The Beach Times

The Top 5 Coffee Shops in Yarmouth
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, July 30, 2019

top coffee shops in yarmouth

Vacationing in Yarmouth, Massachussets will provide you with plenty of activities throughout your stay, and you’ll quickly find yourself submerged in local life and all that it has to offer. The next step, of course, is to find out where locals are stopping for a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast, as these shops usually provide not only the best food and java but also the best value on Cape Cod. Here is a list of Yarmouth’s top five coffee shops, with each of them providing a unique quality that could make it easy for you to find your favorite Cape Cod hangout for this year’s trip.


1) The Optimist Cafe

At The Optimist Cafe, you'll not only discover perhaps Yarmouth's best coffee shop but will also have the chance to experience some Cape Cod history. You see, the cafe sits along The Old King's Highway in Yarmouth Port, in a historic Gothic Revival home built by Captain Frederick Howes in 1849. The building is on the National Historic Register, and still contains many original elements, including its spiral staircase, French doors, pine flooring, and massive window. If for no other reason, the antiquity makes this shop worth a visit.

As for the business itself, this is the only restaurant on the Mid-Cape to offer all-day breakfast year round. The breakfast menu is extensive, featuring everything you'd expect at a diner, including homemade waffles, pancakes, and crepes. There are also bakery items available if you're in the mood for something a little simpler. The Optimist Cafe is only open until 3:00 PM, but there is a lunch menu, or you can come for afternoon tea.


2) Bagels & Beyond

We'd forgive you if you drove right past Bagels & Beyond on Main Street in West Yarmouth without even noticing it. The cafe sits in an open area just west of the Antiques Center of Yarmouth and tends to blend in with its surroundings, and the coffee shop's small sign doesn't help matters. Once you're inside, however, you'll be happy that you took the time to find it.

Bagels & Beyond proudly serves New England Coffee, which you can order by the cup or the box if you need a few cups of joe to bring back to your vacation rental. The staff also makes bagels, pastries, and muffins from scratch each morning, and the cream cheese is made in-house, too. If you're in the mood for a more substantial meal, the breakfast sandwiches and burritos are sure to fill the gap.


3) Caffè Gelato Bertini

You'll find something a little different at Caffè Gelato Bertini, as this is an Italian-style shop with 24 flavors of gelato, six types of sorbetto, and a variety of coffee drinks. The business recently moved from Pearl Street in Hyannis to South Street in South Yarmouth, and now shares a building with Great Island Bakery, another outstanding local business.

The staff at Caffè Gelato Bertini make everything the Italian way. The owners have brought ingredients, recipes, and equipment from across the ocean to provide an authentic European experience on Cape Cod. Although they aren't open early in the morning, which might be a disappointment for some coffee lovers, you'll want to give one of their brews a try, particularly the espresso. Keep in mind that Caffè Gelato Bertini is only open from May through October.


4) Scapicchio's Bakery

While we’re discussing European-inspired coffee shops on Cape Cod, let’s look at Scapicchio's Bakery, an authentic Italian-style cafe offering house-made bread and pasties, and some of the Cape’s best coffee. The bakery opens at 7:00 AM every morning, except for Mondays when it's closed, making it an ideal place for the early riser to head for a quick breakfast and a cup of java.

Scapicchio's Bakery hasn’t been open for very long, but it has already built a tremendous following among locals and visitors alike, indicating that this family-run business will be around for years to come. The building is also incredibly easy to find, since it sits on Route 28 in South Yarmouth, right across the street from Skull Island at Bass River Sports World. It's a busy area, and you'll see that the bakery fills up early in the morning, but everything about this place makes it worth the wait.


5) Dunkin' Donuts

Yes, it’s a chain that doesn’t provide the same Cape Cod experience as other venues on this list. But, there are three Dunkin’ Donuts in South Yarmouth and two more in West Yarmouth, so pretty much everyone in town has visited a time or two, and people seem to love their coffee.

The attraction of Dunkin' Donuts is the convenience, as they have three shops on Route 28, another on East Main Street, just off Route 28, and one on Station Avenue near Yarmouth Shopping Center. All of these stores feature on-the-go mobile ordering so that you can have your coffee waiting for you upon arrival, and most have a drive-thru, as well. When you’re in a hurry, Dunkin’ Donuts in your best bet.


Try One or Try Them All

Since all of these coffee shops are relatively close to one another, you’d easily have time to sample each of them on your Cape Cod vacation.

Whether you’re looking for a quick cup of coffee, some baked goods, a full meal, or some ice cream, these cafes have you covered during your time in Yarmouth.

Coffee Coffee Shops Old Kings Highway Yarmouth

All Aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 29, 2019

The Cape Cod Central Railroad runs on a 27-mile section of track that once belonged to the New Haven Railroad. This heritage railroad now operates from May through October, offering narrated sightseeing excursions, in addition to lunch and dinner trains.

Most trains depart from Hyannis Station, passing through West Barnstable and Sandwich before heading down the Cape Cod Canal and, sometimes, crossing into Buzzards Bay. They offer outstanding views of some of the area’s top attractions, while the narrators tell a bit about the history of these locations.

