The Night, The Porch

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting
For something whose appearance would be its vanishing —
The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,
Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.

by Mark Strand, from New Selected Poems, 2007

Prior to 1999 Lis Sur Mer was a family compound. The cottages began to develop in 1948 as the summer refuge for an old New England family. The patriarch of the family purchased a large tract of barren waterfront property upon his return from serving in the Armed Forces during World War 2.

The early structures on the property were built from the fruits of the beach. As shipwrecks, pilings and boards washed up on shore, the original owner would build one room cottages or expand them as needed. This great example of nautical recycling grew to include the use of doors and windows salvaged from the local renovation of cottages as the Cape became more gentrified. The result was a collection of three cottages that were completely unique unto themselves.

The setting and the evolution of these cottages were very much in keeping with the famous ocean side “dune shacks” that were inhabited by writers and painters of Provincetown.

As early as the late 1800’s Provincetown, a rustic fishing village, and once a great harbor, attracted the creative minds of European and urban America.

A combination of incredible light and an atmosphere of freedom of expression brought the art world to summer and in many cases settle in Provincetown/Truro.

In the early eighties, a New York family in the arts, who had summered in the area for 20 years, took over the property and began to restore it with the same vision as the original owner. They continued the tradition of creating small storybook summer cottages by rebuilding with antique 18th century beams and barn board sourced from a restoration house in New Hampshire. Old doors and windows were used wherever possible.

The property was designed to create privacy between the three cottages. Dunes were sculpted and extensive plantings of rose bushes, black pine, English oak and olive trees were arranged as if they had always been growing there, protecting the privacy of each cottage. The cottages were purposely designed and maintained to be old world eclectic, funky, unique, to inspire a true Old Cape Cod experience.


Many antique pieces are present to add to the charm. A bed in the Beach Cottage was the owner’s grandparents. The dining table in The Beach Cottage dates from 1840.

Most people feel that they are in another country when they first see Lis Sur Mer and we are proud of its uniqueness. This point of view is not for everyone. Whenever you take a strong position, you are going to find those who love it and those who do not. If your idea of a vacation is an escape, this may be for you. The experience is more like living on board of a ship than in a house. It is supposed to be like that. There is great privacy, the constant sound of waves, a cool breeze at night, a view across the bay to Provincetown harbor and above you one of nature’s most profound presentations of stars and universes. There are no dishwashers. These are cottages, cabins, escapes. If you desire to duplicate a high tech existence on your vacation, then this is not the place for you.

This is the place for a very special need; the need to let go… Experience the timelessness of the bay, walk on the beach, reflect. A time to create the memories that are always represented in films where shingled cottages sit alone on the edge of dunes in soft sepia toned focus. It could be anytime in the collective past memory of beach cottages, dunes and timelessness.

The Lis Sur Mer complex provides total privacy between the three cottages. They can be rented separately or all together for large families or couples who wish to go on vacation together but also want their privacy. We also allow pets at Lis Sur Mer, because we believe pets are a part of the family so they shouldn’t be excluded from your vacation.

Because this is a special property we have tried to create as much information as possible on these pages to help you decide if this experience is for you. When people rent over the internet, they create in their minds a vision that is not always what they get. We have been very fortunate over the years of renting the cottages as most everyone who visits Lis Sur Mer rebooks for the next year, they so enjoyed their stay. You may come and view the property off season if you are in the area.

Once a week is booked there are no refunds, so PLEASE look over all the information offered here before deciding to rent. Then look over the HOUSE RULES. We have fully developed the cottages into four-season havens, expanding the opportunity for more people to enjoy the most unique of Cape experiences. For your off-season pleasure, the cottages have been fully insulated with down comforters, efficient gas heaters, storm windows and doors.