The weather has cooled off, but Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod in Brewster extends a warm welcome to guests with a line-up of winter events and experiences available at the year-round resort. With its mid-Cape location (and just a sub two-hour drive from Wellesley), the 429-acre, 337-room resort is well-positioned for exploring Barnstable County.
We were invited to visit the resort as part of a press tour to see what the area has to offer now and through the rest of the season. Our room and meals were paid for by Ocean Edge. What we found was plenty to keep us occupied during our two-night stay—two indoor, 86-degree heated pools, each with an adjacent (even warmer) whirlpool, were available to guests; four restaurant options; and plenty of experiences were on tap. Ocean Edge recently has created a Director of Fun position, and when I tell you that Brandon brings on the energy, believe it. “I used to be a cruise ship director for 11 years,” he told us. “So I really learned there how to keep activities going. Plus I love seeing everyone having a great time, and I can’t sit still until they do. Even then, I can’t sit still.”
Yes, Brandon is the consummate extrovert, and he is fun personified. Whether he’s organizing Karaoke night at Bayzos Pub; a Trivia Night at the Frost Bar; or a Wizarding Week multi-day event for kids and families staying overnight at the resort during February vacation week; his attention to detail and ability to roll with the good times is unparalleled.
Accommodations at the year-round resort straddle route 6A. On one side is the historic Nickerson Mansion, which dates from 1912 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A rolling lawn leads up to the stucco and red-clay roofed structure, which houses guests within two adjoining wings, as well as in a collection of Presidential Bay Collection villas, many with water views. On the other side of 6A are The Villages, one-, two-, and three-bedroom multi-level villas with kitchens and washer/dryers. Long-term stays are available at The Villages, and select villas are pet-friendly.
Rooms on the Mansion side of the property range from 480 sq. ft. to 1,400 sq. ft. We stayed in the East Wing on the Mansion side of the resort, and enjoyed a 580 sq. ft. room that included a very comfortable bed placed catty-corner; a sitting area; a balcony accessed by a sliding-glass door; a dressing area; and a large bathroom. A plush robe for each of us was hanging in the closet for our use during our stay, along with a special treat—a paint-by-numbers canvas that featured a picture of the Mansion.
Mixing it up
Bartender Susan had us all in fine spirits as she took us through the steps for making perfect winter cocktails. With her Mixology Workshop, Susan spilled all the secrets of Ocean Edge’s classic and signature cocktails. Our group learned how to make a Mistletoe Margarita garnished with sugared cranberries; a Sugar Cookie Martini that included Baileys and Amaretto; and a Hot Toddy featuring Misunderstood Ginger Whiskey. We sipped and enjoyed appetizers and conversation as a fire crackled in the fireplace, casting a warm glow around the wood-paneled room.
“Here’s the thing about making the perfect drink. You can do all this work and then kill it with the garnish. You want to go easy on the garnish,” Susan warned us. Other tips included how to shake it, baby; the ease of making a simple syrup; and proper ratios of spirits to mixers.
The Mixology Workshop happens Thursdays at 4pm. Ours took place in the intimate Roscommon Room, but the workshops may also be held at the Frost Bar. Cost is $35 per person and includes a chef’s choice appetizer plate for each attendee.
Breakfast is also served in the Roscommon Room. Try the lobster frittata.
Back for a second season, warm and cozy Igloos have been set up on the resort’s Ocean Terrace. Ten Igloos have been set up, each accommodating up to 6 diners. They’ve been so popular that normally there’s a 90-minute time limit, but you can get around that by booking a New Year’s Eve Igloo Experience.
Reservations are now being taken for New Year’s Eve seatings between 5pm and 10:30pm, and there’s a special time extension to two hours. The cost is $195 per person and includes a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne per Igloo, and a four-course menu.
There are other packages that include time in the Igloos. Check them out here.
The Frost Bar
Also on the Ocean Terrace is the Frost Bar, a dining room that also encloses a long bar area. We enjoyed dinner in the heated area, which is also open for breakfast and lunch. After a plate of the most beautiful Brewster Flats raw oysters-on-the-half, we moved on to the entrees. Grilled scallops and shrimp were given a seasonal glaze of ginger rum and were accompanied by sweet corn and garlic sauteed swiss chard, my favorite late-season green. A hint of anise throughout added a welcome and subtle flair.
The lobster mac and cheese was a hearty dish that contained generous chunks of lobster. The standby was updated with cavatelli pasta and 3-cheese bechamel, while given the throw-back treatment with a Ritz cracker topping.