When visiting the Cape, taking a trip on the Cape Cod Central Railroad is a great way to see the towns and countryside without having to drive or navigate the roads yourself. Give it a try if you’re looking for a unique way to spend the day on your Cape Cod vacation.


The Routes

The Cape Cod Central Railroad has several routes departing from Hyannis, Barnstable, and Buzzards Bay. The length and cost of the trip depend on the excursion selected, along with the class and what you purchase onboard.

The Canal Excursion Train starts in Buzzards Bay and crosses the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge before running along the canal into Sandwich. From there, it visits the Great Salt Marsh in West Barnstable before heading back to Buzzards Bay. The trip takes about two hours and costs between $19.99 and $49.99, depending on the class you select. Lunch is available, as well.

Leaving from the Barnstable and Hyannis stations, the Coastal Excursion takes you past cranberry bogs, dunes, salt marshes, the Cape Cod Canal, and woodlands, giving you a real glimpse into everything that makes up the Upper and Mid Cape. On your journey, you'll learn about the history of the area, see Cape Cod's oldest village, and hear about local wildlife. Lunch is available for purchase, and the cost and length are the same as the Canal Excursion.

For something a little different, the Pairpoint Glass Tour is a three-hour ride that starts in Hyannis and runs through West Barnstable and Sandwich to Sagamore, home of Pairpoint Glass, one of the country's oldest glass factories. Once there, you'll have the opportunity to get off the train for a tour and to witness some live glass blowing. This excursion costs between $24.99 and $54.99, and lunch is available for an additional fee.


Dinner Service

There is nighttime service at the Cape Cod Central Railroad, too, as you can embark on a dinner excursion where you'll enjoy an outstanding meal while taking in the sights.

You can savor a five-course meal on the Cape Cod Dinner Train, which runs from Hyannis through Barnstable and Sandwich, and into Buzzards Bay. From there, the train reverses direction and returns to Hyannis. The ride takes three hours, and the menu changes every season. The cost is between $89.99 and $149.99, depending on your seating option.

Other dinner trains are available throughout the summer, but they don't have the same regular schedule as the Cape Cod Dinner Train. For example, there are gourmet wine and craft beer events where you will receive a meal and some drinks on your trip. Have a look at the Cape Cod Central Railroad website for more information on this season's events.

Meal trains aren't isolated to dinner, as there is a luncheon train departing from Hyannis twice per month in the late spring and summer, and even more throughout the first two weeks of October. This excursion offers a three-course menu with a choice of entrée and costs between $44.99 and $79.99.

If you're on the Cape for a major holiday, you'll have the chance to embark on the Sunday Brunch Train from Hyannis. This train has departures on Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day Weekend, Labor Day, and Columbus Day, with the meal costing between $44.99 and $79.99.


Classes of Service

You’ve probably noticed that there is a price range for all of these excursions, so what does that mean? Well, the seating option that you select determines the amount that you'll pay.

The least expensive option is Standard Class, which puts you on a double-decker rail car with seats in rows like you'd find on an Amtrak. The seats are comfortable, but you won't have as much space as you'd have when using the other options.

First Class puts you at a table with four seats. You'll have more space to yourself with this option, but keep in mind that your group might end up split, depending on how many passengers need a seat.

Diamond Class is also broken down into tables of four, except it has panoramic windows that provide outstanding views of everything that you pass. If you want to experience everything that Cape Cod has to offer along this railroad, this is the way to do it.


Other Things You Should Know

There are some things you should be aware of before purchasing your tickets on the Cape Cod Central Railroad.

For starters, the Cape Cod Dinner Train has a dress code requiring men to wear a collared shirt and dress pants, with a jacket and tie recommended but not mandatory. Ladies should wear a dress, skirt, or dress pants. Items like flip flops, jeans, shorts, tank tops, and t-shirts are prohibited, and you won't be allowed on the train if you don't dress appropriately. Also, the Cape Cod Dinner Train cannot accommodate anyone under the age of 12. Children are permitted on other trains, however.

Keep in mind that these are heritage trains, so they don't have the same amount of space that you'd expect in modern vehicles. As a result, their ability to accommodate wheelchairs is limited. If you have any accessibility questions, you're encouraged to contact the Cape Cod Central Railroad directly.

The Cape Cod Central Railroad is a must-do activity during your vacation to the Cape. Book your seat today and don't miss out on this season's exciting schedule.

Cape Cod Cape Cod Central Railroad Dinner Train Trains

Places to Take Your Dog on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, July 25, 2019

cape cod dogs

When visiting Cape Cod, you might have some questions about bringing your dog.


  1. Will it be more hassle than it’s worth?
  2. Are there enough places to take your dog?
  3. Will your dog limit the number of locations you can visit?
  4. Can you even stay in a Cape Cod vacation rental with a pet?

The truth is that the Cape is very dog-friendly, as there are plenty of parks, beaches, trails, and even restaurants that will accommodate you. You’ll also find a wide variety of vacation rentals that allow pets.

While bringing your dog to Cape Cod will limit you somewhat, you’ll still find more than enough to do during your time here.


