Hi…Innkeeper Tom here. Feeling hungry??
So this morning I’m waiting for our guests to finish up breakfast and thumbing through the new 2018 Cape Cod Travel Guide (published by our wonderful Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce) when I come across a wonderful article, “The Best Places to Eat Lobster on Cape Cod”. Having lived here for almost 20 years, and spending a lot of time exploring various local restaurants–both as a passion, as well as being a local food writer for Edible Cape Cod Magazine–I’ve gotten to know a thing or two about eating lobster ’round these parts.
But first…a confession. I am afraid of lobster. Like, up at night with the shivers, type of afraid. I simply cannot decipher an 8-legged lobster from an 8-legged, 3 pound, crawly, spiny aqua-tarantula. I even wrote a story in the magazine about my love-hate relationship with this weird sea creature. But here’s the thing–I LOVE the meat that’s INSIDE the creepy casing! I’ll eat lobster as a salad, sandwich, bisque, chowder, risotto, pasta–I’ll even close one eye and eat it lazy man style (but never as an ice cream–that’s just plain silly). So, if you’re a lobster lover, and you’re coming to the Lamb and Lion Inn for your summer getaway, check out this short but delicious list. I’ve taken what the Chamber of Commerce has come up with, whittled it down, and customized it with my own experiences for your dining and drooling pleasure…
Where you AND your dog can get yer lobstah on!
The Black Cat Tavern Absolutely! We LOVE the Black Cat! It’s got everything you would need in a restaurant destination–excellent food, great, knowledgeable service, a really fun outdoor raw bar with live music, a spacious, pet friendly patio (if you’re bringing your pooch to the Lamb and Lion this is a must for Fido!), the place is sparkling clean, has a beautiful brass and mahogany bar area, valet parking (if you’ve been to Hyannis in the summer you know this is a plus), and a killer middle-of-Hyannis-Harbor location! They even have a take-out joint nextdoor if you opt for a hot dog for dessert (don’t judge me). As for your main course, get the meaty lobster roll, the rich lobster bisque or chomp down on one or two of those weird looking steamed numbers, with lots of drawn butter. Yum!
The Lobster Pot’s Lobster-Avocado Cocktail
The Lobster Pot The jewel of Provincetown is slap-dab in the middle of their bustling Commercial Street and is a true Cape Cod classic! The waterfront place looks simple enough inside (you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the dining room) but look for inventive twists on your seafood favorite, like lobster egg rolls, lobster tacos, lobster ravioli, or innkeeper Ali’s favorite, lobster- avocado cocktail!It should be noted that when you’re taking the spectacular drive through the historic district and up through the National Seashore to P-Town, The Lobster Pot is a starred location on our free self-guided driving tours, which we give to our guests as they head out for the day’s adventure!
Arnold’s, doing what they do best.
Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar Arnold’s in Eastham is worth the trip from the Lamb and Lion, and like The Lobster Pot, Arnold’s is a free self-guided driving tour highlight. Years ago Ali and I, along with a handful of friends, were invited for lunch by the owner as a “challenge”. He told us, “If my steamed lobster isn’t the best you’ve ever had I’ll eat my car seat head rest!” (I don’t actually remember if it was his head rest, but it was a very random item–but it wouldn’t matter anyway). Being one to steer widely away from whole steamed lobster (for the previously mentioned reasons) I had the giant, baked stuffed Quahog. Everyone else ordered the steamed lobster and shabang!–he was right. They all agreed it was the juiciest, most tender lobster they had ever eaten (it should be noted that my “stuffy” was so superb I wrote a magazine article about it, calling it the best baked stuffed lobster I’ve ever had. A few years later it took first place in a Cape-wide Stuffed Quahog competition). My suggestion? Skip breakfast–and lunch–and have a giant Stuffed Quahog, followed by Arnold’s amazing steamed lobster!
Mattakeese Wharf’s Baked Stuffed Lobster
Mattakeese Wharf Just a couple of miles from the Lamb and Lion Inn and dead on the water in historic Barnstable Harbor. To be honest, Mattakeese Wharf could get away with a lot because of it’s over-the-water location and gorgeous sunsets, but their colossal Baked Stuffed Lobster has become a Cape Cod standard, and is beloved by visitors and locals alike. Take our advice and WALK there for dinner because gorging on a platter of homemade potato chips with bleu cheese, followed by that baked stuffed lobster is going to warrant a little exercise after the the check comes (if you’ve really overdone it, maybe we’ll come pick you up). The only thing that could make a meal like that complete is a waterside seat–and if you’re staying at the Lamb and Lion Inn we have you covered. I know all of owner Paul’s deep, dark secrets, so he always gives our inn guests the premier spots!
Sesuit Harbor Cafe’s Lobster Roll
Sesuit Harbor Cafe Somehow this place missed the Chamber’s list, but it HAD to make ours. I’ve also covered Sesuit Harbor Cafe’s lobster roll for a major food article–and it was well deserved. This place is OLD Cape Cod–all outdoor dining, a tiny raw bar, picnic tables, paper towels, humidity caked salt shakers, energetic food deliverers screaming out order number, no reservations, no bar (it’s BYOB), no waitstaff, no fuss, no muss. The “cafe”, which is open from dawn to dusk, is tucked away behind a boatyard and right on the water. They have a scruptious steamed lobster (and reasonably priced), and a nice, fresh lobster salad, bu its the lobster roll that has made this little joint famous. They even have a lobster roll cruise on a boat they named…wait for it...The Lobster Roll. DIG IN!
