Brewster By The Sea Inn & Spa-Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast

716 Main Street, Brewster, Massachusetts 02631
Innkeeper(s): Donna & Byron Cain

The Herring Run in Brewster 25 Apr 2015, 1:48 pm

by Donna Cain,

Every spring we look forward to telling guests about the herring run in Brewster on Stony Brook Road.. The fish that make their annual trek upstream are not true herring but are actually alewives. They are a bony fish that was very popular in the 1800’s. The fish were dried and salted and could be preserved for many months. They also made great fertilizer for the important corn crops. At one time, there were so many alewives that the town of Brewster sold the fish to other towns.  When we first came to Cape Cod 12 years ago it was common to go get a herring license so that you could catch the alewives with nets as they jumped upstream.

We never actually got a net and license but it was fun to see the kids catching them on the side of the brook.

My husband Byron is a great photographer, and he has collected some astonishing photos of this annual migration. I sometimes have a hard time watching the seagull devour so many herring and Byron always reminds me that this is a perfect example of  mother nature.

By the end of the season it is crazy to see how fat all the seagulls are not to mention how white the neighbor’s roof is where the seagulls perch each day:)

As the number of alewives declined Brewster stopped giving permits and many studies and theories developed on what could be done to increase the alewife population on Cape Cod. Several years ago the town installed a new culvert on 6A which allowed more water flow on the creek. Last year there was a published article about the number of alewives counted making there trek upstream. I always wondered how they could count the fish and obviously this is just an estimate. It was encouraging to see how the numbers are increasing and that the alewife species is alive and well on Cape Cod.


Herring at Stony Brook

2007 – 22,348

2008 – 25,289

2009 – 11,062

2010 – 48,099

2011 – 37,091

2012 – 41,028

2013 – 153,262

They won’t be packing barrels of smoked herring out of the Stony Brook Mill site like they used to 100 years ago, but maybe some day folks will be able to dip their nets in to catch the sparkling silver fish once more for their private smoking.

The alewives are such interesting species as the adult fish that is usually about 4 years old, swim upstream from the ocean to the ponds where they were born. The older ones come first and some younger ones may follow as well. The female alewives lay their eggs in the quiet ponds above the mill. Each mature female lays 60,000 to 100,000 eggs. A great many of these will feed the snakes and turtles that also live in the ponds. The small fraction of those that hatch will find their way back to sea. In one spring season there may be over 1/2 million fish in the stream.

One can always tell when the herring are running as you can just look to the sky and see how many seagulls are hovering. The run is just behind Brewster by the Sea and guests can actually walk from the inn. We have found the best time is early in the morning.

Nature is abound on Cape Cod!

Brewster in Bloom…. 24 Mar 2015, 2:39 pm

by Donna Cain

Drummer Boy Windmill


……is the perfect celebration to welcome in spring!  I think we are all tired of winter, and it is a welcome sight to see the spring bulbs starting to bloom. We have been innkeepers in Brewster for over 11 years now and always smile when we hear locals talking about the timing when the daffodils will bloom each year. We are all hopeful that it coincides with our wonderful town celebration, Brewster in Bloom. It is a long time tradition for many of the business and homes that flank our Old Historic Highway to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs for all to enjoy as they drive through our picturesque town of Brewster.

The old time festival includes something for everyone including inn tours, old fashion parade, art and craft show with many wonderful local shops and galleries joining in on the fun.

As our local chamber describes it’s One Great Festival in Three Great days- May 1,2 and 3rd.

4th ANNUAL ANTIQUES & ARTS EXCURSION…10:00 am to closing: A self-guided tour of Brewster’s numerous antique and art galleries. Participating galleries include Tanzer Weaving Studio & Gallery, The MEWS at Brewster Antiques, The Spectrum of American Artists and Craftsmen and Underground Art Gallery. For times and offer please see the Calendar of Events.
BREWSTER BAND CONCERT…7:00 pm: Brewster Baptist Church, 1848 Main Street: FREE!