Cape Cod Dog Parks

The Cape has numerous parks that are exclusively for dogs, starting with the Falmouth Dog Park, a 1.6-acre site with a separate small dog area, picnic tables, benches, and trash cans. Volunteers bring pools to the park in the summer, giving your dog the chance to cool off, as well.

The Fresh Pond Conservation Lands in Dennis has two fenced areas: one for large dogs and one for small dogs. You can also take your dog along the trail to the pond and enjoy the views. The enclosed areas are mostly dirt, so there is a chance your pets will get messy while playing there.

One of the more comprehensive facilities on Cape Cod is the Mashpee Dog Park, which sits across the street from Heritage Park and features separate areas for small dogs/puppies and senior dogs, in addition to a generous general area for dogs of all sizes. There are benches and plenty of parking available here, too.

The Yarmouth Dog Park is part of a large recreation facility on Buck Island Road featuring tennis courts, a basketball court, a baseball diamond, hiking trails, and the beach at Sandy Pond. The dog park itself has three areas: one for small dogs, one for large dogs, and one for training.

The Pilgrim Bark Park in Provincetown has been voted one of the country's best dog parks thanks to its donors and volunteers. Overall, the park is one-acre in size and features both a general dog section and an area for dogs under 25 pounds. This park is along Route 6 just outside of downtown Provincetown, so it's incredibly easy to find if you're in the area.


Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Want to grab a bite to eat? You don’t have to let the presence of your four-legged friend stop you, as the Cape has multiple dog-friendly restaurants available to sample.

The Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis allows dogs of all sizes on its patio, as do Barbyann's, Fresh Ketch, KKaties Burger Bar, and Alberto's Ristorante.

Over in Falmouth, the Anchor Ale House has four-dog friendly tables on its patio, while Falmouth Raw Bar has 20 outdoor tables that permit your canine friend to visit.

Other dog-friendly patios on Cape Cod include Moby Dick in Wellfleet, Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham, JT's Seafood in Brewster, The Summer Shanty in West Dennis, Way DownTown Restaurant in Provincetown, and Seafood Sam's in Sandwich.

There are places you can bring your dog all over the Cape, but make sure you ask for a dog-friendly outdoor table upon arrival or call ahead to confirm their availability.


Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails

Sometimes, there's nothing better than walking your dog for miles through trails or along a beach. This type of environment allows your pet some mental stimulation while burning off a significant amount of energy in the process.

One of the most popular areas for this kind activity on Cape Cod is Nickerson State Park in Brewster, which features miles of well-marked trails and tons of beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way. It's also possible to take your dog for a kettle pond swim here, but make sure it's not at one of the public beaches.

Another great place for a walk is Long Point Beach in Provincetown. You can start your journey at the end of Route 6 and head all the way to the Long Point Light Station. Once you get to the tip, you'll feel like you're off the Cape because of the view you'll have across Provincetown Harbor.

As its name suggests, Long Pond Trail in Falmouth stretches for what seems like an eternity, but it's very accessible and allows you to cover a lot of ground with your furry friend. Locals also love this trail because it's pretty quiet, making it unlikely that you'll come across many people along the way.

If your dog has had so much fun that they are covered in sand or mud, you can also take them for a quick and easy dog wash at Happy Tails Self-Service Dog Wash and limit the pawprints wherever you stay.


Where to Stay with Your Dog

There are plenty of dog-friendly vacation rentals on Cape Cod, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding accommodation. When searching for the perfect vacation property, check the box that says “Pets Allowed” to see a list available homes that permit you to bring your dog.

Remember, however, that some properties might charge a non-refundable pet fee and a refundable pet deposit. There could also be a limit on the number of pets you can have in your vacation rental. As long as you book early and follow the rules, you can have a great time with your dog on Cape Cod.

Dog Friendly Cape Cod Dogs Pet Friendly Pets

Getting to Know Eastham's Fort Hill Trail
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 22, 2019

While heavily trafficked paths like the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Shining Sea Bikeway, Great Island Trail, and areas around Nickerson State Park get a lot of the attention, lesser-known places to hike are abundant on the Cape.

A small, yet incredibly scenic and worthwhile place to explore is Fort Hill Trail in Eastham, a one-mile loop trail featuring outstanding views, historic boulders, some of Cape Cod’s best birdwatching.

The trail will only take you about an hour to complete unless you venture down some of the smaller paths that shoot out from the main section. Keep in mind that these other pathways are only accessible during low tide because they head into the salt marsh. If you’re looking to spend a day away from the beaches on Cape Cod, you could certainly do worse than Fort Hill Trail.


Where to Start

There are two parking areas at Fort Hill Trail, both of which are on Fort Hill Road, just off the Mid-Cape Highway between Orleans and Eastham. If you're driving from the north, you'll turn left onto Governor Prence Road, which turns into Fort Hill Road. When arriving from the south, there'll be an exit onto a different section of Governor Prence Road, and you'll then turn right on Fort Hill Road. Highway signs mark where to turn in both directions.

As for the parking lots, the closest to the highway sits across from Captain Penniman House, an 1868 home constructed by a wealthy whaling captain. The home and its barn are open to the public in the summer and are worth a visit. The second parking area is at the end of Fort Hill Road. Both lots are free.


