Cape Cod Times - 1989

By Allison Blake

Days' Cottages, in Truro, stand in line waiting for summer visitors

NORTH TRURO -- Days' Cottages are "a national landmark around this house," says Michael Jones, 22, of Enfield, Conn., a lifelong, third-generation visitor.

Built during the Depression, the distinctive white and green-trimmed cottages, each named for a flower, symmetrically line the Beach Point shore.

If you want to reserve one for a week, good luck. Try again before the summer of 1990.

"Some people come down so often, they think they're part owner," says 40-year-old Joe Days, current manager and grandson of the builder.

The legacy of Days' Cottages started when the lumber business went downhill, along with everything else, during the Depression. Rather than lay off the workers at the Frank A. Days and Sons Lumberyard in Provincetown, Joseph A. Days offered them a deal.

"He asked the fellows if they wanted to take a cut in pay and come work on the beach," says Joseph's son, Bernard Days.

They built the the first of 23 cottages that year, in 1931.

Days' Cottages rest on 17 lots, each with 50 feet of frontage on Cape Cod Bay. The lots cost $50 to $150 apiece when Joe Days bought them; now the land alone is worth close to a half-million dollars.

Rigth around the same time Joe Days Sr. was overseeing the year-by-year construction of new cottages, John Spring and his wife were headed deeper into New England from their Connecticut home.

"Initially, or so the story went, they wandered off onto the Cape back when there were really no roads," says Spring's son Kevin -- Michael Jones' uncle. "They kept going and going, and finally settled on Days' Cottages. i think the reason was that at the time they were the cheapest cottages."

For $15, you could stay for a week. By the time Mr. Spring spent his last summer at Days' Cottages -- 54 years later -- the price was up to $450 a week.

"It's almost like another neighborhood (away) from home. Out of the 23 cottages they have, probably 10 or 15 are people that are there year after year. When you get there, it's like you never left," says Kevin Spring, of Southington, Conn.

The window-lined living rooms of each linoleum-floored cottage offer an expansive view of Cape Cod Bay. The fireplaces, blocked in 30 years ago, are dotted with the names and dates of past inhabitants.

On these soggy spring days, lade eiders cluster on the jetties outside. They are the last of the water birds.

"During the day, we never really leave the beach. Even in the rain," says Michael Jones.

"We go up to the Cape all different times of the year," he says. "But it's not the Cape until we get to Days' Cottages. It just doesn't feel the same."