The Beach Times

Exploring Skaket Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cape Cod is full of beautiful beaches, but very few are as impressively attractive as Skaket Beach in Orleans.

The beach sits in Orleans' Namskaket village and features white sand, views of Cape Cod Bay, and shallow water that makes it an excellent option for families. The beach's parking lot is steps from the ocean, as well, so it's easily accessible.

You won't find many amenities at Skaket Beach, but it does have a washroom, a concession, and picnic tables, giving you the option of spending the entire day there.

Give Skaket Beach a try during your Cape Cod vacation; it's a special place that you'll find yourself bragging about for years to come.

How to Reach Skaket Beach

Despite being a little off-the-beaten-path, getting to Skaket Beach is pretty straightforward because it isn't far from the Mid-Cape Highway.

When coming from the Harwich area, you'll take Exit 12 from the Mid-Cape Highway and turn right onto the Cranberry Highway. You'll then take a quick left onto West Road, which will take you back across the highway before merging with Skaket Beach Road, bringing you directly to the beach.

When coming from Brewster, you can take the Old King's Highway into Orleans, where it becomes the Cranberry Highway. From there, you'll turn onto West Road and follow it to the beach.

If you're coming from downtown Orleans, you can get onto Main Street, which becomes Rock Harbor Road and crosses over the Mid-Cape Highway. Take the first left after crossing the highway, which is Skaket Beach Road.

Finally, when arriving from Wellfleet or Truro on the Mid-Cape Highway, follow the signs directing you to Rock Harbor just north of downtown Orleans. From there, you'll turn right onto Canal Road, then right onto Locust Road, and finally right onto Rock Harbor Road. The rest of the directions are the same as when visiting the beach from Orleans.

About the Beach

When you first arrive at Skaket Beach, you'll immediately find yourself in awe of its impressive features.

For starters, the sand is a bright white color, which isn't overly common on Cape Cod. The beach also faces west, due to its position near the elbow of Cape Cod, so it has some of the area's most stunning sunsets.

As for the water, Skaket Beach is relatively shallow, and when the tide is out, you can walk nearly half a mile, and the water will only reach your knees.

The shallow water is great for kids because they can explore a little bit without you worrying too much about their safety. Remember to keep an eye on the tide charts, however, because it does come in quickly. The water remains pretty shallow when the tide is in, but it's less safe for small children.

For amenities, the beach has a concession stand and a washroom. There are also picnic tables and benches where you can sit and enjoy the views.

There's a fair amount of beach here, too, so you can stretch out and find a spot for yourself. Just make sure you don't cross over onto someone's private property because the beach is in a residential neighborhood.

Overall, Skaket Beach is a place you'll be glad you visited, and we're confident you'll be talking about it with your friends and family for years to come.

The Parking Situation

If there's one issue with Skaket Beach, it's the parking. It's not that the parking lot is tiny, as it's a medium-sized lot that provides enough space for the area during the low season.

The problem is that on a sunny day in the middle of summer, the lot fills up very early, and if you don't get there first thing in the morning, you might miss out.

However, there is a solution to this problem, and it'll allow you to see another of Cape Cod's most interesting sites.

When the parking lot is full, you can drop people off near the water before searching for parking elsewhere. One location where parking is available is outside of Captain Linnell House, which is only about a six-minute walk from the beach.

When leaving your car outside of Captain Linnell House, you'll see one of the most impressive examples of a neo-classical architecture on Cape Cod. This mansion, which dates back to 1840, is a sight to behold and currently a restaurant. If you plan ahead, you can even book dinner reservations for the end of your day at the beach.

If you end up getting a parking spot on the beach, it costs $25 for the day, and you'll pay the attendant upon arrival.

Your Orleans Vacation

Orleans is an excellent place to search for a vacation rental because it provides easy access to Cape Cod Bay, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. It also has a superb dining scene, is highly walkable, and has a team in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

After arriving on Cape Cod, make sure you venture to Skaket Beach at least once because it's genuinely one of the Cape's most memorable locations.

Orleans Skaket Beach

A Day Spent in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, May 18, 2020

Whether you have a vacation rental in South Dartmouth or you're staying in a neighboring community, the area is well worth a visit because of its abundance of activities. 

