The Beach Times

From Centerville to the Major Leagues: The History of Barnstable Bat Company
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 23, 2019

Barnstable Bat company

Do you want to take a small piece of Cape Cod home with you from your vacation?

One option is picking up a souvenir from Barnstable Bat Company, which makes both novelty bats and game-quality items that you can use in your baseball league at home.

In fact, many players in the Cape Cod Baseball League currently use these bats, and they have even made appearances in the Major Leagues over the years, making them one of the Cape's most famous exports.

Here's what you should know about the history of Barnstable Bat Company and the products available at its reclusive Centerville location.

The Beginnings

Barnstable Bat Company opened its doors back in 1992 when Tom Bednark decided to combine his love of baseball with his woodworking skills. A custom woodworker by trade, Bednark was taking in a Cape Cod Baseball League game one day when he declared that he would begin making and selling bats of his own.

When first getting started, Bednark exclusively made novelty bats and faced a bit of a learning curve. Over time, he improved his novelty bat creations, leading to players in the Cape Cod League asking if he'd consider making real bats for them. At that time, Bednark shifted his focus and hasn't looked back since.

Bednark believes that he can get higher quality wood than some of the larger manufacturers in the United States because he needs less material for his relatively small operation.

Within a few years, Bednark's bats had exploded in popularity, partially due to John Petkey winning the Cape League's batting title in 1994 while using one.

The evolution of Barnstable Bat Company didn't stop there, however, as it would rapidly reach heights that Bednark would never have expected.

Bats in the Major Leagues

Word of Barnstable Bat Company got around quickly, to the point where Major Leaguers started using them in 1995. Supplying bats for Major League Baseball is an exclusive club, as only 13 companies have ever received approval. Bednark was able to gain permission, however, leading to even more notoriety for his creations.

At its peak, Barnstable Bat Company was supplying bats to about 250 Major League players in any given year. In fact, well-known players like Manny Ramirez, Mo Vaughn, and Jose Canseco used Barnstable Bats at one point or another, and Geronimo Berroa hit 36 home runs using Bednark's products in 1996.

By 2002, however, it was no longer financially viable for Barnstable Bat Company to continue selling bats at the Major League level because the insurance costs became prohibitive. Bednark reports that liability insurance alone is $100,000 per year, and since Bednark makes every bat himself, it would be challenging to sell enough bats to keep up.

Bats Currently Available

Today, Bednark manufactures about 10,000 bats per year with his computerized lathe. All he has to do is load up a piece of wood, and the machinery takes care of the rest, ensuring that he makes every item to the exact specifications. The machine can make about 40 bats per hour, so he's able to turn out a lot of products on any given day.

Bednark makes most of his inventory for the Cape Cod League and little leagues around the country that use wooden bats, with many of the company's sales coming from places like Texas, Florida, and California. These items are also popular with softball and other recreational adult leagues.

Wood types used by Barnstable Bat Company include ash, maple, and birch, with fungo bats, youth bats, pony bats, softball bats, and tee-ball bats also being available.

If you have a special event that you'd like to commemorate, Barnstable Bat Company will engrave a custom bat for you, too. Customers commonly use these custom bats for birth announcements, but you can have them customized in a variety of different ways.

You'll likely have to order your custom bat before leaving on your Cape Cod vacation to ensure that Bednark can complete it on time.

Visiting Barnstable Bat Company

If you want to visit Barnstable Bat Company during your time on Cape Cod, you'll first have to find the place. You see, despite the business' success, the Bednarks run the company out of the walk-out basement of their house in Centerville.

The house is just north of Wequaquet Lake on Pleasant Pines Avenue. You can get there by exiting the Mid-Cape Highway onto Iyannough Road and then taking a right on Huckins Neck Road. You'll then take another right onto Pleasant Pines and find the home on the right-hand side.

When you get there, follow the long driveway around the back of the building and park near the blue shop. There's a sign marking the entrance of Barnstable Bat Company.

On most days, the company will have about 300 bats in stock, so you'll have a significant amount of inventory from which to choose. You can also pre-order bats on their website and pick them up during your time on the Cape.

