It has been 25 years since Sandwich local Chris Wilson purchased a ramshackle and rickety 1882 Victorian church rectory on Jarves Street, performed a top-to-bottom transformation and proudly named his new fanciful beauty, The Painted Lady. "The Lady" currently boasts 9 whimsical guest rooms, as well as the Next Door Burger Bar, locally recognized as the best burger this side of the bridges. Soon after, he took the distressed 1901 church next door, renamed it The Abbey, and performed a "miracle" transformation, creating The Belfry Inn & Bistro, one of the most stunning and highly celebrated settings in New England for a night out--or a few well deserved nights away. But as Tony Bennett's heart never left San Francisco, Chris Wilson's heart beats only for Sandwich Village, and to be more specific, Jarves Street. On the other side of The Abbey Chris poured all of his spirit into an 1827 Federal style Boarding House and Carriage House. Adding 5 more rooms and suites to his inventory, christening the third Jarves Street property The Village House.
Can "no rest for the wicked" be said about a man who saved a church and rectory? Regardless of the answer, Chris Wilson does not sleep much, and a couple of years ago bought a forth historic building on Jarves. This time Chris' wife Wendy had much to say about the new property and wanted to do something a little bit different. With a strong passion for local art and artists, Wendy helped Chris turn an already stunning brick walled, tin ceiling-ed space into a posh yet approachable art gallery. But as much as the Wilsons want to celebrate local artists, they felt the desire to have their friends and family (also known as "the locals") celebrate under the art. So, in 2021, The Seal made its splash into Sandwich Village, converting the gallery into a sumptuously laid-back eatery, adding a third restaurant to Chris' celebrated Belfry Inn compound, as well as many more job opportunities for hospitality loving locals.
Serving up "Provisions" to be enjoyed both under the tin ceiling, or out in the world, The Seal offers "coastally inspired" small plates, fresh sushi, luscious libations and a great time for all. Whether you live one block off of Jarves, two states over the bridge of three continents away, you'll feel like part of the Sandwich family. Stop in for a cold beer, a glass of wine, an afternoon or evening you'll want to repeat over and over. Cheers!
Once you see the walls of The Seal restaurant you might just get the itch to explore further...
If it can be said that food and drink and all things hospitality is Chris Wilson's life blood, one can make the comparison to his wife Wendy's love of art (not that you won't get a chance to chat with her at The Seal bar from time to time). As The Seal was making its approach to shore, Chris and Wendy purchased one more property as their home, the 1830 First Church Meetinghouse (what, were you expecting a 1-bedroom Cape?). The original Meetinghouse, built in 1638, was not only the most storied landmark of Sandwich Village, it was also the first public building on Cape Cod. Today it can also be added that the Belfry Meetinghouse now houses an exceptional art gallery, courtesy of Wendy Wilson. Though still called "Gallery on Jarves" you'll find its location inside the Belfry Meetinghouse, on the corner of River and 143 Main Street.
Gallery on Jarvis: Open by appointment only 617-780-7256
Belfry Inn properties: www.belfryinn.com
~ Tommy Dott is an award-winning freelance food writer, innkeeper and slave to the hospitality industry.
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