chat with a local :: Rick Garceau + Tom Nortz

Located next to the famed 1856 Country Store in Centerville, The Captain David Kelley House is much more than a quaint, historic B&B. Owners Rick Garceau and Tom Nortz take proprietorship and hospitality to a new level at this year-round destination. We caught up with this amazing duo, who are uniquely engaged in the Cape Cod community, hosting garden parties, flash mob dance gatherings, and imaginative events for both visitors and locals.

What’s the story behind the Captain David Kelley House?
Captain David Kelley, shipmaster in command of the “Fleet Wing” and “Abby Burseley,” built this Greek Revival home in 1835. He and his wife Patience raised their family here, and later sold the house to Captain John Baker, Captain of the “Pride of The Port.” The Kelleys are buried in a family plot three doors down at South Congregational Church. The house became a lodging establishment in the 1930s, and has operated under different names; it was renamed The Captain David Kelley House and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Describe the process of operating an historic B&B and how you made this dream job possible.
We purchased the house in late 2008, and immediately began our punchlist of renovations. With two guest rooms ready, we opened for business on Valentine’s Weekend, 2009. Renovations continued through the winter season, including new electrical service, new plumbing, insulated doors and windows, new roof, skylights, furnace, central a/c, hot water tank, walkways, fountains and perennial beds to name a few. We continued to work our off-Cape jobs for the first four years, in order to pay for all of the renovations. We’ve now been here full-time for three years.

You’re both actively involved in the local community. Why do you think that is so important?
We acknowledge that we are all a part of what makes our community so special. We truly believe that we only succeed if we all succeed. It’s important to us to put down roots and have a sense of community. We believe that the Centerville Library, The Civic Association, The Historical Museum, the Cotuit Center for The Arts are all essential to the life of our community. That said, we love manning a hot dog stand at the annual Christmas Stroll, handing out our scones to spectators at the Memorial Day and 4th of July Parades, supporting the Library’s Giving Tree and Toys for Tots at the Police Station. Rick also offers a free weekly Zumba class to locals. We feel that we’ve been so blessed and we want to give back.   

What makes Captain David Kelley House special? People rave about it – and it seems as though it’s about much more than the mattresses!
We treat every guest as we would want to be treated, and strive to provide an environment that’s warm, welcoming and accepting. We love what we do, and we truly believe that is what makes Captain David Kelley House special.

How did a couple from off-Cape end up running a bed and breakfast in Centerville?
We moved here from Walpole, Mass, after three years of searching for B&B’s online. It was the first house that spoke to the both of us. On a spiritual level, we felt we were meant to be here. We met on Cape Cod 30 years ago, and feel we’ve come full circle. We fall in love with Cape Cod more and more each day, and can’t imagine ever leaving this beautiful place!

We’ve heard about your infamous “Scone Wars.” What in the world …?!
The “Scone Wars” grew out of our natural competitive nature and sense of humor. We’d try to out-do each other’s scones and scone delivery, with some of our initial “persconas” being: Prince Scone-alot, The Scone Ranger, Frank Scone-atra and Doctor Living-scone.  The “Breakfast Theater” is so well received that the laughter can be heard down at the 1856 Country Store! We now add new “persconas” every year for our returning guests!

We hear you have a pretty groovy event coming up … tell us all about that and why we shouldn’t miss it!  Annually, we hold a fundraiser for the Centerville Historical Museum, which is two doors away. Each year, we pick a different theme. This year’s theme is Groovy 60’s, and will feature classic retro food, beer & wine, live 60’s music by Two Cool, dancing, raffles, prizes for best Groovy 60’s attire and more surprises! This year the event is being supported by Cape Cod Chocolatier, The Roadhouse Cafe, Spanky’s, The 1856 Country Store, The Spa at Sea Street, Crisp Flatbread, Wimpy’s, Cape Cod Photo Designs, and Entire Health and Wellness. Food is being prepared by our neighbors Bonnie Wenger and Barbara Felegian, Linda Saunders and yours truly. All proceeds will benefit the Centerville Historical Museum. We look forward to seeing you for a groovy evening of go-go boots, mini dresses, headbands and tie dye! More info here.

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