Call Barnstable Bat Company ahead of time to make sure they're open before your arrival. If you're a baseball lover, you won't want anything to prevent you from visiting this Cape Cod institution.

Barnstable Barnstable Bats Cape Cod Baseball

Taking a Tour of the Cape Cod Potato Chips Factory
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 16, 2019

Cape Cod  Potato Chips

There's no doubt that your Cape Cod vacation will be full of outstanding activities, but what about slowing things down and taking a quick tour?

The Cape Cod Potato Chips factory in Hyannis provides free, self-guided tours of its operations, allowing you to see how these famous chips are made and to walk away with a free bag to enjoy later.

Tours like this might be a little different from what you expected from your vacation to the Cape, but they're an excellent way to see another side of the area, and to try some local food, as well.

Here's what you need to know about Cape Cod Potato Chips.

The Brand's History

Cape Cod Potato Chips dates back to 1980 when brothers Steve and Jude Bernard found that there was a lack of healthy snack food on the market and decided to begin making kettle-cooked chips. Their original operation was tiny, as they had an 800-square-foot storefront in Hyannis and next to no experience in the industry.

The first year of business was extremely lean, and the brothers had no idea if they'd be able to continue. The following winter, however, a car crashed through their building's front window, and the insurance payment helped keep them afloat until they could find their footing.

The publicity from the car accident helped raise awareness of the brand, and the following summer brought a substantial increase in sales, in addition to some supermarket chains picking up their products.

In 1985, the brothers sold their business to Anheuser-Busch, before Bernard repurchased it in 1996. His second go-round would be a short one, however, as he once again sold the company in 1999, this time to Lance Inc.

Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, Cape Cod Potato Chips is now owned by The Campbell Soup Company, which has led to the brand being available all over North America.

What Cape Cod Potato Chips Has to Offer

We mentioned before that Cape Cod Potato Chips are kettle-cooked, which means that they're made in kettles in small batches using less oil than other methods. This technique creates a healthier snack because the chips aren't dipped in oil and fried like with many other brands.

Starting in 2016, Cape Cod Potato Chips also began the transition to using non-GMO ingredients in their original and reduced-fat original chips.

By using pure, natural ingredients that aren't genetically modified, Cape Cod Potato Chips hopes to create greater transparency in their manufacturing process by letting consumers know exactly what they're eating.

As for the flavors, the company is always coming out with fresh offerings, and when you stop by the factory, you'll have first access to some of their newest products before they hit store shelves.

A Self-Guided Tour

The Cape Cod Potato Chips factory tour is one of the Cape's top attractions, with over 250,000 people visiting every year. The tour allows guests to see how the chips are made, complete with access to the cooking kettles.

You won't need to spend too much time at the factory, as it usually takes about half an hour to walk through the building. The factory was completely renovated in 2019, with the addition of nautical decor, new lighting, and a brand new patio where visitors can enjoy a free taste of Cape Cod's finest chips.

The current factory is located at 100 Breed Hills Road in Hyannis and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The tour is completely free, and there is plenty of on-site parking, so you won't have to worry about finding a place to leave your vehicle.

A Nice Way to Spend Some Time on Cape Cod

You'll find plenty of great ways to spend your time during your Cape Cod vacation, but stopping by the Cape Cod Potato Chips factory is free and allows you to samples some snacks before carrying on to your next destination.

The venue is easy to access, as it's just off the Mid-Cape Highway in Hyannis and a short distance north of the Cape Cod Mall, making it ideal for a quick stopover.

When friends and family find out that you've visited the Cape, one thing they're sure to ask is if you tried any Cape Cod Potato Chips. And thanks to this tour, you can tell them that you went straight to the source, and it was delicious.

Cape Cod Potato Chips Hyannis Kids

The Cape Cod Christmas Shopping Experience
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 9, 2019

As you've probably noticed if you've been following this blog, things are done a little bit differently on Cape Cod, and holiday shopping is no different. The Cape isn’t Boston, New York, or any of the other major centers on the East Coast and, therefore, you won’t find the same shopping experience.

