The Beach Times

Having a Look at Orleans' Freshwater Ponds
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 17, 2020

Orleans Cape Cod

When spending your vacation in Orleans, Massachusetts, you'll probably want to check out well-known attractions like the Cape Cod National Seashore, Rock Harbor Creek, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, Little Pleasant Bay, and the Jonathan Young Windmill.

At the same time, there's a lesser-known side to Orleans that is equally as entertaining. 

This alternative version of Orleans is hidden from the masses that flock to this town of fewer than 6,000 people every summer.

That's because Orleans has 60 freshwater ponds, which are located throughout the town and provide excellent places to fish, swim, and escape the heat.

When vacationing on Cape Cod, don't forget about the kettle ponds because they provide an off-the-beaten-path oasis that is sure to add another layer to your time in this magical part of the country.

Pilgrim Lake

One of the more popular places to spend time in Orleans is Pilgrim Lake, which is just off Route 28, where Little Pleasant Bay runs into the Namequoit River.

The beachfront area features 20 parking spaces, in addition to picnic tables and a bike rack, making it a beautiful place to head for lunch.

The water here is excellent for swimming, and families tend to frequent the beach because of the shallow, calm water.

If you're into fishing, the pond has smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pickerel, perch, and trout, and you can quickly put a boat in the water from the parking lot. Keep in mind, however, that you can't bring motorboats onto the pond, so you'll have to stick with a kayak or canoe.

Crystal Lake

Just north of Pilgrim Lake is Crystal Lake, a similarly sized pond in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Crystal Lake has two separate access points, one on the west side and the other on the east side, so you'll have a couple of options if you choose to spend the day there.

On the west side of the pond, you can access the water directly off Route 28 by exiting onto Housewrights Way. Once you're at the water, you'll see a small beach and picnic tables, making it an excellent place to take the family for lunch.

The other side of the pond features a parking lot with a trail that leads to another small beach. This lot is just off Monument Road and has designated accessible parking spaces, too.

You can carry a small boat to the water from either parking area, giving you access to the pond's trout, bass, and perch, as well.

Since each side of the pond only has about eight parking spaces, you'll want to get to Crystal Lake early to avoid disappointment.

Bakers Pond

Bakers Pond is in the western part of Orleans, not far from Brewster's Nickerson State Park. Just off Route 6, you'll come across Bakers Pond Road, which runs right past the pond and eventually comes to a parking lot.

This parking area is small and only has room for a few vehicles, but it's only a short walk down to the water once you arrive.

Generally, Bakers Pond is regarded as a fishing pond, and you can easily carry a small boat to the water from the parking lot. Remember, however, that motorized boats are prohibited.

There is also a small beach area on Bakers Pond that offers a secluded place to relax away from the bustle of the Cape's summers.

Although Bakers Pond isn't much of a swimming hole, you can wade in as the water is clean and calm.

Other Ponds in Orleans

As was mentioned, there are 60 freshwater ponds in Orleans with varying levels of accessibility. Pilgrim, Crystal, and Bakers are the only ponds with direct public access via a beach or boat launch, but some of the other sites have hiking trails to explore.

Boland Pond, which is right by Nauset Middle School and Eldredge Park, is tiny but has some hiking trails that you can take through the woods. As a bonus, there's plenty of parking available nearby.

Woodlands surround Twining's Pond, which is part of a conservation area, and Sarah's Pond. Both of these ponds are in South Orleans and feature hiking trails.

You might also be interested in visiting Gould Pond, but keep in mind that this is where the town gets much of its drinking water, so the area is protected. You are permitted to walk past the pond but can't enter the water.

You'll also encounter other ponds like Uncle Seth's Pond, Uncle Harvey's Pond, and Shoal Pond, but you'll want to steer clear because they often contain toxic algae.

Enjoy Your Vacation on the Kettle Ponds

Visiting Cape Cod can be overwhelming because of the abundance of activities from which to choose. In Orleans alone, you'll come across beaches, marinas, parks, trails, museums, and restaurants, all within a short distance of your vacation rental.

