I love Cape Cod, or as Carole calls it "The Cod." On a map it looks like New England is giving Europe the "umbrella gesture" or what many in the US think is just how Tony Soprano used to wave hello. That alone is enough to make The Cod a worthwhile vacation destination, but the combination of beaches/biking/kayaking/hiking/whale watching/lobster rolls/ice cream isn't bad either. Over 25 years, we've vacationed there 5 or 6 times, dragging along various kids and their friends, mothers-in-law, aunts etc.
The one down side of The Cod is that there is really only one way on and off, and on Saturday afternoons there are immense traffic jams to get on The Cod. So, we've evolved to driving most of the way up on Friday (this year we stayed in Providence and had a great stay at the Hotel Providence) and then beating the rush by getting on The Cod early on Saturday.
So, early Saturday am we drove onto The Cod traffic-free, had killer coffee and gluten-free muffins at Pie in the Sky in Woods Hole and strolled around the town a bit. Very cool area but it is also where the ferries to Martha's Vineyard (where the Obama's were staying that week) depart and the starting point of the annual Falmouth Road Race (luckily happening the day after we were there) so it was a very busy place.
We then stopped off to visit Peter W1UU and his wife in Falmouth and had more coffee and a nice chat on their back yard deck, which is under that big line you see in the picture above, with Martha's Vineyard in the upper left.
A few miles from Peter's house is the Shining Sea Bikeway rail trail that Carole had seen on a map. This is a phenomenal 10 mile paved path from North Falmouth right down to the Woods Hole ferry landing so we had a nice 20 mile ride with great views of marshes, Buzzard's Bay and the section along the Vineyard Sound above.
By then it was time to check in to our rental house in Brewster, not far from the Brewster General Store. Lauren and Steve showed up a few hours after we had unpacked. They stayed with us for the the first few days and we had great bike rides, a whale watching tour, and:
Stand up paddling, as demonstrated by Steven.
Carole and Lauren's version of "stand-up" paddling.
More quaint general stores, and much eating of lobster rolls, ice cream, mangoes, bagels from JoMama's, chocolate from The Chocolate Sparrow, candy from Provincetown, Chatham - you get the idea.
Lauren and Steve left on Wednesday, leaving us with some very tasty parting gifts, and Carole and I filled out the week with more bike rides, more eating, some hot tubbing at the rental house and a great kayak tour out of Eastham with Great Marsh Kayaking Tours:
Those black dots are seals in the marsh on the way out to the barrier beach. There were seals galore on this tour - and luckily (for the seals) no sharks in the area.
Those waves in front of the quaint lobster boats are more seals that have magical abilities to evade camera shutters.
Our last day on The Cod, I biked about 40 miles out to Provincetown and Carole drove out and picked me up, and we went over to the Cape Cod National Seashore and did a 4 mile hike across what is called Hatch Harbor, but at low tide was a large and very scenic marsh.
The marsh ends at sand dunes and you reach the very scenic Race Point lighthouse and great views out to where we saw so many whales from the whale watching boat - there were a few Minke whales cruising in close to shore that we could see.
That night more eating (best meal of the trip at Van Rensselears in Wellfleet) followed by a short stroll around Orlean's windmill and then the usual packing/driving/cursing the NJ Turnpike and Delaware Bridge, etc - and another great trip to The Cod was in the books.