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Reinventing the B&B

With their newest venture the Fairbanks Inn opening its doors in May, Leigh Crandall sat down with David Bowd and Kevin O'Shea to chat about life in Provincetown and how the duo is reinventing the B&B

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"We thought we knew what we were doing, but we had no idea," laughs interior designer Kevin O’Shea, recalling he and partner David Bowd’s first season running their Provincetown B&B, Salt House Inn. The three of us are sitting in the inn’s airy dining room and, given that the Salt House has received a long list of accolades — most recently earning a coveted spot on Condé Nast Traveler‘s Hot List — the pair could be forgiven for being much less modest. Still, "an inn is a different animal than a large hotel," says O’Shea, who has worked for brands like Starwood. Bowd, the C.O.O. of André Balazs Properties, agrees. "At a smaller property you have the ability to really interact with people," he says. "It’s rewarding to be able to curate your guests’ stays and help shape their vacation." {"type": "right-quote", "text": "“We treat the inns as extensions of our home and guests the way we would visitors in our own house.” "}

The desire to marry individual attention to guests with a modern aesthetic informed Bowd and O’Shea’s vision for a new kind of B&B. “Many B&Bs are very old fashioned,” says Bowd. “Our idea was to match the level of design you’d find at city-central hotels with the personal service you get at a B&B.” Their first project was the Salt House Inn, a series of historic buildings that formerly served as barracks for salt mine workers. O’Shea transformed the property into “the antithesis of a Victorian B&B,” with a palette of bright whites and minimalist design punctuated by vignettes of charming knickknacks O’Shea has collected from all over New England. (see O’Shea’s design inspiration on Pinterest)

Their second B&B is the Fairbanks Inn, which opens its doors for the first time this May. Housed in a circa 1751 captain’s house, O’Shea describes the inn today as “the Federal period modernized.” It’s a more refined property, with larger rooms, luxurious upholstery and statement-piece antiques. Many of the personal touches that have made the Salt House a success will be replicated at the Fairbanks, including a daily breakfast spread O’Shea creates himself. “We joke that breakfast often feels like a dinner party,” he says. "We treat the inns as extensions of our home and guests the way we would visitors in our own house."

As for picking Provincetown, “it was love at first sight,” says O’Shea about he and Bowd’s first visit to the popular Cape Cod summer spot. “It’s a wonderful local community and we want people to feel that they’re in P-town the second they walk in our doors.”

“Our goal is to provide guests with an authentic experience, so we make personal recommendations and tell them where the townies go,” adds Bowd. “Maybe it’s a bit romantic, but my hope is that everyone will fall in love with Provincetown as much as Kevin and I did.”

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Where to Eat

"Canteen has, hands down, the best lobster roll in Provincetown," says Bowd. "They make a warm one and a cold one and both are heaven." Another favorite is Victor's "a beautifully-designed restaurant with great cocktails, excellent small plates and incredible service." As for new spots, "Devon's Deep Sea Dive is a fun, funky spot with an old school / new school menu concept," says O'Shea. "I'm also designing a new space called Joon Bar + Kitchen, which will have a fantastic selection of wine, small plates and a wood-burning oven."

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Where to Shop

"Yates & Kennedy is a home store that has a really wonderful selection of curated curiosities," says O'Shea. "I also like Tim-Scapes. Artist Tim Convery has created a very cool logo for P-town using tape, and it's where we send anyone looking to take home some Provincetown gear." As for post-sun recovery, "head to Kiss and Makeup, where they have a well-edited selection of beauty products for men and women."

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What to Do

"You have to go whale watching," says Bowd. "The right whales are here through September and it's an incredible thing to see an animal that size so close to the boat." O'Shea also recommends a kayak trip to Long Point with Venture Athletics. "Paddle across the harbor with a picnic to the tip of Cape Cod and the locals beach there. There's a lovely lighthouse, too, and the view of town across the water makes for a great photo."



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