Built by its namesake way back when (in 1776, to be precise), clapboard-fronted Eben House looks the picture of New England sweetness: all teak-stained floors, traditional portraiture and a neat, shrub-planted garden. In homage to its history (it’s one of only three Federal brick homes left in the area), this bed and breakfast has kept things relatively simple. Times have changed since the Captain’s 18th-century tenure, however, and Provincetown is now as well-known for its hip-hippie residents as its rich colonial history. Eben House has followed suit with quirky, modern touches – such as mismatched furniture, mosaic-tiled bathrooms and the odd flamboyant chandelier – that link this heritage building to its bohemian community.
11am. Earliest check-in, 4pm, but flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $245.00, excluding tax at 14.45 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast, WiFi and parking for one car (there’s more parking off-site, five minutes’ walk away). A state and local tax of 11.7 per cent isn’t included in rates; this will be added to your bill.
Keep your eyes peeled for the portraits of Eben Snow and his family, which local artist Michael Gredler has rendered in traditional, 18th-century style. These works of the Captain and his nearest and dearest can be spotted all around the hotel and in every room.
Eben House closes its whitewashed shutters from Sunday to Thursday in low season (29 October to 31 March) and over Christmas and Thanksgiving.
At the hotel
Saltwater pool, breakfast conservatory, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, TV with more than 180 cable channels, C.O. Bigelow bath products. Some suites and higher-tier rooms have a working fireplace, seating area, balcony and soaking tub.
Our favourite rooms
Seven of the hotel’s rooms are in the main building, five are in the yellow-painted Victorian house next door and two are in the Carriage House out back. All are decorated in breezy, New England style: expect whitewashed walls, striped linens and teak-stained floors. Our favourite is the Carriage Suite, tucked away on the ground floor in the Carriage House (natch) – outside, there’s a private, trellis-hidden terrace dotted with trees, ferns and potted flowers; inside, a collection of blue-and-white squashy sofas and armchairs are grouped around a working fireplace. Perhaps the most romantic room is the Terrace Suite, which – as well as its sweeping, namesake terrace with views of Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument – has a freestanding bath tub at the foot of the enormous, king-size bed.
The outdoor, saltwater pool – set to open in summer 2017 – is surrounded by privacy-providing ferns, comfy chairs and outdoor tables. It’s unheated, so you’ll want to keep refreshing dips to the summer months.
Go for classic Americana with a flash twist, a nod to Provincetown’s colourful heritage: crisp white shirts with chandelier earrings in the summer; dark-wash denim and a neon puffer jacket when the temperature drops.
Due to the winding stairs in this period property, it’s not a suitable stay for guests with mobility issues. No pets are allowed at Eben House, but the hotel recommends the Provincetown Pet Resort a 10-minute walk away (www.provincetownpetresort.com).
Eben House only accepts guests over 16 – it’s better suited to romantic getaways than family holidays.
Eben House’s pretty conservatory is very lovely, but so is breakfast on your private balcony.
You’ll be off to explore New England’s bustling streets and sandy beaches before long, so a sundress and sandals (with your bikini underneath) will fit the bill. Boys, dress the part in striped shirts and docksiders; golden tan: optional…
Eben House doesn’t have a bar or a restaurant, but Continental breakfast is served everyday in the white clapboard conservatory, where potted ferns dot the mosaic-tiled floor and mismatched chairs sit higgledy-piggledy around wooden-and-marble counters. Fill your plate with ham-and-vegetable breakfast burritos, carrot muffins and other treats that feel too naughty for breakfast: home-made strawberry trifle, anyone? Munch your way through the cooked specials whipped up by Chris (check the enormous blackboard for daily details), while examining the room’s eclectic curio collection, which includes vintage oars, miniature mirrors and gilt-framed prints.
Breakfast is served from 8am–10.30am daily.
‘Breakfast in bed’ (Eben House’s version of room service, at no extra charge) is served from 8am–10.30am, and usually consists of tea or coffee, yoghurt parfait topped with house-made granola, and freshly baked pastries.
Eben House is located in the heart of trendy Provincetown, at the northern tip of Cape Cod’s curve.
