The Beach Times

The Top 5 Coffee Shops in Harwich, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 30, 2020

photo of cup of coffee

Mornings might be a little bit slower on your Cape Cod vacation, as you won't have to rush out the door to get the kids to school or your self to work.

Instead, you can take it easy, enjoying the early hours of the day, and figuring out how you want to spend the rest of it.

At some point, you'll want to grab a cup of coffee, and while you could make a cup in the kitchen of your vacation rental, it's always nice to stop by a local shop where residents and visitors congregate.

You'll have multiple options from which to choose in Harwich, MA, so here are the town's top five places to grab a cup of coffee.

Perks Coffee Shop & Beer Garden

You'll quickly notice that Perks seems like two businesses in one, as they have a morning atmosphere and something completely different going on at night.

Assuming that you stop by in the morning for a cup of coffee, you'll find beans roasted by Wicked Joe in Brunswick, Maine, and learn that all of their coffee is organic and fair trade.

Perks Coffee Shop is also known for its espressos, iced coffees, and smoothies, so you'll have a lot of variety once you walk through the doors. You can grab a quick breakfast here, too, as they carry sandwiches and full meals at reasonable prices.

And if you want to come by Perks at night, they also have a beer garden, live music, and a raw bar.

Lighthouse Cafe

Over in Northwest Harwich, the Lighthouse Cafe is more of a diner than a coffee shop, but if you're looking for a full, hearty breakfast with your drink, this is the place to go.

The Lighthouse Cape is a throwback to the small, local hidden gems that you likely used to hear about but could never find. Here, you'll find an excellent breakfast meal, and they have a bakery, too, if you want to bring some fresh items back to your vacation rental.

Dunkin' Donuts

You might try to avoid chains while on your Cape Cod vacation, but you can't argue with the convenience and reliability of Dunkin'. As a result, if you're looking for a quick cup of coffee in the morning, you can stop by one of the three stores in Harwich and be back at your vacation rental in a matter of minutes.

Dunkin' is an institution in New England, so it makes sense that you'd come across a few on this part of the Cape. As for the locations, there's one on Main Street in Harwich Port, one on Pleasant Lake Avenue in Harwich Center, and a third on Brewster-Chatham Road in East Harwich. You can also get Dunkin' coffee at the Shell gas station on Brewster-Chatham Road.

Capeside Kitchen

Back on Main Street in Harwich Port is another local institution: the Capeside Kitchen. This local eatery is a popular brunch spot on weekends that also features full breakfast and lunch menus, in addition to some of the Cape's best coffee.

Many visitors to the Capeside Kitchen partake in their mimosa and bloody Marys, so you'll have all kinds of choice when heading here in the morning.

Much like the Lighthouse Cafe, this isn't a place where you'll stop in for a quick cup of coffee, but rather a location to spend a big chunk of your morning, so plan accordingly if you're stopping by.


Yes, Starbucks is another chain on this list, but sometimes familiarity is a good thing while on vacation. Unlike other parts of the country, you won't find Starbucks on every corner of Cape Cod.

There are a few, however, including the one inside the Stop & Shop at Harwich Commons in East Harwich.

The good news is that this particular Starbucks retains its small-town feel, likely due to its position inside a grocery store in a quieter part of the Cape. It's also important to note that this cafe doesn't open until the rest of the store does at 7:30 AM, so it's not the best choice for early risers.

Make the Most of Your Cape Cod Mornings

No matter how you want to spend your mornings on your Cape Cod vacation, you'll have options in Harwich, Massachusetts. Once you book a vacation rental in this quintessential Cape Cod town, have a look at the coffee and breakfast options available to you, and you won't be disappointed.

There's always something happening on the Cape, and even if you like getting up early on your vacation, you'll likely find a place with like-minded people open for business.

Capeside Kitchen Coffee Coffee Shops Harwich Lighthouse Cafe Perks Coffee

The Top Beaches on the South Coast of Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 23, 2020

When booking a vacation rental in the Cape Cod area, you might also consider the South Coast. This area extends from Wareham, which is just over the Bourne Bridge, all the way to Fall River, on the border with Rhode Island, and is full of outstanding beachfront communities to explore.

