Few clothing brands have succeeded at marketing their wares as a lifestyle choice quite like Barbour. As evidenced by the evergreen Instagram hashtags #barbourwayoflife and #barbourpeople, waxed cotton jacket enthusiasts are eager to put their Bedales and Beauforts at the center of their travels (even if they’re more likely to use the latter’s game pocket to stash a copy of The New Yorker than a pheasant, as is the case with this writer).
And now Barbour aficionados can now enjoy the brand as a bonafide travel experience, thanks to a partnership between the brand and Wequassett Resort & Golf Club — a 27-acre waterfront luxury hotel on Cape Cod. The ongoing partnership, a first of its kind for Barbour in the U.S, launched in March and comprises an on-site borrowing closet, an outdoors-oriented “Field Guide Package,” a set-course menu from Wequassett executive chef James Hackney and even a Barbour-inspired cocktail (scotch-based, of course).
The resort, which was built outside the town of Harwich in 1925 and consists of wooden-shingle cottages, tennis courts, two outdoor swimming pools and an 18th century Captain’s house-turned fined dining establishment and tavern, feels like a natural part of the Barbour landscape. Even more so now that its staff will be decked out in Barbour-branded apparel, from baseball caps and polo shirts in the spring and summer time to waxed jackets in the fall.
But its bellhops and bartenders will not be the only people sporting Barbour on-site. Situated in the front lobby, the borrowing closet will be stocked with waxed jackets and waterproof Wellington boots in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes, which guests may borrow at the first sign of a rainy day or breezy evening. While the goods from the borrowing closet are provided complimentary, guests that fall in love with their given Barbour or Wellies have the option to purchase them and add them to their own closet. It’s open to all, though, those partaking in the Field Guide Package will have first dibs.
In keeping with Barbour’s sporting tradition (the business was established in 1894 to provide weather-resistant gear to sailors, mariners and fishermen), the Field Guide Package presents guests with a number of outdoor activities to take part in. The itinerary — which is offered as an enhancement starting at $150+ and includes a Barbour welcome amenity, a complimentary Explorer cocktail at Thoreau’s and full access to the Barbour borrowing closet — presents such options as a local lighthouse excursion, tennis lessons, yoga or meditation classes in view of Pleasant Bay, scenic cycling along the Cape Cod Rail Trail and even clamming boat tours led by Wequassett’s on-site clammer (of course there’s a clammer on staff).
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“Part of Barbour’s philosophy and beliefs is our Barbour Way of Life which is all about spending time outdoors and enjoying what nature has to offer,” says Paul Stephan, who serves as Barbour’s Head of Marketing for North America. “It is about spending time with friends, family, and loved ones and enjoying a slower pace of life. Partnering with hotels with the same values fits perfectly with this ethos — customers can enjoy relaxed downtime in beautiful surroundings, exploring the outdoors. It’s also an opportunity for us to showcase our brand to new customers by letting them try out our products and elevating their guest experience.”
In the kitchen of twenty-eight Atlantic, the resort’s flagship dining establishment, the partnership has yielded a five-course menu prepared by Executive Chef James Hackney that combines local New England seafood with English ingredients and the go-out-and-get-your-hands-dirty ethos of Barbour.
“I was inspired to bring the outdoors indoors by involving local seafood, such as native clams and oysters, and seasonal foraging ingredients — all activities that are out in the elements where a Barbour jacket and boots would best be suited,” Hackney says of the menu, which begins with trio of fried, grilled and fresh oysters before progressing to dishes like clams with tarragon and black beans or black bass with rhubarb and toasted oats.
“I also wanted to incorporate ingredients from the British Isles, such as oats and clotted cream, English peas — all presented elegantly, satisfying but unpretentiously, trying to follow the clothing style,” he continues.
Hackney, himself an English expat, finishes the menu with a lighter expression of “Eton mess,” a berry-based dessert that originated in the late 19th century at Eton college. “The Eton mess has always been a favorite of mine and took me back to my childhood, where I grew up wearing Barbour jackets,” Hackney says. “A fun fact is that the first print of this recipe was found in 1893, a year before the company was founded in 1894.”
Once the Eton mess has been cleaned up, so to speak, guests might finish the evening at Thoreau’s, a clubby, wood-filled bar that abuts twenty-eight Atlantic and features an oil painting of its Transcendentalist namesake over a working fireplace. Seated in a leather armchair they might savor the Explorer, a cocktail created for the collaboration that combines Macallan Double Cask with lemon juice, honey and Angostura bitters over an ice rock with an embossed lemon peel.
As the cross-Atlantic alliance between resort and waxed jacket maker continues throughout the year, it will be incorporated into annual events hosted by Wequassett like the Cape Cod Jazz + Arts Festival. And come fall, the resort will become a local drop-off location for Barbour’s Re-Loved program, which invites customers to recycle their retired Barbour jackets in return for a credit towards their next purchase.
If this is the truest manifestation of the Barbour way of life, guests may never want to return home.
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