When spending time in Orleans, Massachusetts, taking some time on the kettle ponds is a wonderful way to slow things down and experience a slower pace of life. These ponds have calm waters, quiet atmospheres and provide a break from the constant excitement of the area's towns and oceanfront beaches.

Have a look at the ponds of Orleans during your Cape Cod vacation for a day of living like a local in one of the region's most scenic locations.

Bakers Pond Cape Cod Ponds Crystal Lake Kettle Ponds Orleans Pilgrim Lake

Jackknife Cove: A Hidden Gem on the Lower Cape
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 10, 2020

Jackknife Cove

While the beaches on Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound, along with the Cape Cod National Seashore, get much of the attention on the Lower Cape, there are quieter places to spend your day that are just as enjoyable.

Jackknife Cove, for example, sits where Harwich and North Chatham meet, right on Pleasant Bay, and provides a serene, relaxing environment for locals and visitors alike.

If you want to spend a day with space to do your own thing, and without having to fight for a parking spot, Jackknife Cove is an excellent option on the Lower Cape.

How to Get There

Despite being a bit hidden, getting to Jackknife Cove is surprisingly easy.

The beach sits on Route 28, which you can take directly from downtown Chatham or Orleans. You can also take Route 39, exiting on Bay Road, from Harwich, or the Mid-Cape Highway from Brewster, taking Exit 11 and then turning onto Pleasant Bay Road.

Once you arrive at Jackknife Cove, a bonus is that you don't require a beach sticker because parking is free.

There's a small pull-out along Route 28 where you can leave your car, and it's only a short walk from there to the sand and water of Pleasant Bay. There's also a parking lot at Jackknife Beach, which you can reach by following a small road that is just south of the pull-out.

Getting to the parking lot involves driving down a hill, but it's smooth enough that even a small car can make it without any trouble.

About the Beach

There are a few things you should know about Jackknife Cove Beach before you head to its shores.

For starters, the beach is excellent for kids because it's sheltered from the ocean and has incredibly warm water. The cove is also very shallow, so your children can play without worry.

Keep in mind, however, that the beach doesn't have restrooms or lifeguards, so you're on your own as far as those amenities go. The sand isn't the nicest, either, as the beach doesn't receive the same level of care as others in the area.

You should also keep in mind that while parking is free, it isn't as extensive as other nearby beaches. In theory, you should be fine for parking, but you might want to get there early in the summer, just in case.

Once you have a parking spot, you can spread out and find a spot all to yourself because the beach is vast.

If you're unable to get to the beach early, consider coming after dinner to walk the beach as the sun sets for the day. Locals love this place in the evening because it's incredibly scenic and calm.

Kayaking, Sailing, and Windsurfing

As you arrive at Jackknife Cove, you'll see numerous boats secured in the water off its shores. That's because the cove is a popular place to anchor for the day, and there are even some mooring buoys available.

You can launch a small boat at Jackknife Cove, but remember that you'll have to carry it to the water from the parking lot. You'll see a variety of sailboats, canoes, and kayaks on the beach as you arrive, so get your boat in the water and enjoy the calm atmosphere.

Some rental companies will deliver a kayak to you on Jackknife Cove, which is perfect if you're unable to bring a boat with you to Cape Cod.

Bringing a Dog

A final noteworthy aspect of Jackknife Beach is that it's the only beach in Chatham that allows dogs during the summer. Dogs are limited to before 9:00 AM, and after 6:00 PM, so you'll have to consider the rules when taking your pet for a walk.

If you've brought your furry friend on your Cape Cod vacation, it's nice to know that you can let it run free on the beach during certain times of the day.

A Peaceful Day on the Lower Cape

The Lower Cape is an outstanding place to spend your vacation because it's full of magnificent scenery, fascinating historic sites, and some of the country's best beaches.

With so much to offer, it's no wonder that the area is so popular with visitors, particularly during the summer months.

Luckily, there are places like Jackknife Cove, where you can get away from the crowds while still enjoying the pleasant natural environment of the Lower Cape.