“Have you ever heard of Blue Claw Boat Tours?” Ali asked me. “They do seal tours out of Orleans.” I thought we had been on pretty much every boat on Cape Cod since purchasing the Lamb and Lion Inn 18 years ago, and had just about every brochure in the inn’s brochure rack. How this particular seal tour missed our radar is beyond us, but there was Captain Rob of the Blue Claw Boat Tours being interviewed on the well respected New England TV show “Chronicle”. We had to go find out for ourselves….
Our shoes were trying to map the route…
Orleans is just a pretty 25 minute ride from the inn, so picking a pristine afternoon we booked ourselves on a 3:45pm cruise. Blue Claw Boat Tours has several boats and all go out at various parts of the day, and although we heard from repeat visitors during our wait to board that all of the captains are very knowledgeable and entertaining, we were thrilled to have our afternoon hosted by Captain Rob himself! Upon boarding from the dock at Nauset Marina, Ron promised us lots and lots of seal spotting, as well as waterfront mansion gazing, interesting history and some of the most beautiful Cape Cod scenery any 2 eyes can enjoy–and these promises were delivered in spades!
House hunting in Chatham.
Before shoving off, Rob placed a map at our feet and pointed out our route. We were to slowly motor around a flurry of boats in Meeting House Pond, then through peaceful Packet Landing (with beautiful views of Kent’s Pond Conservation) and then kick the engines up when we hit the open waters of Little Pleasant Bay and Big Pleasant Bay. From there we would head toward Chatham and its famous seals! From dock to dock the tour was going to take 1 hour and 45 minutes, which we agreed was the perfect amount of time for a tour–we love being out on the water, but here on Cape Cod you can fill your days with hundreds of activities, so keeping things under 2 hours is a bonus.
A slow approach…hundreds of seals dead ahead!
“On a very slow day toward the beginning of the season you might see 50 Gray seals, but today you’re in for a real show!” Rob yelled over the buzzing motor. He wasn’t lying. Upon approaching the Chatham area we saw hundreds…and then hundreds more. As we motored in all the passengers were knocked out by the scene. The beach line was absolutely full in every direction! Giant seals the size of a double bed rolling around and satisfyingly grunting, and hundreds of curious babies frolicking in the water. Often as I looked through my camera lens I was delighted to see a pair of playfully eyes staring right back at me.
After spending plenty of time watching the seals enjoying their summer vacation we were in for more surprises. Captain Rob headed further into Chatham where we could spot iconic scenes, like the Chatham fisherman’s fleet and the Chatham Light (interesting tid bit: The original light that was on the same plot of land was commissioned by George Washington). More waterfront “house shopping” ensued from the 10 of us, and then on to our final stop, the famous Chatham Pier and Fish Market! The fish pier is one of the major fishing ports for the Northeast, and I think it’s most famous for 3 things…the fresh fish you can buy, the amazingly fresh and crispy fried clams (I wrote about those for Edible Cape Cod a couple years ago), and of course, more SEALS, who happen to like fresh fish a lot more than you do!
Zig-zagging through the Chatham fisherman’s fleet
Unloading Dog Fish can be entertaining to the masses.
After spending a few minutes trying to explain to some very rambunctious seals that “we have no fish on board” (they didn’t believe us), we waved goodbye to the pier onlookers and headed home. On our way back Captain Rob gave us more history about the area, birding and agricultural facts, and pointed out a few more things–including an unusually colored buoy (yellow) called a “Great White Shark Receiver Buoy” used to detect and record tagged great whites. Although we didn’t see any fins on our trip, it is not unusual to spot a Great White Shark looking to munch on a seal or two.
All in all, Ali and I can tell you that our time on Blue Claw Boat Tours was one of the most interesting and beautiful couple of hours we’ve ever spent on Cape Cod, plus it’s easy to get to, has free parking (something rare to Cape Cod) and lots of options to chose from, including a sunset tour, full moon tour, “lazy lunch tour” (sign me up) a “Scavenger Cruise” and a “Beachcomber Expedition”. When you book your stay at the Lamb and Lion Inn we can buy you tickets and have them waiting in your room upon arrival. What are you waiting for??
Captain my Captain! Rob, creating the perfect afternoon.
We here at the Lamb and Lion Inn joke that we’re a “pet friendly” property because we like dogs more than we like people. OK, maybe that’s not a joke. Maybe we DO like dogs just a little more than humans, and if you’ve ever spent time around a dog, and if you’ve ever spent time in line at a busy store, or stuck behind a slow driver, then you’d probably agree with us. Dogs are just cooler.
Often times we’ll get the question, “I’m thinking about bringing my dog on vacation, what do you think?” That’s a tough one to answer. When we go away we really, really miss my dogs. I might even try to call or Skype them in hopes that the smart one of the 3 has finally figured out how to pick up (he hasn’t…yet). But truth be told, the difference between traveling with and without your dog is the difference between a “trip” and a “vacation”. Meaning, traveling with your dog is like traveling with a toddler. Sacrifices have to be made.
