Saturday, October 26, 2013

Falling in love with old Cape Cod?

OK, don’t hate me but I didn’t exactly fall in love with old Cape Cod.  Our timing probably had everything to do with it. Driving over for the first time on Columbus Day, which is officially the end of the season in New England, and with beautiful weather to boot, meant gridlock traffic.  Any hopes of driving all the way to Provincetown on the far tip of the cape, some 75 miles, was quickly squelched.  The main Highway 6 had little scenery to offer; a lot of strip malls and such, so we decided to exit, find a good place to have lunch, and return another day.

We had stopped at the Visitor’s Center on the way over and got a couple of restaurant recommendations plus some good maps noting places of interest.  We chose Spanky's Clam Shack in Hyannis on the waterfront, right by the ferries.  The end of season schedule offered few choices to Nantucket, some 30 miles away.

We did enjoy a great lunch at Spanky’s.  Their daily special was lobstah bisque (their spelling, not mine) and shrimp spring rolls.  We celebrated with their special “Morning After” bloody Mary/shrimp cocktail….after all Columbus Day also happened to be my big milestone birthday!  All choices got two thumbs up!  Afterwards, we walked around the waterfront and took turns taking photos with other visitors.

In our infinite wisdom we decided to take Highway 28 back through Falmouth, another area we had looked forward to seeing.  This route would take us home along the coastal route, i.e., less traffic, and more scenic.  Alas, we couldn’t see the water for the trees.  And Falmouth, what we got to see of it, was indeed charming but overrun with holiday tourists.

Home, by the way, is Gateway to Cape Cod Camping Resort, another Passport America park that is also affiliated with Thousand Trails.  It was nicely situated in a dense pine forest, in the little town of Rochester, and offered no possible chance of sun infiltration or satellite TV, but did provide great access to the Cape. Sites here were only available Sunday through Wednesday and we soon realized that 3 days was not enough time to fully explore and do justice to the area.

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The very best surprise of all was we were right smack in the middle of cranberry bog country!  This was another first among the many we have experienced on this trip.  Luckily we stopped immediately when we saw this brilliant pool of ruby red gems because the next day when we drove by all the bogs had been harvested.  Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, you know!

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The Tuesday after the holiday was designated “see Cape Cod day”.  We drove to Provincetown and the end of the road, making many stops along the way, and enjoyed the relatively relaxed pace of traveling the “day after”.  We did find sand dunes and salty air, as the song goes, and The Pilgrim Monument, commemorating the pilgrims’ first landing before continuing on to Plymouth Rock.  But the beaches and lighthouses were our focus, and taking advantage of a beautiful fall day and good photo ops before the long drive back.

Around Provincetown, Cape Cod
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What we had not considered was that many/most restaurants and businesses close after Columbus Day.  This became painfully clear when hunger pangs came on and restaurant after restaurant had closed for the season signs posted.  We finally stopped and asked a local and were directed to the Bookstore Restaurant at Wellfleet Harbor.  What a great find!  It was steamers for yours truly.

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So with one more day to go we toyed with the idea of driving to Boston but soon nixed that due to traffic, especially with the Boston Red Socks hosting play-off games for the World Series.  Instead we drove to Plymouth and saw the Rock and the Mayflower, or rather its replica.  Plymouth Rock, as you can see, is considerably smaller than what we had expected.  And just looking at the Mayflower we were amazed by the pilgrims’ voyage aboard.  This was followed by a grand trip to Costco.  The provisions were getting low, and we have to move on……

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