The Beach Times

The Top 5 Ice Cream Shops in Orleans, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 22, 2021

Ice Cream Shops in Orleans

Summer on Cape Cod inevitably includes spending time at the beach, checking out some live music, exploring nature, and, of course, getting some ice cream.

After all, there are all kinds of local ice cream shops on the Cape, each offering unique menu items to keep you coming back time after time.

When visiting Cape Cod, you won't have time to sample every ice cream parlor in the area, but you can make a pretty good dent in the list if you're committed to the cause.

Downtown Orleans is a compact location that's easily walkable. It's also loaded with great restaurants and a few ice cream shops that you'll surely want to try if you find yourself on Main Street and its surrounding area.

Here's a look at the top five ice cream shops in Orleans, MA.

1) The Ice Cream Cafe

With a name like the Ice Cream Cafe, it would be shocking if this venue didn't have an extensive ice cream list. Not to worry, though, as this shop on the north end of South Orleans Road is known all over the Cape for its frozen treats and is sure to have an option you'll absolutely love.

From the second you enter this ice cream parlor, you'll see that there are dozens of flavors, including staples like chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan and not-so-common selections like pumpkin pie, ginger, and cake batter. They have some non-dairy options, a few sorbets, and a couple of soft-serve offerings, too, ensuring there's something for everyone.

If you find yourself wandering by the Ice Cream Cafe, you won't want to skip it.

2) The Local Scoop

The Ice Cream Cafe is hardly the only game in town, though, as The Local Scoop more than holds its own and is another amazing place to stop for dessert.

The main drawing feature at The Local Scoop is its self-serve dessert bar, where you can choose from ten different soft-serve flavors and then add the toppings yourself. Kids love this feature because they can really load their desserts up with sprinkles, cherries, whipped cream, berries, nuts, fudge, candy, and various other sweets.

There's more than soft-serve at The Local Scoop, too, as this shop has a selection of homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt, smoothies, and crepes. They also make Cape Cod Pops, which are frozen dessert bars, and homemade waffle cones on-site.

For a full dessert experience, you can't beat The Local Scoop.

3) Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream

A third ice cream store in downtown Orleans is Emack & Bolio's. This shop is part of a chain with other venues in Wellfleet and Chatham and has over a dozen different flavors on the go at any given time.

The great thing about Emack & Bolio's is the creativity, as they offer a wide variety of flavors that you've likely never heard of before, turning each visit into an experience.

Other items on the menu include frozen yogurt, root beer floats, and sundaes, so you don't have to be in the mood for traditional ice cream to find a great dessert at this location.

4) The Knack

First and foremost, The Knack is a seafood restaurant featuring one of the Cape's best lobster rolls. You'll also find burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and other fantastic items on its menu.

However, this is also an excellent place to visit if you're in the mood for a sweet treat because they have three flavors of soft-serve ice cream and an extensive milkshake menu.

But the big draw at The Knack for dessert-lovers is their homemade ice cream sandwich, which is a serving of soft-serve between two cookies. This sandwich is delicious, and since The Knack has a sit-in dining area and an outdoor take-out counter, it's easy to grab one to-go as you walk through downtown Orleans.

5) Hot Chocolate Sparrow

Hot Chocolate Sparrow is a unique shop that opens early in the morning for breakfast and coffee. It then stays open for lunch and has an extensive sandwich menu while serving ice cream and other treats all the way through.

Much of the ice cream at this shop is from Richardson's Family Farm, although they have some soft-serve and frozen yogurt options, too. There are also sundaes with various toppings available and premium options featuring chocolate-dipped waffle cones.

Other options include ice cream sodas, frozen berry drinks, frozen hot chocolate and mocha, and all kinds of smoothies. Really, the offerings at Hot Chocolate Sparrow are nearly endless, so you might need to make multiple visits before you figure it all out.

Great Desserts in Orleans

With so many special places to stop for dessert in Orleans, you won't have to venture far in search of a sweet treat if you book a vacation rental in town. And since most of these shops are within a few blocks of each other, you're sure to come across them on your travels through downtown.