Most of the South Coast is along Buzzards Bay, so it offers outstanding beachfront rentals in its towns and cities. You'll also find great boating opportunities throughout the South Coast because it is full of marinas with unparalleled access to the ocean.

Of course, your South Coast vacation rental will be a short drive from Cape Cod, so you can head over the bridge to experience Barnstable County's amenities.

While on the South Coast, you'll surely want to visit its beaches and, luckily, there's no shortage. Here are some of the most popular oceanfront areas on the South Coast of Massachusetts.

Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Perhaps the most popular beach on the South Coast is the Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport, Massachusetts. This park is massive, featuring two huge parking lots, two-miles of sand, a bird sanctuary, and numerous hiking trails. The beach is excellent for both swimming and windsurfing, as it gets a decent breeze coming in off Buzzards Bay.

There's a lifeguard station at Horseneck Beach State Reservation, making it safer for children, in addition to change rooms, showers, and picnic areas. You'll also find a playground and a basketball court near the water. The one drawback is that parking at the beach is $40 for those arriving from outside of Massachusetts, but only $13 for the state's residents.

Fort Phoenix State Reservation

The Fort Phoenix State Reservation in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, is more than a beach, as a lot is going on at this location overlooking Buzzards Bay. We'll start with the beach, however, which is a half-mile long and has a sizable parking lot that is free to use.

Other amenities at the park include a playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, a beach volleyball court, and the remains of Fort Phoenix, which was used during the Revolutionary War. There are picnic tables, benches, hiking trails, and grills available here, too.

Onset Beach

The town of Wareham is home to the Victorian community of Onset, featuring Onset Beach. At Onset Beach, you'll find a pier, a restaurant, parking, restrooms, and a long stretch of sand that offers plenty of space to relax. The beach sits on a commercial area, as well, so there are plenty of other dining options within walking distance.

If you follow Onset Beach far enough south, you'll eventually reach Shell Point Beach, a less busy, more secluded option near the heart of Onset Village. Although there is plenty of parking in downtown Onset, the town reserves some of it for locals. Make sure you're in the right spot and that you've paid before leaving your vehicle.

Swansea Town Beach

Swansea Town Beach is a small section of waterfront with white sand and a large parking lot in Swansea's Ocean Grove neighborhood. The beach was once pretty rustic, but now has bathrooms, a pavilion, foot washing stations, and picnic tables. The water is also quite shallow, and there's a lifeguard on duty, making it appealing for those with kids.

In addition to the beach, there's a boat launch at this venue. If you've brought a boat with you on your South Coast vacation, you can use the ramp to get your vessel in the water. Both Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay are easily accessible from the beach. Parking at Swansea Town Beach is $5 per day during the week, $8 on weekends, and $35 for a season's pass for non-residents.

Silvershell Beach

At the end of Front Street in Marion Center is Silvershell Beach, a scenic sandy area with a large parking lot and views out to Sippican Harbor and Buzzards Bay. If you have a vacation rental in Marion Center, you can walk to the beach so you won't have to worry about parking. Otherwise, beach stickers are available for those with short term rentals at the cost of $10 per day.

While Silvershell Beach isn't packed with amenities, it has a playground and a washroom on-site, providing everything that you'll need for a day in the sun. The water is warm and shallow, too, making it an excellent destination for families with kids.

Always a Beach to Visit

No matter which city or town you book for your South Coast vacation rental, you'll be close to an outstanding beach with plenty of amenities. Most of the bays, coves, and rivers offer beautiful views to Buzzards Bay, adding even more appeal to the region.

Reserve your vacation rental close to one of these popular beaches to ensure that you make the most of your time on this often overlooked part of the East Coast.

Marion Onset Southcoast Ma Wareham Westport

What's the Story Behind the Blue Trees in Cotuit?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 16, 2020

If you drive down Massachusetts Route 28 in Cotuit, you'll notice something very peculiar outside the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

That's because in the middle of this historic section of the village is a collection of blue trees. These trees aren't subtle at all, as their vibrant blue tone stands out against the museum's classic Cape Cod architecture, making passersby wonder what exactly is going on in Cotuit.

Well, it should without saying that the trees are not natural; they are covered with paint.

