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Authors: Marco & Angelo

Authors: Marco & Angelo

We own the Candleberry Inn, a boutique bed and breakfast in central Cape Cod. We're glad to share our recommendations on all the great things to explore throughout Cape Cod.

Cape Cod’s Complete Guide to Visiting Crosby Mansion in Brewster MA

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    With more than 50 sea captains calling it home through the 18th and 19th centuries, Brewster Massachusetts is considered “Cape Cod’s Sea Captains’ Town.” Many of the sea captains built elegant mansions for their families, and now some of them are open to the public as bed and breakfasts or museums.

    One of these Brewster homes is Crosby Mansion, and when you step inside, you’re transported into another era. It’s more than just a historic house, it’s “a monument to an earlier time, a time of opulence, grandeur and painstaking craftsmanship.”

    For more historic sites to explore on Cape Cod, sign up for our free Vacation Guide. Along with historic things to do, this guide is full of outdoor and cultural activities, restaurants, and more to enjoy during your Cape getaway.

    Crosby Mansion in Brewster Cape Cod
    Crosby Mansion | photo courtesy of @christophersetterlund

    Overview of Crosby Mansion

    After being vacant for more than a decade, The Friends of Crosby Mansion was formed of community volunteers and teamed up with the Town of Brewster to begin restoring this splendid landmark in 1992.

    At the time, the community saw the value in saving Crosby Mansion and stepped in just as the state was ready to destroy it because of the amount of work needed and the restoration cost. It has been more than 30 years since, and the volunteers — some of whom are original members — continue to maintain and keep this living history available to the public for tours and event rentals.

    Crosby Mansion History

    Albert Crosby was born in Chatham and raised in Brewster. After living in Chicago for a while, making a fortune in distilled alcohol production, and losing more than anyone in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, he returned to Brewster with his bride Matilda.

    He spared no expense building the 35-room Crosby Mansion for her between 1876 and 1888, wrapping it around his 1830s Cape-style homestead. The couple named the mansion Tawasentha when it was completed (as told in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”).

    Because of its location on the west side of Crosby Lane, the three-story mansion overlooks the infamous Brewster Flats and Cape Cod Bay.

    Opulence to the Core

    In the mid-1870s, the Crosbys went on a grand tour of Europe for their honeymoon and incorporated their international experience into the mansion. As a result, you can see the Asian, French, and other influences in this Colonial Revival home.

    Crosby Mansion featured a main foyer like that of Buckingham Palace, a Palace of Versailles-like parlor, an amazing ballroom, a two-story billiard room, more than a dozen English-tiled fireplaces (each a different color), hand-carved Indian mahogany and English oak walls, Japanese leather paper washed in gold leaf on the upper portions of the library walls, and a 60-foot viewing tower.

    Also, the bathrooms were designed with marble floors and sinks, and the home was equipped with gas heating and lighting throughout. On top of that, the mansion had a two-story art gallery with valuable paintings and statues by famous artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Childe Hassan, and El Greco. Many of these features are still present.

    The construction was such a massive project that the Old Colony Railroad built a side track to the property. But, the opulent design that went into Crosby Mansion was for the lavish entertaining that Matilda loved to do. It’s rumored that Albert would slip away into his original family homestead when the soirees were too much for him to handle.

    After the mansion was completed, builder Frank H. Hinckley (of John Hinckley and Sons in Yarmouth) invited the press and public to visit the property while the Crosbys were in France. Everyone was amazed at the indoor plumbing and gas lighting — features that were not yet available in Cape homes at the time. The home was certainly the talk of the town!

    Various Owners & Businesses

    Upon Albert passing away in 1906, Matilda Crosby opened the home gallery to the public once a week during the summer. Then after she passed away in 1928, the property was passed down to her two grandnieces.

    The pair was unable to maintain it, and so began the various ownerships and uses of Crosby Mansion over the coming decades — a music school (attended by Kirk Douglas) and the Cape Cod Institute of Art run by opera singer Martha Atwood in the late ’30s, the Gold Coast Inn and Restaurant in the ’50s, and a young women’s summer weight-loss camp operated by Dr. Spago through the ’60s and ’70s.

    The state took ownership of the mansion and property in 1985 after the town denied Spago’s plans to build condos on the land, and Friends of Crosby Mansion took over its massive revitalization in 1992. Since then, the organization and town have continued the fastidious upkeep with motivation from the living energy that the spirits of Albert and Matilda and the mansion exude.

    Visiting Crosby Mansion for a Tour

    After welcoming guests for Brewster in Bloom in late April and early May, Crosby Mansion is open for tours through summer and until early October. It’s an opportunity to explore all three floors and the viewing tower, getting a glimpse into what life was like at the mansion during its heyday.

