Enjoy your summer vacation with family and friends in an historic house on Cape Cod, situated just off Barnstable Harbor, right on The Old Kings Highway in Barnstable, Massachusetts. This 5 bedroom/2 bath home is a quiet getaway less than two hours by car from Boston. Steeped in history, the house is centrally located with ideal access to sandy beaches, nature walks, national seashore, excellent fishing, the quaint village of Barnstable, excursions for whale watching as well as antique-shopping and opportunities to explore the broader Cape Cod area.
Relax in the calm of the house’s extensive lawn on this one-acre property, enjoy a refreshing rinse in the house’s new outdoor shower after a swim in the seawater, and learn about local history that stretches back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The History behind the House
Built in 1829, the house “Packet Mail” is named for the ship commissioned and sailed by Captain Matthias Hinckley, builder of the house and great- great- grandfather of the present owner. It is one of the oldest houses in the area and is one of a few historic homes to still be owned by the family who built it. In 2009, the house celebrated its 180th birthday.
The house is on record at the local Historical Society. Matthias Hinckley owned the surrounding land between 6A and the water, which has now been developed with homes along Allyn Lane. Care has been taken to make updates to the house – for convenience and comfort – without jeopardizing the character or history of the home.
About the House
Situated one mile from charming Barnstable Village, and a 15- minute walk to Barnstable Harbor, the house can sleep 9 people. There is an expanse of lawn for enjoying outdoor barbeques, croquet, badminton, and reading in comfortable lawn furniture and hammock.
Inside, you will find a living room and parlor on the first floor, along with the dining room and kitchen. On the second floor there are five bedrooms, each with a tidbit of history to share. The front bedroom, with a double bed, features an original fresco painted by artist Alexander Crane – owner and inhabitant of the house in the 1940s and 50s and father of the current owner. A special access door offers additional access onto a second bedroom with two single beds. The third bedroom, known as the ‘Sewing Room’ is a cheery yellow with a single bed.
The fourth bedroom (the ‘master bedroom’) has a queen-sized bed with windows that provide a generous cross-breeze ventilation. The final bedroom has a double bed and a view of the water of Barnstable Harbor and the dunes of Sandy Neck National Seashore. It can be accessed through the master bedroom or by its own set of stairs connected to the kitchen, on the first floor.
The property surrounding the house offers two (2) porches and a wrap-around lawn that runs all along the west and northern side of the house. Lawn furniture, as well as a hammock and stand await you in the dappled sunlight on a calm afternoon. Access to large screened –in porch off attached ‘Barn’ structure can be made available on request, and is perfect for big family meals if mosquitoes linger.
From the house, you can reach the water of Barnstable Harbor in 5-10 minutes. A walk down Allyn Lane offers views of the harbor and Sandy Neck while Scudders Lane is the small, charming public access for oyster and quahog seekers, sandflat adventurers and those with small boats. Other neighboring lanes offering walks with views of the water.
Packet Mail is suitable for a range of vacationers - from genealogists and historians who look to bask in local history to those who want to gather families and friends. Adult visitors will enjoy the peace and quiet as well as easy access to points of interest, while younger families can take advantage of the space for kids to explore and the home's proximity to young family-friendly activities in-town or in the water.
In the event that you would like to celebrate something special, we are happy to offer contacts to arrange for tents, local caterers, locally-harvested oysters, local fishing and quahog spots.
To give a sense of our location, here are some approximate travel times to different locations:
*1.5 hours driving from Boston (or by Plymouth and Brockton bus from South Station)
*1.5 hours driving from Providence and PVD airport
*45 minutes driving to Provincetown (whale-watching, restaurants, historic sight-seeing)
*20 minutes driving from Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge
*15 minutes driving to Hyannis (shopping/commercial center)
*5 minutes driving to Barnstable Marina (whale-watching/fishing excursions) and Barnstable Village [walking about 20 minutes] (general store, local coffee shop, banks, restaurants)
Barnstable Village and Immediate Surroundings
This north side of Cape Cod offers access to antique stores and art galleries galore, whale watching, good restaurants, interesting old cemeteries and houses and wonderful summer theater. Sturgis Library, with its treasure of genealogical research materials, and the Barnstable Historic Society are less than a mile away.
Old Kings Highway, or 6A, is the historic horse track-gone-two-lane road that winds its way through Cape Cod’s most historic towns. Starting in the 1700s, all houses and other buildings were built right on the Kings Highway and thus a tour down 6A brings you to the historic gems of the Cape – all the way from its start at the Sagamore Bridge, along the length of the Cape’s ‘arm’ to the tip of the peninsula in Provincetown.
Access to the greater Cape Cod Area and the Islands
The commercial center of Cape Cod is an easy 15 minutes away by car, in Hyannis. You will find grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theatres, the local airport (flights to the Islands), ferry boats (to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard), rental cars, restaurants and other accommodations/hotels.
The owners have been intimately connected to Cape Cod for multiple generations. As the great great granddaughter of Captain Matthias Hinckley, who built the house Packet Mail in 1829, one of the owners spent her childhood summers in Barnstable with her mother and sisters. The couple took over the house in 2000 to continue the stewardship of the family property that dates back 180 years. They have been giving it love and care ever since and would be delighted to share this special place with you.
The Owner purchased this house in 2000
The ownership of this house is a family legacy dating back generations, to 1829. The property was not purchased as a vacation rental. It is an historic house that is just recently available for rental.
I have had the opportunity to stay at Packet Mail numerous times. It is a gem! I am mesmerized by the history of the house and the care that so many generations have given it. Original artwork made by the owners grandfather add to the nostalgia. The historic farmhouse is unique and continually added upon over the past few hundred years. I have had a quiet time with 4 other guests and found that there is so much to do in the area. Sitting upon the porch imagining horse and carriage hitching up to the stone posts is enough to give any history buffs a moment of thought. Wide floor boards and built in cabinetry remind me that this quiet home has been active for years. I have found that everything thing i need to make my stay enjoyable is available. The kitchen is generously stocked with numerous plates, cups, and pans that I can serve many for dinner and not worry about finding a the appropriate cook ware. I have also had the joy of being at the house for another large celebration where multi-generations of family and friends gathered in a an afternoon of catered affairs and ruthless games of bocce and croquet on the lawn. Stay here if you are looking to be charmed by history and warmth. I enjoy returning to this house year after year. The small village of Barnstable never looses its appeal, with hiking kayaking and beach coming near by I always fill my time.