Apparently game hunting was all the rage in wealthy Bostonian circles back in 1914. That's when Cape Cod's Chatham Bars Inn made its debut as a semi-private hunting lodge. Early advertisements boasted rooms with plastered soundproof walls, electric lights, steam heat, long distance phones and private bathrooms with both fresh and saltwater baths.
Shore bird hunting soon yielded in popularity to nine-hole golfing across the street and eventually, sunbathing became all the rage and remains a major attraction on the property's private 1/4 mile beach just across the street. Staying here is like joining a historic 217-room seaside community. You get impeccable turn down and room service whether you're staying in a classic main inn room, beach cottage (many with unobstructed ocean views), or a spa suite designed for the ultimate pampering.
A Forbes four-star-rated hotel and a Leading Hotels of the World member, Chatham Bars Inn experienced $100 million in renovations from 2006 to 2009 adding a brand new spa and completely redesigned cottages. Despite the property's stellar upgrades, its entire historical turn-of-the-century integrity is meticulously preserved.
Chatham Bars Inn not only serves dishes made with local ingredients, they grow them on their farm just 15-minutes away in Brewster and staff also visits the town’s docks for just-caught seafood each day. Stars and Sacred Cod, the inn's two signature restaurants helmed by Chef Anthony Cole both set the stage for artfully-prepared dishes like lentils and frisee salad and fettuccini Bolognese. Dining areas provide spectacular ocean views framed by original wood paneling and vaulted ceilings. Farmer Josh Schiff in collaboration with Chef Cole grows 75 different varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruits during the growing season. Established in 2012 on 7.7 acres, once home to a garden center, Chatham Bars Inn has invested over $1.7 million in building up the farm's growing infrastructure. The farm includes two plastic hoop greenhouses, a dozen 12' by 8' grow tunnels, and a vintage green 1956 John Deere tractor for plowing the fields.
In addition to planting cover crops like rye, Schiff fortifies the farm's notoriously sandy Cape Cod soil each year with compost directly from the tons of organic waste produced from the inn's kitchens. “Our growing capacity has nearly quadrupled from when we first purchased this property,” says Schiff. “Our goal is to eventually grow all the ingredients we need for a dish like minestrone soup.”
Schiff, a self-described heirloom tomato fanatic, grows nearly 35 varieties along with other crops like 30 varieties of micro greens (not yet grown year-round), cucumbers, cabbage and cauliflower. Most produce is organic but not yet certified due to the lengthy approval process. In addition to providing the Inn with fresh sustainable produce, Schiff takes social responsibility a step further by partnering with Cape Abilities, a local nonprofit that provides job opportunities for disabled Cape Cod residents. Not only do Schiff and his staff help others gain meaningful employment, they have learned some finer points of greenhouse and hydroponic growing from the Cape Abilities team as well.
You'll also find plenty of on-property activities at your fingertips like the poolside mini bar-equipped cabanas, a wide veranda overlooking Pleasant Bay, a 52-foot Viking yacht for deep-sea fishing and traditional Cape Cod clam bakes on the beach. Outside of the hotel, Chatham Village is just a 20-minute walk away and Chatham Lighthouse with additional beach access is just down the street. However, no matter what you choose to do or where you spend your time, you’ll likely have a memorable experience at Chatham Bars Inn.