Too cool for doggie school…
Being a pet friendly property means helping the guests overcome some of the limitations that come with traveling with a pooch. It’s not a perfect science, but we do the best we can. Our free self-guided driving tours are a great place to start. Within these sheets of paper that guests bring with them as they explore Cape Cod we point out our favorite place to sit on the water and eat fried clams with your dog, our favorite pet friendly shops (like The Cape Cod Dog in Eastham), pet friendly beaches (including our favorite beaches that aren’t necessarily pet friendly, but you can sneak on to them anyway), and other ways to show Rex a good time. Before you come to Cape Cod with your pet, try to find online resources to help you navigate your way around our island. One website that we often find ourselves on is CapeBeachDog.com.
The Lamb and Lion Inn salt water pool (and pooch)
There are fun ways to celebrate your pooch during the summer. This year’s Paw Palooza is back! The “Paw Palooza” is put on by Agway, the “lawn, garden and pet center” and will take place over the weekend of July 15-16, 2017. It features a 45 foot dog pool, along with all kinds of agility trials and fun stuff for 2 and 4 legged beings. This year they’re expecting over 10,000 attendees over the weekend and proceeds for this event go to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and in particular, directly to their Cape Cod Shelter (in Brewster), as well as the much beloved Cape Cod MSPCA (located in Centerville).
So pack your bowls, grab your leash and come to Cape Cod! The weather is looking awesome, there are miles of sand to roll around in and plenty of dead crabs to eat! Bon Appetit!
One of the things our guests love more than anything here at the Lamb and Lion Inn are our free self-guided driving tours. The driving tours are sheets of paper that we dole out to guests, at no cost, that help them find the prettiest, tastiest, kookiest, cheapest (or ritziest) fastest (or slowest) most fun-ist-ist hot spots and hidden gems up and down the Cape Cod coast.
Now, when you click on the link you won’t get specifics as to where to go, what to do when you get there and what to fight over once the menu hits the table, because we keep those dirty little secrets for the Lamb and Lion Inn guests. Guests who have come back time after time know that these free driving tours change all the time. But for blogs-sake, why keep it all bottled up, right? So here is one of the best stops in our mid-Cape drive…
One question we get from time to ti…ok constantly, is “Lobster Roll…How long do I have to drive until I can wrap my mouth around a steamed lobster slathered on mayonnaise like an anaconda on a kiwi?” The answer is, “not that far”. BUT unless you live on Cape Cod–and since you properly pronounce your Rrrr’s when they’re at the end of a word (and don’t add them where they don’t belong) we can tell you ain’t from the Cape–so, you might not be able to find this joint.
The Sesuit Harbor Cafe is hidden behind the Northside Marina in the nearby historic village of Dennis..and it doesn’t have a sign out by the road. Once on the property you have to zig-zag your way past delighted diners throwing fries to seagulls (instead of looking out for you), boats on lifts, kids on caffeine, dogs in strollers and anything and everything else you shouldn’t run over. Once at the cafe the line is always long–but the line moves quickly. In fact there’s a way to AVOID the line altogether—but this is where Lamb and Lion membership has its privileges. Sorry, not sharing that secret here.
The place is fun, happening, on the marina, has a lobster roll cruise on a boat called (wait for it)….The Lobster Roll, and has a a pet-friendly beach (if you have a pet with you. BTW did you know the Lamb and Lion Inn was pet friendly?). The place is “cash only”, the wine list is non-existent (it’s BYOB) and the food is as delicious as it is reasonably priced. Speaking of the food, the clams are the clammiest! The oysters the most oysterish! The burgers rock, the locals flock and it’s reachable by dock…what else do you need?? Oh yea, that lobster roll. Innkeeper Tom loved it so much he featured it in his “Last Bite” column in Tom’s article in Edible Cape Cod magazine a few years ago. want to read the article? You just passed it, silly. Back up 16 words, click on the blue and start making plans for your Cape Cod getaway! GIDDYUP!!
Any time you’re driving down Old King’s Highway (route 6A) in the heart of Cape Cod’s historic district it’s likely we’ll get you to crane your neck when you drive by the Lamb and Lion Inn.
For many years when the leaves started to change color we here at the Lamb and Lion would normally have a giant–and we mean GIANT, carved pumpkin down by our entrance under a spotlight. Some years it was smiling, other times jolly or goofy–once we even furnished one to breathe colored smoke bombs like the one below…
A purple smoke welcome bellows from the mouth
The pumpkin grower & artist was a farmer named Elliot who grew enormous pumpkins just over the bridge in Rhode Island. We used to have him deliver to our previous inn in New York’s Hudson Valley, and people got such a charge out of it we started calling upon Elliot every fall from there on in. Sometimes we’d get a 300 pounder, other years a 500 pounder.
Our very first Cape Cod Pumpkin
The year before we bought the Lamb and Lion we ran the Ship’s Inn on Nantucket (this is 16 years ago). We ordered our pumpkin from Elliot who happened to have a ripe, 550 pounder(!), carved it at his farm and drove it to Hyannis to get on the ferry to Nantucket only to be told by the Steamship Authority in Hyannis Harbor “Regulations require any vegetable in transit must be boxed.” HUH? Who’s got a box that big?! Who’s got ARMS big enough to lift it?? I asked them.
We did some fast thinking and called the good folks at the neighboring Hyline ferry who thought our vegetable was awesome, and no doubt catching the spirit of The Great Pumpkin, announced that “Rules are sometimes meant to be broken!” and shipped our giant, 550 pound veggie over to Straight Wharf on Nantucket where our new plump, orange friend was met by myself (innkeeper Tom), Ali, farmer Elliot and a couple of the Ship’s Inn waiters and chefs–as well as a reporter from the Nantucket paper, the Inquirer Mirror. Everyone gathered around (except the reporter who was clicking away on her camera) and lifted the prized pumpkin off the truck (see photo), onto another truck, and whisked it away to live, nestled in a bed of bright red, yellow and orange autumn flowers, in the large bay window of the beautiful subterranean Ship’s Inn restaurant.
