- Weekend Schedule Revised 7/27/2022
- Getting around Cape Cod
- The Water!
- Driving Revised 7/27/2022
- What to Bring? Revised 7/27/2022
- Photography Revised 7/27/2022
- Updates Revised 7/27/2022
Saturday, July 30
Meet at Moby Dick’s Restaurant
We plan to spread out at several picnic tables upstairs.
Note: Moby’s is BYOB. (We’ll have beer and wine at the beach.)
Campfire on the (ocean side) beach!
Marconi Beach is off of Route 6.
Turn into the Marconi Area. Follow signs to Marconi Beach along a windy road to the beach parking lot.
Head over to Marconi Beach for a roaring (hopefully) campfire, volleyball, sandcastle building, kite-flying, and of course, desert.
Save room for s’mores and grilled pineapple later in the evening. We’ll have sodas, beer, and wine (cans only, no glass permitted)
Feel free to bring beach toys, chairs, towels, swimsuit, etc. Whatever makes you happy.
Be sure to bring a long sleeved jacket, the evening sometimes gets windy or a bit chilly. A bit of bug spray would be a good thing, too. (We have some or bring your favorite.)
Parking is free after 5pm, so just drive on over.
|Sunday, July 31
|Arrive 12 - 1
Cookout at our Wellfleet (rental) house!
45 Pilgrim Spring Road, Wellfleet, MA
Come anytime after 12. Hors d’oeuvres at 12-ish. We’ll light the grill at 1.
Come, hang out, eat, gab, laugh, meet new people; play corn hole, sit in the kiddie pool! Plan to stay for the afternoon. Come hungry.
Please don’t forget your camera!
Parking: Parking is a little tricky. There is room for five cars to park along the side of the road, in front of 45 Pilgrim Spring Road. Please park as close to the side of the road as possible. Careful of hidden driveways.
If there are already five cars, please drive back out to Route 6. Make a left onto Route 6. Drive .9 miles. On your left is a small strip mall with a Dunkin Donuts at one end. Park anywhere in this lot. Give David a call, (617)335-9393 and he will come shuttle you back to our house. Easy peasy.
Mini Golf: A beach vacation tradition
For those who want to avoid the Sunday traffic back to Boston;
Come join us for a round or two on the links.
Miniature golf links that is!
And / Or:
Movie night on a large screen, at Pilgrim Springs Road. And, more chilling and gabbing.
Monday, Aug 1 -
Friday, Aug 5
We will be on the Cape all week.
Feel free to hang out with us!
There will be much more gabbing, kite-flying, beach-going, grilling, as well as perhaps some biking, fishing, dune touring, people and gallery watching, hiking, and exploring...
And more laughing and eating!
Getting around Cape Cod, Very Short Overview
For those of you unfamiliar with the Cape, here are a few tips:
• Cape Cod is a long, narrow, hooked land mass extending off the coast of Massachusetts, into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cape is 65 miles long, and between one to twenty miles wide. As you drive further onto the Cape, it narrows.
It is a favorite beach destination.
• Cape Cod is shaped like your outstretched and somewhat bent left arm. Where your underarm sits, is where the Cape begins.
• To get onto the Cape, you must drive over either the Sagamore Bridge or the Bourne Bridge and onto the Cape.
Once you cross one of the bridges, you are on the Upper Cape. The Upper Cape generally includes the towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich, Mashpee. This is the widest part of the Cape.
If you continue to drive east (or, toward your fingers on your arm-map), you hit the Mid-Cape. The Mid-Cape generally includes the towns of Barnstable, Hyannis, Yarmouth, and Dennis
Continuing east, you come to the Lower Cape or “Elbow.” Not surprisingly, on your arm-map, this is your elbow. The Lower Cape includes the towns of Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, and Orleans.
The bend in your elbow is approximately at the town of Chatham. You will know you are entering Orleans because there is a rotary.
