The Beach Times

There are Over 1,000 Ponds on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 26, 2018

Are you aware of Cape Cod’s ponds? While the ocean gets all the glory, and with good reason, as Cape Cod National Seashore, Corporation Beach, and West Dennis Beach are unquestionably some of the most stunning locations on the country's east coast, there are other beaches in the area that should receive a little more attention.

While it’s understandable that Cape Cod is known for its oceanfront beaches and attractions, you don't have to spend the day on the seashore to enjoy the water. Locals know all about the numerous kettle ponds found up and down the Cape, but, for the most part, many of these swimming holes and recreation areas remain a secret from outsiders.

The kettle ponds of Cape Cod formed 12,000 to 18,000 years ago when the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered the area began its retreat. Ice blocks remained in some areas and, over time, left depressions in the ground that eventually reached the depth of the water table. The holes left behind ultimately flooded with ground and rain water, leaving the freshwater ponds we have today.

If you're visiting Cape Cod and want to live like a local, if only for a short while, you should know that permanent residents often head to a kettle pond to get away from the crowds and experience the peace and serenity that first made the area such a popular vacation destination.

Another great feature is that numerous vacation rentals are located near or even around these ponds, so you won't have to travel far to hit the water this summer.

The Ponds of the Outer Cape

Sitting in Wellfleet is Gull Pond, a scenic water body surrounded by pine trees. There is a dock in the water, and the pond is frequented by kayaks, making it a pretty active location. There isn't much parking, and you'll need a pass to leave your vehicle there.

There are three Great Ponds on the Outer Cape, one in Wellfleet, one in Eastham, and one in Truro. Wellfleet Great Pond has a small beach and several access points, while the Eastham version features two parking lots, each with its own beach. Truro’s Great Pond is the smallest and only has a single access point with no dedicated parking area. Reusing pond names is common on the Cape, as you'll find multiple places called Long Pond, Flax Pond, and Round Pond, but what do you expect when there are over 1,000 ponds in such a small area?

Pilgrim Lake in Orleans is a favorite fishing location because it is a decent size, quiet, and full of small bays. There is even an island in the middle of the lake you can check out if you have the time. The lake has a small beach, as well, should you want to go for a swim.

Lower Cape Ponds

Nickerson State Park, a 1900-acre area in Brewster, is full of trout-fishing ponds, including Flax Pond, Cliff Pond, and Higgins Pond. Flax and Cliff ponds provide exceptional swimming because the water is usually warm and there are restrictions on power boats. If you're willing to walk down the beach a little bit, you can remove yourself from the crowds, and you'll have a private swimming hole.

Seymour Pond sits in the area between Brewster and Harwich and enjoys a quiet, serene environment. Trees surround this pond, and although one beach accessible by car, you can find other, more private access points if you're willing to hike in. The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs past part of the pond, as well.

For pure solitude, see if you can find Goose Pond. Access to this pond means taking a hidden dirt road that's just off Old Queen Anne Road in Chatham. The road is a bit bumpy, and you'll drive through thick forest before arriving at your beachfront paradise. It's well worth the effort if you're looking for peace.

Ponds across the Mid Cape

Yarmouth's Little Sandy Pond offers the best of both worlds because it has a full-blown recreation area, complete with tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a dog park, and a playground, in addition to one of the quietest, most secluded bodies of water on the Cape. Unlike other ponds, this one doesn't have any homes surrounding it, so you can experience authentic serenity once you're out on the water.

Just up the road in Barnstable is another secluded gem called Hathaway’s Pond. This pond has a swimming area called Quiet Beach, and despite being pretty close to the highway, noise isn't a significant issue. The beach has a boat launch and public washrooms, as well.

Scargo Lake in Dennis is historically significant because it is close to Scargo Tower, a hilltop tower constructed in 1901. You can experience breathtaking views of the lake and the ocean beyond from the tower, or head to Princess Beach to get up close and personal with this favorite family recreation area.