CAPTAINS GOLF COURSE CLOSEST TO THE PIN CONTEST continues….7:30 am – 1:30 pm Freeman’s Way.
CAPE COD 5 – 5K BLOOM RUN…10:00 am Starts at the Brewster Inn and Chowder House, 1993 Main Street. Registration opens 8:30 am.
KID FEST AT DRUMMER BOY PARK…10:00 am – 3:00 pm, 773 Main Street featuring Brewster’s youth groups hosting activities for families with children.
4th ANNUAL ANTIQUES & ARTS EXCURSION…10:00 am to closing: A self-guided tour of Brewster’s numerous antique and art galleries. Participating galleries include Tanzer Weaving Studio & Gallery, The MEWS at Brewster Antiques, and The Spectrum of American Artists and Craftsmen. For times and offers please see the Calendar of Events.
JURIED FINE ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW at CAPE COD SEA CAMPS…10:00 am – 5:00 pm, 3057 Main Street with more than 90 vendors (Click here for the list of vendors). Free admission and parking.

CAPTAINS GOLF COURSE CLOSEST TO THE PIN CONTEST concludes….7:30 am – 1:30 pm Freeman’s Way.
4th ANNUAL ANTIQUES & ARTS EXCURSION…10:00 am to closing: A self-guided tour of Brewster’s numerous antique and art galleries. Participating galleries include Tanzer Weaving Studio & Gallery, The MEWS at Brewster Antiques, and The Spectrum of American Artists and Craftsmen. For times and offers please see the Calendar of Events.
JURIED FINE ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW at CAPE COD SEA CAMPS …10:00 am – 4:00 pm, 3057 Main Street with more than 90 vendors. Click here for the list of vendors. Free admission and parking.
BREWSTER INN/WOODSHED BLOOMIN’ PARADE…1:00 pm Underpass Rd. West on Main St. to Swamp Rd. – staging begins at 12 Noon.

This year we are also having inn tours of the 5 inns in Brewster including the Captain Freeman Inn, Candleberry, Old Manse, SeaMeadow and Brewster by the Sea. The inn tours are from 2-4 on Sunday and all proceeds from the $10 entrance fee to all of the inns is given to the Brewster Elder’s Scholarship Find.

Our favorite part of the celebration is the parade which starts 1pm on Sunday.

Here’s to Spring……with warm sunshine, flowers and being outdoors!

Yummy food at Brewster by the Sea on Cape Cod 22 Mar 2015, 1:05 pm

by Donna Cain

I am a self taught chef and while I have taken many cooking classes, my basic training has been in our inn’s kitchen. I love to try new things and know that I am a baker at heart! I love the smell of homemade bread and have always looked at the dessert menu first when dining out. Thus, my inn keeping career for the past 11 years has been a match made in heaven!

Breakfast and afternoon tea is a special time at the inn, and every winter and spring I test new recipes for our summer menus at Brewster by the Sea and our sister inn, the Captain Freeman Inn. Some of our new creations include egg sandwiches on homemade Focaccia rolls and Cheddar cheese, Fried Eggs with Polenta and homemade sausage, a new recipe for decadent Sunday Waffles , Polenta cakes with Shitake mushrooms, poached eggs and Canadian bacon, just to name a few of our new breakfast entrees. All of our breakfasts include a wonderful home baked course to go with your coffee or tea. Our Apricot scones with homemade raspberry jam is one of our most requested menu items with our repeat guests-


and Nanna’s blueberry muffins one of my favorites-

And all of our breakfasts include plenty of fresh fruit, organic and fresh picked whenever possible-


We are known for our homemade raspberry jam which is made from raspberries picked from our own patch


and fresh vegetables from our garden. Antonio is helping us with our tomato harvest.