Everything beyond Orleans (going toward your fingers) is considered the Outer Cape. This includes the towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown (the tip of the Cape). This is where the Cape really begins to narrow.
• Starting at Orleans, the Cape gets progressively less densely populated and less tourist-y as you head toward Provincetown. (Although once you hit Provincetown, the feel and culture is a good deal more crowded and colorful.)
• Here's one of many links to a map of Cape Cod.
• The house we rent is in South Wellfleet. This is the part of Wellfleet that's conveniently closer to the grocery stores, bike trail, and array of beaches and ponds (as opposed to the more secluded, impressive houses in North Wellfleet and Truro).
The house is not fancy (or even our taste in interior decorating), but we love the cozy, slightly quirky feel and imperfections. The owner and his son built it completely on their own (neither were builders or architects).
The address is: 45 Pilgrim Spring Road, Wellfleet.
The Outer Cape is known for its awesome beaches. Once you get to Orleans and beyond, there are a range of opportunities: There are the ocean beaches, the bay beaches, and the ponds.
The ocean beaches are the beaches with big waves and cooler ocean water. If you go back to your bent left arm for a minute: The ocean beaches are the ones on the outside side (or along the pinky finger side) of your arm.
The bay beaches tend to have much calmer water, and they are a lot warmer. During the day, there are a lot more families with young kids at these beaches. These beaches are on the inside curve of your arm.
In Wellfleet, there are also many fresh water kettle ponds. These are great for swimming.
Access to these beaches and ponds varies and largely has to do with parking fees, rather than an actual admission fee. At most, you either pay for parking, or simply walk on for no charge.
It's possible to buy a multi-day parking permit if you are staying in the same town as the beach. This is a little less money than daily parking but only worth it if you go to the beach a lot. For a few of the ponds, you can walk on or you need a resident permit to park.
We are planning to rent a minivan so we can shuttle plenty of friends, in one vehicle, to the beach.
All beaches and ponds have free parking before 8:30am and after about 4 or 5pm.
While we are most familiar with the ocean beaches, all of the beaches are fantastic. Which beach you choose simply depends on your taste.
What can be a little confusing is that some beaches on the Outer Cape are operated by the Cape Cod National Seashore (part of the U.S. National Park Service) and some are operated by the town. The National Seashore beaches and most of the town beaches are open to everyone; a few town beaches are only accessible if you live or rent in the town.
Driving from the Boston area to the Cape is very easy albeit sometimes time-consuming. From our house in Cambridge to our rental house is two hours exactly, door to door. That's with average traffic.
Lots of traffic can add another 30–45 minutes to the trip.
The most direct driving route is over the Sagamore Bridge (over the Cape Cod Canal) and along Route 6. For a more scenic drive, you can take the northern route along Route 6a.
Rt. 6 is the main road through the Cape, and the only route from Orleans through to Provincetown. At certain times of the day, there can be a lot of traffic. This can't be avoided, and there aren't too many easy short cuts. Those of us who love the Cape have just learned to accept and plan around it.Head to the Cape early!
The traffic on Saturday can be tough. It's usually 2 hours door to door for Cambridge to Wellfleet. A summer Saturday can add up to another 30-40 minutes if you leave Boston after 10am. Most of the bad traffic is on the Southeast Expressway (93 South) out of Boston, and going across the Sagamore and Bourne bridges onto the Cape.
You might want to try to leave Boston by 10am, and/or get to the Sagamore Bridge (one hour from Wellfleet) by 11am or 12 at the latest. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the ride!
Traffic on Sunday isn’t quite as bad, but if it's a sunny beach day, it will still add a little extra time to your trip. We still suggest heading to the Cape early and with plenty of time to spare.
It's an easy drive, you just don't want to get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.
If you come to the Cape on Sunday morning, you can always enjoy sitting on the beach, walking through Mass Audubon trails, bike riding on the rail trail, wandering around Provincetown, etc. (Check out the National Park Service and Mass Audubon's websites). After a hot morning, you are more than welcome to use our outdoor shower. (If you haven't used an outdoor shower before, it’s a treat)!