Orleans is a top choice as your home base on vacation, thanks in large part to its dining scene, complete with some of the best ice cream shops the Cape has to offer.

Ice Cream Orleans

The Quirky Gift Shops of Downtown Falmouth, MA
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, March 16, 2021

photo of gift shops in falmouth

Main Street in downtown Falmouth is a great place to do some shopping on your Cape Cod vacation because there's a little bit of everything. 

The area is incredibly unique thanks to its abundance of historic buildings, and you'll find all kinds of boutique clothing stores and local restaurants as you wander its sidewalks.

Downtown Falmouth also has multiple gift shops, each of which has novel offerings and features items you're unlikely to find anywhere else in town.

It's a little strange that such a small area would have so many gift shops, but this saturation is a good thing for Cape Cod's visitors because it means you'll have numerous options for finding souvenirs.

Blast From The Past

One of Falmouth Village's most popular shops is Blast From The Past, a small store that sells rare comics and all kinds of vintage collectibles.

Blast From The Past has a great selection of old-fashioned signs that you can hang in your rec room, throwback games from your childhood that your kids have never seen, and vinyl records if you have the technology to play them.

Some souvenirs are specific to Cape Cod, too, including vintage wall hangings featuring scenes from Falmouth's past that will make you feel like you've gone back to the 1950s.

Overall, Blast From The Past is the type of store that generally doesn't exist anymore, giving you more than enough reason to check it out during your Falmouth vacation.

Homespun Garden

If you love Cape Cod and want to remember your vacations to the area year-round, Homespun Garden has some souvenirs for you. 

This shop on Main Street offers a wide selection of locally-made crafts, in addition to housewares like plates, mugs, salt and pepper shakers, and serving platters that will keep the ocean on your mind.

Other offerings include paintings, candles, bags, signs, and jewelry, all of which ensure your Cape Cod memories stay active in-between visits.

Twigs Personal & Home Accessories

Much like Homespun Garden, Twigs Personal & Home Accessories is full of items you can pack with your luggage and use around the house after your vacation. Souvenirs on offer here include handbags, soap, clothing, pictures, and candles, all of which feature a local flair.

The shop also has a wide selection of signs, scarves, blankets, pillows, and cute trinkets made by Cape Cod residents. After all, it's always nice to support one of the Cape's outstanding artisans when buying gifts for your family at home.

Twigs and Homespun are almost neighbors, as only Cape Chic clothing store sits between them, making it easy to check out both vendors as you walk Main Street.


Celebrations is a gift shop featuring many unique items like Falmouth-labeled checkerboards, model ships, nautical-themed beach bags, jewelry, pictures, signs, trinkets, and countless home decor accessories.

Many offerings at Celebrations are beach-related, making it a great place to pick up some items that remind you of your time on the Cape. Or, if you have a lakehouse back home, grabbing some decor to hang up around the cottage is always a great idea.

You can grab some Cape Cod souvenirs here, too, including hats, mugs, and calendars. Overall, Celebrations is worth a stop on your Falmouth vacation.


Touche is an eclectic shop that carries a wide selection of women's clothing and handbags. They also have jewelry, accessories, sandals, and unique gift ideas for the entire family.

Speaking of family, there's a kids' section at Touche, so you can grab some toys and stuffies for the little ones in your life.

Although Touche is a little more of a clothing store than a gift shop, there are enough souvenirs available that it fits on this list, and it's a must-visit as you check out the boutiques of Falmouth Village.

Your Time in Falmouth

After booking a vacation rental in the Falmouth area, you'll surely want to spend some time downtown. 

This historic area is a meeting place for locals and visitors because it's home to Falmouth Village Green, the Falmouth Historical Society, numerous historic houses, multiple parks, and the Falmouth Commodores baseball team, to name a few.

Away from Main Street, Falmouth Village is also home to Falmouth Inner Harbor, Falmouth Marine Park, and Falmouth Plaza, providing even more reason to check the area out.

Making the most of your time in Falmouth is sure to include hours exploring downtown, and these gift shops could be a significant part of that journey.