Upper Cape Kettle Ponds

Wakeby Pond and Mashpee Pond in the Mashpee region are connected and combine to create one of the Cape's top family recreation areas. On the south end of Mashpee Pond is Attaquin Park, which features a large beach, along with a playground and boat ramp, while there is a smaller, quieter beach at the south end of Wakeby Pond.

Snake Pond in Sandwich has an extensive beach that surrounds much of the water body, with a parking area found on its south shore. If you bring a kayak or canoe, you can undoubtedly head to one of the empty beaches on the other side of the pond for an afternoon of relaxation.

Grews Pond in Falmouth is well-known because it is home to Goodwill Park, a green space with a playground and picnic areas. The pond also has a beach, so you can work up a sweat with your kids at the playground before heading to the water to cool off.

Choosing the Right Pond For You

As you can see, Cape Cod has a diverse set of ponds from which to choose, so it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a lively time for the family or a relaxing place to get away from the crowds, you can find it here.

There are over 1,000 kettle ponds on the Cape, and it’s nice to know that if you arrive at one and find it’s not what you’re looking for, there another one in the surrounding area that has your name written all over it. By looking at maps and taking a drive around Cape Cod, you might even find a local favorite that most visitors won't have the chance to experience.

Cape Cod Beaches Cape Cod Ponds Pondfront Rentals Waterfront Rentals

A Guide to Festivals and Events in P-Town
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Provincetown, or P-Town, has long been a favorite vacation destination for members of the LGBTQ community, principally due to the town's open and tolerant attitude. In fact, the growth of the area's gay and lesbian community goes all the way back to the 1920s, a time when the country was much less welcoming and tolerant. 

In those early years, vacationers and residents alike were able to experience the freedom to live their lives without judgment, while participating in the area's thriving arts and culture scene.

Today, Provincetown remains an inclusive town that retains its spot as a cultural and artistic hub on Cape Cod, while providing a whole series of events and festivals to celebrate the past, present, and future of the both the LGBTQ community and the area as a whole.

P-Town Spring Events on Cape Cod

Springtime means the return of good weather to the Cape and the people of P-Town know that this is when festival season begins. The event that kicks it all off is CabaretFest, which takes place in late May or early June and involves a series of concerts, parties, and workshops at The Crown & Anchor, a building containing seven different gay bars and nightclubs. Performances and parties tend to fill up quickly, so you'll want to book your tickets and Cape Cod vacation rental much earlier in the year.

The Provincetown International Film Festivalattracts filmmakers from all over the country, as well as the globe, and has become one of the United States' preeminent film festivals. The festival produces a wide variety of film types while doing an excellent job of highlighting the area's rich history as a fishing village, gay and lesbian haven, and colony of the arts.

Just as spring comes to an end, and summer kicks off, comes the Provincetown Portuguese Festival and Blessing of the Fleet, a four-day gathering filled with dancing, concerts, parades, and dining. The event ends with a bishop blessing the town's fishing and lobstering fleets for the year, which is a nod to the area's Portuguese fishing village heritage. 

Summer Events in Provincetown

As we move into summer, P-Town’s festivals surely take flight, and it all starts with the 4th of July Celebrations. Independence Week is full of events at the town's various nightclubs, including pool parties and performances by a plethora of gay DJs. If you plan on spending the entire week on the Cape, you can pick up a pass to every event at a discounted price. Independence Week also involves the annual fireworks display, which takes place at Provincetown Harbor.

Provincetown Bear Week is a nationally recognized festival that actually last for nine days and is full of pool parties and special events, including guest DJs and leather nights, at various local dance clubs. The festival is basically a week full of parties, and since it takes place in the middle of July, it's the perfect time to let loose.

Provincetown Festival ParadeFamilies come in all different forms and Provincetown's annual Family Week is the world's largest gathering of LGBTQ parents. This week-long event, held in late July and early August, provides family-friendly fun and welcomes families of all types. Games, crafts, dining, and workshops are all part of the festival, and there is even the chance for the kids to do some whale watching. 