My latest favorite is a simple Molten Chocolate Expresso mini cupcake with pistachios. It’s one of those recipes that everyone thinks is hard to make. It’s actually easy to whip up and comes out perfect every time. I love to combine salty flavors with sweet and have found good chocolate combined with salty pistachios is a wonderful combination. The picture shown below has a simple chocolate ganache and we have not yet added the nut topping.

Recipe for Molten Chocolate Expresso Mini Cupcakes

Makes 18 mini cupcakes

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup sugar
16 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup flour
2 Tablespoons instant coffee or expresso powder (the stronger the better)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

ganache glaze and chopped pistachios for the topping

Preheat oven to 400. Grease small muffin cups with soft butter and dust with sugar. Melt chocolate until smooth. in a bowl whisk together the flour, expresso powder, and salt. In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Spoon into prepared cups and bake until the cakes do not jiggle, approximately 8-10 minutes. Let cool and glaze with your favorite frosting or ganache and top with chopped nuts.

Here’s to a wonderful season at Brewster by the Sea filled with happy guests, wonderful weather and delicious food!

Pillows are important at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast 22 Feb 2015, 1:14 pm

by Donna Cain

We have always said that the most important part of our business is the “BED” and the “BREAKFAST”. Of course there are many other details to attend to but we have always paid extra special attention to our beds. After all what is a vacation without a perfect night’s sleep?  All of our beds include triple sheeting with crisp linen, a fiber alternative mattress topper and a down comforter inserted in a duvet. We recently decided to change out all of our pillows in the rooms to include 6 standard pillow in our King rooms and 4 in our queen rooms. After all one can never have enough pillows to get comfortable.  All of our pillows are feather like down alternative in both soft and firm.

We also include an extra pillow and blanket in our closets in case a guest needs a little extra warmth or an extra pillow to be comfortable.

Here’s to having wonderful dreams during your stay at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa

Brewster by the Sea chosen Best Bed and Breakfast on Cape Cod by the Travel Channel 22 Feb 2015, 12:48 pm

by Donna Cain

We were just thrilled to learn that our lovely inn, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa was just chosen by the Travel Channel to be one of the “Best Bed and Breakfasts on Cape Cod”  The travel writer, Christopher Setterland, stayed with us last fall, and he mentioned that he wrote several articles for the Travel Channel. We had a lovely visit with him and admired his wonderful photography, which was his passion in life along with being a travel writer about Cape Cod. It was such a nice surprise to receive his e-mail last night along with reading his wonderful review of our property.

His overview of our inn is noted below:

“A little slice of heaven along historic Route 6A, this B&B is a quiet and beautiful getaway destination. Innkeepers Donna and Byron Cain put love and care into every inch of the property, from a lovely welcoming flower and chocolate on the bed to the alfresco breakfast on the deck when the weather is nice. Breakfast is always freshly made, healthy and, of course, delicious.

The Cains strive to give guests a world-class experience with a little Southern hospitality, since they hail from Houston. It all comes together inside the walls of the inn and stretches outside to the pool, hot tub and gazebo with beautiful views of the night sky. Their loving care extends to helping guests find activities off the property, offering dining suggestions or providing maps for nearby running and walking routes.”

Wonderful to receive accolades from such a wonderful travel site. Thank you Christopher and the Travel Channel

New Sound Therapy available for Brewster by the Sea Guests 19 Feb 2015, 2:55 pm

by Donna Cain

Many of our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea enjoy our in house spa which includes couples massages and facials. At one time, we had a therapist who specialized in Reiki and with her guidance we created a deluxe healing package of massage, Reiki, aromatherapy, crystal healing and reflexology. The service was very popular, and we were saddened when Johanne left to pursue a teaching position. Recently I was approached by our dear friend, Faith Lavender to experience her new vibration therapy at her home studio which is very close to our inn. Since Faith is an interfaith Minister and performs all of our wedding ceremonies, I never associated her with healing, massage and Reiki. No words can properly describe my afternoon experience but suffice it to say, I was so taken by the experience that we have put together several packages for our guests to enjoy in Faith’s studio.