For those of you wondering about accommodations, below are our thoughts, in no particular order.
1. Eagle Wing Inn, Eastham
This is a relatively new place. We've never stayed here.
It's basically a one-story motel located along Rt. 6, albeit, set back from the road a good bit. It's not super fancy.
The reason we like Eagle Wing Inn so much is that each time we've checked it out, it strikes us as very clean. Also, because they have a no kids policy, it seems very quiet. The owners are always really lovely. They have a continental breakfast, too. (And saltwater taffy on the counter!)
Eagle Wing Inn borders on a woodsy area, and some of the rooms have small decks off the back of the rooms (chairs and a table) that look out onto it.
There's also a little pool.
This is probably where we would stay if we wanted something easy.
Note: Two years ago, when our friends cancelled their reservation for our party (due to COVID), the owner deducted a fee. Oddly, this only happened to one of several couples who cancelled, not everyone.
2. The Cove, Orleans
The Cove is in Orleans. Orleans is the “city” of the outer Cape. In other words, there are two grocery stores, CVS, ice cream shops, clothing and hardware stores, banks, a summer playhouse (theater), etc. It's convenient to everything.
The Cove is located on one of the main roads through Orleans. In fact, it's right across from the Christmas Tree Shop (that should give you an idea). Having said this, The Cove is set back from the road a bit in its own little enclave so it's pretty quiet. Some of the rooms even face a picturesque little salt water cove.
We have stayed here, and we kind of like it. There is a pool, refrigerators in the rooms, and even grills for cooking out. All the rooms have little shared decks with tables and chairs.
The whole place feels very well-enjoyed. People return to The Cove year after year.
The Cove has been around for quite a while, is clearly well-loved, and while it's clean (at least, our rooms always have been), it's definitely aging, so the rooms are not without their bumps and dings.
On years when we haven't rented a house, we have stayed at The Cove.
If we wanted to hunker down for a few days and wanted something more no-nonsense, we'd stay here, as we often have.
3. The Ships Knees, Orleans
This is a mid-priced (?) B&B. We have stayed here several times.
There are a lot of pros to this place: It's very calm and quiet. There is a private pool, a really nice fire pit (perfect to sit around at night!), and continental breakfast with lovely outdoor seating.
Each room is different. We stayed in a cozy room with a view toward the ocean, a comfy bed, a/c, a TV, and a shared bathroom. We also stayed in a larger rooom with a private bath, an additional fold-out sofa, and its own entrance onto a lovely patio. We think all the rooms have refrigerators.
The “Knees” as we call it, is in a very quiet area of Orleans. It is also a short walk to Nauset Beach, a good beach on the ocean (waves) side of the Cape. A big plus is that you can keep your car parked in the “Knees” parking lot and head to the beach.
B&Bs, in general, tend to be a little fussy for our taste, but we have to admit, we love the easy-peasy walk to the ocean and the fire pit so much, we'd go back again. Plus, the breakfast was very nice.
Tip: We've heard that some of the rooms off the inside eating area are a little dark.
4. The Colony of Wellfleet
We have never stayed here, but Heidi toured the cottages years ago. The Colony is a group of small Bauhaus cottages designed (exterior, interior) by architects in 1948. “Back in the day” these cottages were populated with artists and academics.
We think they get a lot of repeat devotee customers at The Colony!
The Colony is about a mile and a half from the center of Wellfleet, a little main street with shops, galleries, and restaurants.
5. Surf Side Cottages
This is an interesting little enclave of cottages from the 1940's and 50's. On the outside, these are clapboard-sided mid-century cottages, each with their own personality. On the inside, they remind us more of a rustic upstate NY cabin. Each has a little grill outside the house.
From any of these cottages, you can easily walk right onto a private beach - part of the larger LeCount Hollow/Maguire's Landing, a wonderful Wellfleet ocean beach.
