The Beach Times

What's Open on Cape Cod?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 27, 2020

There's a lot of uncertainty around the globe, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces closures to numerous businesses and makes air travel far more challenging and risky.

This issue has led to many people putting off their travel plans for the near future, choosing to stay close to home.

If you live somewhere in the Northeast, you're likely within driving distance of Cape Cod, and the good news is that many outdoor venues are open to visitors.

Here's a look at some of the top activities you can participate in while following social distancing protocols and staying safe on Cape Cod.

The Beaches

If you're going to be around people during a COVID-19 outbreak, you should stay outdoors, and the beaches of Cape Cod provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the weather. All six beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore are open for visitors, as are other popular destinations like West Dennis Beach, Kalmus Beach, Bank Street Beach, and Breakwater Beach.

Depending on the beach you visit, you can also rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or jet ski, giving you even more activities during your time on the Cape.

Cape Cod has enough beach space that you can spread out without feeling overcrowded, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without the risks of higher density locations.

Hiking Trails

There are hiking and walking trails everywhere on Cape Cod, and you can walk all day in some of these areas without encountering another human being. These trails are maintained by groups like Mass Audubon, MassWildlife, the Barnstable Land Trust, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and various local groups, giving you all kinds of variety.

Some of the paths, such as Great Island Trail, go through coastal marshes while others, like the Lowell Holly Reservation, take you through the woods around the area's kettle ponds. Other hiking areas that you'll want to explore include Beebe Woods, Sandy Neck Beach Park, and the Knob, depending on how far you want to walk and your preferred destination.

Bike Paths

The trails on Cape Cod aren't all reserved for hiking, as there are over 114 miles of bike paths to explore that will take you through some of the region's most secluded environments.

The biggest name of this list is the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs 25.7 miles between South Yarmouth and South Wellfleet, passing ponds and forests along the way. The trail makes it easy to socially distance while seeing some of the Cape's most beautiful locations.

For a more urban bike ride, you can cycle on the Cape Cod Canal's 7 miles of trails. These paths are on both sides of the canal, as are easily accessible for beginners because they're mostly paved.

In the Falmouth area, the Shining Sea Bikeway takes you from North Falmouth to Woods Hole while providing Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound views. The trail is less than 11 miles long, with numerous access points throughout Falmouth.

Smaller bike trails like Head of Meadow Trail in Truro, Nauset Marsh Trail near Coast Guard Beach, the Chatham Loop, and the Province Lands Trail in Provincetown also provide excellent opportunities to explore Cape Cod's natural environment and avoid the crowds.

Pop-Up Drive-Ins

You might think that going to the movies is out of the question when socially distancing, but Cape Cod has a solution for you: the drive-in.

For years, the Wellfleet Drive-In was the only venue of this nature on the Cape, and it's still the only permanent one. However, there are pop-up drive-ins in West Yarmouth, Hyannis, and Falmouth that provide another way to spend your time in the evening on the Cape.

The cost of these venues varies, but they're generally an affordable way to see a movie without the risk of sitting beside a stranger in a crowded theater.

Fishing and Whale Watching Charters

If you're driving to Cape Cod, you'll have the opportunity to bring a boat with you, if you have one at home. Otherwise, there's still the opportunity to get on the water because numerous fishing and whale watching charters are open for business.

Cape Cod Whale Watch in Provincetown and Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises are operating with enhanced safety protocols, giving you the chance to see rare sea mammals in their natural environment.

As for fishing charters, most of the boats are currently operating, including Affordable Cape Cod Charter Fishing in Chatham, Reel Deal Fishing Charters in Truro, and Helen H Deep Sea Fishing in Hyannis.

Check around because many other charter companies are operating with enhanced sanitizing and safety procedures in effect.

Staying Close to Home

Cape Cod isn't closed for tourism, as many businesses have taken it upon themselves to keep their customers safe during this challenging time.

The Cape's beaches and parks are also open and offer a low-risk destination on your vacation.

Remember that there could be quarantining protocol in effect if you're from outside of Massachusetts, but many other northeastern states are considered "safe" by state officials.

COVID-19 has made travel more difficult, but several of the Cape's top attractions are up and running, giving you the rare opportunity to experience some of the country's most beautiful locations without the crowds.