A few years back we had a giant, painted whale swimming over the water at the bottom of our driveway. We had been approached by some folks who were putting together the “whale trail” on Cape Cod. Giant, painted whales were to be purchased by local businesses who would then have them painted in any theme they wanted for charity.
All summer locals and visitors alike could drive around Cape Cod spotting these painted, spouting beauties, take photos, pose with them, sometimes (if the whale said it was OK) climb atop them–it was load of fun. We smiled every time we would see a car swing into the bottom of our long driveway for a photo. Ali and I both swore our whale was enjoying it too. The whales were all auctioned off at the end of the season for anyone who wanted a whale of their own, and all proceeds when to the charity of the business’s choice. We chose the Cape Cod MSPCA and thus, in keeping with being a pet friendly inn and having a lamb and a lion as our “mascots”, went with an animal scene for our painted theme.
Our “All Creatures Great and Small” whale
The Whale Trail book
Our local artist, Bill, was a serious artist you is famous both on Cape and in Boston for painting large, detailed cityscapes, but Bill knew us and our inn and he wanted to paint something more fun and whimsical, so cartoon animals made a ring around our whale, who was watching over Main Street with large, red lipsticked lips, blue eyes and long lashes. Bill even painted our 2 Pomeranians, Miss Molly and G. Willikers, into the ring of animals. Ali fell in love with our whale–as we all did–and got so attached to her that she started out bidding the highest bidder at the auction, but I quickly reasoned with her and we let our whale go. PHEW!
Our beauty brought in a couple thousand dollars to the MSPCA and now lives outside the Optimist Cafe in Yarmouthport–a perfectly “optimistic” place for such a happy whale. We didn’t get to keep our whale, but we get to drive by, and wave, and see her greeting diners on their way in for lunch.
SO, a few weeks ago when we heard the Hyannis Whale Watcher in nearby Barnstable Harbor was signing on for a sand sculpture to be carved for them, we wanted in! The Town of Yarmouth has been turning heads the last couple of years creating sand sculptures in front of local businesses who wanted to participate as part of the Yarmouth Summer Celebration Kick-Off. This years celebration is spilling out into the town of Barnstable and the 42 sand sculptures can be scouted out online and on a printable map. When you check each sculpture out take a photo and submit it to the Yarmouth Summer Celebration Kick-off Facebook page. The winner for “best photo” will win a prize! Here’s what’s out in front of the Lamb and Lion Inn….
Why do we do such things? Hey, it’s nice to get the attention, and if it makes the paper all the better. We love to watch people slow down in front of the inn and smile, or pull in for a quick photo…but to be honest all that doesn’t always add up to room sales. To be honest, it’s really fun for Ali and I to do this stuff because the opposite of doing it is NOT doing it–and really, what fun is that??
Come by and see our Lamb and Lion! If you get a photo next to it please post it on OUR Facebook page and we’ll send you a gift certificate towards a future stay! Have a GREAT and FUN summer!
Fried clams on the deck, mini golf, sun tanning, whale watching and hoisting a mai tai with Smitty the Fishin’ Musician.
At this moment no such activities await you on Cape Cod. So what’s the point of coming in the winter months? Maybe there isn’t one…
Sure, there is plenty of shopping, dining and theater happening, but if you’re that person who craves the summer scene, we’ll see you in 6 months…
For everyone else you don’t even have to read on…you can just look at the pictures.
Winter on Cape Cod is what a huge percentage of the population needs…
The rising number of meditation books in print, the growing popularity of spiritual retreat getaways, cafes and coffee shops that encourage customers to appreciate their surroundings with signs like “We don’t have wi-fi–talk to each other” proves it…
If you are searching for a place to quiet your busy mind…look no further than your underwear drawer.
Put the underwear in a suitcase, along with the socks that live next door.
Add a few more things to keep you warm.
When packing your clothes make sure you leave room for your 3 “meditation musts”…
…some comfy walking shoes
These will be as important as sun tan lotion, a beach towel and a 9 iron.
Set your Ipod (or cd player, cassette player or 8-track–not judging here) to your most happiest of tunes, and punch “Cape Cod” into your GPS.
Want to know where the most beautiful and secluded places on Cape Cod are? Ditch your Lonely Planet guide. They ain’t in there. Punch Lamb and Lion Inn into Adventurous Carl (or whatever you call your GPS) and your magnificent unwind will start as soon as you hit the top of the driveway. OH! speaking of which, we almost forgot…dust off your bathing suit for a fireside soak in the hot tub (we shoveled a trail to it this morning).
The year-round hot tub & fireplace…just before the BRRR!
A seal taking the ice taxi past nearby Sandy Neck
Once you’re settled in, head down the road for a peaceful dinner.
Notice how relaxed the locals and staff are? They are enjoying the solace of Cape Cod’s off season (and are no doubt trying to forget that the Patriots got trounced in the play offs).
Once back home, light a fire and get ready for one of the most magical days you will ever have…
Just remember…hot and sunny is wonderful, but your soul needs to CHILL. Good things come with a chill…
Go to your room! The inn’s guest entrance.
