One of Cape Cod's most iconic properties hit the market this week, and you can now own a piece of New England history.
Days cottages (or the flower cottages), the beachfront rentals located on the way to Provincetown along Route 6A in Truro, are up for sale with a price tag of $399,000 each. Listings for the cottages call it "a once in a lifetime opportunity to pick your very own flower."
The row of 22 identical cottages has been owned by the Days family since 1931. Each is named after a flower. There's Daisy, Zinnia, Violet, Rose and so on. Over the last eight decades, the cottages have served as a muse for artists and photographers who came to capture the essence of the Outer Cape. Plenty of tourists have been drawn to them too over the years.
Each cottage is 420 square feet with two bedrooms and 1 bathroom, plus a private beachfront. All are listed at the same price except for the two end units. Unit 1 (Daisy) is listed at $409,000 and unit 23 (Wistaria) is listed at $429,000. (Note: There is no unit No. 13.)
Since 1991, Joe Days has operated the cottages with his wife, Cindy. His sister, Carol, is also a partner in the business. Joe Days said the work takes a toll after so many years, and he and his wife are ready to retire and have a less stressful life.
"We’re not getting any younger," said Days, who is 66. "My wife and I would like to get on to the next phase of our life."
Days said he's been part of the business since he was a kid, working 42 years in all there. He and his wife plan to spend more time at their home in Florida, but will still make the Cape their home in the summers. Days said they also plan to continue running the convenience store (Days Market) across the street from the cottages — at least for a couple more years.
But the sale of the cottages means that part of the business will no longer be in the family. Days said he and Carol decided it was a good time to sell and move on. He said other family members are not in the business.
"They've all got their own jobs and careers," Days said. "The fact that somebody would have to come down and do this, I don't know was that appealing."
The cottage were put up for sale before in 2006, but Days said the real estate market at that time wasn't so great, so they were taken off the market.
For Days, selling is bittersweet. He's had several employees who have worked alongside him for years. He said those relationships have been the best thing about the business.
"Some of them have been with me for 20 years and longer," Days said. "It makes it fun to do it and I enjoy this work. It just makes it fun when you're working with people that you like and that like you back."
Over the years, Days has also grown close to several customers who return year after year, and generation after generation. He said many have left Facebook messages lamenting that the cottages are being sold.
"A lot of these people are like, 'Oh, we just started bringing our grandchildren and we thought we were going to have many years to enjoy it with them'-- talk about a guilt trip," he said with a laugh. "Some other people say, 'Well all good things come to an end sometimes.' "
But the cottages are not quite coming to an end. They will just be under new ownership. The "Days Cottages" name will remain the same, but they will have the word "condominium" added to the title, according to Days.
The iconic look and feel of the cottages will also stay the same since the town won't allow them to be changed, according to Gregg Russo, the realtor for the properties.
"The zoning board of appeals, when the family went to get permission to condo — which is the process in Truro — actually put a restriction on the approval that they never can be changed or altered in any manner," Russo said.
This means the color, the flower names and the overall structure of the cottages will continue to look as they always have. Days calls that a "good thing" and said he hopes the new owners will also keep his longtime customers and continue that tradition.
The cottages cannot be occupied in the winter due to a city bylaw that limits occupancy to three seasons, according to Russo. So far, the history of the place has drawn in many inquiries. Russo said people have even called asking for specific flowers.
"There are people who want specific cottages because they've been coming to them [and] their grandparents came to them," Russo said. "The opportunity to actually own an iconic piece of Truro history is so overwhelming for some of these people."
Two of the cottages are already spoken for, according to Russo. He said he expects half will be gone within a week and plans to close all sales at the beginning of next year.
Here are more images of the iconic cottages: