Great Escapes

Escape To...Cape Cod (& Nantucket) with Kate Schelter

Kate Schelter at her favorite summer escape. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

This New York stylemaker, artist and author calls Cape Cod home each summer, making her the ideal guide to New England’s best.

Known for her polished preppy style, charming watercolor creations, and all-around creative verve, author/illustrator Kate Schelter has been a fixture on the fashion and arts scene for years.  

After attending Rhode Island School of Design, Kate delved into a myriad of pursuits including photography, styling, forecasting, and graphic design. Her latest endeavors include CLASSIC STYLE — a lush illustrated guide to timeless everyday objects and essential fashion favorites that define personal style. She also has capsule collection Kate Schelter x Veronica Beard sold at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Veronica Beard stores.

On top of all of her creative work and luxury brand consulting, Kate pursues a personal passion...creating charming, happy watercolors of iconic pieces that run the gamut from a Converse sneaker to a Chanel handbag. Much of the artwork is inspired by the places and things found in Cape Cod, a place where she has spent summers since she was a baby.

Kate’s cheerful watercolors brighten up a bedroom at her family home. Photo by Joe St. Pierre.
Kate with an armful of sunflowers from Cape Cod Organic Farm. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Shelter.

"No matter where I've lived, I journey back to rest, reset, unplug, and family, family, family," says Kate. "Four years ago, my husband and I bought a house down the street from the house I grew up in, it's been in our family for 50 years." She treasures the family time, the relaxed daily rhythm, and natural beauty of Cape Cod.

Kate sees Cape Cod as a natural extension of her life in NYC..."a yin-yang balance". While she spends time here off-season, the June - September months are special. "It has a vast expansiveness, with the water and the horizon," says Kate. "When I walk on sand flats I sometimes feel like I'm on the moon — so simple, bright and primal. I never want to leave the Cape in the summer."

After touring around with Kate below, we don’t want to either.

"When I walk on sand flats I sometimes feel like I'm on the moon — so simple, bright and primal. I never want to leave the Cape in the summer."

Four Seas provides with a bit of nostalgia.
Stop in for Four Seas' delicious homemade ice cream. Photos: Courtesy of Four Seas Ice Cream.
Fresh shucked oysters at Fin Cape Cod. Photo: Courtesy of Fin.

For Fresh Produce...


"The best restaurant is my own kitchen! Family dinners rule on the Cape. Visit Cape Cod Organic Farm (3675 Main St, Barnstable, MA | 508-362-3573) for local greens, veggies and fields of wildflowers and sunflowers that you can self-pick, a dollar per stem. I love to go with my daughter and bask in the scenery of what the Cape was like 100 years ago; Also Crow Farm (192 Old Kings Highway, Sandwich, MA | 508-888-0690) They have the best cornmeal.”

For Lunch or Dinner...

"For delicious duck and organic, local veggies, visit Fin (800 Main St. Rt.6A, Dennis, MA | 508-385-2096). Pain D’Avignon (15 Hinckley Road | 508-778-8588) in Hyannis for the best Sourdough Boule. And don’t miss Four Seas Ice Cream (360 South Main Street, Centerville, MA | 508-775-6964) Try a scoop of Peppermint Stick, Mocha Chip, or  Black Raspberry. Greydon House (17 Broad Street | 508-228-2468) on Nantucket Island has incredible cocktails and wine list, delicious food, and Roman + Williams decor."

For Cocktails…


"Either our house for a Dark & Stormy or Greydon House (17 Broad Street | 508-228-2468) on Nantucket.”

Magnetic North offers stylish clothing, accessories and also chic bikes for touring the Cape in style. Photo: Courtesy of Magnetic North.
Some blue and white fun at Design Works Cape Cod. Photo: Courtesy of Design Works Cape Cod.


"Design Works Cape Cod (Rt 6A, Yarmouth Port, MA | 508-362-9698) “I love my friend’s store because they specialize in Scandinavian country antiques (Hello scrubbed pine!) which I love and collect any chance I have a place for one. They also carry beautiful books, Indian block print, moo moos, linens (I get all my Matouk here!), gifts and artwork. I show my original watercolors here in the summers. A perfect fit.” Magnetic North (18 Beach Street, Vineyard Haven | (508) 687-9972) “This store has a lovely offering of clothing, gift items, and super cool bikes you can stylishly peddle around the island.”

They carry beautiful books, Indian block print, moo moos, linens (I get all my Matouk here!), gifts and artwork. I show my original watercolors here in the summers. A perfect fit.

Kate on Design Works Cape Cod

Kate just outside Greydon House on Nantucket, her favorite place to recommend to visitors, if you are not lucky enough to be staying with with her or at her Granny’s idyllic house. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Shelter.


"Greydon House (17 Broad Street, Nantucket | 508-228-2468) “Perfection!”

Dusk at the stunning Nauset Beach in Eastham Massachusetts. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
The ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket is an escape in itself. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.



The Edward Gorey House (8 Strawberry Lane, Yarmouth Port, MA | (508) 362-3909). “You can see his kitchen exactly as he left it, and his favorite painting outfit.” The National Seashore/Nauset Beach (20 Nauset Light Beach Rd, Eastham, MA) “Nauset Beach has huge dune cliffs that dramatically spill into massive surf, with crashing waves. While many beaches on the Cape are quiet and known for salt marshes and sand flats (and are private, or, um, beautiful but we can’t tell you how to get there, ahem!), Nauset Beach is public and and picture postcard.” Cape Cinema (35 Hope Lane, Dennis, MA | 508-385-2503) “Watch a classic or art film in this theatre with a mural on the ceiling and individual chairs with white linen covers Dreamy!”

"It's worth daytripping to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard from the Cape—high-speed ferries make this fun. You can rent bikes moments from the ferry docks and pedal peacefully all over the islands.”

Hitting the picturesque paved trails of the Cape Cod Bike Paths, a great way to explore the coast. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.



Audubon Trails (208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA | 781-259-9500) “They are crawling all over the Cape—perfect for kids, and nicely shaded for the hotter days. Cape Cod Bike Paths “Paved, a great way to explore conservation land, away from cars/roads.”

Kate sets up an easel to work on her charming watercolors. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Schelter.
Relaxed meals are de rigueur for Kate and her family. Photo by Joe St. Pierre.
Kate and husband Chris are ready for a bike ride--one of her favorite ways to see the Cape. Photo: Courtesy of Kate Schelter.

Kate Schelter: My Perfect Cape Cod Day

"My perfect day on the Cape begins with poached eggs and soldiers at our kitchen table with my family; an hour spent in the garden (I’m a serial pruner). Then tennis and picnic lunch with my family on the water. Afterwards, I’ll spend hours painting watercolors knee-deep in a field of Queen Anne’s Lace. A nap and outdoor shower amongst the roses followed by family dinner with too much ice cream for dessert. Sleep with the windows open. Perhaps midnight skinny dipping when the heat is unbearable?”


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