Coffee and old houses

I spend an awful lot of time in coffee shops. I work mostly from home, telecommuting to my job, which is based in Cambridge. And, as you know, I write romance novels in my spare time.

But since my house is quite small, and I frequently need some human interaction to keep the voices in my head down to a sullen mutter, I will often sally out into the world, hook myself up to some obliging free wifi, spend a week’s worth of pay on fancy coffee drinks and pastries, and saddle up the internet for another wild, wanton ride.

I know other telecommuters who swear by working out of their local libraries, but I’ll tell you the truth — I need vast quantities of coffee while I work. And libraries just tend to come up tragically short in that arena, I’ve found.

I pretty much go back and forth between my two favorite hangs here on Cape Cod — The Mercantile in Dennis and The Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans. Each one has its charms.

The Merc has, for my money, the best sandwiches and the friendliest service on Cape Cod. And The Sparrow — well, The Sparrow makes homemade chocolate. And boasts a highly entertaining collection of regulars, teens, and tourists fresh off the bike trail. Seriously. Highly entertaining people watching to be had at the Ol’ Sparrow.

But there’s a new kid in town, a brand new coffee shop that opened up on Route 6A in Dennis, going by the name of  The Cape Cod Chat House.

I felt it was my duty to check it out.

It’s in an old, circa 1840 farmhouse, so you know they’re off to a pretty great start.

So first things first, right? How’s the coffee?

The coffee, my friend, is great.

It helps that they feature the outstanding local brew produced by Beanstock Coffee in Wellfleet.


Friendly, welcoming staff, lots of nifty green building materials, and all of it clean, smart, shipshape and Bristol-fashion.


They feature the full complement of yummy things to eat, of course. I can unreservedly recommend the oatmeal raisin cookies.


But all that can step aside, if you don’t mind, while we focus on what really matters — the house.

Did I mention it’s a 19th century farmhouse? Check out those beams, my friend:


I really dug the mix of old and new – the way they let the original materials and construction sing out, but didn’t kow-tow to it in their choices of furnishings and art. It all contributed to a well integrated, unfussy whole.


They even left some original 19th century graffiti intact, which made my toes curl with joy:


And I’ll freely admit that I loved the little porthole into the serving area.


Walk beyond the old kitchen, and you’re in the parlor. And I think you all know how I feel about old parlors.


OK, I’ll own up. I am not a huge fan of animal print fabrics. I never have been. So the furnishings in this room aren’t really my favorites. But the chairs are super comfortable, and I know lots of people love leopard print and such. Heck, for all I know, you love the stuff. So you’ll be charmed. That’s cool! It is not all about me!

Maybe if we put some nice, lacy antimacassars on them? With tassel fringes? OK, I’ll stop.

Another thing that I loved was the placement of the art in the rooms. All of these great faces, peeking out at you from around corners. I expect that they’ll be rotating these frequently, featuring different local artists throughout the year, which I whole-heartedly support.




I found one piece that I rather liked a lot, and set up my little workstation in her lovely, greyish-green shadow.


And then promptly fell in love with the wavy glass in the window next to my table, and the way it cast its wavy shadows across my windowsill and desk.

Is there anything better than really old glass?


Wavy window, wavy sunshine, wavy chair.


There’s a large outdoor patio, too, with a pergola that promises to be leafy and lush come summer:


A gravelled walkway with little bits of sea glass sprinkled throughout it, so that it glints and flashes in the sun:


A charming family of  lanterns, all lined up and ready to illuminate a long succession of warm summer evenings:


Great big sky overhead for maximum stargazing effect at night, and — I suppose — maximum sunshine and warmth in the day, if you’re into that sort of thing:


Yeah. Give me starlight, sea breezes, and night sky anytime. But hey, I’m a vampire-mermaid. What do I know.

I am really hoping that the bell hanging over the front door gives off the occasional ghostly rattle:


Or maybe these stairs are haunted by a drifting, floating woman in white, who dissolves into air when you speak to her of the sea:


In any case, I am quite happy to add The Cape Cod Chat House to my regular rounds of coffee houses on the Cape, and hope to write many words from within its warm, antique, art-laden, and entirely hospitable rooms.


I’ll be right here, if you need me:


8 Thoughts.

  1. I kept meaning to tell you about this place. I met Brett- one of the owners- because we did their tees and stickers at Advanced Embroidery. Glad you found it and love it. Can’t wait to get down there myself sometime for some yummy coffee.

  2. Hey, Vampire-Mermaid, I’ll come down and bug you there this week. Must-finish-book. I have new mantra on that, but I’ll share separately.

    Have you heard the term Mermance? That’s a mermaid romance novel. I think you might have to write one. Or ten.

  3. I think a mermance series sounds absolutely divine. I will write one for you if you finish your book. Deal?


  4. This place looks charming – I especially love the graffiti. Doesn’t it just make you wonder who, when, why? Those animal print chairs surprise me – I’m so used to seeing chairs that look like they were saved from some grandparent’s basement in independent coffee shops, but they sure are sassy, even if they’re a bit out of place.
    There seem to be more and more libraries with coffee shops included, but I’m not sure if you’re allowed to drink coffee inside all of them, but probably some! I need quiet, intense, deafening quiet, to work on most anything, so working in coffee shops doesn’t really “work” for me. I’m always jealous of those who can!

  5. Great place, great space, beautifully curated art exhibit by two wonderful artists.
    They’ve done a fantastic job on the house, offering customers their pick of rooms, color and light. And the owners, Brett and John, could not be more welcoming!

    Have already increased my caffeine intake and number of heartbeats per minute! Well worth a stop.

  6. Ok – this place sounds fabulous, but what I would really love is recommendations for telecommuting near Somerville\Cambridge!

  7. Hi Beth, Come on down to the Chat House for the Summer Solstice celebration on Tuesday June 21st. Medium and herbalist Pandora Peoples will talk about the ancient history of solstice traditions and lead a guided meditation to connect the sun’s fire and vitality. This free event begins with a social hour at 6:30 pm followed by the ceremony at 7:30.

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