What's Along the Trail

The second parking area is less crowded in the summer, so we'll start there. As you begin, you'll immediately see secondary paths heading to the water. Check the tide chart before commencing your walk to ensure that you don't get stuck in high water.

Staying on the main path, you'll walk past a forest and reach a large glacial rock. The rock indicates that you're entering the most picturesque part of the hike because you can now see Nauset Marsh for the next stretch. You can also stand on the rock if you're struggling to see over the plant growth.

The next stretch of the trail takes you along Nauset Marsh, where you can see birds, boats, and scenic vistas. Eventually, you'll complete the section of the pathway that lines the marsh, but you can make a quick detour into the woods, which will take you to Indian Rock.

Once at Indian Rock, you'll have more great views of the marsh and can learn about this historic boulder, which was used to grind and polish tools for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. There is also a covered picnic area here if you've packed a meal.

The stretch of the path near Indian Rock heads onto Red Maple Swamp Trail, another scenic hiking area with a boardwalk, dense forests, and even a boat launch. Red Maple Swamp Trail is particularly scenic during the fall when leaves on the maple trees change color.

Finally, you can get back on the main path and complete your journey. The final stretch of the trail ends up at the parking lot near Captain Penniman House. From there, you'll walk on Fort Hill Road to your vehicle.

Overall, this is an easy hike with a gradual 64-foot elevation change, making it accessible for even novice hikers. You’re never far from your car when you explore Fort Hill Trail, but you’ll feel as though you’re miles from civilization because of the quiet atmosphere and scenery.


The Cape’s Best Birdwatching

Here's a little secret: those in the know believe that Fort Hill Trail is home to Cape Cod's best birdwatching. It seems incredible that such a small area would have such a distinction, but it's true.

The reason is that the marshland that runs parallel to the trail provides the perfect environment for both nesting shorebirds and waders that prefer to spend their time in the water.

On any given day in the summer, you could see nesting birds like the yellow warbler, cedar waxwing, Baltimore oriole, northern bobwhite, and willow flycatcher, in addition to waders such as the black-crowned night-heron, great egret, snowy egret, least tern, and osprey. It truly is a birdwatcher's paradise because there is so much to see in such a small area.

And that doesn't even include the winter when you could also see the Virginia rail, marsh wren, salt marsh sparrow, clapper rail, and American bittern, to name a few.

If you're visiting Fort Hill Trail during high tide, the birds will be closer to the shore, providing the best possible viewing conditions.


Make It a Day in Eastham

The Fort Hill Trail area in Eastham makes for a great place to spend the day. After your hike, you can have a picnic at the covered picnic tables at Indian Rock, followed by an afternoon spent kayaking or canoeing Nauset Marsh from Hemenway Landing, which is a short jaunt from Indian Rock.

If you didn't bring a boat with you on vacation, Cape Kayaking operates tours most days of the week throughout the summer. The voyage is $70 per person and lasts about three hours; it's the perfect way to finish off a day in Eastham.

Birding Birds On Cape Cod Birdwatching Captain Penniman House Eastham Fort Hill Red Maple Swamp Trail

Wellfleet: The Art Gallery Town
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 15, 2019

Although the Provincetown art scene gets most of the attention, Wellfleet has something special for art enthusiasts, as the town is full of art galleries, most of which are within a short walk of each other. Those in the know refer to Wellfleet as “The Art Gallery Town” because of its abundance of studios, so if you want to enjoy outstanding exhibits without the hoopla, this is the place.

These art galleries come in all sizes and show off various forms of art. If you’re an art-lover, consider Wellfleet as the destination for your Cape Cod vacation because you can spend days on end exploring everything that this town of just 3,500 year-round residents has to offer.


Berta Walker Gallery

The Berta Walker Gallery sits on Wellfleet's Main Street and celebrates the history of American art. Many of the artists featured here are from Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, and there's a second gallery location in Provincetown, as well. The studio is open Thursday to Money from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM between May 23 to June 30 and every day except Tuesday between July 1 and Labor Day.


Blue Heron Gallery

At the Blue Heron Gallery, you can visit any day of the week between the middle of May and Columbus Day to view diverse collections of local sculptures, paintings, and photography. The gallery's Bank Street location has show openings and artist receptions on Saturday nights between 6:00 and 8:00 PM throughout the summer, as well.


Burdick Art Gallery

Dating back over 50 years, the Burdick Art Gallery is an institution in Wellfleet. The venue, which sits on Bank Street, usually features works by members of the Burdick family, in addition to those of other local artists.


Celeste Fine Arts Gallery

You'll find that the Celeste Fine Arts Gallery is a one-woman show, as all of the works featured here are by Celeste Woodes-Koper. Celeste is a self-taught painter from Boston who spent summers on Cape Cod growing up and decided to open an art gallery to showcase her impressionist work about 20 years ago. The gallery is on Commercial Street and only open in the summer.


Cherry Stone Gallery

Over on East Commercial Street, just across from Uncle Tim's Bridge, the Cherry Stone Gallery continues the legacy put forth by founders Lizzie Upham and Sally Nerber by showcasing local artists and bringing high-end shows to Wellfleet. The venue sits in what was once Cora Holbrook's store and is open every day except Sunday between June and September.


