Three Perfect Days in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
By Alexandra Grabbe innkeeper for Chez Sven Bed and Breakfast
Get away to Cape Cod this spring, summer, or fall! The Cape offers miles of pristine beach on the ocean and bay, as well as hundreds of kettle ponds. Think of the peninsula as a bent arm and proceed up from the elbow towards Wellfleet, the perfect place to cast anchor and explore neighboring towns. The Outer Cape is where you’ll find the most open space, thanks to the National Seashore. The innkeeper of your Cape Cod bed and breakfast will help you obtain a sticker for parking at local beaches. If you want to do more than relax on a beach, grab a sun hat and let’s head out for three days of fun!
Day 1: Provincetown, a former Portuguese fishing village, charms more visitors every year. Spend the morning on Commercial Street in shops and galleries. Climb the Pilgrim Monument for a spectacular view. Have lunch at Bubala’s or Sanette’s Karoo Kafe, an affordable South African restaurant with exotic dishes like sweet potato fries and ostrich burgers. Use your cell to book the sunset whale-watching cruise and make dinner/theater reservations for Day 2 & 3. Spend the afternoon in the Provincelands on one of Art’s Dune Tours. (Athletic types can bike the strenuous trails.) After whale-watching, dine at The Mews, Devon’s, or Lobster Pot. Then people-watch in a café before bed.
Day 2: Start Day 2 by driving in the opposite direction, down Route 6 to Eastham. Its Coast Guard Beach ranks among the top ten beaches in America. (Access via shuttle bus; parking costs $15, so arrive early.) Your next stop should be the National Seashore Headquarters to sign up for ranger-led activities (for Day 3). While there, watch the film on the creation of Cape Cod and pick up some great postcards for friends back home. Onward to Orleans. Follow Route 28 to Chatham. Buy a few antiques along the way. The one thing not to miss is the breach in the sandbar. For lunch, step back in time at the Chatham Wayside Inn. Then explore this cozy New England village with its stately mansions, sea captains’ homes, even an old Cape Cod bed and breakfast or two. Dine early in Orleans at Abba and savor chef Erez Pinhas’ pan-Mediterranean/Thai cuisine. Or, enjoy a real French restaurant, PB Boulangerie, in South Wellfleet. Return to Wellfleet in time to catch a show at W.H.A.T. or Wellfleet Drive-in.
Day 3: First thing in the morning, proceed up Route 6 to the Marconi site and its Atlantic White Cedar Swamp for a scenic hike. Afterwards, take a moment to let the history of the place seep in. Climb the platform for a view of both the ocean and Cape Cod Bay. Have a bucket of steamers for lunch at Catch of the Day or head to the terrace at Winslow’s Tavern for a glass of Sangria. In the afternoon, go on a nature walk with a ranger (reserved Day 2) or catch bluefish aboard one of the local fishing vessels. You could also rent a kayak from Jack’s on Gull Pond. Paddle to the sluiceway into Higgins Pond and proceed on to Williams Pond, where Thoreau stayed overnight with the “Wellfleet Oysterman.” In the evening, enjoy raw oysters at one of Wellfleet’s numerous seafood restaurants or drive up to Truro for upscale dining at Blackfish or Terra Luna.
The crisp, salty air and mild climate make Cape Cod a popular destination in summer. The busiest months are July and August, so try May, June, September or October instead. Travel mid-week, when it’s easier to get around. Buy a few souvenirs: a jar of beach plum jelly at Wellfleet’s famous Briar Lane stand or a bowl crafted by a Cape Cod local artisan. During the winter they will inspire pleasant memories of your Cape Cod getaway.