Life is short. Cape Cod is currently chilly. Wonderfully…magically…chilly.
(All photos taken by your friendly, frozen innkeeper.
To view more beauty please read and follow the instructions above).
So welcome to our blog.
There’s not a lot in here–to be honest we don’t know how people have the time to write as much as they do! We post something only when the mood hits us. In here you’ll find blogs about things like a red chair, a “must-have” Cape Cod guide, George Harrison’s ghost, waterfront dining (or more accurately, where to find the best Bloody Marys), how your host fell through the ceiling of a guest room,etc.
This next installment we couldn’t have done better ourselves. It’s a blog straight from England written by one of our favorite guests, Barbara Howard (her husband Steve ain’t so bad, either). So, if we didn’t convince you that the Lamb and Lion Inn is located in the BEST part of the Cape, and our guests on TripAdvisor haven’t convinced you either, we say, “drop down a gear or two” and read what Barbara has to say about the matter…
Click HERE for Barbara’s informative and beautifully photographed trip through our little slice-o-heaven.
“I’m the only one down here who’s got nothing to fear from the waves or the night that keeps rolling on right up to my front porch...”~ From the George Harrison song “Miss O’Dell”
We think George Harrison’s ghost might be hanging around our Inn.
There’s been a “Route 6A meets Blue Jay Way” connection between the Lamb and Lion Inn and ol’ Georgy Boy for the last couple of years that’s hard to deny, and it almost always seems to be connected to a book that’s located in the Inn’s common sunroom.
It seems to have started with a visit from a writer named Kathy Ketcham. Kathy was staying in our fun and funky 1740’s Barn a few summers back with her family, and, when she spotted a book entitled TheBeatles: The Biography (written by Bob Spitz) in the sunroom during breakfast, she mentioned to Ali and I that they were taking a holiday on the Cape in celebration of her latest book that she co-wrote, a hard cover autobiography entitled Miss O’Dell.
Miss O’Dell is the true the story of Chris O’Dell, an office worker who was working for The Beatles during their Apple Record days. Chris’ story is an interesting one, full of insight during The Beatles tumultuous split, as well as great “behind the scene” moments, like sitting along side Yoko and Ringo’s wife for their final rooftop show, and living with George Harrison and Patty Boyd at their Friar Park mansion when George received the news that Paul had left the group. Being a big Beatles fan, and of course wanting to support our inn guests, I went out the next day and purchased Miss O’Dell, which I was happy to discover, was virtually impossible to put down, and had a different perspective than any other Beatles book I’ve read (I’ve read 4 or 5). Although The Beatles stories–and in particular, George Harrison stories–were the heft of the book, the dozens of other 70’s rock and roll moments, including Chris’ time with The Stones, Dylan and Clapton, are equally juicy. But, more than getting my hands on a good book that summer, I made a new friend, and Kathy and I continued to exchange emails for some time after their departure, and we have a feeling we’ll see her here again in the future.
“The image of the lamb tucked into the lion stands for peacefulness. It was one of The Beatles’ and George’s greatest messages, and really what this inn is all about.”
~ Louise Harrison commenting on the Lamb and Lion Inn, February, 2012
The funny thing about the Bob Spitz Beatles book is that, unlike many of the books that we’ve read and then retired to the guest book shelf, I never actually got around to reading it. I had every intention to, but with over 850 pages involved I decided to wait until our winter vacation. Finally, last December, with the Inn under our assistant Innkeeper’s hands (we rarely close), and my feet warming in Mexican sand, I dug in. The Beatles: The Biography was another great rock and roll read, but more interesting than the deeply researched Fab 4 factoids, was the coincidence that followed immediately afterward. Two days after we returned to Cape Cod and the book made it back to its home on the guest’s bookshelf, we received a call from a local music promoter named Paul Lococo. Paul was helping promote and organize a concert that was being held in January at the Barnstable High School’s 1,500 seat performing arts center. The concert was to promote “Keeping music in the Schools”, and the show and tour were the brain child of Louise Harrison, sister of–wait for it–George Harrison. Paul and I got to talking, and because it was for such a good cause and much of the proceeds would benefit the high school, it was decided that the Lamb and Lion Inn would donate several rooms and put Louise Harrison up for a couple of days during the show time, as well as the Beatles tribute band that she had hand-picked for the cause, called Liverpool Legends.
Liverpool Legends peppering the crowd with classics
Liverpool Legends, if you haven’t heard of them, is comprised of Louise’s favorite John, George, Paul and Ringo–all poached (again, for a good cause!) from the likes of Beatlemania, Rain, and other nationally renowned Beatles tribute bands, and having them all staying at the Lamb and Lion was a great way to spice up an otherwise quiet January. Louise stayed in our “premier” suite, the Innkeeper’s Pride, and when not luxuriating in front of her wood-burning fire, or watching the brightly colored cardinals flying from tree to tree from her back deck, could be heard telling great, old Liverpool stories in the common area to the boys in the band, who were all not only enthusiastic and energetic in every way, they were incredibly gracious (and just like Kathy Ketcham, guitar player and all around great “bloke” Marty Scott, who plays George in the band, still communicates with Ali and me as to his whereabouts on the Lamb and Lion Inn’s Facebook page).
