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Out & About: Autumn on Cape Cod

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club embraces the season

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Out & About: Autumn on Cape Cod
PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

As temperatures cool and foliage paints itself across the Massachusetts landscape, Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod is rolling out its fire pits and dusting off comforters. For the well-known resort, staying open year-round on a coastal peninsula requires finesse — and cranberries.

Dubbed “The Mansion,” the current central building of the resort is the Nickerson family’s original 1912 Victorian style home. PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

Located on 429 acres in Brewster, Ocean Edge Resort came onto the luxury travel market in the 1980s. But the property dates much further back than that. The Nickerson family settled their summer home on the extensive estate in 1890. If 429 acres seems aggressive for a summer home, just imagine, the family owned an additional 1,900 acres that they donated to the state in 1934. It became Nickerson State Park, the first state park in the Commonwealth.

The current central building of the resort is the family’s original 1912 Victorian style home. It’s appropriately dubbed “The Mansion” and retains its historic presence right down to the books in the library, most of which were owned by the Nickersons. Though the upstairs spaces now host board meetings instead of bedrooms, it’s easy to imagine what the house would have been like at the turn of the century.

PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

Nowadays, the property holds 334 guest rooms, a 700-foot private beach and four restaurants, as well as countless opportunities for recreation whether it be golf, swimming, tennis, boating or corn hole, among others.

Like most resorts on the Cape, Ocean Edge Resort has historically been seasonal. But in 2020, a year that hit most hospitality businesses the hardest, the owners saw an opportunity to grow. According to Director of Marketing Leon Bolivar, the pandemic ended up creating more opportunities for Ocean Edge Resort to serve their community.

Accommodations at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

With a sprawling property ideal for social distancing, and outdoor spaces aplenty to transition into winter wonderlands, the resort was able to stay open rather than shutter during the cold months. The same strategies will be deployed this year.

Dining plays a huge role in the seasonal transition of the property. Ocean Terrace, an expansive outdoor dining facility overlooking the water, transforms into The Frost Bar once temperatures dip below 50. In addition to an outdoor enclosed bar, heated and ventilated, the space is home to 10 igloos where parties up to six people can dine privately. For guests unbothered by the nippy air, fire pits on the terrace provide cozy outdoor seating for cocktails and appetizers.

Enjoying drinks by the fire pits. PHOTO: COURTESY OCEAN EDGE RESORT & GOLF CLUB

Menus incorporate seasonal ingredients and items like root vegetables and heartier meat meals. Cranberries float in many a cocktail, paying homage to both the fall fruit and the nearby cranberry bogs the Cape is known for.

Activities move inward as well in winter. With an emphasis on coziness, the library of the Mansion sports a roaring fire and an extensive trove of board games. Exhibitions of work by local artists bring culture to the forefront, and seasonal activities like pumpkin-carving and cookie-decorating keep visitors of all ages engaged.

The Cape often conjures images of lively beaches and sun-soaked boat rides, perhaps even of Bourne Bridge weekend traffic. Ocean Edge Resort has illustrated the possibility of evolving the coastal community into a year-round destination, where urbanites can reap the benefits of sprawling spaces and winter ingredients even in chilly temperatures.