I recently described Faith to one of our brides as a “people whisperer”.  She is a loving, soft, talented human being who has a God given talent to bring peace and serenity to everyone she meets. Over the holidays we met for tea at Brewster by the Sea, and Faith described her new vibration table and how excited she was to be on the leading edge of a service that provides health and vitality as well as relaxation. The science is facinating and is noted below from Faith’s brochure:

VAST for short means Vibro Acoustic Sound Therapy

“The world of science is constantly evolving and changing, impacting our lives and how we view the world. New studies in physics reveals that everything in our physical universe has energy and further, that all energy has vibration which holds matter in specific form.

As human being, we are a perfect example of this living truth. Our bodies and all their complex systems are vibration that resonate at specify frequencies, making up our human anatomy. When in good health, these frequencies which make up our physical and energetic bodies operate in perfect harmony with one another, creating optimum health and vitality.

As beings of form and conscienceless, musical tones and frequencies have been scientifically proven to rebalance not only our physical bodies, but also have a noticeable impact on mental, emotional and spiritual states of well being.

Vibro acoustics is defined as “the process of hearing sound vibrations through the body”  This is accomplished through specifically constructed treatment tables that are equipped with powerful speakers designed tallow vibrations and frequencies to enter the body with optimal psychological and physical impact.

Vibro acoustic music resonates the body directly through nerves, skin and bones. Based on multiple transducers built into the treatment table, located under the upper back, mid -back and legs, the sound and vibration is not directed into the ears; instead they are felt directly by the body. The sound travels up and down the body affecting all the internal organs along the way.

VAST Therapy has been documented to stimulate blood circulation, relieve stress, anxiety and its analgesic effect aids in pain management. It also lowers blood pressure and calms the autonomic nervous system. It provides surface and deep tissue effects. “

When you first meet with Faith she will discuss your overall health and if you have any problem areas. She explained that her therapy can be tailored to each of her client’s needs. I had been feeling some muscle pain in my upper arms so she targeted this area with additional Reiki.  She also can target different needs of her clients by choosing specially calibrated CD’s (music) that targets specific issues such as stress, anxiety, stimulating specific organs or nerves and ligaments, aligning and balancing the chakras, or awakening the conscienceless.

The session begins with the client laying fulling clothed on the VAST Table. I took off my belt and jewelry to be more comfortable. The table actually looks like the massage tables in our spa at Brewster by the Sea. As you lie on the table you can hear slight vibrations with soothing tones that pass through your cloths and blanket to your skin, tissues, cells and bones. “The vibrations permeate the body, engaging the body to create a sympathetic resonance with the energy frequency waves provided on the CD”. While you are on the table Faith applies a gentle massage/acupressure with Reiki (hands on healing), polarity energy balancing,

aroma therapy

and crystal healing.

I purposefully kept bringing back my thoughts to my breathing when the session began as my mind tends to easily think back to the inn.  By the end of the session with Faith, my mind was totally relaxed and in a Zen like state. It was almost like I had taken a restful nap where my mind was totally quiet. (That is a rare state for me)

Faith comes with a wonderful background that is both spiritual and science based. Listed below are her certificates of training:

1990 Graduate of the Dove Star School of Massage

1991 Certified Reiki master

Certified Polarity Energy balancing

 2003 Graduate of the Still Point Institute of Advanced Energy Healing

She is also was ordained in 2000 at St John the Divine as an interfaith minister.

We have put together 3 wonderful packages for our guests to enjoy. Advance reservations are needed and Faith’s office and studio is just a few minute drive from the inn.

 Relaxation Inner Body Vibration Massage with Reiki–  6o minute $99    90 minute- $150

Zen 2 hour Bliss service– $199   A peaceful, restorative service that includes a Relaxation Inner Body Vibration Massage, Polarity Energy Balancing, acu-preassure, Reiki, foot massage with reflexology, aromatherapy, crystal healing with the Relaxation Inner Body Vibration Massage and a oneness blessing. This service is  very soothing and relaxing while providing natural healing to all parts of your body.