At the introduction of the show at the high school, Louise gave the Lamb and Lion Inn a wonderful shout out, telling the packed crowd, “I’m staying at one of the most beautiful inns I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, called the Lamb and Lion Inn.” Ali and I were stunned. She continued…”The image of the lamb tucked into the lion stands for peacefulness. It was one of The Beatles’ and George’s greatest messages, and really what this inn is all about!”
Since their short time on Cape Cod, Louise and Liverpool Legends have gone on to do wonderful things and were eventually nominated for a Grammy. If you haven’t gone to their show yet, it’s by far the best Beatles tribute band out there–and we’ve seen some of the best!
“My two favorite family portraits of George”, Louise told us. The photos were signed with “I love this inn!” and left on the fireplace mantle.
Over the summer of 2012 we had hand fulls of interesting guests, and we’re happy to report yet another summer without one, real pain in the arse (!). We’re not sure if we’re just mellowing and more tolerant of people, or if we just happen to only get very cool people booking our inn. Regardless of the reason, Ali and I always remind each other what a nice life we have living in such a fun and low-key environment.
This summer a guest named Julie recently surprised us with a gift she purchased at our Barnstable Village’s “Art in the Village”, which runs during several weekends over the summer. The gift was a framed piece made out of recycled materials and a heart shaped shell picked off a nearby beach. “All You Need is Love” was the sentiment of the piece. Of course, we got the Beatles reference right away, and we assumed she noticed that we sold some of the same artist’s work for sale in our little Inn gift shop. The artist is a local woman named Kyle Kochiss, and her business is the Heart2Heart Design Studio. We love her stuff, and quite frankly, I keep catching Ali raiding the shop and wearing her beach stone jewelry around the Inn–which she keeps promising not to do, but apparently can’t help herself. “Actually, I didn’t see the gift shop when I checked in because you met me in the driveway”, the guest explained, “But I did notice The Beatles book in the sunroom!”
We should have known…
Enter: The Dream Police
As much as we love meeting new friends every day here at the inn, it’s always extra special when old friends look us up. A few days after Julie’s departure, we received a wonderful email from an old friend named Sara. You might not know Sara, but you know her music. She co-wrote many of the catchiest Hall & Oates songs–Maneater, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), Private Eyes, and on and on. Remember the song Sara Smile? That’s Sara (and not only does she have a sensational smile, she’s got a killer sense of humor to go along with it). Well anyway, Sara was coming to stay at the inn for a few days along with our mutual friends Tom and Alison, and their two lovely kids. Tom was at the time (and probably still is) on tour playing the 12-string bass guitar with his legendary rock band Cheap Trick–one of our all time favorites–and it was really heartwarming to Ali and me that they made a detour to visit us on Cape Cod–it had been a long time since we connected with these amazing people. We had a nice few days visiting with Sara, Alison, Tom and kids, and although it’s always wonderful to catch up to people who knew you in your “past life”, we should confess that our favorite part was baking Ali’s amazing Chocolatey Cappuccino Muffins for breakfast with Tom and Alison’s incredibly entertaining daughter–and mini-food encyclopedia–Lilah. The day of their departure we said our goodbyes and promised not to let so much time pass the next time. A couple of hours later, our assistant innkeeper, Donna, came to me with something she had found under a bed. It was a bass guitar pick, obviously dropped by accident, with the Cheap Trick logo on one side and the all-too-familiar Beatles logo on the other side (Cheap Trick recently toured playing the entire Sgt. Pepper album note for note, from start to finish–something The Beatles said could never be accomplished). “The Beatles again,” I said to myself, wondering what it all meant–if it meant anything at all.
Less than a week after our friends departure, a family of four named the Skinners came to us from a place called Mount Pleasant Close in Buckingham, England. Because our larger, family-friendly Lamb’s Retreat and The Barn-Stable were booked, the family had to be divided into 2 rooms. The parents stayed in Louise Harrison’s old suite, the Innkeeper’s Pride (now summer time, its fireplace not roaring any longer, but the private deck off the back they found quite heavenly!), while the two kids, brother and sister, stayed in Lair 1, located down the cloud painted hallway just off of the pool and courtyard. One morning after a poolside breakfast, the father, Martin, walked over to the bookshelf and pulled out The Beatles: The Biography from the rows of books. “Have you read this?” he asked me. I told him I had. “My Dad is in this book,” Martin added. “Really?“, I asked, “How so?” He started flipping pages, back a little, back a little, quietly groaning “No, that there…” and then a bit toward the front of the book…and finally he found the page. “Here it is! Page 152,” Martin announced. He then read aloud from a paragraph about George Harrison being too young to be in the earliest formation of The Beatles, called The Quarry Men. “...By the end of 1958, George’s itch to play was so strong that he took up with three other friends–Ken Brown, Les Stewart and a lad known only as Skinner–in a rather pedestrian unit called the Les Stewart Quartet.” Martin drops the book down. “Skinner is my Dad, Ray Skinner. He played the drums in George’s first band.” “Really? That’s so cool!” I exclaimed. “Yea!” Martin added just as thrilled, but within an instant seemed a bit more pensive. “Dad’s gone now. I only wish Bob Spitz reached out to my Mum, she could have given him a few really great stories about my Dad and The Beatles. They were all local boys and always hanging around. My mother knew them all.” Martin’s father, Ray Skinner, grew up in Liverpool and worked in the same butcher shop as George Harrison, and thus Ray and George became close friends.”My Mother was pregnant with me when George came back from Hamburg, Germany with The Beatles”, Ray continued, “Mum told me that George put his hand on her belly and asked her ‘do you need a Godfather’?” (It ends up that title was already given to Martin’s Uncle–but the story still makes Martin smile).
