At Cape Cod’s largest resort, you can enjoy endless activity — and a nod to nostalgia
Courtesy of Ocean Edge
Nicklaus and Nickerson. One name rings a bell, while the other soon will, as both play a prominent role at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster, Mass.
Nicklaus, of course, is the Golden Bear, and Nicklaus Design is responsible for Ocean Edge’s head-turning 7,011-yard, par-72 golf course (more on that later). Nickerson is the name of the family that originally owned the vast Coastal Cape property and built the iconic mansion around which the 429-acre resort lays out.
The Mansion really is the heart of the place. The resort first opened in 1986, but business tycoon and Mayflower descendant Samuel Mayo Nickerson built what was then known as Fieldstone Hall in 1890 for his son Roland and family. Pretty soon it became the social hub of the Cape and for the most part it has remained so. But by no means is Ocean Edge stuck in the late Victorian era.
“We were inducted into the Historical Hotels of America just over a year ago, joining a prestigious global list of hotels and resorts that really celebrate and maintain their properties’ historic attributes,” said Brendan Carey, director of marketing for Ocean Edge.
“We’re really keeping our story alive while also not staying too much in the past. We do a great job of that. Once you go outside the mansion, you see that we have updated guest rooms, we have updated facilities. We’re everything for the modern-day traveler, but we still maintain that essence of history.”
The main Mansion has 90 rooms that cater to guests who prefer an upscale experience with old-world charm. There are also a handful of luxury villas and suites on the mansion grounds that offer enough space for bigger groups and families looking for a little extra attention to detail.
But most folks find themselves at the Villages Villas, a sprawling collection of single and multi-bedroom accommodations, some with kitchenettes. It’d be tempting just to relax in your villa and take in the cool sea air, but there’s so much to do at Ocean Edge, you don’t have that luxury.
From pickleball to tennis to bike rentals, you can fill your morning with activity. Then relax in the afternoon at one of the resort’s five pools or, better yet, work out the kinks at The Beach House Spa (pro tip: the Ultimate Zen Ritual is the treatment to get).
“If anyone leaves and says they were bored, then we didn’t do a good job communicating just how much we have on property,” says Carey.
“Not only that, but we’re also part of an even larger community and we strive to be part of that community by sending our guests out to, as I like to say, a world beyond the Edge. We have partnerships with local museums, we send them out to Nickerson State Park, we partnered with a parasailing/jet ski company. We don’t ever want the other businesses on the Cape to think that we are (just) our own entity. We’re Cape Cod-ers.”
As any local or frequent visitor will tell you, the surrounding beaches are a can’t miss opportunity to experience life on the Cape, and Ocean Edge takes full advantage. Want to learn to build a five-star sandcastle? They’ve got you. Care to cruise the bay in a kayak? Check. How about rolling up your pants and embarking on an oyster bed adventure? Yep. You could spend a week and not get to partake in all the maritime mayhem available at the resort. One activity you best not miss is the private beach fire at sunset. It’s the perfect way to end a sand-filled day. S’mores included.
Ocean Edge even incorporates the beach into its golf offerings. Brewster Flats, alongside the property in Cape Cod Bay, is the largest tidal flats in North America. At low tide, they can extend out a mile or more.
“It’s really hard compacted sand; beautiful. They’ll have these ripples, which makes for great dramatic sunsets,” says Carey. “But at low tide you get that really compacted sand perfect for designing mini golf courses. So, we do low tide mini golf, where every day the course changes.”
Other golf activities include Birdieball — essentially chipping from a dock at targets in the water (the more adventurous chip from paddle boards), nighttime Glow Golf and Cosmic Driving Range.
One place you won’t want to encounter sand or water is Ocean Edge Golf Club. Reworked in 2007 by Chris Rule of Nicklaus Design, the private course is open to club members and hotel guests. Surprising elevation changes, gorgeous sightlines and gentle rolling terrain are all characteristic of the Nicklaus group’s notable work.
But don’t let the wide fairways and receptive greens fool you, the course can play tough if that’s what you’re looking for. Two holes were singled out by GOLF back when the magazine covered the reopening: “The 195-yard 8th, with its downhill tee shot over Blueberry Pond, and the rugged 600-yard 17th are two lethal scorecard wreckers.”
Nicklaus Design also performed a major remodel of the Links Restaurant and Clubhouse and built a brand-new Links Pavilion meeting space, creating a first-class experience for golfers and guests alike.
The Mansion is itself a rebuild. In May 1906, Fieldstone Hall burned to the ground. It would be six years before Nickerson had the massive structure replicated, this time with fireproof materials. The Mansion would again welcome family and friends to celebrate life on the Cape, just as it does today at Ocean Edge.