Couples 2 hour Vibration Massage with Reiki-  $199  A unique service that allows couples to share a peaceful and healthy massage. This service allows one spouse to enjoy a 60 minute massage while the other loved one relaxes in the spa room. The additional 60 minutes allows the other to enjoy the same service. The service ends with a couples oneness blessing.

Spirtual Counseling and Mentoring– $99 per hour- For those couples or as a single person, relax in a safe environment to talk with Faith about any life issues you may have. She has a gift to look at life in a very positive, healthy way.

We feel so blessed to have Faith as a friend, minister for our couples and now as a holistic healer.

Great new casual dining at the Red Nun in Dennisport 9 Feb 2015, 1:30 pm

by Donna Cain

Just had a fabulous lunch at the new Red Nun in Dennisport. My  husband and I were out for his monthly haircut at Shampoo when we thought- what the heck, it’s a snowy day, the inns are quiet, why not have a nice leisurely lunch at the Red Nun. We had dined at their original location in Chatham many years ago and loved the ambiance and their delicious burgers. We were so pleasantly surprised to see their new addition in Dennisport.

They did a fantastic job with remodeling an old building. Unique tin ceiling with tasteful lighting, old wood floors, comfortable seating. You can tell I am a designer at heart as I am critiquing the decor before the food:)

Great bar with plenty of good beer on tap….

Wonderful pub style seating with additional ceiling sound tiles which our waitress said was invaluable during the summer months when the restaurant gets busy. Great welcoming staff!



Now on to the food….

The burgers and pulled pork sandwiches were to die for and the sweet potato fries perfectly prepared. The dish also came with an artisan dill pickle that was yummy! I was totally impressed and will be adding this to our recommended dining spots for our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa. They also had a great special menu. Apologies for not including food pictures. I was so hungry I forgot to get pictures of the important part.



Congrats Red Nun on creating such a great eating spot on Cape Cod. We will certainly be repeat customers.

The Three Sister’s Lighthouses on Cape Cod 7 Jan 2015, 1:16 pm

by Donna Cain

This is our slow time as innkeepers on Cape Cod  for our two bed and breakfasts, Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and the Captain Freeman Inn and, we love to plan new adventures with our dog Harrison.

We are always recommending to our guests that they visit the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. It is the formal entrance to the National Seashore and has a wonderful visitor center that is filled with helpful rangers to provide useful information on beaches and tides. The center also includes a wonderful bookstore, and small museum along with films about the natural history of Cape Cod. It seemed like the perfect destination for our adventures today.


There is a wonderful bike/walk path that runs around the salt pond and down to the beach. Since we all needed some exercise it seemed like a good plan to explore.

The path is paved with two ways for bikes to travel. We only encountered 2 people walking so we had the whole trail to ourselves.

Once we made it down to the water I was thrilled to learn a new piece of history about Cape Cod.


The picture shown above is the Nauset Light which is fully operational today. We could see the light beaming even in the daylight.

The beach is just across the street and since it was windy there were many waves on the beach.

Just down the road we happened to spot three small light houses. Had always heard about the 3 Sister Lighthouses but never really knew the history.

Back in the early 1800’s many Eastham residents were concerned about their seafaring loved ones. The United States Congress then granted $10,000 to contract the Nauset Light House. Three 15-foot high masonry towers were built and the lights soon gained the nickname “The Three Sisters” because from sea they looked like women in white dresses with black hats. Since the technology did not allow for a differentiation in the number of flickering lights  the coast was dotted with three different area of light houses. The Chatham light had two, the three sisters had three and the Highland light further north had one. Sea Captains could easily decipher there location by the number of lights seen on the coast.

As the Cape Cod shores erode, The National Lighthouse Board ordered three new moveable wooden towers to be built thirty feet inland from the original masonry ones.
The new towers stood twenty-two feet tall and the lantern housing added an additional seven feet. Sadly, the old towers were allowed to fall into the Atlantic.