The grandest festival in P-Town is Carnival Week. This week-long festival occurs in mid-August and attracts roughly 90,000 people to the town for its pool parties, cruises, parade, costume balls, and craft fairs. There are also plenty of dining options, along with nightlife that often features performances by icons of the gay community. If you plan on staying in Provincetown during the event, you'll have to reserve your vacation rentals well in advance.  

As summer comes to a close, the Afterglow Alternative Performance Arts Festival takes center stage. This festival highlights LGBTQ performers who might not have an extensive national following but are talented nonetheless. Close to 20 different performances take place over the week-long event.

Get to Know P-Town’s Fall Events

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean that P-Town shuts down, as there is always a reason to head to the Cape’s northern tip. Early to mid October means it's time for Women's Week, a multi-day festival with parties, comedy shows, special dining events, and concerts. There's even tours of the famous dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore followed by bonfires on the beach, which is an amazing experience for anyone who has never participated.

The Fantasia Fair is an October conference designed for those questioning their genders, nonbinary-gendered individuals, and trans-gendered people. Many of the events are free, and the conference as a whole is a support system for those who are considering or have already made a life-altering choice in regards to their gender. 

One of the area’s newer festivals is the Provincetown Annual Day of the Dead Performing Arts Festival. The festival begins in mid-October and runs into early November. Exhibitions taking place throughout this two-week period include workshops, a parade, a dance, and a theatre performance. Keep in mind that all of the events, except for the seminars, take place in early November.

Some Provincetown Winter Events

Christmas time in Provincetown is something considerably different, as the Holly Folly Weekend, a free event complete with a Speedo run on Commercial Street and performances by the Gay Men's Chorus, kicks it all off. This event extends throughout the first weekend of December and also provides an excellent chance to see the decorations that local businesses have been able to come up with throughout the year. You can also find some great deals when looking for that special Christmas gift.

If you don't have any plans for New Year's Eve, First Light Provincetown is well worth a gander. This festival takes place over a six-day period leading up to the big day and involves drag bingo, a polar bear swim, live music, comedy events, and theater performances. There's even a fireworks display on the beach and a dance party, so it's well worth having a look if you're in the area.

Something for Everyone

Other events taking place throughout the year in the area include a dance party at the Pilgrim Monument, a leather weekend, and an international jazz festival, so there's something for people in all walks of life.

While P-Town is the country’s preeminent gay and lesbian community, it is also highly inclusive, and there unquestionably is something for everyone. So, whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or you just want to experience something different on your vacation and show your support, Provincetown is unmistakably worth checking out in any season.

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Outer Cape Hiking Trails: The Legacy of Hortense Kelly
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, March 15, 2018

When we said goodbye to Hortense Kelly at the age of 97 on November 11, 2017, we lost not only a pillar of the Cape Cod hiking community but also one of its last authentic pioneers. 

You see, Hortense was more than just an avid hiker, as her passion for the beauty and mystic of Cape Cod and its hiking areas led her to want to share them with as many people as possible. She was an inspiration for many, continuing to hike and exercise well into her 90s, and was always happy when the number of participants on these hikes increased.

Hortense Kelly retired to Cape Cod in 1983 and, soon thereafter, became the leader of the Eastham Hiking Club, a position she held until 2006. She is principally responsible for the growth of the Club, leading as many as 75 people through the woods on any given day and loving every second of it. 

Over her term as leader of the EHC, she was responsible for creating many of the hiking routes we still use today. As legend has it, Hortense only knew where the hiking areas started, using her skills and know-how to invent the actual courses through many of the most scenic areas on the Cape. 

She was also instrumental in the creation of the Cape Cod Pathways, a series of trails running from Provincetown to Bourne and Falmouth, and completed the trek three times, despite being a senior citizen at the time. 

Remember that the Eastham Hiking Club organizes free walks every Wednesday between September and May, so if you’re looking for someone to hike with, they’ve got you covered. Just be sure to keep to the trails, stay away from the cliffs, and avoid walking on the vegetation, and you’re sure to have a great time hiking on the Cape. 