All Things Must Pass…
The next day was, like almost all of our days during the summer of 2012, perfect. The sun was shining, it was a bit humid–but compared to areas inland, we had it made. I was walking across the inn’s courtyard and saw the Skinner clan hanging around a table having a poolside lunch under one of the umbrellas. I stopped and asked about their day yesterday, their dinner out, the local whale watching that afternoon, and they seemed to be having a ball…but it was their last day on Cape Cod. They were having a late checkout before heading an hour north to Boston and Logan Airport, and Ali and I felt sad to see them go. I went into the sunporch and pulled out The Beatles book and walked it back out to the pool area. “Here, take a look”, I told Martin, and opened it up to Page 152. “Your dad should be remembered in this book”, I told him. On the page where it read ‘a lad named only as Skinner’ I wrote his father’s full name right where it belonged, which could have been considered a silly gesture to some, but it was obvious to me that Martin missed his father, and he was proud of his accomplishments. “That’s great, Tom”, Martin told me quietly, looking at the page. “Thank you so much,” and gave me a firm hand shake. If the odds have it, we’ll never meet the Skinners again, but their week with us greatly enhanced our 1012 season.
And in the End…
Right next to The Beatles: The Biography is the biography of Cary Grant. Why haven’t we heard from Cary’s people yet? What’s with all The Beatle coincidences? What does this all mean? You know what I think it means? Absolutely nothing. As much as we all come from different backgrounds, live in different parts of the world, have different likes and tastes–we’re all pretty much the same. Every week at the Lamb and Lion Inn we meet people from backgrounds and interests as vast and colorful as The Beatles catalog itself, but when it comes down to the common denominators, we’re not that much different from one another.
The summer is gone. Fall is here, and the cycle continues. If you’re thinking of joining us to enjoy some down time by the pool, a quiet walk on the beach, or just want to quietly read by the fire, we might just have a book that you can borrow. Perhaps you’ll find your own “6 degrees of separation” while you’re exploring our beautiful part of the world. But just remember one thing, although the Beatles sang “All you need is Love”, when you’re heading to the Lamb and Lion Inn, bring your sense of fun, an adventurous spirit, and of course, your credit card 😉
The Skinner family with “the book”…one of our favorite Summer, 2012 memories.
Here on the Cape we have some wildlife.
On the the Lamb and Lion Inn’s 4 acres we have a frisky fox family, who pretty much stay to themselves and are really no trouble, now that we put the smack down on their late-night S’more bonfires. We’ll see the occasional coyote chasing an ACME truck down Old King’s Highway, plenty of fat and nervous looking wild turkeys, ducks that are still hunted in various areas, and supposedly some deer (but that’s debatable–we have deer-hunting friends who have spent countless hours in a tree stand and the only thing they’ve “bagged” is a strong case of vertigo). Last week we even had our very first bear sighting! The bear was first seen less than a mile from the Lamb and Lion, and while heading east practically walked right through our backyard (he’s currently heading towards P-Town–and why not?).
I guess the one animal we don’t have is a groundhog, as the Cape Cod Chamber, 4 years ago decided to toss out the whole “groundhog seeing his shadow” concept in lieu of a whispering Quahog named Doug, and created “Quahog Day!”
Now, before we talk about the day, let’s cover its host. If you don’t live on or near Cape Cod, not only might you not know what a Quahog is, you’re probably butchering the pronunciation. Say it again to yourself…“QUAHOG”…see, we told you–not even close. A Quahog is pronounced ko-hog, and it’s a very large clam that is culinarily awesome on several levels. Ever had clam chowder?, well then, you’ve had a Quahog clam. Quahogs have a lot of meat and therefore go a long way and can jazz up many things. Arguably the best prep for a Quahog is baked and stuffed. We here at the Lamb and Lion consider ourselves baked stuffed Quahog experts, and are always in search of the best preparation. On Cape Cod, you can’t swing a clam rake without hitting a menu that features this weighty gem, and when we see it, we generally order it out of curiosity.
A proper baked stuffed Quahog really only needs one thing…a squirt of fresh lemon.
So what makes one baked stuffed quahog better that another? Well, there are many factors. How much clam meat is in the stuffing? How big is the clam itself? Is is spicy? Seasoned? Sauced? One factor WE believe (and again, we are experts, just ask us) is a deal killer guaranteed to knock a “stuffy” out of the “best of” running, worse than over seasoning with herbs like thyme (ugh!), is the inclusion of peppers. Folks, here’s the thing about bell peppers…unless you roast them first, that’s all you’re going to taste–not only while you’re eating, but all the way home–and we LOVE bell peppers (as well as thyme, for the record). Unfortunately, for whatever cockamamie reason (and I rarely use that word–thanks spell check!), green and red peppers have somehow become the #2 ingredient just after clam meat, so, although most seafood restaurants serve “stuffys”, the majority of them, we can take or leave.
When you’re here at the Lamb and Lion Inn, one of the things we point out to you on our self-guided driving tours is where to find the BEST baked stuffed clams on Cape Cod (we also help you find the best ice cream, lobster roll, etc. etc., but we’re already getting off point). I, Tom, one of the innkeepers, am the Senior Contributing Editor for Edible Cape Cod Magazine. Last summer I wrote an article on the best baked stuffed clam on the Cape (again, my opinion), and so if you’d like to know where to go for that (without staying with us, because we’re good like that), here’s a link to the article.
