USA: Northeast Cape Cod, MA
Destination: Cape Cod Without Crowds
Give your family some room to roam during an autumn trip to the Massachusetts coast
BY MEG LUKENS NOONAN
Sharing a moment on a Cape Cod porch; a kayak tour on Nauset Marsh with outfitter Explore Cape Cod.
Labor Day may be the symbolic end of summer, but on Cape Cod, that 70-mile-long bent-arm-shaped peninsula in eastern Massachusetts, there’s still plenty of family fun to be had after that. You’ll find pleasant temperatures, lots of elbow room on the bike paths, inviting wide-open beaches—with free parking—and a full slate of fall festivals. Oh, and that place with the legendary clam rolls that was impossibly packed in August? Now you can waltz right in. All good reasons to ignore the calendar and start packing.

OUTDOOR PURSUITS
KAYAKING, South Orleans
Dick Hilmer, a science teacher and kayaker, guides outings on Nauset Marsh, a resting spot for migrating shorebirds and seals. Explore Cape Cod; 508-240-1211; explorecapecod.com

DUNE TOURS, Provincetown
You’ll cruise through the Sahara-like dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore, past tiny shacks once occupied by artists and writers such as Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Jackson Pollock, who found inspiration in the wide-open spaces and clear light. Art’s Dune Tours; 508-487-1950; artsdunetours.com

WHALE-WATCHING, Provincetown or Barnstable
Humpback whales—as many as 20 in a group—linger in the deep waters of Stellwagen Bank until late October before swimming south to winter in the Caribbean. Naturalists lead half-day trips out of Provincetown (Dolphin Fleet; 800-826-9300; whalewatch.com) and Barnstable (Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises; 800-287-0374; whales.net).

FISHING, Barnstable
Fall is prime time for fishing. Hook them in the surf, in saltwater rivers or out on the open water with the guidance of captain Bob Betti, whose company specializes in family angling trips in pursuit of cod, striped bass, bluefish and tuna. Cape Cod Family Fishing Charters; 508-776-0350; capecodfamilycharters.com

BIKING AND WALKING
The Shining Sea Bikeway, a mostly flat 10.7-mile paved trail between Woods Hole and North Falmouth, shows off some of the Cape’s choicest scenery: salt marshes, oyster ponds, cranberry bogs, barrier dunes and the open sea. Corner Cycle; 508-540-4195; cornercycle.com

FALL EVENTS
SEPTEMBER 17–18
Harwich Cranberry Festival
This weekend of parades, music and fireworks celebrates the cranberry harvest across the 14,000-plus acres of bogs on the Cape and in southeastern Massachusetts. Harwich; harwichcranberryfestival.org

SEPTEMBER 23–25
Bourne Scallop Festival, Buzzards Bay
Every year, three tons of fried scallops are dished out during this popular event in a park beside the Cape Cod Canal. There are also carnival rides, kid-friendly entertainers, an art show and performances by top regional bands. bournescallopfest.com

SEPTEMBER 17 & 24,
OCTOBER 15 & 29
Jam Kitchen Workshops, East Sandwich
Cook up some mango-plum or cranberry-apricot jam in a Saturday afternoon parent-child workshop at the Green Briar Jam Kitchen. The $38 fee covers one adult and one child (six or older), and includes several jars to take home. 6 Discovery Hill Rd. off Rte. 6A; 508-888-6870; thorntonburgess.org

OCTOBER 15–16
Wellfleet OysterFest
Home to some of the world’s best oysters, Wellfleet celebrates with shucking contests, boat tours, musicians, jugglers, a kid’s fun run—and bushels of oysters for the tasting. Wellfleet; wellfleetoysterfest.org

INDOOR FUN
Sandwich Glass Museum
Enjoy more than 6,000 colorful, light-catching pieces made by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. in the 1800s. The highlight for most kids is the glassblowing demonstration. 129 Main St., Sandwich; 508-888-0251; sandwichglassmuseum.org

Woods Hole Science Aquarium
This small aquarium has 140 local marine species on display, including lobsters, horseshoe crabs and starfish in kid-level tanks. Several seals make their home in an outdoor pool, where you can watch feedings and exercise sessions. 166 Water St., Woods Hole; 508-495-2001; aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov

Pilgrim Monument & Museum, Provincetown
A 252-foot-tall granite monument commemorates the pilgrims who stopped here on their way to Plymouth. The 116 steps and 60 ramps make a fun climb for active kids. pilgrim-monument.org