Whether you live on the Cape or are only in the area for a week or two, taking advantage of the natural beauty of the hiking trails is a must-do. Hortense Kelly would want you to enjoy the legacy that she worked so hard to create through some of the following hiking trails:

Hatch’s Harbor to Race Point Lighthouse


One of Hortense’s favorite short walks is the stroll from Hatch’s Harbor to the Race Point Lighthouse. You can lengthen this hike, if desired, by starting at Herring Cove Beach and walking along until you reach the lighthouse. Either way, this hike involves plenty of scenic ocean views and, if you’re lucky, the opportunity to see whales feeding in the bay. The trail starts on Province Lands Road, which is where the parking lot sits.


Great Pond Hike

Nicknamed the Hortense Kelly Hike, the trails around Great Pond were very special to Hortense. This particular trail takes just over two hours to complete and involves walking along ocean cliffs and past six different ponds. You’ll start your journey at the Great Pond parking lot and from there will walk toward the ocean, passing a number of picturesque spots. You're sure to love the scenery as you jaunt atop the hills with views of the sea. 

Head of the Meadow Beach to Ridley Grave

This trail provides an ideal mix of seclusion and natural beauty. You'll start your adventure at Head of the Meadow Beach, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which is where you'll find parking. From there, the trail goes into the woods, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet that only the forest can bring. Eventually, you'll come to Ridley grave, an isolated marker signifying the final resting place of Thomas Ridley, a farmer and fisherman who is believed to have died in 1776 of smallpox. You’ll finally return to your vehicle via a scenic walk near Coast Guard Beach.

Nickerson State Park

The beautiful trails through Nickerson State Park take about two hours to complete. The great thing about these trails is that they are well-marked and maintained. You'll start your walk at the park's headquarters, heading on one of the area's bike trails to start. From there, you'll venture into the woods, coming across scenic ponds, tall pines, and, in many cases, wildlife. The hike ends with a stroll beside a historic graveyard, right before you return to the parking lot.

Walk a Mile for Hortense

Prior to her passing, Hortense asked that locals and visitors alike continue to the use the hiking trails that she was so passionate about and walk a mile in her honor. Members of the Eastham Club will continue to complete these hikes every week, but those visiting Cape Cod for the first time can also head out and see exactly why she loved this area so much.

It doesn't matter if your vacation rentals are in Wellfleet, Harwich Port, Chatham or anywhere else on the Cape, you can explore these and other Cape Cod hiking trails, including Great Island Trail conservation area, at any time of the year.

If you have some free time on your next venture onto Cape Cod, remember to walk a mile for Hortense. She would be delighted to learn that a brand new set of people are using the trails that she worked so hard to create and preserve.

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Planning Your Dream Wedding on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Photo courtesy of Brian Switzer- Friends of Nobska Light

With wedding season just around the corner, now is the time to start looking at Cape Cod wedding venues. After all, there isn't another area in the country that matches not only the natural beauty of Cape Cod, but also the diversity and volume of places, whether it's a beach resort or small park on an ocean edge, at which to tie the knot.

It doesn't matter if you're looking for a small, intimate venue for you and a few family members or a large outdoor center with enough space to accommodate hundreds of people, the Cape has you covered. Take the time to look at the broad range of places to get married on Cape Cod and while you're at it, consider booking your vacation rental now, so that you're not left without anywhere to stay when the big day arrives.

Full Wedding Packages

If you're the type who likes to book everything together and well in advance, so you're not left worrying about the details, later on, Cape Cod has some large venues that will cover the ceremony, reception, and catering. Keep in mind that most of these venues are extremely popular and you'd be wise to get on the phone today to book if you're set on one of these locations.

In Sandwich, Heritage Museum and Gardens is set on over 100 acres of flowery, tree-filled garden, making it an exceptional place to say your vows. Here, you can go ahead with an outdoor ceremony in the garden or beside the Flume Fountain before making your way inside for a reception at the on-site Automobile Gallery. This museum is a one-of-a-kind event venue that all of your guests will be talking about for years to come.