Beaches Chatham Dog Friendly Cape Cod Harwich Jackknife Cove Lower Cape

Sailing on the Liberte During Your Cape Cod Vacation
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 3, 2020

the liberte

When you take a vacation to the Cape, you'll undoubtedly have a lot of activities to fit into your time here.

After all, you'll likely want to hit the beach, do some antiquing, explore some hiking trails, and play a round of golf, to name a few possibilities.

You might also wish to take a boat tour into one of the bodies of water that surround Cape Cod, as there are sailings into Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket Sound, and Vineyard Sound, as well as trips into the Atlantic off the Cape's East Coast.

Perhaps the most impressive option to consider is the Liberte, a 77-foot schooner that was custom-built for Captain Chris Tietje and his wife, Jane.

This boat, which is based out of Annapolis, Maryland, spends its summers in operating out of Falmouth Harbor. When you book your vacation rental on the Cape, look into the schedule of the Liberte because it provides a classic sailing experience that is difficult to replicate anywhere else.

About the Boat

The Liberte is a custom-made ship, and its design fulfills a few different purposes.

First of all, for Chris and Jane Tietje, the Liberte is more than a boat. The couple lives on the vessel for much of the year and, therefore, requires additional features. As a result, there are living quarters below the deck that have everything they need on board.

In addition to running boat tours in the waters off Cape Cod and Annapolis, Chris and Jane also sail the world in the vessel. Because the boat spends so much time away from shore, they designed it with safety features like a motor that prevents it from getting stuck when the winds aren't cooperating and plenty of interior space for those long nights at sea.

The Liberte also uses the hull of a Hout Bay 70 and has custom sails and rigging that make it easier for one person to operate the vessel alone. That way, Chris can operate the boat while Jane handles other duties on board, if necessary.

The Tietjes had an idea in mind and brought multiple designers and boatbuilders together to put the craft of their dreams together. Now you can participate in this dream by booking a sailing on the Liberte this summer.

Where it Sails

The great thing about sailing on the Liberte is that no two journeys are the same. Although the boat has a motor, Captain Chris uses it as little as possible. As a result, the route of your tour will depend on the wind.

Every sailing departs from Falmouth Harbor. The boat docks on Clinton Avenue, which on the south end of the harbor, and there is plenty of on-site parking.

From there, your sailing might head west past the Nobska Lighthouse near Woods Hole and around the Elizabeth Islands, west to Waquoit Bay, or south around Martha's Vineyard, depending on the direction of the wind.

The Liberte runs three times per day, seven days per week between the end of June and Labor Day weekend. There's a morning sail, an afternoon sail, and a sunset sail, and the cost depends on which option you choose. Book your excursion before arriving on Cape Cod to ensure there's room at your desired time.

The Sailing Experience

Sailing on the Liberte is meant to be a relaxing experience that will take you to some of Cape Cod's most scenic locations. From the second you board the ship, you will be treated to first-class service and stories from Captain Chris on his life at sea.

There is seating for 49 people on the Liberte, and even when it's at full capacity, there's enough room for everyone to spread out and have their own little area. This abundant space comes in handy if you sail as a group because you can head to a private part of the deck to appreciate the atmosphere.

The boat has a cash bar that operates throughout the sailing, and you can even enjoy some music as the vessel moves through the waves around the Cape.

Private Bookings

Are you planning a party or gathering on your Cape Cod vacation?

If so, it's possible to make a private booking on the Liberte to give your group the entire boat to itself.

When doing so, you can choose the day, time, and length of the tour, in addition to extras like meals and specialty drinks from the bar.

A private booking can make your trip to the Cape even more special and is worth considering if you're planning an event.

A Unique Experience on Cape Cod

From the second you set foot on the Liberte, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time, as the entire experience is much like it would have been in the 1850s.

Of course, at the same time, you will have access to modern amenities, so you can enjoy your sailing in any way you see fit.

Since every journey on the Liberte is a little bit different, this is the type of excursion you could do multiple times during your Cape Cod vacation.

A boat tour can add a lot to your vacation on the Cape, and the Liberte has all of the options you could ever want when exploring the area's waters.

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