Escape to the Cape and Islands
While the Kennedys put Martha’s Vineyard in national consciousness, visitors from around the globe perpetuate the exploratory lore. Hiking and biking trails permeate the island. In Oak Bluffs, ginger bread houses line the streets. Early settlers’ craftsmanship with scroll saws uniquely details the architecture. This is no cookie cutter neighborhood. Beach ball sized hydrangeas bloom here and on Cape Cod all summer long.
Farm Neck Golf Course, little cottages and mansions provide a remote getaway for dignitaries and stars. Gazing from the cupola of The Mansion House in Martha’s Vineyard gifts an amazing view of the island port where the Steamship Authority ferried us over from Woods Hole, Cape Cod along with a tractor-trailer, armored car, and many more vehicles including our Kia Soul, allowing us to zip around the island loop on our own time clock. We rediscovered the Wampanaug tribal outpost in Aquinnah where the Gay Head Cliffs and lighthouse pose breathtaking scenery against the crashing Atlantic. Legend has it that Moshup, a benevolent giant, reddened the clay with whales’ blood when flinging them by their tails against the cliffs. Now that’s a whale of a tale. Steamship Authority ferries run frequently from morning to night for an easy day trip, weeklong, or forever. Land taxes are surprisingly only 2 percent, such a deal!
The Ocean Edge Resort’s Mansion Hotel and Villages have something for everyone on the mainland in Brewster. Throughout Cape Cod, beaches, fresh seafood, boutique, antique and thrift shops make for a serene or active vacation. In Cape Cod Bay, known as the salt flats, one can walk for miles over the rippled wet sand at low tide. Beach passes may be purchased in any town to enjoy standup paddle boarding, kayaking, body surfing, lounging, tanning, fishing or whale watching.
Nightlife peaks at the Sand Bar in West Dennis or the Ocean Terrace in Brewster, perfect for sunset dinners. Live bands play all week at the Woodshed Lounge. The crowd packs in. It is a short ride from bay to bay with Irish Pubs dotting the entire cape.
For the craziest night entertainment the outer cape takes the cake. Happy hour in Wellfleet at Mac’s Shack is a super value with an ocean view. Wellfleet oysters are world famous for their sweetness, served raw on the half shell. Mac started the Wellfleet oyster fest, now in it’s 16th year in October, celebrating the best. In his Provincetown restaurant tuna tails decorate the wall while chefs decorate plates with house-smoked delights such as pigs’ tails in the clams linguica – so good you’ll want to sop up every drop of sauce with the crusty bread.
Ptown is an impressive art colony with much to explore – the Pilgrim Tower and Commercial Street – full of shops, restaurants, show stops and a promenade of characters. The Inn at Cook St. is a comfy retreat in walking distance to everything including a private beach access. A very different beach experience is found on The Dunes Tour. It’s a botanical history in a suburban with deflated tires maneuvering over deep sandy hills covered with scrub oaks and skirt pines before settling on the western beach. Dinners are served or bring your own bottle of wine and a lobster or Portuguese roll. The waves roll in as seals pop up grinning with their supper catch between their teeth and the sun sets over the ocean with a rainbow of colors. Rainbows are implanted on flags and shirts, everywhere in Ptown in celebration of the LGBT community. Any art and water lover has a great time there and everywhere in Cape Cod.