Versatile Ocean Edge handles family groups, meetings

Senior editor Felicity Long spent a weekend at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod last summer. Her report follows.

BREWSTER, Mass. -- For most visitors to New England, Cape Cod needs no introduction, especially in the summer months.

The area, known for its beaches, quaint cottages and antique shops, draws so many tourists each year that it is almost more than the Old King's Highway -- known nowadays as Route 6A -- can handle.

We set out last summer to visit a resort that has been around in various incarnations since 1890 as a private summer house and, most recently, as a vacation and conference property.

Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club is situated on 429 acres overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

The main building is a Victorian-style mansion and carriage house in which guests check in and where conferences and events are held in its various public rooms. Visitors should be aware that there are no guest rooms in the mansion itself. The 90 guest rooms are in accommodations adjacent to the mansion as well as in executive-style condominiums spread out over the acreage.

The two- and three-bedroom Bay Pines Villas are located within walking distance of the private beach, tennis courts and swimming pools.

We stayed in a one-bedroom condominium at the Golf Course Villas complex, which is a five-minute drive from the mansion and on the opposite side of 6A from the beach. We found a swimming pool and restaurant within walking distance of our villa but to reach the beach or the mansion, we relied on free shuttle service or our own car.

Our villa was modern, if somewhat anonymous, with a well-equipped kitchen, dining area and balcony. Families staying for more than a day or two might want to consider a ground floor condominium, since the footsteps of our normal, active children were enough to disturb the guests in the rooms below us. Accommodations start at $235 per night; $1,400 plus tax for seven nights in a one-bedroom villa.

During our short stay, we managed to swim at the beach and three of the resort's six swimming pools, all of which met with the approval of our children. Activities include biking on the 26-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, which cuts through the property; tennis at any of 11 courts; two fitness centers, and an 18-hole golf course.

Croquet, badminton, lawn bowling and a variety of indoor games also are available at the property. The concierge can arrange off-property excursions, such as horseback riding, whale watching and fishing.

Low-key dining is available at the Reef Cafe, situated next to one of the swimming pools; Mulligans, known for its expansive Sunday brunch, and the more elegant Ocean Grille in the mansion.

Bayzo's Pub, also in the mansion, offers pub food, and room service is available.

There is a supervised children's program for kids ages 4 to 14 available daily and some evenings during the summer months. Private baby-sitting services also are available.

Although the property is inundated with vacationers during the summer, many of whom book villas a week at a time, conference and meeting facilities draw visitors year-round.

The hotel staff includes a conference planner who can assist with a variety of preparations. Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club, Phone: (508) 896-9000 or (800) 343-6074

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