New York Times bestselling author Casey Sherman never believed he would one day write books.
“I call myself an ‘accidental author,’” Sherman says. “I’m born and raised in Massachusetts and was thrust into the spotlight for my work as a journalist on the Boston Strangler case.” Sherman wrote his first book A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler to re-investigate the murder of his aunt, Mary Sullivan, the final victim of the notorious 1960s murder spree. The book became a surprise best-seller and launched his writing career.
Now, 17 books and many accolades later, including an Emmy nomination, Sherman continues to be inspired by stories from his home state. He lives in the same town he grew up in, Hyannis, located in the Mid-Cape region of Cape Cod. Situated in the “bicep” of Cape Cod’s “arm,” the Mid-Cape comprises the towns of Barnstable, Dennis, and Yarmouth. Hyannis is a village in Barnstable.
“Growing up here near the ocean, I understood the bounty that the sea provided and also the debts the sea must collect. That shaped my thinking when I wrote the maritime classic The Finest Hours, about the greatest Coast Guard rescue in American history. It took place in 1952 off the shores of Chatham,” Sherman says. The story was lost to history until Sherman’s book which became an international bestseller and adapted into a major motion picture by Walt Disney Studios. “I’m proud to share a bit of Cape Cod history with the world.”
The history and lore coming out of The Cape informs much of his work. Sherman’s latest thriller, Helltown, tells the true story of a serial killer in 1960s Cape Cod. The book is soon to be an Amazon Studio television series starring Oscar Isaac.
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“My family goes back seven generations on the Mid-Cape. I’ve got sea air in my lungs and salt water in my veins,” Sherman says.
In addition to writing about his hometown, Sherman also enjoys sharing his favorite spots and encouraging tourists to check out this less-frequented region of Cape Cod. “The Mid-Cape offers a vastly different experience from other villages and towns on The Cod and shoulder season (fall and spring) are a great time to visit,” says Sherman. “It’s really a year-round destination—you’ll find the same natural beauty and warmth without the traffic headache.”
Sherman shared his favorite Mid-Cape destinations with Penta.
Courtesy of Casey Sherman
After spending the day at the keyboard writing his latest book, Sherman likes to unwind on the rooftop of The Pelham House Resort in Dennisport. The beachfront hotel recently completed a US$20 million upgrade and expansion that includes a new pool, outdoor bar and gourmet bakery. When in Cape Cod you’ll want to be by the water, and the Pelham House offers a private beach for guests. The property’s rooftop boasts “spectacular views” of the water, according to Sherman. “It’s one of the best places to watch the sunset. The view goes great with Dennis oysters and a pint from one of the area’s specialty craft breweries,” he says.
The Chapter House offers a taste of historic luxury in the Mid-Cape town of Yarmouth Port. The property opened as a 21-room boutique hotel in April but has origins dating to 1716. It’s now one of the largest inns on Cape Cod. The main house is a traditional three-story Victorian mansion and the interiors play homage to the history of the space while also incorporating modern touches.
If you prefer a larger accommodation, Chatham Bars Inn is located on 25-acres of oceanside bluff with 217 rooms spread across the main inn and cottages. The resort’s history dates back to 1914 as a semi-private hunting lodge for Bostonians escaping the city. Today, Chatham Bars Inn has ranked in Historic Hotels of America’s Top 25 list. The property has an impressive art collection, including an original Norman Rockwell. Chatham Bars Inn offers guests a variety of ways to experience the resort, from traditional stays to seasonal farm dinners held in a glass greenhouse on an 8-acre farm.
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Eat and Drink
The Cape is known for its beloved lobster-roll joints, and everyone has an opinion on which is the best in town. Sherman swears by Baxter’s Boathouse, a Hyannis eatery that’s been serving fried seafood and lobster rolls for more than 60 years. There are also a variety of restaurants transforming the Mid-Cape into a more sophisticated culinary destination.
In Hyannis, Sherman likes to dine at Colombo’s Italian Restaurant located on the town’s Main Street. He recommends the meatballs. The stylish restaurant also specializes in homemade pasta and thin crust pizza. Colombo’s on-site bakery and gelato bar satisfies those with a sweet tooth, and Sherman is sure to end each meal with a chocolate chip cannoli.
The Black Cat Tavern is a waterfront eatery on the harbor in Hyannis. The restaurant’s large patio and location across from the ferry terminal makes it a popular spot for visitors heading out to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The menu is seafood-heavy and serves traditional Cape favorites such as chowder and lobster rolls.
“Everything goes well with a Devil’s Purse Pollock Rip IPA,” Sherman says. Devil’s Purse is a small-craft brewery located up the road in South Dennis. They specialize in brewing European inspired beers and many menus around town feature their popular ales.
For those who prefer wine over beer, Dunn and Sons Wine opened in Fall 2022 in Yarmouth Port. The specialty shop focuses on wine from small producers with an emphasis on sustainable farming practices and minimal intervention. They host private sommelier guided tastings with a variety of themes including an educational Natural Wine 101 experience.
Farm to Table dining at Chatham Bars Inn Luke Simpson
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With shoreline along the Cape Cod Bay to the north and Nantucket Sound to the south, there’s no shortage of options for a beach day in the Mid-Cape. Dennis alone boasts 20 beaches. Sherman’s favorite is Cold Storage Beach in South Dennis.
For an escape from the sun, Sherman recommends checking out the Cape Playhouse, located in Dennis. It opened in 1927 and remains the longest-running professional summer theater in the U.S.. The Cape Playhouse still has its original pews which serve as the theater’s seats. A variety of well-known actors have graced its stage, including Gregory Peck and Bette Davis.
Lovers of the arts will find a variety of galleries, community art spaces, and studios to explore in the HyArts Cultural District in Hyannis. One popular location is 50 Pearl Street. It’s now a studio but was once a residential house constructed in 1830 with a history as a gathering place for artists and playwrights. Nautical-themed Vernon Coleman murals showing the local seascape decorate the basement walls.
Sherman also recommends a visit to the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth. “From the outside it may look kitschy, but it is Smithsonian worthy,” he says. “It has a state-of-the-art sea lab and houses the largest authentic pirate treasure in the world.”
Hometown Pride and the Allure of the Ocean in the Mid-Cape