Doug The Quahog and his handler flanked by security
OK, now that you know more about Quahogs then you did a couple of minutes ago, you outta get to Cape Cod for the 4th Annual Quahog Day! This year the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and their “star-studded Quahog cast” will be joining Doug the Quahog for the “Quahog Prognostication” at the Skipper Restaurant in South Yarmouth (a very easy drive from the inn). It is then, and only then, that we’ll all be able to find out how many weeks of beach weather lie ahead. After the ceremony and proCLAMation* from the celebrated and esteemed Doug, there will be a Quahog Day bash at the restaurant. Hope to see you here. All bets are on Doug telling us it’s going to be an awesome summer–and there are a lot of Quahogs that need to be eaten (although Doug has been pardoned by the President). “Sea” you soon!
* ProCLAMation? How good is that…I think we beat the Chamber to that one.
Oh, you can tell when we start randomly blogging with these kind of titles that spring fever has officially smacked us in the back of our heads! Dining on the water is our very favorite sport here at the Lamb and Lion Inn, so if you’re planning on joining us, here’s a head start…
Our very favorite joint on the water has got to be Baxter’s Boathouse in Hyannis. Why do we love Baxter’s? Because it’s on the water, duh (are you paying attention???). More than that, it’s really, really right on the water. Unlike a few of our other favorites that sit close to the water, or behind a parking lot that’s on the water, Baxter’s is right there. It sits in the middle of Hyannis Harbor (about 15 minutes from the Lamb and Lion) so you can watch the island ferries and sailboats come and go. Which brings us to a point. How do we know that we have enjoyed a successful Baxter’s lunch? When we watch the fast ferry to Nantucket shove off from the marina, and are still having lunch when it returns (if that happens with the slow ferry it’s a guaranteed cab ride home). Two other things we love about Baxter’s is that they have a kid-friendly fish & chips joint…next door (the Boathouse is adults only) and a piano player–which adds to our urge to stretch out our time there.
Our favorite seat at Baxter’s (and an un-Bloody Mary)
Spanky’s Clam Shack is also on Hyannis Harbor, right next to the Hy-Line Ferry to the islands. The water view from Spanky’s is a bit blocked because of boats and a parking lot, which is why we love to join friends at the bar. At the bar you get a bit of a better view–at least I think you do. Come to think of it, I can’t remember what the dining room view looks like. We always sit at the bar. Spanky’s has 2 things over Baxter’s. One is that, although the view is not as perfect, there are a lot more tables outside, so on a nice day you have a better chance of dining el fresco. The second best thing is that Spanky’s Bloody Marys are far superior.
Outdoor dining at Spanky’s
Most places on the Cape use a Bloody Mary mix–as does Spanky’s–it’s just that the mix they use, called Jack & Bernie’s, is one of the best out there. It’s a close second to Zing Zang, which is the best mix that we’ve found so far in our worldly travels. I wish I could say Cape Cod Bloody Mary mix was the best, but it’s not quite up there. I wish Baxter’s would get their stuff together and make a killer Bloody Mary, because it’s the one thing they lack, but whatever. It’s just that…OK…I’m not a Bloody Mary snob, but I am an expert, and it kills me when a place serves lame Bloodys!! I mean, pour Mr. & Mrs. T’s for God sakes!! That stuff is just fine and has delivered the majority of us from 30,000 feet successfully on hundreds of airlines a countless number of times (by the way, if you know anyone who works for Mr. & Mrs. T’s advertising department, they’re missing out on a great tag line…”The Taste of Vacation.”).
Anyway, at home we always make our Bloody Marys from scratch. You want to know the secret to a great Bloody Mary? Lots of lemon (screw the lime), enough celery salt to make your heart race and it has to be (repeat: has to be) Sacramento tomato juice. It’s got just the right thickness & sweetness. You show up poolside at the Lamb and Lion Inn with a Bloody made from V8 juice and no late check out for you.
A nice twist on using Sacremento, which is a totally acceptable substitution–especially on Cape Cod–is using Clamato juice (it has tasty clam bits in the juice–awesome).With Clamato you have to be a bit careful with the horseradish ratio as….as….uh…
Wait a minute.
OK, I did it again.
I went off on another Bloody Mary rant and now I don’t have time to finish my blog on whatever it is I was blogging about. Damn. It’s a weird thing, this tomatoey obsession.
OK, we’ll continue this another time, when I’m calm, and we can discuss more fab waterfront dining places like the Captain’s Table at the Hyannis Yacht Club (a great Bloody Mary–but you can’t get in without connections), The Bookstore Restaurant in Wellfleet (very good Bloody–goes great with their steamed littlenecks), Ross’ Grill in Provincetown (can’t remember their Bloody, but they have a great little wine selection and the best fries in P-Town), The heavenly Ocean House in Dennisport (about 25 minutes drive but well worth every mile–with or with out a Bloody Mary), and of course, Mattakeese Wharf, which sits out in the middle of Barnstable Harbor, just 3 minutes from the Lamb and Lion Inn, and whose sin-riddled Homemade Potato Chips with Bleu Cheese appetizer compliments their Bloody Marys beautifully, if we do say so ourselves.
Our local whale watch boat from Mattakeese Wharf’s deck…located 3 minutes from the inn!