Cape Cod Shopping Falmouth

The Story of Hamblen Park in Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, March 11, 2021

photo of Hamblen Park

Downtown Wellfleet is a popular location for Cape Cod visitors that's known for its beautiful beaches, high-end restaurants, historic buildings, and bustling shopping scene.

At the same time, Wellfleet is never far from nature, as the Pilgrim Spring Woodlands, Great Pond, Great Island, the Cape Cod National Seashore are nearby and reachable within minutes.

Another piece of nature near downtown Wellfleet's heart is Hamblen Park, a sometimes forgotten island on Duck Creek that provides a quiet escape for all who visit.

Here's a look at everything you should know about visiting Wellfleet's Hamblen Park on your Cape Cod vacation.

The Park's History

Hamblen Park, also known as Hamblen Island or Cannon Hill, overlooks Duck Creek, which was once Wellfleet's main harbor.

However, this harbor was always a tight fit for sizable vessels, and by the 1860s, large metal ships had become the norm, replacing the clipper ships that could comfortably make their way into downtown Wellfleet. The result was less ship traffic in the town.

In 1870, construction on a railroad dike had begun, and this addition would eventually impede the tidal flow into Duck Creek. Because of this blockage, Duck Creek is no longer a harbor but rather a salt marsh.

Hamblen Island itself was owned by a man named Arthur T. Hopkins, who donated the land to the Town of Wellfleet. This gift was accepted in 1931, and the island has remained a public park ever since.

In fact, this park is recognized as the oldest park in Wellfleet, providing reason enough to visit when spending time in this scenic and historic town.

The Wildlife

Given that Hamblen Park is relatively secluded, it makes sense that there would be a fair amount of wildlife to view.

Birds and sea life are the most common things you'll see on and around the island, including heron, geese, and ducks.

You might even see some turtles or horseshoe crab in the water while passing over the bridge.

Hamblen Park isn't a true wildlife refuge, but there's enough animal life to keep you interested as you walk its trails or explore its shoreline.

Uncle Tim's Bridge

Hamblen Park is an island, so, of course, it makes sense that there would be a bridge connecting it to the mainland.

Upon arrival, you'll see that this isn't just any bridge, as Uncle Tim's Bridge is an attraction all its own.

Initially constructed in 1783, Uncle Tim's Bridge acted as a shortcut into town for people living on the south end of Duck Creek.

A local man named Timothy Daniels, who by all accounts was quite the character, lived on Whit's Lane near the north end of the bridge. Always a self-promoter, Daniels called himself Uncle Tim.

Daniels was well-known around Wellfleet, acting as a tour guide, merchant, seaman, and fisherman. He died in 1893, but his name lived on with locals for decades.

In the 1940s, for no known reason, locals started referring to the bridge across Duck Creek as Uncle Tim's Bridge. The name stuck and remains in an official capacity to this day.

As for the bridge, the 1844 structure is no longer intact, as it was rebuilt in 2008. However, the new bridge is a close replica of the original and is now the most photographed location in Wellfleet.

Park Rules

As you enter the park, you'll see a list of rules that are in place to help keep this area beautiful.

For starters, you aren't permitted to start a fire anywhere in the park, and you're responsible for removing any items you carry in.

No motorized vehicles are allowed in the park, and you shouldn't disrupt or remove any plants or animals. You'll also want to stay on the trails to protect the plant life and avoid steep banks overlooking the creek for safety reasons.

Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash at all times.

By taking proper care of the island while spending time there, you can help ensure that it remains in excellent shape for generations to come.

Reaching the Park

Getting to Hamblen Park is relatively simple, as it's off East Commercial Street in downtown Wellfleet. It's also just a couple of blocks from Route 6 and steps from Main Street.

There's no on-site parking at this park, but as you approach, you'll see a sign directing you to a dirt lot about 400 feet away. Really, though, you can park anywhere in downtown Wellfleet and walk to Uncle Tim's Bridge in a matter of minutes.

Or, if you book a vacation rental in the Wellfleet area, you can make your way to the bridge and Hamblen Park any time you wish. Doing so will help you escape the busyness of a Cape Cod summer and experience the serenity of this surprisingly secluded island in downtown Wellfleet.