Fancy a beachfront wedding? Of course you do, and Chequessett Yacht Country Club in Wellfleet is the place to have it. The club is enormous, taking up about 106 acres worth of space, and features views of the oceans, forests, and river from its various points. Many couples choose to hold their ceremony right on the club's private beach before having their reception in the Clubhouse or Boathouse.
Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Celebrations, Justin Hackworth Photography

Elegance is the name of the game at The Cape Club, an 18-hole championship-level golf course with multiple places to get hitched. At the golf club, you can say your vows by a wonderfully-maintained fairway or overlooking Buzzards Bay from one of the on-site hilltops. The indoor Ballroom is a breathtaking reception location, as it features a cathedral-type ceiling, chandeliers, marble floors, and pretty much everything you could imagine in an upscale wedding venue.

Small, Intimate Venues

Of course, not everyone needs a massive venue to hold hundreds of people and take up thousands of dollars of your budget. Small ceremonies are common on Cape Cod because there are so many intimate places to go. In addition, you won't have as much trouble booking the smaller sites because they aren't as commonly used. You'll have to take the time to find the proper contact person to reserve these locations.

There is a gazebo at Nauset Beach in Orleans, and you can use it to get married. There is a small fee associated with booking it, although it's far less expensive than a beach club, and once you have it reserved, you can enjoy its waterfront location and the beautiful views on your special day. The gazebo isn't extensive and you'll need to fill out the necessary applications ahead of time, but it provides a wonderfully memorable wedding location. As an added bonus, it has a roof, so you won’t have to worry about rain spoiling your special day. 

Falmouth is home to Nobska Lighthouse, a scenic, and free, place to hold your ceremony. The venue can only hold 30 people, and there is limited parking, but the location is spectacular. Keep in mind the lighthouse doesn't have any facilities and there is a one-hour time limit. As such, you'll basically have time to say your vows before getting out of there and heading to your reception venue. 

Another free place to marry is Scargo Tower in East Dennis. This venue overlooks Scargo Lake and has some of Cape Cod's most breathtaking sunsets. You'll only be able to fit a few people here, and the parking lot is tiny, making it perfect if your guest list solely has parents and close friends on it. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia 

Making the Most of Your Reception

After the ceremony comes your wedding reception, which, no offense, is what everyone is truly here for anyway. As a result, choosing the best reception venue to meet your needs and the needs of your guests is very important.

If you've chosen an all-in-one wedding venue, you won't have to worry about the reception. If you've selected a scenic, off-the-beaten-path wedding venue, however, coming up with a memorable reception location is a priority.

One thing that many visitors to Cape Cod are now doing is holding their reception right at their vacation rental property. This setup is the best of both worlds because they can book an amazing property, some of which are large enough for many of their guests to stay at, and then organize a delicious dinner and reception after the ceremony.

"Many Cape Cod weddings take place in beautiful, private locations that need many things brought in to make it happen, so that is why we have compiled a list of the top 5 things to consider when planning an at home event," says Jamie Bohlin of Cape Cod Celebrations. Using a wedding planner to coordinate all those details will pay off in spades so you can relax and enjoy your big day.

If you can find a vacation home rental that is large enough and willing to accommodate your reception, it can save you money while providing you with one the perfect venue. Cape Cod weddings are truly unique because of the opportunity to orchestrate your wedding ceremony, rehearsal dinner, and reception in one location.

You’ll also be able to stay together with your friends and family throughout your time on the Cape, although you might want to find yourself a secondary vacation rental for your wedding night...

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There Are Festivals for Every Season on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, March 2, 2018

It doesn’t seem to matter when you visit the Cape, you’re sure to find a festival or event to attend. The locals on Cape Cod are festive people, and this beautiful part of the world provides plenty to celebrate, no matter if it's March, April, October, or November.

Take the time to research the various events around the Cape in every season before booking your vacation rentals because you’re sure to find something to help you make the most of your time here. In addition, we’ll spotlight some of the Cape’s best festivals in upcoming articles.