Activities Beaches Biking Drivein Movie Things To Do On Cape Cod Whale Watch

3 Great Places For Dinner on Osterville's Main Street
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 20, 2020

When you book a vacation rental in Osterville, Massachusetts, you'll probably picture yourself lounging on Dowses Beach, taking a boat into Nantucket Sound, or exploring some of the village's historic sites.

You might also spend some time visiting the farmer's market, hiking the trails, and buying some souvenirs at the local shops.

But what about when it's time to eat?

Well, you're in luck because Osterville has one of Barnstable's most impressive dining scenes, with some of its trendy restaurants sitting along a small stretch of Main Street.

If you're spending an evening in the Main Street area, reserve a table at one of these high-end local eateries for a meal that you won't soon forget.

Wimpy's Seafood Cafe and Market

From the second you walk into Wimpy's, you'll know that you're in a quintessential Cape Cod seafood restaurant. 

This eatery, which first opened its doors in 1938, has all the local favorites, such as quahog chowder, oysters, scallops, lobster rolls, and fish dishes, on the menu. There's a raw bar here, as well, and tons of options for those looking for something other than seafood, including turkey and pot roast dinners.

Wimpy's is a large establishment that has an on-site pub offering live entertainment in the summer and has two fireplace rooms for a cozy meal with someone special. You can even grab some takeout from the market if you want to eat at your vacation rental.

You won't want to miss Wimpy's Seafood Cafe and Market on your Cape Cod vacation, but be sure to make a reservation because they're often busy.

Crisp Flatbread Inc.

Although its name might sound like its a takeaway restaurant, Crisp Flatbread is a full-service eatery with a bar, booth seating, and a diverse menu. Takeout is available down the street at Crisp Too Express, however, which is the original Crisp's sister restaurant.

As for the food, the flatbread options on the menu are some of the most popular, but you'll also find unique pasta dishes and a wide selection of salads. The flatbread is made with organic flour, and you can create your own pie using the dozens of ingredients they carry.

There's a significant snack menu at Crisp, as well, which features items like truffle fries, bacon & clams, spinach artichoke dip, grass-fed meatballs, and chicken wings.

Whether you're in the mood for a full dining experience or want to grab a quick bite to eat at your vacation rental, Crisp Flatbread's two locations on Osterville's Main Street have you covered.

Five Bays Bistro

The great thing about enjoying a meal at Five Bays Bistro is that you can make a night of it. The doors open at 5:00 PM every night of the week, at which time you can enjoy their salmon, cod, beef, chicken, pork, or duck selections. There's also a diverse appetizer menu, in addition to soups, salads, and desserts.

Next, you can spend some time at the bar, which is fully stocked with whatever you'd like to enjoy and remains open every night until about midnight.

You really can't go wrong with a meal at Five Bays Bistro, so be sure to make a reservation and stop by their Main Street location at some point.

Stop For Dessert or a Drink

After your outstanding meal in Osterville, you can check out a local ice cream shop or bar, as well.

Gone Chocolate is a popular place for dessert, featuring dozens of ice cream and frozen yogurt flavors, in addition to sundaes made with their famous homemade fudge. Other offerings include truffles, caramels, and boxed chocolates.

Or, if you're more in the mood for a liquid dessert, The Fox Hole is a dive bar that is popular with locals but is a friendly place for visitors to stop for a drink, as well. The Osterville Veteran's Association operates the bar, and you'll have to purchase a $5 membership card to get in, but the drinks are cheap, and pool and foosball tables are waiting for you. There's karaoke on weekends in the summer, too.

Your Osterville Vacation

In addition to its dinner restaurants, Osterville's Main Street is also home to Earthly Delights and 3 Wianno, both of which are popular lunch restaurants that also serve breakfast. You can also grab breakfast or lunch at The Pineapple Caper Cafe, a small eatery just off Main Street.

If you're in the mood for cooking at your vacation rental, Fancy's Market is a butcher, produce market, bakery, and beer & wine store in one. They also make prepared meals, if you don't have time to cook for yourself.