The paint is chalk-based, water-soluble, and environmentally safe, however, and is part of a project by internationally renowned artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.

The Cahoon Museum of American Art commissioned Dimopoulos to install this work of art as a commentary on the effects of deforestation on the planet. Similar pieces are present in Germany, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, in addition to other American cities, making Cotuit part of a global movement. 

Make sure you stop by the museum when you travel to Cape Cod for a look at something you'll never witness in nature: blue trees.

Who is Konstantin Dimopoulos?

To understand The Blue Trees Project, it's best to get to know Konstantin Dimopoulos, a social artist, and sculptor who uses his artwork to engage in sociological, ecological, and humanist discussions, while encouraging socio-environmental change. Basically, he wants to save the planet and uses his art to get people talking about it.

So far, Dimopoulos' projects have been widely successful, notably The Blue Trees, where he creates a surreal environment in nature to draw attention to it. The trees typically blend into the rest of Cotuit's landscape, but when they're blue, people notice them.

Dimopoulos is also responsible for The Purple Rain, where he painted purple dots on buildings and sidewalks in Melbourne, Australia, as a commentary on homelessness. Each dot has the name of a homeless individual, in addition to a QR code that those passing through can scan to learn about that person's story. The idea is that homelessness, much like rain, arrives as a downpour. Dimopoulos hopes to humanize the homeless, raising awareness in the process.

Seeing the Blue Trees

There's good news and bad news when it comes to Cotuit's blue trees. The good news, as mentioned before, is that the paint used is water-soluble and, therefore, will wash away in the years to come. The speed by which the color deteriorates depends on local precipitation but, rest assured, the paint will wash away.

The bad news is that the washable paint means that the exhibit is only temporary, and there's no telling how long it'll be there for you to see.

Whether you're a fan of conceptual and social art, so you've simply never seen a blue tree before, it's best to get to Cotuit as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Other Exhibits at the Gallery

Once you arrive at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you'll realize that The Blue Trees aren't the only exhibit sitting outside of its doors.

In fact, the museum has an entire Streetside Series that you can check out without having to pay admission to the venue.

There are two bronze sculptures outside the building called "Head of the Cod" and "Tail of the Fish" that symbolize the historical, economic, and ecological significance of Atlantic cod in New England. The sculptures are outside the west entrance of the museum and are worth a look if you're in the area.

Another addition to the Streetside Series is called "Garden Grove," and it features sculptures by local artist Alfred Glover. The sculptures are a cluster of trees with leaves featuring depictions of dogs, flowers, baby birds, and other animals. All of the sculptures are created using recycled fuel tanks and are visible from the street.

Heading Inside

While you're looking outside of the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you might be tempted to head inside. And who wouldn't want to visit the Crocker House, which was built in 1782 and was once a local tavern?

Once inside, you'll find both historical and modern exhibits from local and national artists, making it a must-see while in Cotuit.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and free for members and children under 12. Annual membership is $40 for an individual, $60 for a couple, and $100 for a family. There are also artists and student memberships available for $25.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sundays between 1:00 and 4:00 PM during the high season.

If you're spending your vacation in the Cotuit area, make the Cahoon Museum of American Art part of your travel itinerary because you'll see original works of art just minutes from your Cape Cod vacation rental.

Cotuit Museums Things To Do On Cape Cod

Why You Should Stop By the Centerville Pie Company While on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 9, 2020

If you're a fan of Oprah Winfrey, you likely know that she comes out with a list of her favorite things every year and releases it in O Magazine.

For those who follow this annual list, the Centerville Pie Company might sound familiar, and that's because it has made the cut three times: 2009, 2012, and 2017.

Simply put, Oprah loves this Cape Cod original, which is located at 1671 Falmouth Road in Centerville, Massachusetts, and wants everyone to know just how good their products taste.

Make sure you stop by the Centerville Pie Company and take one of their creations back to your Cape Cod vacation rental. Just one bite and you'll discover why Oprah just can't get enough of these local favorites.

About the Bakery

From the outside, the Centerville Pie Company doesn't look like much. After all, it's just a small bakery sitting in a small strip mall across from the street from the Centerville Shopping Center in the heart of the village.