    Additionally, you get to learn more about the undying love between Albert and Matilda and the loving restoration project that the Friends of Crosby Mansion continues to maintain the property’s historic value.

    Alongside public tours, you can arrange private guided tours for 10 people or more. We recommend going during fall when the colorful leaves add another level of wonder to the property.

    Event Rentals at Crosby Mansion

    Do you have a wedding, family reunion, birthday, or any other group event coming up soon? Consider having a destination celebration at Crosby Mansion on Cape Cod.

    With a mansion rental, guests have access to a staging kitchen, a 1,536-square-foot reception hall, and certain other rooms. You can enjoy the lawn, covered porch, and access to the beach and Brewster Flats for activities, ceremonies, photo ops, and more too. The mansion’s function manager can provide planning guidance, and docents will be available for guided tours during your event.

    TIP: Candleberry Inn is only about 3 miles from Crosby Mansion, so it’s a very convenient lodging option — not to mention the #1 Bed & Breakfast in the United States on Tripadvisor.

    Restaurants Near Crosby Mansion

    After exploring all that Crosby Mansion has to offer during your Cape Cod getaway, you’re bound to get hungry. Whether it’s time for lunch or dinner, there are several nearby restaurants in Brewster and Orleans.

    TIP: If you just need a snack between lunch and dinner, you can stop by Candleberry Inn for a relaxing afternoon of made-from-scratch sweet treats, ice cream, and gourmet coffee, espresso, and tea service. We have a guest pantry, guest refrigerator, and guest microwave among our amenities as well.

    Fare and Just Kitchen

    If you follow a gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, or combination diet, the Fare and Just Kitchen in Brewster is an ideal eatery. Some examples of entrees include the Brussels Bunny Bowl, Burger Bowl, and Falafel Bunny Bowl.

    You can pair your entree, salad, or soup with a specialty hot tea or housemade smoothie. And, all of the menu items are designed for take-out if you want to have a picnic.

    The Kitchen Cafe

    For a casual lunch without sacrificing fine food, head to The Kitchen Cafe in the center of Brewster. Choose from a full, chef-inspired menu that’s made with high-quality ingredients — gourmet sandwiches, pasta, salad, and soup. You can order beer on tap and a few cocktails to go with your meal. Plus, the service is quick if you’re in a hurry!

    Stone L’Oven Pizza

    Serving hand-crafted, hand-tossed, artisan pizza to Brewster locals and visitors, Stone L’Oven Pizza is a favorite. The restaurant uses all-natural, locally sourced ingredients in all of its dishes, so there are no additives, weird chemicals, or preservatives.

    You can order specialty Neapolitan-style pies or build your own — all are baked at 625 degrees Fahrenheit on a stone-fired hearth. In addition to pizza, you can order calzones, pasta, panini, salads, sandwiches, and wraps.

    The Beacon Room

    In nearby Orleans, The Beacon Room is located in a small cottage, offering an elegant yet casual dining experience. The exceptional menu includes main dishes like roasted maple leaf half duck, mushroom ravioli, and Faroe Island salmon. There’s even a cheeseburger served on a grilled brioche roll with lettuce, onion, tomato, and fries on the side.

    Check out the wide list of cocktails, beer, and wine to pair with your meal. You can even order sweet drinks — like Chocolate Kiss and Cereal Milk — or hot and cold coffee drinks.

    Rock Harbor Grill

    Another spot close by in Orleans is Rock Harbor Grill, which serves excellent culinary delights. From the seafood chowder, lobster mac and cheese, and “clambake” mussels to the portabella burger, pork osso bucco, and wood-fired pizza, there’s something on the menu for everyone.

    Alongside your meal, you get authentic coastal charm and witty hospitality because the restaurant is also about vacation vibes.

    The Brewster Fish House

    Brewster Fish House is a renowned seafood restaurant in Brewster, Massachusetts, celebrated for its fresh, locally-sourced seafood and charming ambiance. This cozy dining spot, often bustling with locals and tourists alike, offers a menu that highlights the best of New England’s ocean fare.

    Known for its creative dishes, the restaurant blends traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques. The intimate setting and attentive service make it a favorite for special occasions or a casual seafood feast.

    Candleberry Inn Cape Cod Night

    Convenient Accommodations Near Crosby Mansion

    As we mentioned earlier, Candleberry Inn is a short drive from Crosby Mansion — just 3 miles.

    But, that’s only one reason why our bed and breakfast is the best choice.

    We have elegant rooms and suites — our Garden Suite has a soaking tub — and a daily gourmet breakfast. We can even arrange for you to have a massage in your room and help you celebrate milestones in your life.

    For your upcoming Cape Cod getaway, book a room or suite at Candleberry Inn!

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