No matter which option you choose, you're sure to find some great meals during your time in Osterville. Your days here will surely be active, thanks to the beaches, forests, shops, and marinas, so it's nice to know that you can eat like royalty in Osterville after a busy day spent exploring the sights.


Places You Won't Want to Miss in Barnstable Village
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 13, 2020

Booking a vacation rental in Barnstable Village puts you in the center of Cape Cod's only city, and the midst of one of the country's oldest communities. 

Present-day Barnstable was first explored in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold. In 1638, the area was settled as part of the Plymouth Colony, before being incorporated in 1639.

Signs of that early history are present throughout Barnstable Village, which is where many of these early settlers established their homes and businesses.

In addition to the history, Barnstable Village has a contemporary side, as you can head for a bite to eat, watch a live performance, or check out some modern art.

Here are some venues that you won't want to miss during your Barnstable Village holiday, all of which are on the Old King's Highway, which runs through the heart of the community.

The Barnstable Comedy Club

When you think of a comedy club, you likely conjure up the image of a smoke-filled room with a stand-up performing on a stage. That isn't what the Barnstable Comedy Club is about, however, as it's a performing arts venue that puts on four shows between November and May each year. 

This amateur community theater is the oldest of its kind on Cape Cod, and one of the oldest in the United States, having first opened its doors in 1922. Over the years, the 200-seat venue has given formerly unknown actors and actresses like Frances McDormand, Kurt Vonnegut, and Geena Davis their starts, with many more surely to come.

If you're vacationing on Cape Cod in the fall, winter, or spring, have a look at the Barnstable Comedy Club's schedule of events and make sure you check out a show.

Some Local Art Galleries

Are you in the mood for some local art? Well, Barnstable Village has multiple art galleries covering a variety of genres.

The best-known gallery in Barnstable Village is the Cape Cod Art Center, which hosts numerous juried contests and art sales throughout the year. The venue usually displays local artists, although you'll find New-England-wide and national competitions, as well.

The Barnstable Pottery and Art Gallery is a small shop that is open year-round and provides an excellent place to pick up a souvenir on your Cape Cod vacation. Owner Kevin Nolan creates all of the pottery sold there, and he even teaches classes in his on-site studio.

Tao Water Art Gallery sells contemporary Chinese art and has been a local staple since 1999. The gallery has a 5,000-square-foot showroom and features multiple exhibitions all year round. You can check out the schedule on their website to see what will be going on while you're in town.

All of the Historic Venues

We mentioned earlier that evidence of Barnstable Village's long and storied history remains to this day, but just how old are these facilities?

Well, the Sturgis Library dates back to 1644 and is the oldest library building in the United States. The building was initially constructed for John Lothrop, the founder of Barnstable, as a residence, but he also used it as a church in the settlement's early days. As a result, the building is also the country's oldest church. 

A couple of doors down from the Sturgis Library is the Olde Colonial Courthouse, a building that has an important place in American history. You see, the Olde Colonial Courthouse, which was built sometime between 1763 and 1774, is the site of a rebellion led by Samuel Adams and James Otis in 1774. During this event, 1,500 protesters refused British judicial representatives access to the building, which furthered tension between colonists and the crown.

Today, the Olde Colonial Courthouse is a museum and home to Tales of Cape Cod, a non-profit that aims to preserve the Cape's oral history. 

Historic homes are everywhere in Barnstable Village, as well, so keep an eye out for plaques as you wander the Old King's Highway because you're sure to come across many of them.

Multiple Gourmet Restaurants

As you spend your time on the Old King's Highway in Barnstable Village, you'll likely get hungry. There's good news on that front, as the area has two outstanding restaurants to visit.

First, there's Dolphin Restaurant, a venue that's over 70 years old and an institution in Barnstable Village. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, has an old-school vibe to it, and is famous for its seafood dishes. There's also a full bar, which is open late and has an extensive wine list.

Nearby is Barnstable Tuscan Cuisine, an establishment serving Italian food for lunch and dinner. You'll find this restaurant more contemporary than Dolphin on the interior, but it's housed in a historic building, as well. 

Nirvana Coffee and Smitty's Homemade Ice Cream are also in the area if you're looking for a quick bite, a drink, or dessert, and you can pick up groceries for your vacation rental at Barnstable Market, too.