Once here, you'll never run out of fun things to do, and, in fact, you'll likely want to spend multiple days exploring this affluent area on Buzzards Bay.

You can definitely get a taste of South Dartmouth in a single day, however, so here are some choices to give you a start when planning your vacation.

Start With Breakfast

Of course, you should start every day with a hearty meal, but that's especially important when spending your time on the go in South Dartmouth.

Lolly's Café is a popular breakfast spot near Jones Park, just off Dartmouth Street. The restaurant offers diner-style food in a relaxed setting, making it the perfect place to stop for a bite when starting your day.

You could also visit the Farm & Coast Market, which is on the waterfront in South Dartmouth's Padanaram neighborhood. This restaurant and market has an extensive smoothie menu, in addition to classic breakfast offerings. There's also a butcher shop, grocery store, bakery, and beer and wine store on the premises, so you can stock your vacation rental at the same time.

Get Some Exercise

After enjoying an outstanding meal, it's time to enjoy some time in the outdoors. 

A few doors down from the Farm & Coast Market is Nauti Jane's, which offers boat rentals. If you'd like to get active for a few hours, you can grab a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to take into Apponagansett Bay while enjoying the sights. You can also rent a powerboat and drive it to Cuttyhunk Island or Woods Hole for the day. 

If you'd prefer to spend your day on land, there are plenty of hiking areas in South Dartmouth. The Lloyd Center for the Environment has an indoor area nature center with aquarium displays. There are also woods and wetlands that you can hike as you get to know this beautiful area a little better. 

Go For Lunch

Once you've gotten a bit of activity, it's time for another meal. A return to Padanaram will bring you all kinds of dining options, depending on what type of cuisine you prefer. 

The Black Bass Grille is worth checking out because it's a farm-to-table restaurant that only uses locally-grown foods. The menu is different every week, depending on what is freshest at that time, so you never know what you'll find. Staples include burgers, beef dips, lobster rolls, and seafood, including a catch of the day.

Padanaram is also home to Chumley's, a diner serving All-American classics like burgers with fries, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Their lobster roll and house-made chili, both of which are available daily, highlight the menu.

Hit the Beach

You've already had a long day, so why not visit one of South Dartmouth's scenic beaches?

The most central beach in the area is at Jones Park, which is on the northeast side of South Dartmouth. This beach overlooks Clarks Cove and has a large parking lot, a playground, and a baseball diamond. There's also a picnic area if you want to skip the restaurant and enjoy a meal on the ocean.

A little further from the action is Demarest Lloyd State Park. This park features a long section of sandy beach, picnic tables, and a large parking lot and is popular with anglers and birdwatchers. The shallow water also makes Demarest Lloyd State Park a good choice if you're bringing kids on your South Dartmouth adventure. 

Grab Some Dinner

Hopefully, you don't have too much of a sunburn after spending all that time outside because now you can experience one of Dartmouth's high-end dinner restaurants. 

The Sail Loft is right by Nauti Jane's and offers menu items like Atlantic haddock, shrimp Mozambique, pan-seared salmon Portuguese steak tips, and veggie coconut curry. There are also burgers and sandwiches available if you're in the mood for something a little simpler. 

Little Moss offers more of a fine dining experience with items like oysters, bluefish pate, garganelli, and spaghetti with clams on the menu. You'll likely want a reservation to ensure that you get a table before visiting this local hot spot.

Stop for Dessert

As long as you aren't too full from dinner, make your next stop one of South Dartmouth's finest ice cream shops. 

Dockside Ice Cream is across the street from the Black Bass Grille and offers a wide selection of ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbert flavors. You can also get a root beer float or sundae while enjoying gorgeous ocean views from their outdoor picnic tables.

The Oxford Creamery at the Bucket is a little less central than the Dockside, but it has an outstanding selection of flavors and enjoys a scenic position at Apponagansett Park. Location is critical in this situation because the park has a beach, playground, picnic area, and pier to enjoy. It's also one of South Dartmouth's best places to watch the sunset and is home to a summer music series.

Finishing your day with an ice cream cone, a sunset, and some live music is sure to complete your time in South Dartmouth in the most memorable way possible.

Enjoy Everything South Dartmouth Has to Offer

As you can see, South Dartmouth is an incredible place to take a vacation because it has all of the activities you'll want to experience while away from home.