Heidi has stayed here and can tell you more about them.
6. Other Outer Cape Options
There really are a range of Outer Cape accommodations available – from camping (Nickerson State Park in Brewster, private Wellfleet and Eastham campgrounds) to motels and hotels, unique little cabins and rental houses (often a one week minimum), and lots of casual to quite genteel B&Bs.
The Internet is an excellent source for accommodations. If you want any additional tips, also please feel free to ask us.
We have friends staying at:
Inn at the Oaks, Eastham
Viking Shores, Eastham
Rodeway Inn, Orleans
Blue Sea Motor Inn, Truro
My Captain's Quarters, Eastham
The Ship's Knees, Orleans
Wellfleet Hollow Campground, Wellfleet
The Cove, Orleans
Eagle Wing, Eastham
7. Other Options
If you are looking for less expensive accommodations, we recommend trying Brewster, Harwich, and the Mid and Upper Cape towns.
Another option is to stay at a hotel or B&B just before you head over the Cape bridges. There are definitely some nice and more affordable options here.
In addition to a range of accommodations, each town has its own personality (and unique beaches). Here is just a tiny synopsis of the towns (check the Internet for more info). Starting at the Orleans rotary:
Orleans tends to be more of a busy hub of activity. It's where everyone stops to buy their “supplies.” There are also a lot of year-around residents in Orleans, and as such, when you get out of the busiest part of Orleans, there are some very lovely homes.
Eastham begins to get quieter.
The Cape Cod National Seashore (part of the U.S. National Park Service) public beaches begin in Eastham and run all the way up to Provincetown.
The Three Sisters Lights (lighthouses) – three decommissioned, relocated lighthouses are a local well-known site.
Wellfleet is even quieter.
Wellfleet is a favorite place to stay for many Cambridge residents, and we like it anyway.
There are some wonderful rural roads to nowhere and equally wonderful summer residences and rentals tucked away on little windy dirt roads. We have explored a lot of these back roads as we are still hoping to buy a place in Wellfleet one day.
Mass. Audubon has a great sanctuary in South Wellfleet with a number of different hiking trails and water and nature-oriented programs. Another important note, South Wellfleet has a drive-in movie theater.
Wellfleet has a nice little main street to walk around, and the town holds a really fun square dance on the pier every Wednesday evening.
South Wellfleet is a little more accessible, whereas North Wellfleet can be a bit more remote, and more oriented to those who prefer more privacy.
Truro is much more secluded.
There are some gorgeous homes and smaller cottages tucked away on beautiful private roads in the woods or private ocean front property. Truro has only a tiny town center (a small market, a real estate office, and an art gallery). It's very, very quiet.
Edward Hopper lived and painted in Truro.
The Truro (and Provincetown) sand dunes are spectacular. The dunes used to be sprinkled here and there with one-room cottages (no electricity or running water). Originally, they were used by the United States Life-Saving Service and then by artists and writers (e.g., e.e. cummings, Jack Kerouac, Jackson Pollack). We have heard there are walking tours through these dunes, and we think it would be a nice adventure for us to take. As a kid, Heidi was fascinated by the dunes and the shacks.
Provincetown tends to be a circus of art galleries, restaurants (ranging from sophisticated to pizza), clothing stores (ranging from lovely to tourist tee shirts), saltwater taffy and fudge shops, and whale watching cruises. It's known for its welcoming of gender fluid populations, some of whom can be quite showy (when they arrive in Provincetown) – so the people watching can be fun.
There is also Race Point (ocean side) and Herring Cove (bay-ish side), two beaches with wonderful views and good surfcasting, at the tip of the Cape (National Park Service).
Cape Cod Rail Trail: Of note, there is a terrific bike trail, called the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It begins in South Yarmouth and runs through Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. This 25-mile trail follows the original railroad right-of-way which brought passengers and freight to the Cape from the early-mid 19th century until 1960's-ish.