While there is a Walmart in Falmouth and a Kmart and Target at Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, big-box retailers are less prevalent in this part of the country.

Instead, local boutiques are where Cape Cod residents do their shopping. The popularity of these local businesses means that the holidays are a busy time for retailers, and also provide a unique shopping experience for all who visit the area during this extraordinary time of year.

From antique shops on Main Street to Christmas strolls with horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa Claus appearances, shopping on The Cape at Christmas time is something that the whole family can enjoy.

Find Gifts at the Boutiques

For the small-town shopping experience, look no further than The Plum Porch in Marstons Mills. This small gift shop has been in business since 2000 but has recently been taken on by new ownership. The store sells sophisticated, yet simple, gifts and provides an intimate shopping environment.

Located in Sandwich’s Merchants Square, Wish Gift Company is another local gift shop that is full of Christmas present ideas. If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect gift for that special someone, chances are you’ll find something unique at this little store.

Dig For One-of-a-Kind Antiques

Harwich Port is home to a great deal of history, and Windsong Antiques is proudly part of this past. Not only is this a store where you can buy antique goods to bring home, but it also sits inside a carriage barn on the same grounds as an 18th-century sea captain's house.

The MEWS at Brewster Antiques sells a variety of functional antique products, including furniture, tools, stoneware, and pattern glass, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The selection at The MEWS is astounding, so it comes by its popularity honestly.

Check Out Some Art

Fancy some local art? Well, look for further than Local Color Art Gallery in Chatham. The main draw associated with this gallery is the selection of pieces by local artists. If you're from elsewhere in the country, there's no better way to expose yourself to the bustling art scene on Cape Cod than at this location.

Local art can also be found at Books by the Sea. As the name suggests, this Centerville store sells books, both fiction and non-fiction, that are either written by local authors or about the region. The shop doubles as an art gallery, however, which also takes on a local flair.

Wellfleet Winter StrollInvest in Locally-made Gifts

Every Christmas season, between mid-November and the third week of December, the Falmouth Art Center hosts the Holiday Market & Gift Gallery. The market showcases hand-crafted gifts, including pottery and knit items, that are made in the area by local artisans.

Plan Around the Sales and Special Events

Various communities on Cape Cod organize holiday strolls to kick-off the Christmas shopping season. An example of this is the Chatham's Christmas by the Sea Stroll Weekend, an event that highlights local businesses and provides music and entertainment for all who attend. You might even catch a brass band performance, depending on the year.

A similar event is the Yarmouth Port Christmas Stroll, which features trolley rides, food, crafts, and a Christmas tree lighting. Local businesses have giveaways and attractions throughout the night, as well. Watch for sales and special discounts at the winter strolls. Afterward, head over to Barnstable Village to warm up with a cup of organic coffee and a delicious sandwich at Nirvana Coffee Company. You won’t regret your decision.

More Than Just a Christmas Shop

Christmas shopping can be stressful, but the events and shops on Cape Cod prove that this doesn’t always have to be the case. The stores here are smaller and less hectic, providing locals with a more peaceful experience around the holidays

When visiting The Cape over the holidays, save some of your Christmas shopping energy for these wonderful small businesses. You won’t regret choosing to make the most of your Cape Cod Christmas.

Cape Cod Christmas Christmas On Cape Cod Christmas Stroll Kinlin Grover Vacation Rentals

The Top 5 Fun Places for Kids in Barnstable, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 2, 2019

Cape Cod Kids

When planning a family vacation to Cape Cod, it's essential to keep your kids' interests in mind. After all, you want them to enjoy themselves, too, and spending too much time relaxing on the beach or exploring the historic sites might get a little repetitive for them.

Luckily, Cape Cod is full of child-friendly activities and locations, giving you plenty of ways to keep them busy.

Whether you want a night out with the entire family or to check out the wildlife on a nature walk, you'll have countless options throughout the Cape.

Barnstable is particularly loaded with places to spend time with your children, so here are the top five fun sites for kids in Cape Cod's only city.