Cove Gallery

At the Cove Galley, new exhibits open every Saturday night all summer long and run throughout the week. There are also jazz performances on select Fridays during the summer that you can check out as you wander the town. The gallery enjoys an ideal location on Commercial Street, and offers custom framing, as well.


Front Porch Gallery

One of the few art galleries that isn’t on Commercial Street or Main Street is the Front Porch Gallery, which enjoys a convenient Baker Street location. This venue is open every day except Sunday throughout the summer and featuring abstract paintings, woodwork, fiber art, pottery, and other works from local artists. The gallery sits in a house built in 1855, so it gives you the chance to experience a bit of history, as well.


The Frying Pan Gallery

Although it's on Commercial Street, The Frying Pan Gallery is right on Wellfleet Town Pier, so it's a little away from many of the other galleries. This venue features fishing-inspired pieces by local artists, including owner Steve Swain, and shares a parking lot with Wellfleet Pearl, a renowned seafood restaurant.


Harmon Gallery

Another art gallery that shares a parking lot with a well-known restaurant is the Harmon Gallery, which is right beside Mac's Shack, perhaps Wellfleet's most famous dining room. The gallery is open throughout June, July, and August, from 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM every day except Sunday when it opens at noon. The Harmon Gallery focuses on contemporary art with an urban flair, bringing in both emerging and established artists from around the Cape and beyond.


Left Bank Gallery

Just a few doors down from the Cove Gallery on Commercial Street is the Left Bank Gallery, a venue specializing in glassware, jewelry, pottery, wood items, wearables, sculptures, home furnishings, and paintings from local artists. The paintings come in rotating collections, while the rest is there throughout much of the season. You can visit the gallery every day of the week between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and there is a second location on Cove Road in Orleans.


Off Main Gallery

The Off Main Gallery got its name because of its location, as it sits in an 1875 barn behind A Nice Cream Stop on Main Street. The gallery is in a pretty busy area, especially in the summer, as Winslow's Tavern is next door and Wellfleet Market Place is down the street, but it is set back from the road, creating a quiet environment. The gallery features rotating exhibits throughout the summer, with opening receptions and artists' talks taking place on the first Saturday of each release. The venue is open from late May through October, with changing days and times each month. Check their website for more information.


Visit Wellfleet for the Art

In June of 1980, the Wellfleet Art Gallery Association was established with the goal of promoting Wellfleet as a destination for fine art lovers. Since that time, the number of art galleries in the town has grown, and today, you can't walk more than a few minutes without coming across another studio in Wellfleet.

Have a look at the opening dates for some exhibits this summer because on some Saturday nights, you’ll be able to walk from gallery to gallery experiencing the best that Cape Cod’s art scene has to offer.

Art Galleries Arts On Cape Cod Berta Walker Gallery Blue Heron Gallery Burdick Art Gallery Celeste Fine Arts Gallery Cherry Stone Galelry Cove Gallery Front Porch Gallery Frying Pan Gallery Harmon Gallery Left Bank Gallery Off Main Gallery Wellfleet

Here Are Some Places to See Animals on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, July 10, 2019

It's somewhat surprising that the animals of Cape Cod don't receive more attention. Sure, you probably hear all about it when a sea mammal makes a rare appearance, but what about the smaller creatures that call Cape Cod home?

Luckily, there are a few places where you can see these animals in a controlled environment during your time here. You can also check out some larger animals at a nearby zoo, or head to a sanctuary to see wildlife in its natural habitat.bIf you're looking to see some animals while on the Cape, you'll have options.


Butterflies of Cape Cod

When you cross the Sagamore Bridge to the off-Cape side of the Cape Cod Canal, you'll see Butterflies of Cape Cod. This venue isn't like a traditional zoo, as it's a greenhouse that is home to countless species of butterflies, all of which are native to the Cape.

Butterflies of Cape Cod is a great place to learn about the insects that live on Cape Cod. Here, you can see different butterflies all summer long, depending on the weather and which species are having a good breeding year. It costs $6 for adults and $4 for kids, so you won't have to break the bank when doing so, either.


Woods Hole Science Aquarium

At the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, you can get up close with 140 different species of marine animals, all of which live in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. The sea life that you'll come across on your visit includes lobster, bass, cod, urchins, angelfish, and toadfish. You can also handle some of the fish in the touch tanks.

At times, the aquarium operates a seal habitat for seals that are unable to live in the wild. You can even learn about whales, sharks, and turtles through the interactive exhibits. The Woods Hole Science Aquarium sits in Falmouth's Woods Hole neighborhood and is free to enter, although donations are encouraged.


Taylor-Bray Farm Preservation Association

The animals at Taylor-Bray Farm are more domesticated than other locations on this list, but that means you can get closer to them at this petting zoo. The farm currently has sheep, cattle, goats, chickens, and donkeys, so it's like a typical farm, except people are encouraged to visit and interact with the livestock. The cows are particularly interesting because they're Scottish Highland Cattle, rather than the bovines that you'd typically see in New England.

There is no admission fee to visit Taylor-Bray Farm, although the owners appreciate donations. Keep in mind that 100% of all donations go towards caring for the animals, so it's an excellent cause. The property sits in Yarmouthport, and the land has been inhabited since 1639, making it one of the Cape's oldest farms.


Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary offers the chance to view animals in a more natural habitat, making it a rewarding experience if you're able to visit. Here, you can meet some of the animals that call Cape Cod Bay their home, or walk the trails to see other wildlife in its natural habitat. There are four habitats at this sanctuary: salt marsh, brackish water, forest, and freshwater, and as you stroll on the boardwalk, you can see animals in all of these environments. There are guided tours that allow you to get close to crabs, owls, and other wildlife, as well. If you happen to be on the Cape when one of these events is happening, check it out.

Visiting the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary costs $8 for adult and $3 for children. You can spend the entire day exploring, as the trails open at 7:00 AM and don't close until the sun goes down.


Buttonwood Park Zoo

Ok, so we've finally got a real zoo on this list. The catch is that it's not on Cape Cod, but it's only about half an hour from Bourne in the city of New Bedford. If you're serious about visiting some animals, the Buttonwood Park Zoo is well worth the drive because you'll see elephants, cougars, bears, monkeys, hawks, owls, and lizards, just to name a few.

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is seven-acres in size and includes attractions like a train and a cafeteria. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids for non-residents, and parking is free.


A Different Way to Spend a Day on the Cape

While the beaches, bike paths, and restaurants get most of the attention on Cape Cod, there is a very active wildlife scene to explore. Whether you're into seeing local wildlife in its natural habitat or exotic creatures in a zoo, you can find exactly what you're looking for on the Cape and its surrounding area.

It's also nice to know that all of these venues are cost-efficient, giving you a way to spend the day with the family without overspending.

Animals On Cape Cod Taylor Bray Farm Wellfleet Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Woods Hole Woods Hole Aquarium Yarmouth Port

The Top 5 Local Markets in Dennis
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 8, 2019

Cape Cod is full of local, mom, and pop markets that provide the region with character and stimulate the economy. While other parts of the country have been taken over by big box stores, the Cape has stayed true to its roots, and these small shops provide a great source of income for those who live here.

In Dennis, you'll find various types of local markets, each of which has unique offerings that you can use on your vacation. If you're in the Dennis area, visit a few of these shops and see what they have to offer.


1) Sapori d'Italia

Taking a trip into Dennis Village brings you to Sapori d'Italia, an Italian market featuring high-end cheese, pasta, oil, bread, and meat, in addition to artisanal items. Heading to this local market gives you access to everything you'll need for a great Italian dinner, and you can even pick out a bottle of wine that you'd struggle to find anywhere else on the Cape.

Perhaps the best thing about this market, which sits on Main Street, around the corner from the Cape Playhouse, Cape Cinema, and Cape Cod Museum of Art, is that the staff import most items from Tuscany.  There are two owners at Sapori d'Italia, Lynne and her daughter Hilary. Hilary lives in Tuscany and hand-selects most of the items for sale at the market. Her passion for Italian cuisine and culture give this venue an authentic feel that will keep you coming back every time you visit Cape Cod.


2) Dennis Public Market

Known locally as DPM, the Dennis Public Market dates back to 1907 and guarantees that every product it sells is fresh, and never frozen. The market was also the first shop in Massachusetts to be named a Market of Distinction by Boars Head Provisions, making it one of only 33 in the entire country. Whether you're looking for fruit, vegetables, meat, or dairy, DPM has you covered.

Over the years, DPM, which sits on Main Street in Dennis Village, has gone through 15 renovations and numerous owners, but its commitment to serving the best possible local goods has remained the same. The market is currently owned by the Crosby family, as it has been since 1990, and the store is now employing its third generation of Crosby family members.


3) Swan River Fish Market

Swan River Fish Market sits in the banks of Swan Pond River in Dennisport, a short distance from where it empties into Nantucket Sound. There are actually two buildings on this site, a restaurant, and a market. The market has been around since 1954, and proudly supplies fish, clams, lobsters, and other seafood caught in local waters. Everything here is incredibly fresh, which is one reason why it is so popular with residents.

The Burns family owns both the restaurant and the market and strives to keep the quality the same as it has been for nearly 70 years. The market is also open seven days per week, so you know you can head down Lower Country Road whenever you wish to pick up some of the freshest seafood available anywhere on Cape Cod.


4) Dennisport Lobster Company

If you find the Dennisport Lobster Company challenging to find, look for the giant Benny's sign on Main Street because the fish market is just a couple of doors down from it. This seafood market is known for its wide selection of fresh products, including live crab and lobster. You'll also find shrimp, cod, tuna, swordfish, bass, scallops, oysters, clams, and mussels here, all of which are caught in the surrounding area.

Mark Leach, a local fisherman with three lobster boats, owns Dennisport Lobster Company. He opened the market to help sell the lobsters he was trapping, but it has taken off and now offers seafood from other local anglers. Sustainable fishing practices are critical to Dennisport Lobster Company, as most of the fish they sell are caught using hook and line techniques.


5) The Merc

The Mercantile, affectionately referred to as The Merc by locals, is a sandwich shop, deli, and bakery located on the same block as Sapori d'Italia. The Merc opens early for breakfast and stays open for lunch. The market also has a selection of take-out dinners in stock, so if you don't feel like cooking, stop by before they close to pick something up.

