Built in 1735, sitting directly across from Sesuit Creek Marsh, the grand colonial home now known as Sesuit Harbor House was one of the first large estates in Cape Cod. The house sits right off of Old King’s Highway which originally was a Native American trade route and eventually became the central Cape Cod roadway with the arrival of the Pilgrims.
In 1837 the Harbor House became the site of the Shiverick Shipyard. Because Cape Cod didn’t have enough land for farming, seafaring became the town's original major industry, centered around the Shiverick Shipyard.
What started as a family-owned shipyard- building small schooners and local fishing boats for its neighbors in the Cape- eventually became a hub of shipbuilding on the east coast. Over a period of fourteen years, Shiverick Shipyard produced eight of the fastest, most beautiful merchant ships that traveled the world.
The shipyard’s proximity to the mouth of Sesuit Creek made it an ideal launch point to send ships into the harbor, and from they journeyed to places including Hong Kong, Calcutta, New York, and even Australia.
These one-hundred-and-sixty-foot-long clipper ships transported silk, tea, lumber, and fertilizer. They even brought biscuits and flour to the hordes of starving men pouring into the fold fields of California. The ships brought glory to the country, honor to the mariners and world recognition to Cape Cod during America’s “Golden Age of Sail.”
While there are not too many other details known about the home’s history during the 18th and 19th centuries, the original features provide a vivid image of what life in the home would have been like. Wide pumpkin pine floors, warm fireplaces, and Colonial craftsmanship add to its historical charm and tie back to its Cape Cod roots.
Three hundred years could not have passed without some drama though and legend has it that a long and drawn out dispute between two sisters living in the home resulted in the property being split. Some say that the jeweler’s building next door to Sesuit Harbor House is actually a portion of the main home that was removed and relocated in order to settle the disagreement. Talk about a house divided!
Moving forward to more modern times, the property’s role as a lodging facility began in 1964 when a motel-style building was constructed in the meadow behind the main home. Along with these eight rooms, the carriage house was converted into three rooms and two apartment-style suites, an additional building situated closer to the road and made up of six rooms was constructed one floor at a time, and a 20×40 foot gunite pool was built in the center of the property. These nineteen rooms and the sparkling pool perfect for cooling off on a muggy Cape Cod day made up the Sesuit Motel.
Just five years after its establishment, Ruth and Norm McKinstry took over the motel from the original owners. The McKinstry’s lovingly cared for the property, which they renamed the Sesuit Harbor Motel, for 30 years. Guests fell in love with the charm of the motel and it became a local landmark. During this time the McKinstry’s also renovated the Main House to add guest rooms upstairs and added a breakfast room that longtime guests fondly remember as “The Chatter Box.”
Ruth and Norm retired from their longtime roles as innkeepers in 1998 and once again the Sesuit Harbor Motel gained new owners. The infrastructure of the property was improved over the next few years and the motel was primed and ready when Kim and Jim Marchand purchased it in the spring of 2008. A husband and wife team with Cape roots, they brought invaluable business and hospitality experience to the property.
Kim and Jim injected new life into the inn and have revived it as a gem of the community. They also changed the name from Sesuit Harbor Motel to Sesuit Harbor House to more accurately reflect the property’s personality. During their first 5 years serving as innkeepers, Kim and Jim renovated rooms, established and expanded services and amenities, and developed and executed a marketing plan that focuses on brand, reputation and community.
As a result Sesuit Harbor House is typically booked solid during summer months and stays busy during the typical Cape “off-season” by providing a place to welcoming place to stay any time of the year. Sesuit Harbor House was also awarded the Certificate of Excellence award from TripAdvisor in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017. Sesuit Harbor House has also won TripAdvosr’s Hall of Fame award. Guest satisfaction and demand has grown significantly and the property’s reputation has never been better.
Now entering its 55rd year as a perfect Cape Cod getaway, you will find the Main House as the hub for all of the property’s activity. It is the reception area for arriving guests and it is also where you will find a delicious and hearty continental breakfast being served in the morning and refreshing iced tea in the afternoon. Stop in to chat or find out what local festivities are taking place that day or before heading out in the evening for restaurant recommendations. If the Red Sox are playing you can bet we’ll be tuned in so come on up to check the score! Sesuit Harbor House aims to be your home away from home!