The Abandoned Bates Motel of Cape Cod

Truro, Massachusetts, is the first town south of Provincetown (for those of you unfamiliar with Massachusetts geography, Provincetown is located at the very end of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod “arm”). One of the best biking routes through Truro is along Rt. 6A, known as “Old Kings Highway,” or the original main thoroughfare up the Cape. Along this route are numerous cottage-style resorts, the picturesque Day’s Cottages being the most archetypal:

Cabins 01

I’ve never stayed in one of these before (very pricey!), but despite being a cynical New Yorker, even I have to admit their perfect level of quaintness and charm. If someone asked me to imagine a row of beach-side Cape Cod cottages, this is exactly what I would come up with:

Cabins 02

To max-out the cuteness factor, each of the 20 or so cottages is named after a plant:

Cabins 03

Each abuts on a beach on the western side of the Cape:

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Finally, for photographers, they’re great because you can easily grab some “repetitive pattern”-style pictures:

Cabins 05

But nestled in amongst the thriving Truro vacation establishments is my absolute favorite find along 6A: this fantastic abandoned motel, which reminds me very distinctly of the Bates Motel.

Cabins 06

Boarded up and in a bad state of disrepair, I have no idea how long this has been closed down. Last year when I was last here, it was basically in the same shape:

Cabins 07

It is unbelievable to me that such a property has been out of operation for so long despite its value. There are dozens of similar places along 6A, and literally every single one of them has a NO VACANCY sign out – and this is on a Tuesday! Yet this one has been abandoned and seemingly forgotten.

Cabins 08

I find this motel to be absolutely beautiful in its decay. When was it last in business? Who stayed here? How many guests passed through? How many families still remember this as their old Cape Cod getaway? I’d love to have a look inside, but the place was thoroughly boarded up, with NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere.

Cabins 09

At the southern end, someone has graffitied on a window…

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…a bunch of birds (crows?)…

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…with the creepy/insanely cool message “eyes everywhere.” What does that mean???

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A railing to nothing and some deteriorating cement design-work:

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The doors, still numbered, have been steadily turning brown:

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At the northern end are three cottages, also boarded up:

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Like the Day’s Cottages, the motel and the cottages back up to a beach:

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As you can see, the beach is extremely overgrown:

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Behind another cottage, a couple of beat-up beach chairs are still looking out on the harbor:

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Closer look:

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In the back, a beautiful view of the coast (and a chimney!):

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The rear of the cottages:

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A fourth cottage, which has remained vacant for what seems to be a very long time:

Cabins 22

Like New York City, every piece of property in the Cape is extremely valuable, and finding something so disregarded is an extremely rare occurrence. I’m sure the seller is just waiting for the right price, and within a few years, this will be yet another thriving motel in Truro. Until then, this abandoned motel will have to be content in simply setting imaginations racing.


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  1. I love those little Monopoly house cottages myself, and fell in love with them when I went to P-town as a kid. I too am intrigued to know the stories behind those abandoned places. Thanks for documenting them and please keep us posted!

  2. I was in the Cape last week and rode past that spot many times on my bike. I thought about the closed down motel and wondered the same thing. I just figured that the down economy was keeping the reconstruction from happening. That little stretch of 6A seems a tad ramshackle to my eye. The beach there is not the prettiest on the bay side.

  3. It’s gotta be haunted. (Probably not, but it fits the story all too well…)

  4. I’m not sure if “eyes everywhere” is a direct quote, but in Stephen King’s The Stand (a bit of which takes place in near the New England shore), the Walking Man sometimes takes the form of a raven.

  5. Michael Strangeways

    I love the repitition of rowhouses and interesting architecture in general but the bland, sterility of these cabins is a turn-off for me…they’re a little too bleakly gulag for my taste. Why not paint them in different colors and add some landscaping?

    And, that motel might be tied up in litigation or probate or some other legal snafu that prevents it from redevelopment…

  6. I think you are following me.

  7. “Eyes everywhere?” Crows? This smacks of VFD and Count Olaf.

  8. The birds with “eyes everywhere” reminds me of work by the artist Banksy.

  9. The houses are so tidy, I like them. It seems that there is a famous football team called Massachusetts Union, isn’t it?

  10. Thanks for the great post!

  11. I have been visiting the Cape for 23 years and that hotel has been abandoned for at least that long and probably longer. I heard once that it was stuck in litigation after a divorce or death in the family that owned it. A few years ago (can’t remember how many — maybe three or four) a “For Sale” sign appeared in front of the property. It still hasn’t sold, and is listed at $999,999. See:

    As for the Days’ Cottages, they were sold off a few years back and are now privately owned vacation homes.

  12. Interesting! This is my favorite post about SCOUTING NY ยป The Abandoned Bates Motel of Cape Cod.

  13. Just drove down 6A tonight on the way to dinner — and the abandoned motel is still abandoned! I’ll try to get back while I’m still up here for some pictures.

  14. If you like cape cod abandoned. Google and visit the North Truro Air Force Base. It’s abandoned save for one radar installation. Has an abandoned cold war feel to it.. Very creepy at dusk.

    • The Air Force Station is far from being abandoned anymore.. it is now part of the National Seashore and while some of the buildings are still boarded up and not in use, they’re using it for kind of a center for the Arts now..

  15. was at the cottages over the summer beautiful place. i was told there going to just let nature take them back , the cottages are on the national seashore and money is tight . you can check out our photos on lostinnewenglanddotcom , love your website

  16. I was just on the Cape this past week, and I was also thinking the same about this hotel. I wish I were a millionaire so I could buy it and renovate it… Oh well.. There is also another hotel on rte 6 that is a abandoned. I can’t remember the exact name of it at the moment, but I want to say that it is in Wellfleet? I could be off about that as well… It is literally RIGHT on rte 6, so I wonder what happened there as well. On such a busy road, with such heavy business during the summer months, how could it just lay there empty? It is not in quite the disrepare that this one is, but you can clearly tell it is empty… Such a shame…

  17. unfortunately, I was just there in 2014 and it is still boarded up and in disrepair. I don’t understand like you said it is such valuable property why isn’t anyone doing anything with it?
    suach a shame.

  18. unfortunately, I was just there in 2014 and it is still boarded up and in disrepair. I don’t understand like you said it is such valuable property why isn’t anyone doing anything with it?
    such a shame.

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