This market operated as a community store between 1978 and 2000 when Jim and Katie Hempel bought the business and expanded it into a cafe. Eventually, the Hempel's daughter, Meagan, took over the family business, and she continues to run it to this day with her husband, Mark.


Keep it Local

Stop by some of these outstanding local markets in Dennis on your Cape Cod vacation to not only experience shops that you won’t find anywhere else in the country, but to also support the Cape’s small businesses.

Cape Cod residents own all five of these markets, helping them to provide a level of service that you are sure to appreciate.

Dennis Dennis Port Lobster Company Dennis Public Market Sapori Ditalia Swan River Market The Merc

Cape Cod's Unique Architecture
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 1, 2019

Although you're probably visiting Cape Cod for its unparalleled beaches, outstanding dining scene, and laidback lifestyle, it would be a mistake to miss out on exploring its architecture.

As one of the first North American locations to be inhabited by European settlers, Cape Cod is home to some of the continent’s oldest structures, and there are very few places where you can experience such a wide range of architectural styles in a single day.

Keep some of these old homes and buildings in mind during your Cape Cod vacation because taking a self-guided tour of the Cape’s architecture is an excellent way to spend a day.


The First Houses on Cape Cod

There are six houses built in the 1600s that are still standing on Cape Cod. Perhaps the two most famous, the Hoxie House and the Wing Fort House, are located in Sandwich. The Hoxie House dates back to 1675, when it was built for Reverend John Smith, his wife, and their 13 children. It was later owned by Captain Abraham Hoxie, which is how it got its name. The Fort Wing House was constructed in 1641 and has been owned by the Wing family ever since. Both buildings are now museums that are open to the public.

Remember Monopoly houses? Well, they were based on Cape Cod style houses, which first rose to prominence in the early to mid-1700s. These houses were very modest, often with only one room, and had a central fireplace to keep them warm in the winter. A walk through some of Sandwich’s historic districts will give you first-hand views of some of these houses, many of which are marked with plaques.


Changes to the Cape Cod Economy

As the economy on Cape Cod matured, the architecture changed considerably. Smaller houses were still being built, but the whaling era brought riches to the area, and captains had the means to establish larger structures for their families.

One example is the Georgian-style Winslow Crocker House, a surprisingly elaborate structure built in 1780. There remains some debate as to how Winslow Crocker obtained his wealth, as he was a trader who might have also dabbled in the rum-running industry. While Crocker lived in Barnstable, local philanthropist Mary Thatcher eventually took ownership of the home and had it moved plank by plank to Yarmouth in 1936. It remains there to this day, and you can visit the house on Saturdays and Sundays been June 1 and October 15.

Although it was built quite a bit later, in 1868, a French Second Empire home called the Captain Penniman House is also the result of the whaling industry. Captain Penniman spent years at a time at sea, making his fortune in the process. Upon retirement, he constructed a unique house in Eastham, complete with 13-foot high whale jawbones in the entrance. The house has a tower overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, as Penniman liked to keep an eye out for ships, and was one of the first homes on Cape Cod to have amenities like running hot water, a furnace, and electricity. The house is open for tours on various dates throughout the year.


Vacation Homes on Cape Cod

By the 1880s, Cape Cod was no longer a secret and vacation homes were being constructed by wealthy families from Boston and New York. This commute was possible because of train travel, as visitors could reach the Cape in a matter of hours.

In Falmouth, you'll come across Highfield Hall, which sits atop the town's highest hill on nearly 400 acres of conservation land. The home was constructed in 1878 by James Beebe and used Victorian-style architecture with elements of Queen Anne. Overall, it has 22 rooms, 16 fireplaces, and tons of hand-carved woodwork. The home and its surrounding woods are open to the public every day between April 15 and October 31.

There is an interesting story behind the Crosby Mansion, or Tawasentha, in Brewster, as it was built in 1888 around a small Cape Cod style home where owner Albert Crosby lived as a child. Rather than tearing down the old homestead, he developed a 35 room Queen Anne style mansion around it, with the addition featuring an entrance replicating the one at Buckingham Palace and a parlor designed after the one at the Palace of Versailles. The estate is is now an art gallery open for tours on select days throughout the summer.


Post World War II

After the Second World War, soldiers returning from battle needed places to live, leading to many houses being built on Cape Cod. Since the Cape Cod style homes of the 1600 and 1700s could be constructed quickly, they became the design of choice. The only difference is that this next generation of Cape Cod houses would be built for modern living with multiple bedrooms and, in many cases, at least two floors. Most of the Cape Cod style houses on the Cape come from this time period.

This period was also an experimental phase when a group of architects led by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer constructed small homes with lots of glass and large decks in wooded areas around the Cape, particularly on the cliffs near Truro and Wellfleet. These Bauhaus-style homes utilized various types of wood, concrete, and recycled materials to create something never before seen in this part of the world.

An example of this experimental architecture is found at the Ruth and Robert Hatch Jr. House in Wellfleet, which was built in 1961 on Bound Brook Island. The house was constructed to fit into the natural environment, rather than take away from it, but differs from others of this era because it doesn't have glass in the windows, just shutters. The home is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


Experience the Architecture

As you can see, you can quickly move through quite a few eras of American architecture within a small area if you take the time to do so on Cape Cod. Whether you’re interested in seeing how the country’s first settlers lived or wish to see the lavish homes built by some of the Gilded Age's wealthiest people, the Cape has it all.

The great news is that many of these buildings have been converted into museums, complete with period décor, allowing you to step back in time during your Cape Cod vacation.

Cape Cod Architecture Captain Penniman House Crosby Mansion Fort Wing House Highfield Hall Hoxie House Sandwich Wellfleet Winslow Crocker House

Exploring the Cape's Secret Swimming Holes
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 1, 2019

Nothing feels better on a hot day than a quick dip, and Cape Cod is full of incredible places to go swimming. At the same time, many local swimming areas are overcrowded in the summer, making them chaotic and less relaxing.

Luckily, the Cape’s kettle ponds provide a break from the oceanfront madness, and while many attract modest crowds throughout the summer, some of the more remote pools sit nearly empty.

Here are some secret swimming holes on Cape Cod that you’ll need a map to find and some good hiking shoes to reach, but are well worth that effort that you’ll put into getting there.


Micah Pond in Osterville

Those who know about Micah Pond are quite lucky because it sits in a convenient location, less than five minutes from downtown Osterville, and is just north of Joshua Pond, which is far more popular thanks to its parking lot and beach. While the crowds flock to Joshua Pond in the summer, the few who are aware of Micah Pond have much of it to themselves, including its rope swing.

Getting to Micah Pond is relatively straightforward from downtown Osterville, as you can follow Main Street until you reach Pond Street before heading northeast. You'll have to learn where to stop, however, as the pond's entrance isn't marked and all you'll have to go on is a small gate. You can park by the gate before following the trail on the other side of it to the water.


Hawksnest Pond in Harwich

You're going to have some trouble locating Hawksnest Pond because there are no signs, paved roads, or residential developments here. The one saving grace is that you can see the pond from Spruce Road in Harwich, which is just off the Mid-Cape Highway and a little bit south of Long Pond.

As you drive down Spruce Road, you'll come to an unmarked dirt road that leads to the water. Once you get to the pond, you'll be glad that you took the time because very few people know about this location and it's excellent for a secluded swim with no one else in the area.


Dyer Pond in Wellfleet

Dyer Pond in Wellfleet enjoys both convenience and seclusion because it is about a 15-minute walk from the parking lot at Great Pond, so you don't have to worry about finding somewhere to leave your vehicle, as long as you arrive before the area fills for the day. To reach the parking lot, all you do is exit Route 6 at Cahoon Hollow Road and follow it until you arrive at Great Pond. From there, you can walk on an old forestry road directly to Dyer Pond.

There isn't much of a beach at Dyer Pond, but you will find clear, calm water and an environment that's so secluded that it's impossible to believe that you're only about five minutes from the highway. The pond is also surrounded by a dense pine forest, adding to its secretive location and relaxing atmosphere. Perhaps the best aspect of this location is that you must have a resident sticker to park, so it would be too much of a hassle for tourists to bother trying to get there.


Duck Pond in Wellfleet

Dyer Pond isn’t the only secluded body of water near Great Pond, as Duck Pond, which is just to its south, is also a great place to check out for a swim this summer. There is only a single residence on the Pond, and it has a small beach, crystal clear water, and abundant tree cover. It’s incredibly quiet and secluded here, although it has become slightly more popular with locals in recent years.

Getting to Duck Pond is a little tricky because you'll have to park your vehicle and then walk along an unpaved, unmarked old country road. Many people find a parking spot on the Old King’s Highway before following some utility poles through a clearing. A little way into the clearing, you’ll come across a path that leads to the pond. It takes a bit of effort to reach Duck Pond, but that's just how those who know about this hidden gem like it.


Goose Pond in Chatham

Although Goose Pond has the most inhabited shoreline on this list, as there are more than a few homes on its banks, it’s also the easiest to reach, and it has a particularly pleasant swimming area at its northwest end. This area, which is called Fisherman's Landing, is suitable for kids because of its shallow water and nearby parking lot.

Reaching Goose Pond involves getting onto Old Queen Anne Road, which intersects with Main Street in Harwich and Route 28 in downtown Chatham. From there, you'll follow Old Queen Anne Road, passing Schoolhouse Pond, until you reach a dirt road that leads to the parking lot. In the future, there could be more Goose Pond access coming for the public, as the town is in negotiations to purchase 4.17 acres of land from the Atwood family for conservation purposes.


Get Out for Some Secluded Swimming

Dense forest surrounds all of these swimming holes, giving you the impression of being completely alone. It’s easy to imagine yourself as one of Cape Cod’s early settlers as you glide throughout the water without traffic or noise pollution coming from anywhere.

Places like these swimming holes go to show you that Cape Cod can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you’re willing to go and find it.

Cape Cod Ponds Chatham Duck Pond Goose Pond Harwich Hawksnest Pond Micah Pond Osterville Swimming Wellfleet

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