Stella and Heidi have a tradition of riding their bikes along the trail for just a few miles, until they get to a certain ice cream shop where they stop, regardless of the time of day. Just saying…
Naturally, there is much more to say about the Cape, each of the towns, the beaches, and the multitude of summer accommodations and attractions. Just let us know if you need further help or have any questions!
What to Bring?
Just a few thoughts:
• Don't forget your camera and/or phone!! (Hint, hint)
• The Cape is casual. It’s all about the beach. It's not a fancy place.
On Sunday, Stella and I will be wearing summer sun dresses (albeit mine will probably black), because it's a nice opportunity and the day feels celebratory to me. Others, like David, will most likely be wearing his best black tee shirt and shorts. That's how he celebrates!
If you want to sit in the kiddie pool, feel free to bring a swimsuit or shorts.
• Pack layers.
The Cape is a long narrow land mass. As such, it's subject to the weather that comes across the ocean. This means, it can be changeable. This also means that the sun feels a little warmer and shines a lot brighter than if you are inland.
During the summer, most days on the Cape are warm and sunny: mid 70's – mid-80's. At the same time, it's not uncommon to have a rainy morning. By noon this usually clears right up resulting in a warm, sunny afternoon.
In the evenings, the temperature can drop to mid-60's or even lower 60's. On the beach, there is always a breeze, and it can get even cooler.
Remember, the Cape is just a little spit of land sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean.
• Bring a hat, sunscreen, water bottle. Repeat. Bring a hat, sunscreen, water bottle.
Bring your favorite bug spray if you so desire. We'll have some, too.
• We have beach towels. If you prefer a beach blanket, bring it along. Those of you who are driving, feel free to bring beach chairs. If you have extras, please feel free to throw them in the car for our friends who are traveling by plane.
• Bring Frisbees, kites, boogie boards, pails and shovels, etc. Bring whatever you like to do on the beach.
• If you like biking, bring your bike. If you are traveling by plane and like to bike, have no fear, there are lots of places to rent bikes.
• If you drive, you may also want to bring:
• Please don't forget to bring your camera or phone.
Please no gifts. Seriously, I mean it. (Though, I won’t turn down $1 million or ownership of a Wellfleet cottage.)
HOWEVER the one thing I ask is that you all PLEASE take lots of photographs.
Please photograph each other, yourselves, me, people with other people even if you don’t know them. Just snap away. It’s cheap.
No one will think ill of you because everyone will be doing it, and it’s my birthday gift. LOL.
Then, after the party, send me a flash drive… or whatever works best for you. I would really love photographs of the weekend, please.
• COVID Sucks.
Because we all hate COVID and don't want it, we are taking extra precautions.
Should you prefer to sit in the house, the doors and windows (lots of them) will all be wide open. There's great air circulation in the house.
We will also have tables (and canopies) set up outside, so you can stay outside if you prefer. We will have plenty of tables so while it may look like there are too many tables for too few guests, it's our goal to allow people to spread out if you so desire.
A scourge on COVID.
• Beach costs
As we mentioned, while largely there is no beach admission, there is a cost to park at most beaches (except after hours).
This said, if you intend to frequent the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches (part of the National Park Service), and/or you like to visit National Park Service sites through the country, here is another option:
National Park Service Passes
For $80, you can buy an annual National Park Service pass which admits you to NPS sites throughout the country free of charge.
The reason we're sharing this is because many of the beaches on the Outer Cape are National Seashore beaches (National Park Service). You can always pay for each visit, but if you also travel to other NPS sites, this might be a good option for you.
What's especially nice about this is that if you buy one pass, everyone else in the car is admitted free.
Better yet, for you oldsters (over 62), with the Senior Pass, you can buy a lifetime pass ($80) or an annual pass ($20/year). The $20/year is a good deal if you plan to hit the National Seashore beaches more than once during your visit. Daily parking on the beaches is about $25/a shot.