If you're not explicitly looking for this bakery, you'd surely miss it, as there's nothing that stands out or makes it an obvious attraction.

The Centerville Pie Company has been like this ever since friends Laurie Bowen and Kristin Broadley opened the shop in 2009. At that time, the two of them just wanted to operate a small shop where they could sell their creations to Cape Cod residents and hopefully make a living.

The operation was modest, as they could only bake 12 pies at a time, but that was plenty of capacity to serve their local clientele. 

Their first year in business was a memorable one, however, as an encounter with a global superstar changed their lives forever.

How the Centerville Pie Company Became Famous

So, how did the chicken pie at Centerville Pie Company end up being one of Oprah's favorite things?

It all started in 2009 when rumors suggested that Oprah was on Cape Cod to attend the funeral of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and spending her time at a local inn. Broadley got wind of Oprah's location and decided to drop a couple of pies - peach and chicken - off for her, leaving a note with her home phone number, as well.

By the time Broadley had returned home, Oprah had already called, gushing about the pies and wanting more. In the days following, Gayle King, Oprah's best friend, ordered more pies for them to take on their flight home.

Later that year, the Centerville Pie Company made Oprah's list for the first time, but the wild ride wasn't over. In 2010, Bowen and Broadley made an appearance during the final season of Oprah's show, leading to them selling 280,000 pies in just 15 minutes.

In 2011, the Centerville Pie Company was asked to hand out swag bags at the Golden Globe Awards, which involved giving slices of pie out at the event, in addition to coupons for free pies from their bakery.

Actors and actresses like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eric Stonestreet, Rico Rodriguez, and Eric McCormack loved the pies, and every celebrity who took a coupon redeemed it for a free pie.

Centerville Pie Company remains popular in celebrity circles, and the outstanding quality of these creations keeps visitors and locals alike returning time after time.

What on the Menu?

When you think of pie, dessert is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and the Centerville Pie Company has an abundance of sweet products.

First, there are the fruit pies, which come in blueberry, all berry, apple, cranapple, cherry, peach, strawberry rhubarb, and pumpkin varieties. There are also pecan, chocolate chip, key lime, and lemon meringue pies on the menu.

For cream pies, the bakery has chocolate, coconut, banana, lemon, and Cape Cod crunch, which is chocolate mixed with butter coffee, in addition to custard and coconut custard options. 

It's not all about the sweets at the Centerville Pie Company, however, as their savory options are excellent, and the large pies can serve up to six people.

We've mentioned the famous chicken pie, but the bakery also carries braised beef, clam, shepherd's, sweet potato, BBQ pulled pork, buffalo chicken, French meat, and lobster pies. There's also a vegetarian option, with their spinach and feta pie.

Beyond pies, you'll also find Lorraine, spinach and feta, and ham and cheese quiches for order, and if you have a different combination of ingredients you'd like in your quiche, just ask and they'll make it for you.

If you grab a frozen pie, you'll have to heat it for about an hour before dinner, which is convenient if you pick up a pie in the morning and want to eat it after a long day spent exploring Cape Cod's attractions.

Give Them a Visit

The Centerville Pie Company offers a taste that is unique to Cape Cod and is well worth a stop during your vacation. Whether you're searching for dessert or a full meal, check out their selection, and you won't be disappointed, no matter what you choose.

Centerville, Massachusetts, has something for everyone, thanks to its beaches, history, restaurants, and culture. It also has perhaps the best pie anywhere on the Cape, which you can pick up at the Centerville Pie Company.

Cape Cod Restaurants Centerville Pie

The Art Galleries of Brewster, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 2, 2020

*Editors Note May 2020- Please check individual websites for re-opening times and visitor requirements for social distancing.

When you think of art on Cape Cod, Provincetown is probably the first town that springs to mind. After all, Provincetown started as an artists' colony, and that tradition remains strong to this day. 

At the same time, there is a strong artistic presence throughout the Cape, and nowhere exemplifies that spirit better than Brewster

Whether you're walking through Brewster's historic downtown area, or enjoying a quiet afternoon in an off-the-beaten-path recreational area, there's likely an art gallery nearby. 

