Don't worry. I'm not suggesting you download Edmund Wilson, Mary McCarthy or Bernard Malamud for your Wellfleet getaway. even if they and other luminaries did and do hang out there. Instead I'm proposing the new e-book by the town's "accidental innkeeper" Alexandra Grabbe, whose fairytale B&B Chez Sven lies hidden in leafy woods behind Route 6 (Wellfleet, An Insider's Guide To Cape Cod's Trendiest Town). The irony of Grabbe authoring an "insider's" guide is that she and her husband Sven Rudstrom opened the inn as recently as 2005. But as often happens with special places, the Grabbes took Wellfleet to heart as passionately as local families who date themselves to the Mayflower. Grabbe has an eye for what's defining about the place, starting with the fact that the official poem of Barnstable County is posted in the town hall. She gives a history the way good innkeeps do: pouring on anecdotes and curious details to explain that mudflat you grounded on used to be an island, and by the way, the historical society offers a history of Billingsgate if you want to know more. Which, the way Grabbe lays it out, you might. Interwoven with the attractions found in most guidebooks are favorite local activities like yoga at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Even the photos have an untouristy quality, nice but not slick, taken from vantage points where locals are likely to stand. Passages from the Wellfleet comprehensive plan (designed to discourage McMansion builders) might not be the stuff of Fodor's or Lonely Planet, but that's what makes this an insider's guide. When you finish, you feel like a local has shown you around. Because she has.
Patricia Borns photo. All rights reserved.
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