Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod (check rates at kayak.com) is one of New England's largest resorts, a 400-acre property with a 700-foot private beach on Cape Cod Bay that provides luxury, country club-style family getaways. The resort is both immense and diverse, providing an amazing array of accommodations options and activities to suit all ages and interests. I'd take my family back to Ocean Edge in a heartbeat--our stay in June of 2004 was our most memorable family trip to date, and as you might imagine, we travel a ton.
Memories: The Ultimate Goal of a Family Vacation
I'm always inclined to see and experience new places, so my urge to return to Ocean Edge Resort, centrally located on the Cape in Brewster, is a rousing endorsement. Although I'm lucky to be able to travel extensively with my toddler and husband in tow, I realize that for most families, vacation time is scarce and precious. The ultimate goal of a family trip is, of course, to create lasting memories of shared adventures. Ocean Edge Resort does a phenomenal job of facilitating family fun.
This was my daughter's first visit to Cape Cod, and in just four days, she racked up a multitude of memorable experiences. There were the little things: swimming in one of the resort's four outdoor pools (there are two indoor pools, as well), building sandcastles, experiencing her first taste of sticky toasted marshmallow at a sunset bonfire on the beach. The bubble machine outside the family-friendly Reef Cafe, one of four restaurants at the resort, so enthralled her that "bubbles" became her newest and most-uttered vocabulary word.
She wasn't as thrilled by baseball, but we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon watching a Cape Cod League game; Ocean Edge offers a picnic meal and lawn chairs for guests who want to catch a ball game.
Our supreme adventure was a seal tour from nearby Chatham. Although our little one had balked when we buckled her to the back of one of the resort's rental bicycles, she was unfazed when we strapped her into a life preserver, and she even took the wheel of the boat at the captain's invitation.
When we spotted hundreds of seals diving and bobbing playfully in the water, she waved and yelled, "Hi, guys!"
For older children and teens, Ocean Edge's line-up of on-site activities is impressive, particularly during the summer season when the Ocean EdgeVenture program entertains kids ages 4 to 12 with everything from crafts and bug hunts to hip-hop dance classes and tennis lessons. On select summer evenings, parents can enjoy a night out while kids head to the EdgeVenture Clubhouse for pizza and a movie. Summer also features family bonfires at the beach, scavenger hunts, Bingo and outdoor movies where the best seat in the house is a tube in the pool.
Adults can play all day, too. Ocean Edge has a highly acclaimed 18-hole golf course, two staffed tennis complexes, biking trails, a fitness center, yoga classes on the beach and five hot tubs. Or simply lounge with a good book and one of Ocean Edge's signature lemonades--Lavender Lemonade was my favorite.
Beauty and the Beach
Whether you're in search of an active vacation or a relaxing escape, there is arguably no more beautiful backdrop on Cape Cod for your getaway. Ocean Edge is situated on what was once the Nickerson Estate, the oceanfront summer residence of banker and businessman Samuel Mayo Nickerson and his family.
The estate and its "Mansion," a 1912 manor-style home, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Resort guests can play croquet, football or frisbee on the mansion's five-acre front lawn, and the Carriage House is often used for weddings and special events. The Nickersons' private game preserve is now the nearby 1,900-acre Nickerson State Park.
This historic backdrop adds a nostalgic aura of Old Cape Cod to your stay. Situated on a bluff overlooking the bay, the mansion provides incomparable views.
The beach at Ocean Edge is, of course, one of the resort's best selling points. A wood-plank boardwalk leads to this prime strip of oceanfront reserved exclusively for resort guests. The waters of Cape Cod Bay are warmer and calmer than you'd find on the Atlantic side of Cape Cod, making this an ideal family beach.
In addition to the weekly summer bonfires, you can also book a private beach bonfire for your family or group.
Accommodations Offer Variety and Flexibility
One important thing to understand: Ocean Edge is such a large property that it is actually located on two sides of Route 6A. Shuttle buses are available on-call to take guests to various parts of the resort. As a rule, accommodations on the mansion/beach side of the property are more expensive than those across the street on the golf course side of the property.
Accommodations range from hotel-style mansion rooms to one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with all of the comforts of home including free pizza delivery in the summer. A one-bedroom villa with a sleeper sofa is frequently the most affordable option for a small family.
We stayed in a spacious, comfortable three-bedroom villa in the Bay Pines Village, which put us steps from an outdoor pool and hot tub and a short walk from the beach. The villa was furnished with everything we'd have needed for a longer stay including a full kitchen, laundry and a private deck.
A tremendous advantage of the villas at Ocean Edge Resort is their availability for less than a week's stay. Most vacation rentals on the Cape require a week-long minimum stay. With the exception of a few oceanfront units, the villas at Ocean Edge can be booked by the night, allowing families to plan shorter vacations.
Summer Highs, Off-Season Steals
Summer is peak season on Cape Cod, and lodging rates are at their highest. Ocean Edge offers many options for families; some packages include all resort activities and many meals. For 2011, the rates per night for a one-bedroom villa range from $359 to $395 in the high season. Check rates at Kayak.com.
From September through mid-June, rates at Ocean Edge drop substantially, and the resort offers specials and packages to entice off-season visitors.
It's important to keep in mind that many popular resort programs, such as beach bonfires and the children's program, are only available in the summer. However, the quiet season can be a wonderful time for couples to take advantage of the resort's many amenities at very affordable prices.
While Ocean Edge makes it easy to engage in a variety of classic Cape Cod activities, it is important to keep in mind that many, such as golf, spa services, the children's program, and lobster clambakes, carry extra charges.
Because of the variety of options available, I'd advise calling the resort at 508-896-9000 instead of making reservations online. This will allow you to be sure you understand the choices that are available, including the location of your accommodations.
It was difficult to find anything to dislike about Ocean Edge. I know you won't take me seriously when I tell you that the lobsters we ate on our final night were too big!
I do have to caution you that Cape Cod itself is addictive. Once you discover its charms, it is difficult to stay away. And once you stay at Ocean Edge, the average Cape Cod motor hotel or rental cottage won't have quite the same appeal.
Yes, a vacation at Ocean Edge requires a bit more capital, but it is an investment in cherished, long-lasting memories of seaside days shared with the people you love most.
We'll never forget the smile on our little one's face as she devoured her first toasted marshmallow... nor the sheer parental terror that followed when she lost her balance on the beach and planted her gooey hands in the sand.
A final warning: Your vacation expenditures may not end when you leave Ocean Edge. We had to buy our own bubble machine when we got back home.
If You're Going...
Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod is conveniently located right on Route 6A in Brewster, Massachusetts. It's about a two-hour trip from Boston or Providence, 3-1/2 hours from Hartford and 5 hours from New York City.
All villas and rooms are fully furnished and equipped. There are four restaurants on-site including a family-friendly cafe, a pub, the Ocean Terrace, Linx Tavern at the golf course and Ocean Grille, a fine dining restaurant in the mansion with sweeping views of the sea. Room service is only available on the mansion/beach side of the property.
A concierge is available to help you plan off-site excursions. Shuttle buses provide access to resort facilities for all guests.
For more information and reservations, call Ocean Edge Resort at 508-896-9000.
I just might see you there!