Things to Do in the Spring

All of May is dedicated to Cape Cod Maritime Days which, as you might have guessed, explores Cape Cod's rich maritime heritage. The festival has been named one of the top 100 events in all of North America because of how much there is to see and do throughout the month. Maps taking you to historic places on all four sections of The Cape are provided, so you can make your way around and experience the area's history on the water for yourself.

May is also home to Brewster in Bloom, a three-day festival that coincides with flowers in the region coming into bloom. The festival features a parade, a 5K run, a craft show, a concert, and an antique excursion, so there's plenty to see. There's a charity yard sale, as well, which gives you the opportunity to buy some items, with proceeds going to a good cause.  

Near the middle of June, and just before the start of summer, comes the Provincetown Film Festival. The event started in 1999 as a way to attract visitors to The Cape at the end of the shoulder season but has since grown into one of the country's top film festivals. Documentaries, short films, and narrative films from all over the world are on the docket at the festival and panel discussions are also held.

The Best Cape Cod Summer Festivals

Just as the film festival ends, Provincetown is also home to its Portuguese Festival, a weekend-long event highlighting the area's rich Portuguese heritage. The highlight of the festival is the parade, but there's also dining, dancing, and plenty of activities for the kids.

Not to focus on Provincetown too much, but the town hosts Carnival in August, as well. Carnival is a free festival in the high season that commonly attracts about 90,000 people to the area. The event is meant to be a celebration of diversity, with the parade being its greatest attraction.

Although it might not get the mainstream attention that many other festivals receive, the Cape Cod Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival is the highlight of the summer for many locals and visitors alike. This event, which takes place at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds in East Falmouth, brings in many of the area's most popular food trucks and dozens of craft breweries from around the country to create a day-long event in the middle of August.

Fall Festivals on the Cape









While it technically takes place at the end of the summer, just days before the official start of fall, for all intents and purposes the Harwich Arts and Music Cranberry Festival is a fall event. The Harwich Community Center Field hosts this annual music festival that kicks off the fall season on Cape Cod and features food, beer, and wine vendors, in addition to a craft fair.

The Yarmouth Seaside Festival is a highlight of the early autumn, mostly thanks to its parade and fireworks display. The festival also has concerts, a craft show, bonfires on the beach, and a variety of different races, so there is enough going on to keep you occupied all weekend. You’ll find midway rides, as well, should you be looking for a bit of adventure.

Beer isn’t just a summer drink on the Cape, as the Cape Cod Brew Fest comes to Falmouth every October. You can celebrate the arrival of autumn by sampling some of the over 75 breweries and 250 beer types on hand. Just do us a favor and don't attempt to try them all on one day because we want to see you enjoy the rest of your fall vacation on Cape Cod.

Festivals of the Winter

The Holidays by the Sea Weekend in Falmouth is usually held the second weekend in December and starts with Christmas caroling at the historic Nobska Lighthouse, followed by a winter run and the lighting of the local Christmas tree. One of the highlights of the festival is when Santa Claus arrives via boat in Falmouth Harbor, which then leads to the annual parade down Main Street. 

As we move past Christmas and into New Years, First Night Chatham approaches. This family-friendly event doesn't allow alcohol, but don't let that kill your buzz, as the festival has plenty to do and see. First Night takes place all over Chatham and features over 70 different performers each year. Oyster Pond is home to a fireworks display over the water at midnight, ending a full day of activities for all who attend.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down because Cape and Islands Orchid Show is here to provide you with a much-needed touch of summer in late January. This show and festival brings Orchid vendors from all over North America to the region, so if you are on The Cape for a week or two, pick up some flowers to add some beauty to your vacation home rental.

Visit Whenever You Wish

There is a misconception out there that Cape Cod is only a summer destination, but that unquestionably isn’t the case. While the beaches, views, and weather in the summer are exceptional, there is a ton going on in the area throughout the year.

If you’ve been planning to visit Cape Cod but don’t know when to take the leap, just have a look at the various events held in every season, and it will make your decision much clearer.

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