Hamblen Park Wellfleet

Things to Do on Cape Cod's Largest Freshwater Pond
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, March 5, 2021

Sitting between the towns of Brewster and Harwich, Long Pond is the largest freshwater pond on Cape Cod. At over 700 acres, the pond provides more than enough space for locals and visitors to get out on the water without visiting the ocean.

The great thing about Long Pond is that it stretches through multiple residential neighborhoods. As a result, it's possible to find vacation rentals nearby if you want to spend a week or longer in the area.

As you might expect on such a large water body, Long Pond offers plenty of activities, particularly in the summer months.

Here's a look at some of the best ways to spend some time at Long Pond in Harwich and Brewster, Massachusetts.

The Beaches

Perhaps the best reason to head to Long Pond is for the beaches, as there are three sandy areas with various amenities.

  • Long Pond Beach – On the south end of the pond in Harwich is Long Pond Beach, a decent-sized sandy area with a large parking lot, lifeguards on duty, and a boat ramp. This beach doesn't get overly busy and is a pleasant place to cool off on a warm summer's day.
  • Lond Pond Brewster Beach – The north side of the pond, off Crowell's Bog Road, is Long Pond Brewster Beach. This venue is smaller than the one in Harwich but has a floating dock that swimmers can use, in addition to a large paved parking lot and a roped-off swimming area. There's a boat ramp beside the beach, too.
  • Cahoon Road Beach - The smallest of the pond's three public beaches is Cahoon Road Beach. This facility has lifeguards on duty and a small boat launch, in addition to a roped-off swimming area. If your vacation rental is near the east side of Long Pond, Cahoon Road Beach is worth a visit.

All of these beaches offer excellent places to spend a day during your Cape Cod vacation. However, lounging in the sand and going for a swim are only some of the activities you'll find there.

Nearby Kayak Rentals

The ponds around Cape Cod offer some outstanding opportunities for kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders, and Long Pond is no different.

If you've brought your kayak or SUP to the Cape, you're ahead of the game and can drive to one of the boat ramps to enjoy a paddle. You aren't out of luck if you haven't brought a boat with you, though, because you can always rent one.

Adventure Chatham, for example, carries a wide selection of paddleboards and kayaks for rent. You can pick your boat up from their shop on Queen Anne Road, and they'll supply you with the racks you need to carry it on your vehicle. They'll also deliver to Long Pond's boat ramps as long as you can move the vessel from the parking lot to the water.

You can also rent a single or tandem kayak or a SUP from Rail Trail Bike Shop in Brewster. This facility will also deliver the boat for a $20 fee, or you can pick it up and take it wherever you wish.

Knowing that you can enjoy a day on Long Pond without bringing your boat to the Cape is sure to make your vacation that much more enjoyable.

Fish Species

Once you get out on the water, it's always nice to do some fishing. You never know; you might catch your next meal while enjoying the water.

Long Pond is a noteworthy fishing hole for locals, especially in the spring before it becomes a popular spot for swimmers and recreational boaters. The last survey conducted on the pond in 1992 found 12 different fish species, including alewife, American eel, yellow perch, white perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, white sucker, and banded killifish.

The pond has some of the Cape's best smallmouth bass fishing, as it isn't uncommon to find fish in the three to five-pound range. There are some large perch in the pond, too, which also make for a tasty dinner.

A Great Day on the Cape

Vacationing on Cape Cod likely means spending a lot of time outdoors with your family, and locations like Long Pond in Brewster and Harwich make it easier to achieve that goal.

This large pond has recreational opportunities for all age groups and, despite its significant size, might be one of the Cape's best-kept secrets.

Keep in mind that you'll need a Brewster or Harwich non-resident beach sticker if you're driving to Long Pond. These stickers are available per day, week, or season, depending on how long you're spending on the Cape.

Making the most of your time on Cape Cod should involve spending at least a couple of days like a local, which could include some time enjoying Long Pond.

Brewster Beaches Harwich Long Pond

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