There's Always Activity in Barnstable Village

Despite being away from the beaches of Craigville and the bustle of Hyannis Harbor, there's plenty to do in Barnstable Village. Exploring the history alone will take days of your time, and when you factor in the impressive arts scene, you're sure to keep yourself occupied during your vacation.

Away from the Old King's Highway, you're also close to Barnstable Harbor, Sandy Neck Beach, golf courses, kettle ponds, conservation areas, and Cape Cod Mall, making Barnstable Village a central and convenient place to spend your Cape Cod vacation.

Barnstable Villlage

Doing a Tasting at Cape Cod Winery in Falmouth
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It might come as a surprise to learn that Cape Cod has a few wineries, as it isn't exactly a premier grape-growing region. At the same time, the area has a rich agricultural history, so it makes sense that winemakers would experiment with vines to see how they progress.

Today, there are three wineries on the Cape, including Cape Cod Winery, which also has a young vineyard. Since the vines are so young, they aren't being used for wine yet, but the hope is that they'll be ready in 2020. Truro Vineyards grows grapes on-site, too, while First Crush in Harwich imports its grapes from California.

One of the great things about Cape Cod Winery is its location, as it sits just off Route 28 in East Falmouth, so it's close to both Falmouth Inner Harbor and the beaches overlooking Vineyard Sound. As a result, you can stop by the winery after a day at the beach, or head for a quick glass before shopping downtown.

Cape Cod's wineries don't get much attention nationally, but they're an unexpected treat as part of your vacation to this one-of-a-kind piece of the world.

About the Winery

Cape Cod Winery is a local, family-owned business, and that's a big part of its charm. In fact, if you visit during the summer, you'll be greeted by either the owners, Pete and Erika Orlandella, or their children, Joe, Pete Jr., and Olivia. The Orlandella family purchased the winery in 2013, and take great pride in keeping it local.

As for the land, Cape Cod Winery sits on a 10-acre vineyard on Oxbow Road with a long history in agriculture. In the early 1900s, the property was a strawberry farm before becoming a potato and dairy farm.

The vineyard provides an area of refuge from the bustle of Falmouth in the summer, as it's a quiet oasis where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the best wines the Cape produces.

Stop By For a Tasting

Many people who visit the winery do a tasting. These tastings cost $10 per person and allow you to sample five different varieties. The wine also comes in a souvenir glass, which you can keep.

Or, if you're familiar with the wine available there, grab a glass and enjoy it in the outdoor patio area overlooking the vineyard.

The main tasting bar is outside and features tables and chairs where you can relax with your chosen vino. There are also fire pits, for when the weather cools off, and an indoor area for use in the winter.

Locals often hang out at the vineyard for a couple of glasses of wine in the afternoon because it provides a quiet place to soak up the sun. Food trucks camp out at the winery in the summer, and the staff sells picnic supplies in the gift shop. You can also pack a lunch to enjoy with your wine if you plan ahead.

No reservation is needed to visit Cape Cod winery, so you can decide to stop by at any point on your Cape Cod vacation.

Pick Up a Bottle For Later

Of course, while you're at the vineyard, you might want to grab a bottle of wine or two to bring back to your vacation rental. The good news is that Cape Cod Winery has a multitude of wine types to enjoy.

Perhaps the most famous wine at Cape Cod Winery is Rosé Mermaid Water, which combines strawberry and raspberry aromas, and makes for an excellent patio drink in the summer. The winery's Cranberry Blush and Blueberry wines are other popular fruit wines the vineyard yields.

As for white wines, Cape Cod Winery has chardonnay, riesling, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc, all of which pair wonderfully with the seafood that you can pick up from a local market. If you're doing some cooking at your vacation rental, a bottle of white is a good bet.

Red wines at Cape Cod Winery include Channel Marker #16 Cabernet Sauvignon, Nantucket Sound Red Malbec, and Reel Red, a blend of merlot, zinfandel, and cabernet sauvignon grapes. You can pair these wines with steak, lamb, and other red meat, or enjoy them on their own in the evening.

You can't really go wrong with the offerings at Cape Cod Winery, although you might want to do a tasting to make sure you end up with a bottle of your favorite.