1) Ryan's Ten Pin Eatery

When looking for a location that the entire family can enjoy, Ryan's Ten Pin Eatery is at the top of the list because it has a little bit of everything. This venue is, first and foremost, a bowling alley, but it also features an arcade, some escape rooms, laser tag, and a golf simulator to enjoy.

In addition, there is an on-site restaurant where you can feed the family or stop in for drinks while the kids play.

Ryan's Ten Pin Eatery truly is a destination for everyone who is joining you on your Cape Cod vacation, and since it's located at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, it's easily accessible from many vacation rentals on the Mid Cape. If you want to keep your kids occupied, they can spend hours at a time at Ryan's Ten Pin Eatery without any trouble whatsoever.

2) Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

The great thing about vacationing on Cape Cod is that not everything has to cost a fortune. Case and point, the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid, which provides 2.5 miles of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities with reasonable rates of $4 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

The Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary leads to an area that overlooks Barnstable Harbor, but before you get there, you'll cross meadows filled with butterflies, wander trails through the woods, and even see a working farm with animals. Eventually, you'll get to the sandy beach, where you'll see tidal flats and have a view of Sandy Neck Barrier Beach.

Depending on when you visit, you might even have the chance to participate in an interactive kayak or boat tour into the harbor, ensuring that you get to know as much about this scenic portion of Cape Cod as possible.

3) Cape Codder Water Park

There's a chance that you won't have sun every day of your vacation on the Cape, which is why you'll be happy that the Cape Codder Water Park exists. This park, which is part of the Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis, has a retractable roof, so when it's raining outside, the roof closes, and you won't have to worry about the weather.

No matter what the weather looks like outside, this park is the place to keep your kids entertained because it features two giant waterslides, two smaller options, a river ride, an area for smaller children, and a wave pool. There are also saunas, hot tubs, change rooms, and a cafe, making the water park a spot where you can spend the entire day.

You'll also be happy to know that the waterpark is open year-round, so if you're visiting the Cape during the off-season, you can still take your children to the waterslides.

4) Steve & Sue's Par-Tee Freeze

Located just outside of downtown Hyannis, on West Main Street, Steve & Sue's Par-Tee Freeze is a great place to spend a few hours with the kids. For starters, this venue has a wide selection of soft-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt, so it's an excellent choice if you're heading out for dessert.

Or, if you're after something a little more substantial, Steve & Sue's Par-Tee Freeze has a small menu featuring hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, and, of course, a lobster roll.

The major draw at Steve & Sue's Par-Tee Freeze, however, is the mini-golf course, which provides the perfect place to wind down after a day spent exploring the Cape, or an excellent way to keep the children active after enjoying a hearty lunch.

No matter how you choose to spend your time at Steve & Sue's Par-Tee Freeze, your family is sure to love it.

5) Luke's Love Boundless Playground

For younger children, Luke's Love Boundless Playground gives you the chance to relax while the kids blow off some energy. The park is named after Luke Powers, a baby boy who tragically passed away in 2000. Luke's parents created the Luke Vincent Powers Foundation, a charity that funds opportunities for children in need, in his memory.

On April 5, 2019, the Powers family was able to open Luke's Love Boundless Playground, providing a free place to spend some time in West Barnstable. The park is along Meetinghouse Way, right beside the Lombard Park baseball diamond, and close to both Route 6 and Route 6A.

As for the park itself, it has slides, a climbing wall, some swings, and other playground favorites for your kids to enjoy. It also features a rubber-based floor that prevents injuries. If you're looking for a place to fill a few hours in Barnstable without spending any money, Luke's Love Boundless Playground is worth considering.

Options for Any Budget

As you can see, you don't have to spend a lot of money to keep your kids busy because there are places that you can visit for free or with nominal fees. Or, if you want to find the perfect mix of entertainment for the children and fun for the adults, there are venues offering activities for both.

Barnstable is home to some of the Cape's most bustling villages, and also has excellent beaches, scenic marinas, outstanding shopping, and first-class dining. The city is perfect for kids, too, so make sure you check out some places that they'll appreciate during your Cape Cod vacation.

Barnstable Kids Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary Lukes Love Playground Mini Golf Steve Sues Ten Pin Eatery Water Parks

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