Rewind the clock to when I lived in Massachusetts. While stomping grounds at the time included the Berkshires and the North Shore more than it did the Cape, I spent a fair amount of time on Cape Cod in the early days of moving there. There was a family restaurant in Buzzard’s Bay where we could get two lobsters for $12.99 during a short happy hour window on random days and we’d leave work early just to get our hands and face messy for the evening.
On my most recent trip this past summer, I wondered whether this little nook that jets out into the ocean an hour to two hour’s drive from Boston, had remained as untouched as I had remembered it.
I recall the barbecue cook outs we had with friends in Sandwich towards the northern part of the Cape and eating seafood with other friends in Dennis. My favorite Cape places however were the spots where we didn’t know anyone at all, Provincetown withstanding. I loved Provincetown then and I loved it this time around, so years hadn’t diminished my interest in this oh so very fun town at the tip of Cape Cod. (See my separate write up on Provincetown as well as the Dunes Tour we did nearby)
Orleans, Harwich and Falmouth have their own charm and of course Hyannis is practical since it is home to the numerous ferries across to the islands. See my articles on Nantucket (general article on the island, Nantucket Sunflowers and Nantucket Sunsets), the general article boasting some fabulous shots of the Hyannis to Nantucket “fast ferry” crossing.
All that said, my favorite three spots in the Cape however have always been Chatham, Wellfleet and Truro. We have friends just outside Chatham so were lucky to spend some time there, cycling, by food and by car. We also stayed in the ever so English Captain’s House Inn which we loved. (Read my review on the inn).
Below is a series of breathtaking shots I took of the Chatham Light House, which we managed to get to just as the light was changing minute by minute. It seemed as it I just snapped one shot when the light had shifted again. Have a look.
If that’s not enough alone to get you to Chatham, then perhaps the seafood will. There are countless restaurants that make the area worth the drive from Boston. There is also the Chatham Pier Fish Market where you can order fried clams, oysters, and fish right on the water. There are picnic tables on the other side where you can let your kids run around and watch kites flying in the air overhead.
Restaurants worth noting, particularly for seafood include the Impudent Oyster (pricey but delicious), the Lazy Lobster, Del Mar, which is a contemporary bistro and has general American fare and for sushi, the Blue Fin’s Sushi & Saki Bar. These are all walking distance from each other relatively speaking, so depending on how long you’re there, you could try them all.
Nearby is the equally quaint town of Wellfleet, which was first inhibited by several Indian villages of the Nauset tribe. You can feel the history as you drive through the town, but like all Cape towns, I’d recommend exploring on foot or by bike.
There are countless little shops along the main drag, art galleries (it’s known as an ‘art gallery town,‘), as well as oodles of great restaurants. A few suggestions include Van Rensselaer’s Restaurant & Raw Bar, Bookstone & Restaurant which has outdoor dining with views and oysters, J.P.’s Restaurant and Bar and the more traditional Winslow’s Tavern on Wellfleet’s Main Street.
The ocean near Chatham
Bay beaches are known for their towering dunes, golden sand and wispy grass. For warmer waters, go for the bayside beaches which also has good seashells and don’t miss out on the hues of Duck Harbor’s sunsets. A hidden gem worth mentioning is that they have fresh water ponds, which were originally formed from ice chunks left by glaciers centuries ago. In addition to being close to the stunning beaches, you can also tap into the ponds for kayaking, canoeing and swimming.
Truro was always my beach stop because of its luscious high banks of sand and its pure and authentic beauty. The Truro Vineyards are open to the public for winery tours (given free daily at 1pm and 3pm after Memorial Day) and tastings occur every half hour during normal business hours. Not to be missed is the Atlantic Spice Co. where we bought bags of spices, perhaps too much, as it appears that I now have enough lemon pepper to last me a life time. The prices are incredibly reasonable and the vibe is fabulous!
Great bike paths in the area include the head of Meadow Beach in Truro and Province Lands in Provincetown. Great walking trails are at Great Island, Griffin Island and Bound Brook Island and the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Walk at the Wellfleet Tidal Flats.
Note: The Massachusetts and Cape Cod Tourism Board hosted and helped with some of our activities but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.