe encouraged us to go directly upstairs to check out Dorothy's studio.
She paints with such bright colors. It was exciting to get to explore the space where she creates new work.
Back downstairs we spent most of our time enjoying their screened in porch and back deck, which both overlook the Herring River. Out the screened in porch you see nothing but green.
The owners enjoy that view from a porch swing and a cafe table for two.
On the open back deck the view is just spectacular.
I could easily picture myself reading on one of these chairs for hours.
My mom and I were so inspired by the view that we had to take a photo of ourselves in these lush green surroundings.
In the front of the house, in the driveway, Dorothy had set up a table with her work. There were many pieces for sale - paintings, prints and tiles. She put one painting on an easel and clipped a notepad to it to let visitors know she was auctioning off that piece to benefit the Wellfleet Historical Society.
Though we didn't put our names down for the auction, we did purchase painted tiles depicting the famous beach cottages along the bay in Provincetown.
After the second house we took a quick lunch break at one of our favorite spots, Flying Fish Cafe on Briar Lane.
Then we got back on the road to head to the third home on the tour. This house was a cottage in the Wellfleet Harbor Condominiums. It overlooks the harbor out the front and the signature Wellfleet marshes out the back.
The home has the traditional Cape Cod sea shell path leading up to the front door.
Inside, the Historical Society provided a bit of context on the history of these cottages, originally built for a church camp in Yarmouth. They were called Lemon Pie Cottages because when outlined against the sky, their steeply pitched roofs look like wedges of pie (see photo below).
The volunteer manning this stop on the tour told us the cottage is just under 530 square feet. What the kitchen lacks in space it makes up for with color.
The living room also features bright accents. I love the wooden ladder leading up to a small loft space. A perfect escape for kids.
The living room has a lovely water view and those doors lead out to the back deck.
When out on the deck you can easily picture a BBQ with family and friends. The owners have added some fun nautical decor to the space.
Along the back side of the deck they are growing tomatoes.
I certainly wouldn't mind eating dinner every night with this view.
The fourth house on the tour was far and away my favorite. It was built in 1865 and sits on the corner of Railroad Ave and Holbrook Ave, a two minute walk for the Wellfleet Pier.
The porch out front has two levels, giving everyone in the family plenty of space to enjoy al fresco living.
I could sit on this porch for hours and just watch the world go by. Though I didn't photograph them, they did have multiple rocking chairs on the porch.
Inside, the decor could not be any cuter. Right beyond the side door to the house is the first bedroom, just big enough for one.
The next bedroom features two twin beds facing each other, perfect for slumber parties.
That bedroom leads the way to the living room, which has a nautical feel without being kitschy.
The blue colors continue into the dining room.
I love the white and blue dishes, adding a major punch of color to the room.
The next room was the kitchen and I was obsessed with the floor!
We went out the kitchen door to a second structure on the property, the guest house. In the tour booklet the owners described this space as "a sleeping porch to give the teenagers in the family a private place."
Outside, between the main house and the guest house, the family entertains around a fire pit with blue Adirondack chairs.
I really loved this house.
On our walk back to the car we noticed a friendly crustacean just begging to have his picture taken.
The fifth stop on the tour turned out to be an art gallery, not a private home, much to our surprise.
A feline friend greeted us in the front yard.
We strolled through the gallery, noticing both the artwork and the architectural details.
Though this picture window at the front is not original to the structure (built in 1870) it does offer a great people watching view.
The final stop on the tour was a home on Pine Point Road, a dead end street offering quiet and seclusion.
Inside, much of the home retains the original pine paneling.
I love this pillow case in the guest room.
I couldn't resist snapping the spa tub in the master bathroom. The sky light makes it feel like such a serene space.
Off of the kitchen and living room is a large deck overlooking Duck Creek.
If you climb down the deck stairs, the family has added a trellis with twinkle lights to frame their pretty view.
And just like that, the tour was complete!
I have always enjoyed home and garden tours (as evidenced by my annual attendance at the South End Garden Tour) and it was a very cool experience to get to do this on the Cape, especially in Wellfleet, a town I love so much.
Though the house tour is only one day each year, you can visit the Wellfleet Historical Society Museum Tuesday - Saturday each week between now and September 5, 2016.