International travellers should fly to Logan International Airport in Boston, a three-hour drive from the hotel. If you don’t mind getting two planes, hop on a 30-minute connecting flight from Boston to Provincetown Municipal Airport, then drive for 10 minutes to reach Eben House.
The CapeFlyer runs from Boston to Cape Cod on summer weekends, normally from Memorial to Labour Day. The closest station is Hyannis, an hour’s drive from Provincetown. You don’t need to book tickets in advance; an adult return costs around $40 (www.capeflyer.com).
Wheels are useful if you’re planning on exploring the area (and with its sweeping beaches and picturesque towns, it would be practically criminal not to). Rent a car at the airport, then follow the MA-3 S from Boston, and Race Point Road from Provincetown.
Getting the ferry from Boston to Provincetown is a piece of cake: the Bay State Cruise Company runs daily services, it’s around $88 for an adult return;the journey takes an hour and a half. From Provincetown Harbour, it’s a 10-minute walk to Eben House (www.baystatecruisecompany.com).
Worth getting out of bed for
Provincetown is pretty laid back, with a whiff of cheekiness: this corner of New England kicks the area’s classic propriety to the curb in favour of flamboyant colours, alternative arts and LGBTQ culture. Pack your leathers (this is no Martha’s Vineyard) for the annual celebrations, which include ‘Bear Week’ and a Springtime hoedown called ‘Gays for Patsy’. June is Pride Month, and the perfect time to see the town at its best. Provincetown’s history encompasses more than the swinging Seventies, however – explore the Schoolhouse Gallery, a 19th-century former school that now houses a modern art collection, including works by photographer Amy Arbus and painter Ted Kincaid. If it’s good ol’ outdoor fun you’re craving, the mile-long Beech Forest Trail is a nature-packed excursion; brave Smiths might want to rent a 4x4 and drive the dunes instead, whizzing past the artists’ beachside huts. Of course, Cape Cod is famous for its beaches and Provincetown is no exception: Herring Cove has calm waters perfect for leisurely dips.
Pint-sized deli Pop+Dutch is nearly as famous for its naughty history as for its buttermilk biscuits and super-stuffed sandwiches – if you’re not into whips and chains, close your eyes (they sell saucy bedroom treats on the counter – a nod to the town’s fun-loving reputation). Victor’s (only open in the summer months) has the best seafood in town; be sure to sample their coconut-crusted shrimp and crispy calamari. If you’re chasing down a particular New England classic, however – the lobster roll – head straight to The Canteen, which also serves up a mean clam chowder on the bunting-covered terrace.
Get your paws on the award-winning coffee at Wild Puppy, a local favourite thanks to its organic beans, unusual teas and freshly-baked pastries. Kohi Coffee Company is another renowned locale for caffeine-lovers; Scandi-stylings and a beachside location make this an ideal spot for your morning cup of Joe.
When the sun sets, head down to Aqua Bar for spectacular sea views (and mean cocktails to boot). Monkey Bar on Commercial Street (+1 (0)508 487 2879) is a neon-hued hangout serving equally lurid drinks: make your way here in the wee hours for wild dancing.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique bed and breakfast in classic Cape Cod and unpacked their vintage prints and clam chowder recipes, a full account of their beachside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Eben House in Provincetown…
It’s not hard to feel welcome at Eben House – for a start, the cherry-red front door proclaims that you’re just that (in swirly white lettering) before you even get to reception. Down the hall – past the portraits of Eben and his ancestors and the carefully stacked piles of firewood – you’ll find Chris, the manager and chef, who’s your ultimate go-to guide to the swinging party streets of Provincetown; he’s a dab hand in the kitchen, too. But before you rush off to explore the nearby golden beaches and do a clam chowder tasting-tour of the town, take a moment to discover Eben House’s own secrets: the greenery-packed gardens bedecked with rocking chairs and hammocks; the cosy clutter of artwork in the light-filled conservatory; the navy sunloungers on the monochrome-chequered deck and beside the glittering saltwater pool. We’re so sure you’ll say ‘ayuh!’ (for the newbies, that’s New England-speak for ‘yes!’) to Eben House, we’d bet our last lobster roll on it…
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