Fall Getaways: Salt House Inn

For many Cape Cod vacationers, fond childhood memories of family trips to the Cape involve the breathtaking National Seashore, scrumptious seafood meals, and staid—if not dated and kitschy—accommodations. Come for the sun, sand, and lobster—stay for the concrete mattress, telephone-booth bathroom, and plastic dolphins and starfish adorning the wall? Not so much. The quintessential Cape Cod trip of yore was enjoyed despite—and not because of—where you laid your head at night.

While the dining and cultural offerings on the Cape have evolved over the years, save for a handful of usual-suspect resorts, there has been a conspicuous lag in the evolution of its accommodations. But thanks to Kevin O’Shea and David Bowd, savvy and sophisticated vacationers hoping for a more contemporary lodging experience on the Cape no longer have to whitewash that aspect of their travelogue. 

The life partners decided to become business partners as well in 2011, when they purchased Dexter’s Inn in Provincetown and reincarnated it as the Salt House Inn in 2013. Designated as the Best New Beach Hotel on Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List 2014, and named Best Inn, Cape Cod for 2013 by Boston Magazine, Salt House is located at the literal nexus of P-Town life—two blocks from the harbor and one block from Commercial Street, with the town’s art galleries and exhibits to your east and dining, shopping, and nightlife to your west.

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Homemade pastries, granola, and savory treats are served each morning in the hotel’s great room.

O’Shea, a hotel interior designer, and Bowd, a hotel industry exec, combined their complementary skill sets when developing the concept for Salt House in pursuit of a common goal, as part of a nucleus of next-generation innkeepers that are quietly fostering a renaissance of sorts among P-Town and lower Cape accommodations.

The Salt House’s 15 rooms carry a casual chic motif—all bathed in white, with crisp white linens enveloping ultra-plush mattresses, and just a smattering of vintage art and nautical tchotchkes. My first impression upon entering my superior king room (which had a separate sitting area with a second flat-screen TV) was that the minimalist, monochromatic motif instantly conveys an airy, “clean and serene” vibe. My affection for my weekend’s accommodations only grew when I stepped into my spa-like bathroom (the generously sized walk-in shower with a rain showerhead was an especially welcome touch). So, too, were the free WiFi and off-street parking—a most treasured commodity in P-Town.

Explore: While Summer is obviously the Cape’s high season, the fall is an equally inviting time. The crowds, traffic, and noise that define lower Cape summers are absent, yet most businesses and attractions remain open at least through the end of October. Whale-watching cruises and other nautical excursions are still offered, as are off-road tours of the National Seashore’s sand dunes with Art’s Dune Tours (www.artsdunetours.com). Halloween week is an especially fun and festive time in P-Town for adults as well as kids.

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Dine: Breakfast is only a few steps away in the Inn’s inviting French-country farmhouse great room, where O’Shea prepares an array of homemade pastries, granola, and savory offerings. For lunch and dinner, seafood offerings abound—three sure bets are The Mews Restaurant & Café (www.mews.com), Fanizzi’s Restaurant by the Sea (www.fanizzisrestaurant.com), and The Canteen (www.thecanteenptown.com). Those in search of a break from seafood should head to Local 186 Kitchen + Bar, (www.
), where burgers of every stripe (Angus, Kobe, turkey, lamb, veggie) are served with homemade fries and your choice of beers from its well-curated selection.

Insider’s Tip: Climb the Pilgrim Monument’s 116 steps to enjoy an unrivaled view of the Cape; those interested in both P-Town’s and the Pilgrims’ history can visit the Provincetown Museum, located at the monument’s base, where permanent and changing exhibits on both are presented (www.pilgrim-monument.org).

The Details

The Salt House Inn

6 Conwell St, Provincetown, MA (508) 487-1911; www.thesalthouseinn.com

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Distance from White Plains: 4 hours, 30 minutes Details: Room rates start at $160 in the fall and spring, $210 in the summer. The Salt House Inn is open through November 2, and will reopen for the 2015 season on April 1.

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