While you could fit all of these adventures into a single day, you might spend multiple days getting to know South Dartmouth and the wonderful scenes that locals experience every day.

Make the most of your time on the Massachusetts coast by visiting as many of South Dartmouth's top destinations as possible during your vacation.

South Coast South Dartmouth

Golfing at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, May 11, 2020

A vacation to Cape Cod is all about enjoying the finer things in life, from some of the country's most beautiful beaches to gourmet restaurants offering the East Coast's freshest seafood. One issue is that every visitor to the Cape is looking for these same things, so you might find yourself fighting the crowds for access to the most popular locations.

If exclusivity is what you're after, The Ridge Club in Sandwich could be an option. This private, members-only club features one of the Cape's most scenic golf courses, in addition to a clubhouse that has everything you could ever want on your vacation.

The catch is that The Ridge Club isn't open to the public, but there are ways for visitors to gain access.

Here's some information on The Ridge Club, along with how non-members can spend part of their vacations experiencing its amenities.

About the Course

The course at The Ridge Club is immaculate, as the groundskeepers do an excellent job of maintaining it throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

The Ridge Club is a relatively new course, at least by Cape Cod standards, opening in 1989. The course is a par 71 with 6,557 yards of length from the gold tees. You can shorten the course to 4,840 yards from the red tees, as well.

There are two par 5s at The Ridge Club, including the 472-yard first hole and the 555-yard 16th hole. There are four par 3s, with the rest of the course featuring par 4s of varying lengths.

The club also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and two restaurants that you can dine at if you're lucky enough to spend the day at the venue.

Playing as a Guest

It is possible to play The Ridge Club as a guest, provided you have the sponsorship of a current member. If you have a friend with club membership, make the necessary arrangements, and you can visit the course.

The process for playing the course as a guest begins with the member putting your name on the guest list and booking a tee time for you.

Upon arrival, you'll check-in at the Gatehouse, as the club is located within a gated residential community. The attendant will then direct you toward the bag drop area, where a staff member will greet you and load your clubs onto a cart.

There's a locker room inside the clubhouse where you can change your shoes before your round. From there, you'll check-in at the pro shop before moving to the practice facilities that are next to the course.

Before playing, it's good to learn the club's rules, as you'll have to follow them as a guest. There's a dress code at The Ridge Club that prohibits jeans, cargo shorts, gym shorts, tennis shorts, t-shirts, and halter tops. You can wear Bermuda shorts or slacks, along with a collared shirt that must remain tucked at all times.

Cellphones are not permitted on the course unless you're using them for texting or the internet. If you have to make a phone call, you must do so in the parking lot.

As long as you follow the rules, you should have a good time during your round at The Ridge Club.

My Community and My World Memberships

Even if you don't have a sponsor, there is a way to play The Ridge Club during your Cape Cod vacation. If you're an avid golfer and love to travel, this option is worth considering.

The Ridge Club is part of the ClubCorp Network, which provides My World members with access to every club within the network. With the membership, you'll have access to over 300 venues for free. There's also a My Community membership that includes multiple country clubs in Massachusetts.

Even if you don't have a designated ClubCorp Network membership, there's a chance that your home country club is part of the network, which provides you with the same benefits.

Check on your ClubCorp status before arriving on the Cape because The Ridge Club is well worth playing during your vacation. Your membership includes free club rentals, too.

Sandwich's Most Exclusive Club

No matter where your vacation rental is situated, you can head to The Ridge Club and spend your time on a scenic course with access to a pool, tennis, and fine dining.

Whether you have friends or family with memberships or you're a part of the ClubCorp Network, The Ridge Club provides an inviting atmosphere and is a great way to escape the Cape's crowds.

Cape Cod Golfing Golf Ridge Club Sandwich

A Look at the Iconic Sandwich Boardwalk
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, May 4, 2020

When you think of iconic boardwalks in the United States, places like Atlantic City, Coney Island, Myrtle Beach, and Venice Beach probably come to mind because those locations are major tourist attractions.

The popularity of those boardwalks is because they're lined with shops and restaurants, creating a festive environment that people from all over the country flock to annually.

As you know, things are a little different on Cape Cod, and the Sandwich Boardwalk is no different. Rather than chain restaurant and boutique stores, the Sandwich Boardwalk takes you over a creek, through a marsh, and onto one of the nation's most scenic beaches.