Advances in technology  with the continuing erosion of Nauset cliffs, and the cost of maintaining three lights, prompted a major change at the Nauset Light station.In 1911, the center tower was moved away from the cliff edge and attached to the 1875 keeper’s house. The other two towers were set aside until a decision could be reached about their future. The fourth-order Fresnel lens in the remaining tower was now mounted on a ball bearing revolver, making the light flash three times every ten seconds.

The decommissioned two sisters were sold at a public auction to Helen M. Cummings for $3.50! The Cummings family first moved them to a site near the old French Cable station, before making some repairs. In 1920, the towers were moved onto Cable Road, and adjoined with a room. The “Twin Lights Cottage” was subsequently used as a summer cottage and a dance studio, until the towers were sold to the National Park Service in 1965. After many years of service, the center tower fell into disrepair. The Lighthouse Bureau decided to replace it with one of the former Chatham “twin lights” that was no longer in use. This iron and brick tower was moved, repainted and stands today as the latest in a lineage of Nauset Lights. Once decommissioned, the last of the Three Sisters towers was sold to Albert Hall, who turned it into a cottage. The National Park Service purchased the center tower in 1975 with a plan to reunite it with the other two towers. The three are placed in their original orientation on a plot of land on Cable Road. Restoration took place through the 1980s, and the site opened for its first public tour in 1989.

Today one can visit the Sisters and marvel at the remarkable journey that brought them their location on Cable Road in Eastham.

A fun little tidbit of history.

Exhaling on Cape Cod and loving every minute of our journey here.

5 days till Christmas Recipe 20 Dec 2014, 10:45 am

by Donna Cain

The countdown continues until that special day! I have been a busy bee baking and cooking for inn guests staying at Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and preparing for our families arrival on Monday when we have 3 big guys that are always hungry and looking for beef:) I have tons of good meals in the freezer including lasagna & pot roast which are sure to please.

One of our traditions is to always have some type of cranberry sauce with our turkey feast on Christmas day. Several years ago my mom found this recipe in a magazine and we have been making it ever since. The pears add a nice texture to the cranberries and the orange juice and zest adds a nice citrus flavor.

Cranberry Pear Relish

4 cups of fresh cranberries ( about 1 pound)
2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 slightly underripe pears, cored, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice (we like Anjou or Bosc pears)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and stir well. Place the pan over medium heat and boil until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes.

Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon and let the relish cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered until ready to use. (can be stored in frog for up to 2 months)

Our holiday mantle at Brewster by the Sea.

Wishing everyone a blessed, peaceful holiday spent with dear family and friends.

Fondly, Donna, Byron and Harrrison and all of the staff at Brewster by the Sea

Pumpkin Bread for the Holidays 17 Dec 2014, 4:35 pm

by Donna Cain

Pumpkin Bread

I am always looking for new recipes and was delighted to see this one in the Washington Post by Deb Lindsey. This recipe lends itself to a Mediterranean diet with health benefits of using olive oil instead of butter. The oil gives the bread a rich depth of flavor while allowing the warm spices to shine through. We served it with cream cheese and fresh raspberries. The recipe makes two loaves so we had enough to serve to our guests this morning and save one loaf for Christmas dinner with our family.

Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2/3 cup of olive oil plus 4 teaspoons to grease 2- 9×5 loaf pans
2 cups whole wheat pastry
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup honey
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
4 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 350. Use the 4 teaspoons of olive oil to grease the loaf pans. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat together the pumpkin, honey, sugar, 2/3 cups olive oil and the eggs in a separate bowl until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until evenly incorporated. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing it into the corners until evenly distributed. Sprinkle the top with the pumpkin seeds, pressing them down lightly into the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is browned and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


As I was making the batter I was tickled to see the spices were similar to our famous Brewster by the Sea Molasses Cookies- the only difference is the butter.

Wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas!

BBOnline Member SINCE 2004