New York born and raised Jane Keltner de Valle is revered for her exceptional style and taste, so it makes perfect sense that she chose the picturesque destination of Cape Cod as the ideal spot to indulge in a family vacation. Here, she shares a postcard of her trip—including lobster rolls, homemade ice cream, and afternoons spent collecting seashells along the beach.
Destination you traveled to:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We went for a family vacation.
I loved it here because:
We wanted a place we could go as a family that was drivable from New York, where we could enjoy fresh air, fresh seafood, and lazy days by the water. Cape Cod is the perfect hybrid of New England forest and Altantic surf. It has the quaintness of a small fishing village, and it’s the kind of place you could return to in ten years, and everything would be exactly the same.
Who did you go with:
My husband Giancarlo and our eleven-month-old son Roman.
Place where you stayed:
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham. It is quintessential Cape Cod on the most picturesque strip overlooking the harbor. It was our first time staying in a hotel with Roman, and they could not have been more accommodating (crib, extra fridge for baby food, etc). It was family-friendly without feeling remotely theme park-y. We stayed on the second floor of the Daffodil house with a terrace overlooking the boats in the harbor. Waking up to that view never got old!
Places you ate:
Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet for fresh seafood in a lovely, laidback setting. The Squire on Main Street in Chatham is a casual local establishment—fun for lunch. Depot Dogs at Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse is great for a bite on the go—we stopped there on our way back to New York. And Sundae School in Orleans, or Buffy’s in Chatham, for homemade ice cream—which we had on a nightly basis!
Local delicacy you feasted on:
Lobster rolls, whole belly clam strips, mussels, and locally caught sashimi.
Beverages you sipped:
Books you read:
Brown Bear Brown Bear, Little Blue Truck, and Curious George. Traveling with an eleven-month-old didn’t leave much time for adult reading.
Games you played:
My husband played golf at Cape Cod National.
My daily uniform there was:
Type of luggage you traveled with:
We drove there so we had the luxury of over-packing. We brought a zillion totes: my Coach x James Nares and classic ones from L.L. Bean. Whether we’re gone for a day or a week, my husband always packs all of his things in his Mulberry Picadilly bag in natural leather. Then, we brought a giant tub of toys and books for Roman.
Items you packed:
An Eres swimsuit and bikini, Saint James striped shirts, a few oversized boyfriend shirts (which I used as cover-ups at the beach or pool), Thakoon sundresses, Balenciaga black cuffed shorts, Tibi seersucker shorts, and a Proenza Schouler pleated skirt. I brought my decade old Bella Freud sweater that says “Je T’aime Jane” across the front (the back reads: Gainsbourg is God. It’s a reference to Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, both of whom I am a big fan of, aside from sharing a name with the former). Cape Cod gets quite chilly in the evenings so I was glad I brought a sweater. I also packed Kate Spade x Keds sneakers, Il Sandalo sandals, espadrilles, my favorite straw panama hat from Madrid, and plenty of sunglasses from Celine, Warby Parker, Persol, and Ray-Ban. A Delvaux x-ray bag was perfect for the beach and a I used a paint-dipped burlap zip pouch from FEED as an evening clutch.
For Roman I brought: Osh Kosh overalls, Nantucket reds, striped tees, a pair of Rachel Riley dungarees embroidered with a sailboat, and all of his linen outfits that he is on the verge of outgrowing. Vilebrequin swim trunks (his dad has matching ones) and a Petit Bateau swimsuit. Plus, a Jacadi sunhat, Baby Cottons pajamas, sweaters, blankets, and socks for the cool evenings. We also packed a ton of toys and books so Roman would have things to play with while we were away.
Beauty-essentials you packed:
Lots of sunscreen for the whole family! Clarins for me and my husband: a spray for body and a stick for face. Mustela for baby: a cream for body and a stick for face. We also brought the Mustela 2-in-1 shampoo & body wash and Cetaphil body lotion for Roman. I like Kora Organics Rosehip Oil as an after sun moisturizer for myself. Then all of my usual essentials: Cetaphil face wash and La Roche-Posay face cream, Armani Beauty compact foundation (my new favorite—goes on super light!), MAC mascara, Clarins cream blush and Carita hair cream. I also brought Woolite for hand-washing. Other than that, I used the hotel products, which were Molton Brown.
In the day we:
Collected shells and rocks at the beach, read under umbrellas by the pool, and, in Roman’s case, practiced walking (he took his first solo steps in Cape Cod!). There was a lovely shipwreck-themed playground at the hotel which was perfect for little ones. We went out on a seal-watching boat one day. My husband also snuck in a few rounds of golf.
And at night we:
Had dinners in town or on our terrace overlooking the bay (the perfect no-babysitter answer to a “night out”), caught up on episodes of House of Cards, and had the luxury of going to bed as early as we wanted.
Favorite place to find local treasures:
Candy Manor on Main Street in Chatham for the best fudge.
Secret only a local would know:
Chatham is very charming, but can be quite touristy. We took a field trip to Wellfleet one day (the town the oysters are named after) and discovered a little playground, a great local beach for collecting shells, and our favorite restaurant in Cape Cod, Mac’s Shack. They have an oyster bar and a sushi bar, as well as more traditional local fare like lobster rolls. My husband got the flounder BLT. The outdoor area is shaded under an awning with shells lining the floor. We liked it so much we went back the following night for dinner and ate the freshest sushi at the bar!
First time visitors must:
Visit the Chatham Fish Pier, where you can watch the fishermen unload the day’s catches, then feast on them dockside at the Chatham Fish Market. I highly recommend a seal-watching boat trip, too!
Jane Keltner de Valle photographed on Cape Cod.