The payoff for walking the Sandwich Boardwalk isn't an expensive meal or a crowded park, but access to a secluded beach overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

The Sandwich Boardwalk is a different kind of iconic because it takes you to one of the most beautiful spots on the Cape, and that's why locals have fought so hard to keep the structure in place for over 140 years.

The Boardwalk's History

The Sandwich Boardwalk has a long history and has been rebuilt countless times over the years. There remains some discussion about when exactly the bridge first opened, as there are reports of a bridge over Mill Creek and the marshland to the beach far earlier than the official dates suggest.

According to these historical records, there was a footbridge over Mill Creek to Town Neck Beach as far back as 1835. This bridge might have been even longer than the 1,350-foot Sandwich Boardwalk, as it extended from State Street all the way to the beach.

Officially, however, the Sandwich Boardwalk was constructed in 1875 after a gale destroyed the original footbridge on December 21, 1874. Sandwich resident Gustavus Howland was paid $500 for building the new bridge, which crosses both Mill Creek and the marsh before coming out on the beach. 

In the early days, parts of the Boardwalk were lined by fish shacks, where local anglers would take their daily catches. The last fish shacks disappeared around 1950, but the Sandwich Boardwalk has remained an essential part of local lore. 

Storm Damage Over the Years

As you might expect in an oceanfront location, storms frequently damage the wooden bridge, and it has been rebuilt countless times over the years.

The first rebuilding likely occurred in 1899, after another gale destroyed the Boardwalk in November of 1898. At that time, the Sandwich Observer noted that John Percival had secured a contract to construct a new bridge and that he would likely use iron to make the structure more durable. The iron structure has never arrived, however, as the Sandwich Boardwalk is still the same wooden structure it has always been.

In 1991, Hurricane Bob roared through the region, destroying the wooden walkways once again. Hurricane Bob remains one of the costliest storms in New England history, as it did $1.5 billion worth of damage, including $1 billion in Massachusetts alone.

Rebuilding the Sandwich Boardwalk following the hurricane involved a slightly different approach: Cape Cod residents and businesses purchased planks engraved with their names and personalized messages. The planks were used in the Boardwalk's construction, and the money raised went into a maintenance fund.

February of 2013 would see another significant storm come through Sandwich, this time a blizzard. Once again, the Boardwalk was partially destroyed, leaving town crews with a considerable amount of work to rebuild it. 

Winter storms again damaged the boardwalk in 2018, putting a large hole in its middle section and washing away some of the steps down to the beach. It costs Sandwich about $86,000 to fix the Boardwalk, but the repairs are only temporary and might not stand up to the next major storm that comes through the area.

The Future of the Boardwalk

Because of the constant damage, there's talk of completely rebuilding the Sandwich Boardwalk, rather than having to make repairs almost every year. That's because the original Boardwalk has now outlived its intended lifespan and, therefore, fixes are no longer sustainable.

As part of the rebuilding process, the structure would be re-engineered to create a more sustainable design. Rumors suggest that the new construction would cost about $2 million, but would last for 20 to 30 years and would require fewer annual repairs.

This new design could include anchoring stainless steel posts into the ground, limiting the uplifting that often damages the Boardwalk during heavy winds. The new bridge might also have handrails, better lighting, and more width.

It remains to be seen how the Boardwalk will look in the future, but Sandwich residents aren't likely to give up on their iconic Boardwalk anytime soon.

Getting to the Sandwich Boardwalk

If you aren't familiar with Cape Cod, finding the Sandwich Boardwalk is a little tricky. From the Old King's Highway, you'll turn on Jarves Street and head north. You'll quickly reach Factory Street, where you'll turn left, and then quickly come to Harbor Street, where you'll turn right.

Harbor Street then turns into Boardwalk Road. Follow Boardwalk Road as far as it goes, and you'll come to a parking lot, which you'll use to access the Sandwich Boardwalk.

Take the time to enjoy the Boardwalk and appreciate its importance to the people of Sandwich. This structure isn't just a wood bridge but is rather the symbol of the community as a whole, and that's why the residents of the Cape's oldest town will ensure that the Sandwich Boardwalk remains for generations to come.

Sandwich Sandwich Boardwalk

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