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Explore Something Old, Something New

Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard are filled with an abundance of historically interesting and important architecture. In addition to the traditional Cape Cod-style homes, there are architectural styles that range from traditional colonial and saltbox homes built in the 17th Century to the modern homes built throughout the 20th Century. Come visit Cape Cod and Islands, and explore the rich architectural history.

If you are interested in viewing historic homes, there is no shortage of them to visit that are open to the public. These homes offer an opportunity to step back in time and experience what it may have been like if you were a resident of Cape Cod and the Islands in the 17th or 18th Centuries.

The Hoxie House, located at 18 Water St. in Sandwich, is one of the oldest homes on Cape Cod and dates back to the 1640. It is a saltbox style house and was named after its second owner, whaling captain Abraham Hoxie. It has been authentically restored to reflect the original colonial construction and is furnished as it may have appeared in the early colonial period. The home is open from the end of June through October, Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sundays from 1:00 to 4: 30 PM. Admission is $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for children.

Crosby Mansion - Brewster, Cape Cod
Crosby Mansion - Brewster, Cape Cod

Crosby Mansion, located on Crosby Lane in Brewster, is a grand and opulent building. Completed in 1888 by Albert Crosby for his wife, Matilda, it was actually built around his original childhood home. Some locals claim it is haunted! It features 35 rooms overlooking Cape Cod Bay. Not your traditional Cape style home, Crosby Mansion was built in the architectural style of many mansions that existed on Chicago's gold coast. This lavish and grand home has been restored by The Friends of Crosby House and is open for tours on the first and third Sundays in July and August. A $5 donation per person is appreciated. For more details regarding tours and other open houses, go to

The Captain Bangs Hallet House is a must visit if you are looking to explore a sea captain's home. Filled with treasures from Captain Hallet's travels, you will find displays of silk, porcelain and lacquered items, as well as numerous children's toys. Each room is arranged in such a way as to reflect family life as it may have been in the 19th Century. The house is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, June 15 through October 15, with tours at 1, 2 & 3 PM. Admission is $5 per adult and free to any Yarmouth resident and child. The Captain Bangs Hallet House is located on the Strawberry Lane Common, just off Route 6A in Yarmouth Port.

Captain Bangs Hallet House - Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod
Captain Bangs Hallet House
Courtesy of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce (

The Vincent House in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard was built in 1672 and is the Island's oldest residence. The five-room, Cape-style home offers a glimpse of Island life as it was in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Situated just off Main Street in the heart of Edgartown Village, you will find the land surrounding the home equally as charming and lovely as the home itself. Sharing its beautifully landscaped grounds with the stunning, Federal-style Dr. Daniel Fisher House, the setting is extraordinarily popular as a wedding venue.

Jethro Coffin House - Nantucket
Jethro Coffin House - Nantucket

The Jethro Coffin House is the oldest home on the island of Nantucket. Located on Sunset Hill Road, the saltbox style home was built in 1686 as a wedding present for Mr. Coffin and his new bride, Mary Gardner. Fully restored in 1987 after it was struck by lightening, the Jethro Coffin House is the only remaining structure from Nantucket's original 17th Century settlement. Tours are offered May through October from 11 to 4.

The Elijah Cobb House is one of the most historically significant buildings in Brewster. The home was built by renowned shipmaster Elijah Cobb in 1700, and is now the first permanent museum for the Brewster Historical Society. The restored home is filled with antiquities and photographs of the local area. Located at 739 Lower Road in Brewster, the house is open late-June through Columbus Day. Admission is $5.00, children are free.

For more information on historical homes on Cape Cod and the Islands, be sure to stop by one of the local historical societies.

Although most well known for its 17th and 18th Century traditional homes, Cape Cod is home to over 80 mid-20th Century, modern homes that were designed by prominent, modernist architects. Many modern architects came to Cape Cod, specifically the Outer Cape, to work on their design ideas due to the lack of development and the fact that land could be acquired for a reasonable cost. (Hard to believe, isn't it?) These homes are not open for daily tours, but the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, established in 2007 "to preserve and promote significant examples of modern architecture on Cape Cod," holds tours periodically throughout the summer, providing the opportunity for anyone to explore some of homes restored by this group and others that are currently being worked on to preserve.

The Kugel/Gips House Restoration
The Kugel/Gips House

One example of modern architecture on Cape Cod includes The Kugel/Gips House. Located in a secluded area of Wellfleet, it was built in 1970 by well-known modernist architect Charlie Zehnder. The home has many architectural details similar to homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, including straight lines and cantilevered decks. Charlie Zehner is also well known for being one of the main proponents of the now famous Wellfleet Drive-in.

The Hatch Cottage, built in 1960 by Jack Hall, is located on Bound Brook Island in Wellfleet. The cottage is a cube-like structure that appears to float above the ground. Fully restored in the spring of 2013 by the Hatch family and Cape Cod Modern Trust, it is a stunning example of mid-century modern architecture.

The Weidlinger House located in Wellfleet is another project that is currently being restored by the Cape Cod Modern Trust and is due to be completed in summer 2014. Built in 1953 by Paul Weidlinger, famed for being a leader in designing earthquake-proof structures, the home has been described as a "white box floating high above the ground." The design of the home allowed for unsurpassed views of the pond in the front and woods that surround the home.

The Kepes Cottage, built in Wellfleet in 1948, was one of two prototype cottages designed by Marcel Breuer. The intent was to build a community of these type homes, although the community never came to fruition. The cottage, an "elongated box," sits on stilts hovering above the ground. The Kepes Cottage is privately owned and remains in the Kepes family.

Cape Cod Modern House Trust
Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Interested in learning more about the modern architecture of Cape Cod? Then be sure to check out the Cape Cod Modern House Trust at

Visit the Cape and Islands and explore the interesting architecture of the area. We have thousands of vacation rentals to suit your taste, ranging from historical cottages to contemporary stunners, and everything in between!

About Becky Fischer

About Becky Fischer: I have worked for since 2003. Currently my position entails providing photography, video, and consultation services to vacation rental homeowners, and I have photographed over 700 homes on the Cape and Islands. My husband and three children moved to Brewster in 2006. I grew up outside of Boston, spent summer vacations on Nantucket, and was married in Orleans. My favorite activities on the Cape are walking on the CCRT, deep breaths at the beach, visiting great coffee shops, and working with my community to support the schools and local events.