The Beach Times

Cape Cod in the Off-season – Restaurants, Antiques, Art Galleries, and Museums
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, February 8, 2019


Cape Cod’s population shrinks considerably after Labor Day, as seasonal residents return home until the next summer. With this reduced population, however, comes a significant opportunity for those with the flexibility to travel all year round. In part two, we’ll look at some of the Cape’s 12-month restaurants, the area’s museums and art galleries, and the antique shops that seem to be everywhere.

Take a low season vacation, and you’ll quickly learn that Cape Cod doesn’t stop just because its population decreases after the summer ends.

Water Street Kitchen

Get a Bite to Eat

We’ll start by stating the obvious: many restaurants will be closed when you visit Cape Cod in the off-season. It doesn’t make sense financially for many businesses to operate all year, and it can be difficult to find staff in the winter, too. Having said that, many high-end eateries, particularly those with a substantial local following, remain open in the fall, winter, and spring, so if you take an offseason Cape Cod vacation, make sure you visit a few.

Main Street in Dennis is home to Scargo Cafe, a unique restaurant with colonial decor and a policy where half of all tables are not available for reservation. So, even if you're unable to book a table in advance, you can show up and wait to be seated. The venue is open for lunch and dinner, with seasonal menus and an extensive wine list.

Over in Barnstable Village, The Dolphin has been a landmark for over 70 years. This fine-dining restaurant is where you can head for a nice meal, or just drinks after 9:00 PM. The white picket fence and the building's classic architecture give the eatery a distinctly Cape Cod feel. You can enjoy lunch or dinner here, and reservations are available.

Featuring outstanding views of Provincetown Harbor and located right on Commercial Street, it doesn't get much better than Fanizzi’s Restaurant. This venue serves American and Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner and even has an early bird menu if you want to eat between 4:30 and 6:00 PM. You'll likely want to call for reservations because Fanizzi's is one of Provincetown's most popular dining options.

You're going to want to try the Chapoquoit Grill in West Falmouth because of their great Italian-style dishes, including some unique pizza offerings that you won't find anywhere else. The restaurant first opened in 1993, and since that time, it has become a place where locals meet for dinner or drinks regularly. Take out is available, as well, and you can call after 4:30 PM for the seat for that night.

Other great dining options that are open all year round include Alberto’s in Hyannis, Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth, Water Street Kitchen in Woods Hole, and Del Mar Bar & Bistro in Chatham, so you’ll never have to worry about being low on dining options when on the Cape during the low season.

 

Experience the Museums and Art Galleries

The museums of Cape Cod stay open for most of the year, giving you the chance to check them out during the offseason. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster has both indoor and outdoor areas to explore. Keep in mind that the museum does close to the public between December 31 and the middle of February, but has special events during that time that you can attend.

At the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, you’ll find permanent collections, special exhibitions, educational programs, and engaging events, depending on when you attend. The gallery and museum is located on Commercial Street, making it a great way to start your evening on the town.

The Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis is open throughout the offseason, Thursday through Sunday, and has a variety of concerts and other special events to attend during those months. The gallery offers free admission every Thursday, and there are specialty programs that you can try out for a small fee, as well.

If you're in the Orleans area, Addison Art Gallery has a wide selection of works by international and American artists, including some from right here on the Cape. This gallery is one of the top places on Cape Cod to buy a painting because you'll find an outstanding selection of pieces, some of which are inspired by the local scenery. Special exhibitions and events are also on the docket at Addison Art Gallery throughout the year.

 

Visit Some Antique Shops

Are you obsessed with antiques? Feed your obsession by visiting Cape Cod during the slower seasons, as you'll find countless places to shop. Route 6A in Dennis is where you'll find the Antique Center of Cape Cod, which is one of the Cape's largest antique showrooms and is full of furniture, art, books, jewelry, silver, glass, collectibles, and pottery. Have a look around, and you're sure to find a great antique to take home with you.

Just to the south in West Harwich, the Harwich Antique Center also has furniture, glass, collectibles, etc., but also items available for as little as $1. There are specials events throughout the week here, too, including swap days and free appraisals. If you have an old coin that you want looked at, bring it on your Cape Cod holiday and have it done in Harwich.

Sandwich has a bunch of antique shops, but the crown jewel is probably the Sandwich Antiques Center on the Old King's Highway. This shop is a destination all itself, with fine art collections, vintage finds, and collectibles of all types found there. The store has been voted "Best of the Cape" for the last four years, making it a must-see if you're in the mood for some antiquing.

 

A Quieter Time

As you can see, visiting during the offseason doesn't necessarily mean you'll miss out on all of Cape's popular summer attractions. Fall, winter, and spring give you the chance to head to Cape Cod's famous restaurants, museums, and shops without having to battle through masses of tourists who are all trying to see and do the same things as you.

We love Cape Cod in the summer, but there's something especially relaxing about visiting between Labor Day and Memorial Day. The offseason is when towns on the Cape become small again and when you, as a visitor, can get to know the real Cape Cod and see why permanent residents love it all year round.



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