Jun 24

The Adventures of Colin McKnight – The Belfry Inne and Bistro

Belfry Inn
Food and Lodging Review

Belfry Inne and Bistro
6 Jarves Street
Sandwich, Massachusetts

Can you say Ahhhhhhh, boys and girls? At least once in your life, I hope you have the chance to enjoy a bed and breakfast that is fun, spirited and at the same time totally relaxing. Such is the Belfry Inne, in the Village of Sandwich on Cape Cod. This review is about both the lodging experience, and the dining experience.

For starters, the Belfry Inne is in a church. Yes, a church. The former Corpus Christi Church was built in 1901 and has been very creatively reworked into a new life as a restaurant on the ground floor, with 6 rooms upstairs. The property also contains 2 additional lodging facilities- the Painted Lady, a Victorian house on the north side of the church, and the Village Inn, a federal period house located to the south. Companion and I had the unique experience of being able to try out 2 of the rooms in the Abbey, as the church building is now known, during the same weekend. The rooms have vaulted ceilings, with exposed trusses and skylights. Each room is different, and most have balconies that are carved out of the roofline. Access to the balconies is from your bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly. Our first room of our stay featured the most elaborate shower that I’ve ever seen. The second room featured a whirlpool tub. However, in that room the treat was not in the bathroom, but the rose window overlooking the bed. There is also a fireplace in that bedroom. Each of these rooms has a king-sized bed, and I’ve never slept better. So, if you go, book a room in the Abbey if you can. The rooms in the other houses look nice from the pictures. The rooms in the Abbey are truly special, though, and perfect if you are celebrating a unique occasion. Rooms in all the buildings include a wonderful breakfast in the Bistro restaurant.

Dinner in the Bistro is another special experience. We were seated adjacent to the terrace entrance, which gave us a view of the entire dining room, the lushly planted patio, and the piano player. Companion ordered the jumbo shrimp cocktail and I had the chef salad. In response to the waitress’ query, of course I wanted anchovy on that. This salad is a huge portion to accompany your meal, and the anchovy was white and not overly salty. Companion’s shrimp cocktail included the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen. Amazing…. He ordered the stuffed chicken breast, which is stuffed with prosciutto, goat cheese, and sun dried tomato. No complaints there.

I ordered the traditional baked cod. In the seafood hierarchy, I always had it in my head that cod was pedestrian, scrod was what you received in finer restaurants. This preparation put that myth to rest. The panko-crusted cod was served on a bed of mashed potatoes, along with fingerling carrots and the most delightful asparagus. And surprise, surprise! Baby turnips. I’ve spent a lifetime hating turnips and avoiding them completely. I didn’t realize that I was eating turnips when I took my first few bites. Then it dawned on me that the chef wouldn’t include whole potatoes on the same plate as the mashed potatoes I was already enjoying. So the earth has shifted on its axis.

During the meal I nursed a glass of Dreaming Tree Crush, a red wine on the owners list of recommendations, and a bargain at $8 per glass. It was light, not too sweet, and totally enjoyable. Companion finished the meal with a dish of caramel ice cream, while I had the rhubarb, finely diced and served in a reduction of rhubarb juices over a ginger panne cotta. Life is good.

The restaurant also has a very pretty patio for dining, should you choose to eat outside. We didn’t see anyone do that during our visit, because it was a very rainy weekend, but as we were checking out at the end of our stay a wedding ceremony was being set up on the patio, harp and all. It really is that pretty.

The Belfry Inne is in a great location, right off of scenic Route 6A (the Old Kings Highway). There are interesting shops close by on Sandwich’s picturesque Main Street, and the Sandwich Glass Museum is a short walk away. The Heritage Museum and Gardens are about 5 minutes by car. The Boardwalk to Town Neck beach is within walking distance (about 20 minutes or so by foot). Sandy Neck beach in Barnstable is a 15 minute drive.

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