Cape Cod Inn Reviews by Guests of “America’s Favorite Inns”

Bill Putman, innkeeper at the Simmons Homestead Inn, 288 Scudder Ave., Hyannis Port, MA 02647 (800/637-1649 or 508/778-4999), injects a lot of fun into the business of innkeeping. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which makes for a very relaxing experience. Numerous sardonic signs are posted outside and inside stating among other things that no dullards or miscreants are welcome. The inn has all the original woodwork, and the wide pine floors have been refinished. In the 12 bedrooms and the two-bedroom suite, Bill has come up with an unusual decorating theme. Every room is designed around a particular animal; dogs in one, cats in another, and rabbits or birds and butterflies in still others. Two of the rooms have working fireplaces, and two have a private deck. Here, Bill serves a hearty breakfast that he doesn’t pretend is gourmet. Guests gather for wine in the evening, and there is also a regulation-size billiard parlor.
The first thing passers-by notice are all the classic red sports cars: 56 at last count. A former ad exec and racecar driver, innkeeper Bill Putman likes to collect. He’s made his sports-car collection into a small museum open to the public called Toad Hall, from the 1908 book The Wind in the Willows. Inside the Inn is his animal collection. The stuffed toys, sculptures, needlepoint and wallpaper differentiate the rather traditional rooms in this large rambling 1800s captain’s manse. This is an Inn where you’ll find everyone around the hearth sipping complimentary wine (served at “6ish”) while they compare notes and nail down dinner plans. To help the guests plan their days and evenings, Putman has typed up extensive notes on day trips around the Cape (including the Islands, Newport, Boston and more), bike routes (he supplies the bikes), and his own quirky restaurant revues. Guests who prefer more privacy may book the spiffily updated ‘Servants’ Quarters,” a spacious airy wing with two bedrooms each with it’s own private deck. Rooms vary in size, but all are decorated with comfort and a sense of humor in mind. Four hammocks swing from trees in the shady back yard of this homey establishment.
ACCESS CAPE COD & THE ISLANDS by Peter Aiken, Editor
Simmons Homestead Inn $$$. The Inn, built in 1820, houses some 14 bedrooms with their own baths. A variety of Animal motifs accentuate and differentiate the rooms. Owner, Bill Putman, has a certain Tigger-like quality himself. He positively bounces with enthusiasm, over his inn, over this corner of Cape Cod, over life in general. A former ad man, Putman sees his role here as that of not only an innkeeper, but also “purveyor of timely tiny tidbits of trivial information,” and he has compiled tipsheets/maps covering all there is to do, see, and eat in the region. While he professes to be a terrible cook, guests, including such notables as Carly Simon, James Woods, and Dinah Shore, have had no complaints about the delicious blueberry pancakes or homemade French toast served for breakfast. This is one bed and breakfast that is so much more than just a beautiful building or two. It is an experience where you truly feel like part of a family. Not just Bill, but the other people who work with him, will sit you down for the wine hour at sixish, chat and show you menus of the restaurants they recommend, get you out for the right meal, and help you plan your next day’s adventures. Nothing is left to chance here. You’ll leave with the best of all memories.
At this 1820 former sea captain’s estate, each room in the main house or the detached barn is named for an animal and decorated (somewhat excessively) accordingly. This offbeat and casual Inn has rooms with antiques, wicker, canopied four poster beds topped with brightly colored quilts; some have fireplaces, and some such as the large cheery Bird Room, have private decks. You can borrow 10 speed mountain bikes and Simmons Pond is a short jaunt on the property’s backside. Gregarious Innkeeper Bill Putman encourages you to return each evening for a wine-and-socializing hour. He’ll also be happy to show you his collection of over 50 vintage cars, or his over 600 vintages of single malt Scotch.
(This is the book that takes guest’s comments for the ‘revue.’) The Simmons Homestead Inn. Hyannis has certainly changed since Captain Simmons built his homestead in 1800, but the warmth and hospitality of a well-liked inn has remained the same. After 160 years as a private home, the Homestead was converted into an inn in 1987. Innkeeper Bill Putman has furnished with Colonial antiques, enlivened by many plants and his extensive collections of brass, wood, enameled, and cloth birds and animals, from macaws to elephants to giraffes. The second floor landing is home to the hoods from his old racecar and that of Paul Newman, a motor, and radio controlled model airplanes. A simple but filling breakfast of fresh fruit, juices and coffee, scrambled eggs or blueberry pancakes, and bacon is served from 7:30-9 A.M.; Bill notes that if you don’t like the food, “beer is always available.” “Endless supply of wood for the fireplaces. Bill and others recommend excellent restaurants and make dinner reservations.” (Noreen Manzo) “The Rabbit Room has polished floors, scatter rugs, easy chairs, lace curtains, and bunnies everywhere. Its bathroom was equally wonderful with an original cast-iron bath and quantities of fluffy towels. Guests gather in the common area each evening to enjoy complimentary wine and Bill’s entertaining stories. It was difficult to tear yourself away and go out for the evening. Complimentary hot and cold beverages are always available on a self-serve basis.”(Claire & Craig Johnson) “Each guestroom has an individual animal decorating theme: parrots, fish, rabbits and more. Warm innkeepers directed us to the best beaches.” (Allen Sisson) The innkeeper was a fount of knowledge about Cape Cod, providing maps and excellent suggestions.” (Joseph Landolfi) “Even though check-out time was long past, no one wanted to leave. The guests were all chatting, laughing, and kibitzing with the innkeepers. We got a chuckle out of the sign in the dining room, which states, “the Innkeeper is Always Right.” ” (RC) “The inn is convenient to town and a couple of blocks from the Kennedy Family compound.” (R.B. & Patty Clark) “Bill has written directions to the area, including what is good and what is not.” (JMB)
Don’t for a minute be deceived by the traditional exterior of this 1820 sea captain’s home on Scudder Avenue in Hyannisport, for a puckish sense of fun permeates the Simmons Homestead Inn (800-637-1649 or 508-778-4999). Each of its 12 guest accommodations is appointed with private bath, antiques, and lots of animals, of the sculpted, carved, stuffed, painted, oven fired and needlepointed species. Ebullient Innkeeper Bill Putman provides lots of sightseeing advice, ten-speed mountain bikes (and car bike racks, if needed); he is less generous with his inn cars, which include several Lotuses. There are rooms with brass or canopy beds (queen or king in dimension), others with working fireplaces; all are lovingly furnished. Enjoy total privacy (especially in the servants quarters with its own private deck) or engage your gregarious nature with other visitors over complimentary wine around six p.m., over breakfast, or in the billiard room. Dogs of all sizes and Children of all ages are welcome.