Many of these galleries are owned and operated by local painters, providing you with an excellent opportunity to take a piece of Cape Cod home with you.

Here is some information on where you can find Brewster's art galleries and what you'll find once you walk through their doors.

The Underground Art Gallery

Hidden in a wooded area on Satucket Road, just north of Upper Millpond, is The Underground Art Gallery, which features original paintings and prints by Karen North Wells.

Wells' paintings are lovely souvenirs to take home from your Cape Cod vacation because many of them depict the region's stunning landscapes. For example, some of her subjects include Corporation Beach in Dennis, Paine's Creek in Brewster, and Rock Harbor in Orleans. She has also painted historic buildings in Chatham and Brewster, giving you the chance to hang memories of the Cape's towns on your walls.

The Underground Art Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon until 5:00 PM during the summer, Thursday through Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in the fall, and Saturdays between 1:00 and 4:00 PM throughout the winter. 

Maddocks Gallery

On Main Street in Brewster, just north of Smith Pond, you'll find Maddocks Gallery, a venue dedicated to the works of James W. Maddocks. 

This building is more than a gallery, as it's also Maddocks' home and studio, and the venue is significant because it's a carriage house dating back to the 1860s. As a result, entering the gallery is like stepping back in time, and the residence is well worth a visit, even if you aren't planning to purchase any artwork.

At the same time, once you have a look at Maddocks' works, many of which are affordable prints, buying a couple is sure to interest you. Many of Maddocks' paintings depict Cape Cod's history, although he creates some of the contemporary landscape, as well. 

Maddocks Gallery is open most days from 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM between May and October. Maddocks tends to travel between November and April, so you'll have to call ahead if you're visiting the Cape in the winter.

Struna Galleries

There are two Struna Galleries on Cape Cod: one in Brewster and one in Chatham. 

The Brewster gallery sits in a historic home on Main Street near Nickerson State Park and is dedicated to the works of Timothy Jon Struna, a painter and teacher with a career going back to the 1960s. The Chatham gallery, on the other hand, is run by Timothy's daughter, Heather.

Timothy covers a lot of different materials in his artwork, although some of his most famous are his acrylic and watercolor paintings of the Cape Cod landscape. Prints and reproductions are available of select paintings, so have a look at their website to see what's available. 

Unfortunately, Struna Galleries' Brewster location doesn't have regular operating hours, so you'll have to call ahead to make an appointment or hope that it happens to be open when you arrive. The Chatham store operates from 12:30 until 4:30 on Saturday and Sunday, but you can book an appointment to look around there, too.

Main Street Galleries

There are three additional art galleries in the heart of Brewster's Main Street, all of which are worth exploring. As a bonus, you can park once and walk to all of these locations within a few minutes. 

Tanzer Weaving Studio and Gallery sits in a small, historic building across the street from the popular Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters. The gallery features a variety of handwoven pieces of art for sale, allowing you to take something a little different home from your Cape Cod vacation. The studio is open Tuesday through Saturday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM and offers weaving classes, as well.

About a five-minute walk from Tanzer is Aries East Gallery, featuring the paintings of Geoffrey Smith. Smith focuses on landscapes and seascapes, both local and around the globe, in addition to marine life, ships, horseracing, golf, and fishing. Aries East Gallery is open on most days of the week between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

Stringe Gallery Art & Antiques is only three minutes from Aries East and sits just outside the Mansions at Ocean Edge. The watercolor creations of Tim Stringe are the attraction here, as this award-winning local artist sells his paintings of the Cape Cod landscape. The gallery is open all year round from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, except for Tuesdays when it is closed.

Getting to Know Brewster's Art Scene

Brewster's art scene is a little underrated, but it shouldn't be due to the abundance of galleries found within a small section of Cape Cod. Whether your vacation rental is in Brewster, or you plan to spend a day or two exploring the town's beaches and historic sites, visiting a few of these galleries will give you a new appreciation for this local artistic talent.

Buying a local piece of art is a great way to bring a Cape Cod memory home with you at the end of your vacation, and these galleries in Brewster provide great options from some of the Cape's best artists.

Art Galleries Brewster Maddocks Gallery Main Street Galleries Struna Gallery Underground Art Gallery

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