EAT
ARNOLD’S LOBSTER & CLAM BAR
This sprawling landmark serves classic
clambake fare—steamed lobsters, fried
seafood and mounds of onion rings—
plus Massachusetts churned Richardson’s
ice cream. 3580 Rte. 6, Eastham;
508-255-2575; dinner for two, $40*


BAXTER’S BOATHOUSE
On busy Hyannis Harbor, overlooking
the docks for the Nantucket and Martha’s
Vineyard ferries, Baxter’s is an eat-in-the-
rough institution for lobster rolls and fried
seafood. 177 Pleasant St., Hyannis;
508-775-4490; dinner for two, $45


CAPTAIN KIDD
A cozy waterfront lunchtime spot serving
clam chowder, fried scallops and burgers.
77 Water St., Woods Hole; 508-548-8563;
lunch for two, $25


CARMINE’S PIZZA
Take a break from seafood at this small,
red-and-white- checked-tablecloth classic.
Some consider this the best pizza on the
Cape. 595 Main St., Chatham; 508-945-5300;
lunch for two, $20


CLANCY’S
Old-school baked cod, surf and turf, and veal
Oscar served in a dining room overlooking
the placid waters and marshlands of the Swan
River. 8 Upper County Rd., Dennisport;
508-394-6661; dinner for two, $55


PROVINCETOWN PORTUGUESE BAKERY
This harborside favorite is famous for its
malasadas (fried dough dusted with sugar)
and bolas de berlim (custard-filled doughnuts),
as well as linguica-stuffed sandwiches and
chouriço and kale soup. Eat in or take out.
299 Commercial St., Provincetown;
508-487-1803; lunch for two, $20


*Meal prices do not include drinks, tax or tip.


STAY
RCI affiliated resorts on Cape Cod include:

INNSEASON RESORTS HARBORWALK
A short walk to Main Street and the ferry to
Martha’s Vineyard. 26 Robbins Rd., Falmouth

THE COVE AT YARMOUTH
Well situated for whale-watching excursions
and day trips to Nantucket. 183 Main St.,
West Yarmouth


Member Review:
“Our room was impeccable, well decorated
and comfortable.”

SEA MIST RESORT
Located between Hyannis and Falmouth
Center; ideal for visits to antiques shops
and art galleries. 141 Great Neck Rd. S.,
Mashpee


Member Review:
“Bike the route that ends at Woods Hole,
where you can stop at the Pie in the
Sky Café.”

BREWSTER GREEN
This 56-unit resort is set on 17 acres.
203 Lund Farm Way, Brewster


Member Review:
“Route 6A through Brewster has many
antiques shops worth visiting.”

THE HARWICH PORT
The 27-unit property consists of one-
bedroom townhouses and studios.
558 Main St., Harwich


Member Review:
“Easy walk to the beach, stores, coffee
shops. The ferry to Nantucket is just
down the street.”

PIER 7 CONDOMINIUMS
Go out to visit the surrounding restaurants
and nightlife, or stay in to relax in the
resort’s indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna.
711 Main St., South Yarmouth


Member Review:
“A nice resort. Check-in was very friendly
and informative. Great location halfway
along Cape Cod.”

For complete member reviews
(as member reviews have been condensed)
and additional resort listings, visit RCI.com or call

Weeks: 800-338-7777
Points: 877-968-7476

Club Members, please call your specific
Club or RCI telephone number.

Non-RCI affiliated resorts:

BEACH BREEZE INN
After a recent renovation, this inn on
Nantucket Sound has 21 guest rooms and
apartments. 321 Shore St., Falmouth;
800-828-3255;
beachbreezeinn.com;
doubles from $109 per night


THE LIGHTHOUSE INN
A 68-room inn in the former Bass River
lighthouse. Most units have water views
and wood-burning fireplaces. 1 Lighthouse
Inn Rd., West Dennis; 508-398-2244;
lighthouseinn.com; doubles from $160
per night


WEQUASSETT RESORT & GOLF CLUB
Guests have access to the Cape Cod National
Golf Club, as well as tennis, sailboats and
kayaks. 2173 Rte. 28, Chatham; 800-225-7125;
wequassett.com; doubles from $205 per night

SURFSIDE HOTEL & SUITES
A newly renovated waterfront property with
bay views. 543 Commercial St., Provincetown;
508-487-1726;
surfsideinn.cc; doubles from
$160 per night


NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
Published: Fall 2011 
Photos: Inmagine: Dick Hilmer
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