A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster on a media trip. Jon was teaching a class all weekend so I took Laurel and Violet on my own and my in-laws (who have relatives nearby) ended up traveling in and booking a room at Ocean Edge so we could all spend some time together. Today I wanted to share a report on the property, as well as some general tips for Cape travel.
1. Time your transit wisely. Ocean Edge is under two hours from Boston with no traffic. Since we were going before school was out, I figured leaving right after school at 3 pm on Friday would be early enough. WRONG! It took us 4.5 hours to get to Brewster, two of those hours alone just crossing from one side of Boston to the other on 93. Major bummer. I have since talked to many folks regarding Cape travel and the general recommendation is to head down early in the morning, or after dinner in the evening. On the return, we departed Brewster by about 10:30 am and didn't run into any traffic.
2. Stock your car wisely. One of the smartest things I did to prepare for the ride was load up lots of interesting and different snacks for the road, as well as books and car-friendly games/toys for both girls in the back seat. Also unexpectedly smart? The fact that I had just bought a new phone the day before (my other one was dying). Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on YouTube helped Laurel and Violet get through the traffic jam on 93.
3. Adjust your expectations and prepare for stops. I always say that when you're traveling with kids, adjust your time expectations and be prepared for stops. After the first 3 hours in the car, part of me just wanted to press on and get to the Cape, but all of us were itching to stretch our legs so we stopped, ran around, and had a snack. We were then in better shape for the rest of the journey.
4. Choose your side at Ocean Edge. Ocean Edge is an incredibly expansive property -- there are two sides (across the street from one another): the Mansion Side and The Villages. Both have amenities such as restaurants, fitness, spa, and pools but the Mansion side is better for those who want immediate beach access and the Villages for those who want immediate golf access. There is a shuttle between the properties, though, if you want both. However, I definitely recommend staying on the Mansion side. Being able to access the private beach easily (our lodging was footsteps away...more on that next) and without waiting for a shuttle was a huge part of our happiness at Ocean Edge. My favorite moments were on the beach, particularly at low tide; the view was simply spectacular.
5. Opt for lodging with a kitchen. When traveling with kids, I always look for an option with a kitchen (or at least a refrigerator) so we don't have to eat out every meal and since we always need to travel with food/rice milk per Violet's allergies. The starting rates for Mansion-side properties are $445 (mansion wing guestroom), $815 (grand corner suite), $995 (Presidential Bay Collection 2 BR), and $1250 (Presidential Bay Collection 3 BR); the three latter options have kitchens. Also, as Jon and I discovered early on in traveling with Laurel, it is worth spending the extra money to have more than one room if your kids go to bed early. We stayed in one of the Presidential Bay Collection cottages and it was delightful. We had plenty of space to spread out and we didn't need to sit in the dark when Violet went to bed at 7:30pm!
6. Related, plan your food. As all parents know, food planning is a key part of travel. With Laurel and Vi, my favorite meals on the property were the breakfasts at the Mansion -- buffet style, no wait and plenty of options to accommodate different dietary needs; the coffee was also spectacular! We had lunch at Bayzo's Pub on the property; there were plenty of food options for everyone, but the service was quite slow, maybe because we were pre-season and there was still some training going on. We unfortunately missed our planned dinner at Ocean Terrace (gorgeous, gorgeous view!) while we were stuck in traffic but my impression is that this is more grownup in nature and my in-laws said the food was fantastic. So, I would definitely recommend breakfast on the property, dining at Bayzo's if you don't have an antsy toddler with you, and Ocean Terrace if you're wanting grownup food. Otherwise, take advantage of the kitchen for some of your other meals (and there are also a number of food options in town)!
7. Explore on-property amenities. We were too early for Ocean Edge's summer kids activities (which look fantastic) but we had no problem filling our time with visits to the pool and beach, and also activities on the expansive lawn in front of the mansion.
8. Explore off-property amenities. Brewster is quaint and lovely; we had a chance to pop into the Brewster General Store and The Strawberry Patch, and there was a bookstore and many art galleries and other shops I'd like to visit next time. Also, I'm hoping when we next visit, we'll be able to take advantage of the proximity of the Cape Cod Bike & Rail Trail; bike rentals are available at the property.
In summary, Ocean Edge is a fantastic vacation destination, both for families and as a grown-up getaway. I loved the relaxed pace of the Cape. And the gorgeous, well-appointed Presidential Bay cottages and their close proximity to the beach were just heaven. I can't wait to return, both to enjoy the fantastic amenities on the property and to explore Brewster more fully.
Disclosure: I visited Ocean Edge as a guest of the property; our accommodations and food were covered by Ocean Edge. My opinions on the awesomeness of the property and Brewster in general are, of course, my own.
Image credits: Christine Koh, with the exception of mansion photo, courtesy of Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club