Don’t have your own snazzy family compound on the Cape, à la the Kennedys? Not to worry. Located less than a half-hour’s drive from Hyannis Port, where a collection of oceanfront family homes functioned as the Summer White House during JFK’s presidency, Ocean Edge is a family’s perfect temporary seaside retreat.
The sun is shining and the sky is a Crayola blue as we make our way down a winding, two-lane road through Brewster, a quaint little seafaring town founded in the 1800s and located on the bay side of Cape Cod. After turning off at a pair of stone pillars, we drive by a broad front lawn, home to some kite flying, a game of croquet, and white wooden chairs set up on either side of a long aisle, wedding-style. The whole effect is a charming, old-fashioned throwback, with baseball caps subbing for straw hats and gym shorts for white linen pants. A horseshoe drive leads to the crown jewel of the resort—The Mansion, a Victorian-style manse that calls to mind a country manor in the English countryside. Dating back to 1912 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Mansion, flanked by twin cement lions, houses check-in, the Ocean Grille—located on a wide veranda with sweeping water views—and the cozy Bayzo’s Pub for casual fare.
Although there are more affordable guestrooms and suites on property, the 31 newly refurbished Presidential Bay Collection villas—modern townhouses with two or three bedrooms—get my enthusiastic nod. Part of an expansive $40 million renovation of the entire resort, not only is each one on or close to the water, all have spectacular views of it from the living room and master. Plus, the villas come with a personal concierge, who touches base with you before arrival, welcomes you at check-in, and escorts you to your new home-away-from-home. Imagine the answer to all your vacay dreams: Dinner reservations for nine, including two highchairs, at an Italian eatery with homemade pasta? Your concierge will make it happen. Ditto recommendations for a family outing with pre-teens, tee-time at the resort’s private golf course, or tennis lessons.
And while the Mansion exudes old, Gatsby-era charm, the villas sport more contemporary finishings—built-ins, nautical art, and natural-stone tiling—plus fireplaces, flat-screens, washer/dryers, and gourmet kitchenettes. The latter come stocked with complimentary essentials—everything from Voss water, milk, OJ, and soda, to wine, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, and fixings for s’mores—plus whatever you’ve pre-arranged with your concierge, be it bagels, diapers, or green tea.
The villas are just steps away from a gorgeous, white sandy beach—the cornerstone of the resort—and complimentary beachside towel, chair, and umbrella service cuts down even further on the schlep factor. The morning after we arrive, a strapping young man with a charming Eastern European accent sets us up on the sand—that umbrella isn’t going anywhere, I happily observe—where I contentedly lose myself in a would-have-been-thick read on my Kindle, and the hubby, ear plugs in place, promptly falls asleep. Overhead seagulls screech and, nearby, toddlers build sandcastles. Bliss.
But while the beach is blissful, Ocean Edge offers other enticements—watching the sun set over the bay from your balcony, listening to live jazz along with Sunday brunch on the veranda, cycling along the Cape’s scenic Cape Cod Rail Trail, accessible from the resort, or enjoying a Sunday evening Movie by Moonlight, when old classics like Casablanca are shown on the front lawn. Pre-order a picnic dinner, grab a beer at the bar, and watch with the whole gang on a big beach blanket, drive-in movie style, without the car. “Yes, kids,” you might say. “Movies didn’t always come in color or on the iPad.”
Details: Rates start at $895 per night in June; $1,250 in July and August; www.oceanedge.com.