Cape Cod Essentials

The piece of land that juts out like an arm from the Massachusetts mainland, is more than just a destination; it’s more like the great escape from all those things we have to deal with back in the real world. I think of it as my hideout from life, fall back position and my rejuvenator. I’ve made my pilgrimage to the Cape many times over the years and here are a few things I do over and over because they’re fun and I just don’t get tired of them.

Woods Hole – I try to make a bee line for this little village on the upper cape where scientists study the world’s oceans and environments. This scientific community is anything but stuffy, it has more than its share of great seafood restaurants and comfy bars where you too can mingle with marine biologists and local artisans. My favorite morning stop is Pie in the Sky, a small bakery and breakfast nook where you can enjoy a croissant and watch the Woods Hole community wake up and smell the coffee. A great place to wait for the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard too. I never miss a chance to go to the Aquarium at the other end of Water street and check on the rehabilitation of the injured harbor seals they take in and house in their state of the art seal pool out front. If you’re a bike enthusiast or just want some exercise, try the Shining Sea Bike Path that runs from Woods Hole to Falmouth.

The Slow Ferry to Nantucket – You have travel options when it comes to getting out to the magical island called Nantucket. You can take a twenty minute plane ride from the airport in Hyannis or the hour long fast ferry. Unless I’m really short on time, I prefer the slow ferry that takes a little over two hours to reach the island. Expounding on my great escape theme, this longish period of time always seems to amplify the remoteness of the piece of land thirty miles from the Cape and it serves as one more buffer between me and the modern nightmare of our fast paced lives these days. Once you get to those cobble stoned streets, your internal pressure gauge has gone down considerably and you can enjoy the one of a kind shops and restaurants on this one of a kind island. My favorite hangouts are, The Brotherhood of Thieves and The Atlantic Cafe for lunch and dinner and Arno’s and Black Eyed Susan’s for breakfast. The island is home to Cisco Brewers and their fine craft beers are served in many Nantucket dining establishments and watering holes and you can also visit their brewery outside town in a place called, you guessed it, Cisco.

Go to Chatham – This little gem of a village, out on the Cape’s elbow, is well worth the drive from the upper cape. Take the scenic Route 28, it takes longer than Highway 6 but driving through the scenic villages on the way is part of the fun. I like to stay at the Wayside right on Main Street and just across the street from one of my favorite Cape hangouts, The Squire. The restaurant at the Squire serves fresh from the ocean seafood but my favorite part is the bar area where the locals mingle with tourists and raise a glass or two while maybe watching the Sox on yet another try for the post season. Chatham has some of the Cape’s best beaches if you feel the need to while away some time as the sea breezes waft across the sand. Even if you’re not into shopping or antiquing, take a walk through this quintessential New England town just to soak up the positive vibe of life in the slower lane. Try Sandi’s Diner for Breakfast.

There’s a lot more to see and do on Cape Cod, but these places pack a big wallop and gives the visitor a big chunk of Cape Cod flavor to munch on.