Since last I wrote, I traveled across the frigid midwest to Wisconsin to bring my mom down to the wintry sunshine of Kansas. At the same time, Emilie Loring book deliveries went out to five blog readers. One by one, well-traveled books cozied in at their new homes with new owners.
Gosh, it’s been a cold and snowy winter! I am sending my thoughts toward summer, when my best friend and I will go on a much-anticipated trip to celebrate her retirement.
Our itinerary is an ambitious list of coastal and Emilie Loring favorites: Blue Hill, Maine; Acadia National Park, Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, and Boston.
Planning our itinerary, it strikes me how little the lodging options have changed from Emilie’s time. In Blue Hill, it’s a summer cottage or one of the longtime inns. In Boston, it’s a big hotel–the Puritan or Vendome in Emilie’s time.
We have a cottage rented in Blue Hill, and we have reservations at inns and hotels across Nova Scotia and in Boston. Our final decision is where to stay on the Cape.
Cape Cod’s quiet villages have more rental cottages than hotels, which was also true in Emilie’s time. Her family rented homes for long-term stays, and for quick visits to the Cape, they stayed at either the Globe Hotel–a local inn–or the Cotocheset House, a first-class resort. Both still remain, just not with those names.
Barnstable spans the width of the Cape, with the village on the bay side and the Cotocheset House at Osterville on the Nantucket Sound. (It used to be called “Oysterville” for the succulent oysters in its waters.)
Emilie’s family moved to West Barnstable village one year after the “new” Cotocheset House was built. It was quite the place!
“From the bluff one has a splendid view of the Sound all dotted over with sails of every size, and the steamships of the various lines between the centres of trade. Within one hundred feet of the bluff runs a nicely laid out street, either side of which is lined by the finest cottages to be found at any summer resort in the country. Playgrounds, swings, lawn tennis courts, bathing houses, boats, and every facility for taking comfort are most invitingly close at hand. The entire grounds are beautifully shaded, and being constantly fanned by the pure cool and invigorating breezes from off the Sound can never be uncomfortably warm, even in the warmest weather…” July 17, 1888 Barnstable Patriot
In pre-electricity days, ice was hauled in by rail and transported to ice houses by teams of horses. For the grand opening, the manager ordered 300 tons of ice–four railroad cars-full. Throughout the summer season, June first to October first, guests could rely on reliable refrigeration of their vacation drinks and food.
One year before her engagement to Victor, Emilie stayed at the Cotocheset House with her sister, Rachel, her brother, Robert, and her best friend, Martha. These photos of the swimming beach and bridle path were taken the same year. I wish there were photos of all of them–swimming, riding, strolling, dining.
“What more is needed to make this spot a paradise to the weary and careworn?” July 17, 1888 Barnstable Patriot
What do you think? Did Victor Loring stay at the Cotocheset that year, too?
Emilie and Victor stayed at the Cotocheset House in the early 1900s, thinking they might find a summer cottage of their own on the Cape. But they accepted an invitation to visit their friends’ cottage in Blue Hill, and that was it. Maine, not the Cape, would be their summer home.
The Lorings had friends on the Cape and stayed at the Cotocheset House occasionally, until it was sold in 1916 to become a private, members-only club.
My friend and I aren’t members, so we’ll take a drive by the “Wianno Club” at the corner of Sea View Avenue and West Street. She stayed at the Cotocheset, but we’ll stay closer to West Barnstable village.
Lynn’s ancestors belonged to several, old, Barnstable families–Sturgis, Bangs, Downes, and Gorham. If we can find one of their old homes to stay in, we will (not the Sturgis Library). I’ll see what connections I can find during these cold, winter months. Even the thought is warming.
If you go to the Cape, be sure to visit the places Emilie lived on the Cape. Take a look at them here: