The Captain Edward Penniman House

Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House

Edward Penniman was a native of Eastham, Massachusetts. He was born in 1831 and at the age of eleven he began his sailing career. His ship’s voyage sailed to the treacherous waters of the Grand Banks. To this day the Grand Banks area is known as a plentiful fishing grounds. It is located off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland. For several years he sailed just the New England waters, however, at that time, the best chance to earn wealth was in the whaling industry and New Bedford, Massachusetts with its deep water port and railroad system was the center of New England’s largest whaling fleet. At the age of twenty-one in 1852, Edward Penniman went to New Bedford to sign on to his first whaling expedition. Several years later, after becoming a captain, he chose New Bedford as his home port.

Whale Bone Gate
Whale Bone Gate

By the late 1800’s the whale population in the Atlantic had been exhausted and whalers were forced to sail further from home in search of their quarry. Captain Penniman became one of the region’s most successful whaling masters. The voyages frequently took three to four years. It was not uncommon for the captains to take their wives and children along for the voyage. Captain Penniman wife and children accompanied him on several of these voyages. His wife was named Betsy Augusta but he affectionately called her “Gustie”. Gusty was not just a passenger, she assisted with navigation and other shipboard matters.  Eugene, their Penniman’s oldest son grew up to become the second generation whaling captain in the family.

Penniman House Door
Penniman House Door

After his fourth voyage in 1868, Captain Penniman went back to Eastham and built a second Empire style home that sits on Fort Hill. It is a two and a half story house with a central hallway. Perhaps its most striking feature is an octagonal cupola that has arched windows on all sides. The exterior is clapboards and is decorated with elegant millwork trim. It is interesting to imagine how spectacular this house must have been in rural Eastham, at the time of its construction. Most of the homes in the area were simple Cape Cod cottages with shingled siding and they were never painted. This house yellow clapboards, with white trim, black window sashes, green wooden blinds and it had brown and red roof shingles. The house had an elaborate white wooden fence and the entrance gate that is still standing is made from a whale’s jawbone.

Window Pediment
Window Pediment

The design and colors were grand but it also had “state of the art” technology within its wall. It was the first house in Eastham to have indoor plumbing. The roof had a water collection system that lead to a large tank in the attic. It used a gravity flow system that piped water from the tank to the bathroom and kitchen. There is also a large barn that echos the design of the house.

Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House

The charming Penniman House is located at the intersection of Fort Hill Road and Governor Prence Road in Eastham. It is within the “Cape Cod National Seashore”. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Palmer House Inn. It is open to the public during the summer season. For more information call 508-487-1256.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures all over the Cape, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Chatham Lighthouse

Cape Cod’s Chatham Lighthouse

By Mary Moran

Chatham, a town located in the southeastern area of Cape Cod, known as the lower Cape, is approximately an hour’s drive from The Palmer House Inn.

The area around the lighthouse was once heavily populated with maritime traffic. However, the waters in Chatham harbor are extremely treacherous for traveling vessels. In the early 19th century, there was nothing to warn captains of the dangers lying within. Also, the waters off Chatham are menacing to coastal shipping traffic. There are strong currents and dangerous shoals. It is important to note that before the construction of the Cape Cod Canal, all south bound shipping had to travel around the Cape through these waters. In order to help guide the vessels safely and effectively, a lighthouse needed to be built.

In April of 1808, seven thousand dollars was appropriated to build a light station. It is interesting to note that this was the second lighthouse to be approved on Cape Cod. To increase visibility even more, the new Chatham Light Station would have two towers instead of one. The towers stood forty feet above sea level. The two wooden towers were octagonal in design and were located approximately 70 feet apart. Between the two structures stood a small house for the lighthouse keeper to reside. The first keeper, Samuel Nye, was approved to take on the job by Thomas Jefferson himself. Throughout the years, the lighthouses endured many changes regarding construction and even location. In 1841, only thirty-three years after being built, the wooden towers began to rot from the harsh salty air and damp eroding land. At that time, it was decided that two new thirty foot tall brick structures be built to replace the decaying wooden ones. Then in 1857, fourth-order Fresnel lens were installed to improve the quality of the light given off by the towers. They remained lit by using lard oil. Unfortunately, a number of devastating storms took a major toll on the surrounding land and severe erosion left the twin lights only forty-eight feet from the water’s edge.

Knowing that nothing could be done to save the towers, residents let the lights succumb to the hungry sea. In 1877, before their ultimate demise, two new cast-iron lighthouses were built across the street, this time with two homes to house both the keeper and an assistant. The towers now stood forty eight feet above the water and proved much more durable than the four lighthouses before them. Approximately 115 years later, having two towers was deemed unnecessary and one of the towers was moved to Eastham, another Cape Cod town. At that time, the remaining light once again got a makeover. A rotating lens and an incandescent oil-vapor lamp were added. In 1939, the Coast Guard electrified the light and in 1969 a larger rotating light was installed. Finally, in 1982, the light was automated and it remains lit to this day. Chatham Light Station is now run by the Coast Guard and remains an aid to navigation. Unfortunately, the grounds are not open to the public except for scheduled open houses that occur throughout the year. Parking is available outside the grounds which allow visitors to wander close enough to see the grand structure, but make sure to get there early for the numbered spaces fill up fast during the summer season.

More information:


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring the historic lighthouses of Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, Jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Provincetown Cape Cod

Provincetown, Cape Cod

Playing in P-town

By Mary Moran

Provincetown, Cape Cod
Provincetown, Cape Cod

Provincetown, located at the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula, is a small town with a whole lot of character. Taking a day trip to Provincetown will certainly not disappoint, because there are many interesting options when it comes to activities, both during the day and evening. You may want to linger later because of the great nightlife that P-town  has to offer. This historic art and theater community is the ideal place for the whole family. In Provincetown center you will discover numerous art galleries, unique boutiques, great dining, and a diverse and lively night-time scene. The evenings offer choices such as dancing, shows, performances, and movies. Just outside of town is the beautiful National Seashore,  the legendary Race Point Beach, and whale watching cruises if exploring the ocean and soft sand is more of your idea for a wonderful Cape Cod day trip.

Provincetown, Cape Cod bench.
Provincetown bench.

If you are interested in the history of this beautiful Cape Cod town, take a walk through the Provincetown Museum. Located at the foot of the Pilgrim Monument, The Provincetown Museum lets you explore the history of this once thriving maritime and whaling community. You can also learn about the first landing of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim’s five week stay in Provincetown before they set off for their final destination in Plymouth. The Mayflower Compact was actually written during the Pilgrim’s stay in Provincetown! In addition to the maritime history, the museum also focuses on the early American Theater that led Provincetown to become a famous community for the theater and arts.

After learning about some of Provincetown’s rich history, if you are ambitious, climb the Pilgrim Monument and get a view of Cape Cod and the ocean that is truly specular. This 252 foot tall monument was built in 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower and the arrival of the Pilgrims. The monument is open to the public and totally worth the 116 step trek to the top.

Winter beach in Provincetown Cape Cod
Winter beach.

To see some of the town’s modern art, visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Established in 1914, this museum is the most visited art museum on Cape Cod. Here you will find a variety of modern art exhibits all created by local artists. The Art Association strives to continue an active and diverse art involvement in the community. The Association and Museum holds multiple workshops and events year-round so that everyone can become involved and inspired to create His /her own unique works of art.

Rusty fishing buoys
Rusty fishing buoys
Waiting for the Tide
Waiting for the Tide

The old saying says, “The best things come in small packages”, and Provincetown is no exception. This small beach community has so much to offer. Spending the day there is great for vacationers of any age and at any time of the year. it is true that the town is a little sleepier in the off season but there are still activities. The easy commute from Falmouth makes this day trip even sweeter. Provincetown is only a little over an hour’s drive from the Palmer House Inn and is a straight shot east on Route 6. Getting lost is practically impossible! In addition, when you are staying in our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Inn and want to do a little pre-trip planning, you can relax in the Inn’s living-room and take advantage of our Wifi to find a schedule of the exciting year-round events in Provincetown. You are bound to find something that catches your eye!

More on Cape Cod

 


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures all over the Cape, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.