A Taste of Cape Cod

Trying out some local businesses during your vacation to the Cape might mean dining at small restaurants, exploring the boutiques, or taking a couple of tours. Cape Cod Winery fits in with this commitment to local, as all of the wine is produced on-site, and the vineyard is true to its Cape Cod roots.

When staying in the Falmouth, Massachusetts, area, look at the calendar of events at Cape Cod Winery, as they often hold concerts and other gatherings during the summer months.

You'll never run out of things to do in Falmouth, and Cape Cod Winery is just one of the many venues that make this town great.

Vineyards Wineries

Visiting Some of the Mid-Cape's Lesser-Known Museums
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 6, 2020

The Mid-Cape is home to many of Cape Cod's most famous museums. In Hyannis alone, you'll find the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, and the Toad Hall Classic Car Museum, while Yarmouth features the Whydah Pirate Museum and Cotuit has the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

When you spend time on the Mid-Cape, however, there are numerous other museums and historic venues that are worth checking out during your vacation. These venues might not draw the crowds of the area's more prominent institutions, but provide insight into Cape Cod's unique history in a very personal setting.

Here is what you should know about some of the less-known museums on the Mid-Cape.

Massachusetts Air and Space Museum

Located in Hyannis on Iyannough Road between the Cape Cod Mall and the Barnstable Municipal Airport is the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum. This new facility aims to highlight the state's contributions to the aerospace industry.

The museum has exhibits and offers presentations that educate visitors on aviation's past, present, and future in Massachusetts, in addition to a flight simulation experience.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children, and its hours vary based on the time of year.

Baxter Grist Mill

In Yarmouth, you'll come across the Baxter Grist Mill, which was initially constructed in 1710 and is still functioning to this day, albeit with numerous restorations. The original mill was powered by a waterwheel, while a turbine was added in 1860. That turbine is no longer in use, but it remains on the property.

You're free to wander around the Baxter Grist Mill property, and there is a picnic area if you want to bring lunch. The mill also sits right on Main Street and has Mill Pond right behind it, so you can spend a couple of hours in the area during your Cape Cod vacation.

Jericho Historical Center

West Dennis is home to the Jericho Historical Center, a museum that's housed in a Cape-style house constructed in 1801. The Baker family inhabited the home from the time it was built until 1955, and it contains paintings, textiles, and furniture from the 1800s.

There's also a barn on the property that has been converted into a museum. This barn has a variety of farm tools and equipment from the 19th century, in addition to carriages from elsewhere in Dennis.

The Jericho is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from late June until the middle of September, so you'll have to pick your spot if you want to visit.

Winslow Crocker House

The Winslow Crocker House was built sometime around 1780 by Winslow Crocker, a Revolutionary soldier who later became a merchant. Crocker built the home in West Barnstable, and it was incredibly elaborate for the time, possibly because Crocker had earned a lot of money by selling alcohol.

This home remained in the Crocker family until the 1930s when Mary Thacher took over. She moved the house six miles away to its current home in Yarmouth Port and filled it with her collection of antique furniture, a state in which it remains today.

The Winslow Crocker House offers guided tours between early June and Columbus Day Weekend. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and $5 for children.

Centerville Historical Museum

The Centerville Historical Museum features separate rooms for the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with each room containing clothing, art, and costumes from those periods. You'll also find rotating exhibits at the museum, each of which highlights a specific aspect of Cape Cod's history.

This museum sits in a historic house on Centerville's Main Street and has an outdoor area featuring a playground, as well.

You're in luck if you visit the Mid-Cape during the off-season, as the Centerville Historical Museum is open from early February until about a week before Christmas every day except Sunday and Monday.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and kids under eight are free. You can also sign up for a membership when visiting with a group, as specific options provide you with free admission for multiple people.

Learning the Mid-Cape's History

The Mid-Cape is one of the most historically significant sections of Cape Cod because this is where large populations of people settled after departing from Plymouth and Sandwich in the early days of European expansion.

There are plenty of historic buildings that remain, and a lot of history to explore within the region.

If you're lucky enough to book a vacation rental on the Mid-Cape, make sure you spend a day away from the beaches and shops and learn a bit about how and why this part of the United States developed into what it is today.


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