Although it’s called the Frost Bar there’s no nonsense like chairs made of ice, and you most certainly don’t have to layer up until, like Randy in A Christmas Story, you look like a tick about to pop. Just wear the same regular winter-season clothes you would wear to any other restaurant. They have the warmth thing nailed. We were as toasty as chicks under heat lamps.
Later on at the Frost Bar, Brandon presided over a competitive game of Trivial Pursuit, where teams vied to see who could best put their arcane knowledge to work. That’s a fun thing that happens Thursdays, 8-10pm, at a different spot each week around the property. No reservations are needed.
You can ring in the New Year at the Frost Bar, which will seat guests on the big night between 5:30 and 9:30pm. A four-course menu and a Veuve Clicquot champagne toast is included, all at a very reasonable cost of $105 per person. The bar will remain open until 1am, with last call at 12:30am. During our stay in Brewster we came across a couple of places that also had New Year’s Eve special events that were priced at over $150 per person, so the Frost Bar seems to us like a good place to welcome 2022 on the Cape.
We stopped into Bayzos Pub one night, and the room was crowded with a combination of wedding party members and other Ocean Edge guests. We bee-lined it to the last two available seats at the end of the bar, but were sitting too far away to see the beers on tap. The bartender worked his way over to us. The place was far too busy for a nuanced conversation about the provenance of the offerings, or the Bayzos curation strategy. I would have to draw on my descriptive skills and put my trust in Bartender Jeff, a popular—maybe even infamous—figure on the Cape. “Please set us up with a beer on tap, amber in nature, not too hoppy, and no funny business with a high alcohol content,” I said. Jeff came back to us with a Devil’s Purse ale, made in a small craft brewery located on the Cape in South Dennis. Bam. Nailed it.
Performer after performer made their way to the mic to sing Karaoke, including The bride-to-be and her entourage, who belted out a very impressive rendition of The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.”
We hit Bayzos again to try out their new dinner menu. The Maine lobster roll, mayonnaise-based, doesn’t change from season to season—lots of lobster on a buttered roll, with a side of fries. So if you’re looking for reassurance that summer was once a real thing, or that summer will someday come back, this is your delicious proof. New menu items that looked interesting were the brie saganaki, with a blackberry brandy reduction served with toasted walnuts and crostini and butternut squash risotto with kale, asiago cheese, and candied walnuts. Fans of the famous Bayzos Pub Burger need not worry. The burger never goes off the menu. The staff doesn’t want a revolt on their hands.
The old-fashioned, comfortable, English-style pub is the type of place that makes Wellesley guests bemoan, “Why can’t we have a place like this back home?”
And so much more
We did so much more during our visit like stopping into the recently redesigned La Salette lounge for Artist’s Friday. Meeting Jan, The Lady of the Cards, showed us what can happen when one artist takes custom-designed cards to the next level. The resort brings in a different artist every week, from woodworkers to sea glass sculptors and more. The artists are always on hand to answer questions, and their art shows beautifully in the wood-paneled room, with the glow from the fireplace casting its flattering light.
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History Museum is open year round, and with its hands-on exhibits, avian corridor, and informative naturalist volunteers, it’s a must-see for families, or just nature-curious folks like us. Apt, a farm-to-table spot we’ve visited before, served us a heart-warming slice of grilled banana bread. Lunch among the locals at Grumpy’s just over the border in East Dennis was nice, even though our server tuned us out at some point. It was a challenge to get the check, and then settle up. A table overlooking the marsh makes such sins venial. And you just can’t miss the Brewster General store while you’re in town. We finished up some of our holiday shopping while we browsed the two-story, old-timey shop.
After we checked out, some more Brewster shopping was in order. We started at Wildflower Pottery, where maker Rubyanne Calderwood displays her mix of dinnerware, home accents, fish platters, oyster plates, and more in the large, airy studio where her father once created his ceramics. Further down Main Street at Parsons Art Gallery, Ken Parsons paints in acrylics, oils, and watercolor, and also works in stoneware, porcelain, and raku (a Japanese style of pottery). At Maddock’s Gallery we discovered a Wellesley connection. James grew up in Wellesley and remembers his years there fondly. “I even have a painting I did a long time ago of the Town Hall,” he said, pulling it out from behind the counter as if he’d been expecting us. James’ paintings mostly evoke nostalgia with Cape scenes that depict cranberry harvesting, horses beside a barn, lighthouses, and more.
There’s definitely a healthy pulse to Brewster during the winter season. So many places were still open that we could have spent the day shopping art galleries and antique shops up and down Brewster, but our getaway at Ocean Edge had come to a close. As we headed back over the Sagamore Bridge, we logged another fun Cape trip into the books.
Deborah Brown covers Travel & Leisure for The Swellesley Report and for Natick Report. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org