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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Our Summer Vacation: Cape Cod 2017

Beach hair, don't care.
And we're back from 10 glorious oceanside days on Cape Cod, aka the week I live for in the Summer season. While we were driving home, it clicked with me why we both so look forward to this trip so much every year (you know, besides just being on vacation near the ocean): We don't really have any good beaches near us. I love where we live so much. We're able to access so many different areas very easily and have endless options for day trips, and so many perfectly New England destinations to choose from for long weekend getaways. But, we lack beaches in our general area that are a decent, drivable distance for an easy day trip. So, being able to go to the beach every day for vacation is just amazing because it's pretty much the only time we go swimming all Summer. And this year, we decided to extend our trip by a few days by camping in Truro before heading to our week-long cottage rental in Dennis Port. I may have cried on our last night when I knew I had to say goodbye to the ocean (I wish I were kidding, but I'm not).

Finding a campsite that allowed shorter stays during peak season was a little challenging, but we landed on Adventure Bound in North Truro. We both wanted to stay on this part of the Cape since we very rarely make the hike that way during our stay in Dennis Port. Reviews of every single campsite we looked into on the Cape were iffy. Half the people said they loved it, and half the people said it was terrible. I'm happy to report that our experience was wonderful, with some very minor flaws. Flaw No. 1 being we're inexperienced campers and realized we seriously need to invest in an air mattress so we don't wake up every morning feeling like 90-year-olds who threw out their backs. Flaw No. 2 (also related to our camping inexperience) was that the shower situation wasn't ideal (no benches inside the changing portion of the shower stall - lesson learned). But other than that, our campsite was clean, organized, friendly, centrally-located and near a beach, so we had a wonderful time, and were kind of sad to leave.

When that $19 iPhone tripod from Amazon finally comes in handy.
These signs in our campground totally made us laugh for no apparent reason.
The rest of our trip, we kept saying, "drive slow, walk slow, like this."

But, I will say, I probably had the best night's sleep of my entire life the first night in our cottage when we slept in a normal bed. It was glorious.

Anyhoo.

The first two days we were camping it threatened rain, and even sprinkled on and off. It could have been worse, though, in the form of torrential downpours, so we considered ourselves lucky. Our first day, we acclimated ourselves to our campsite and the beach that was a short walk away through a marked path in the woods, and had dinner at Moby Dick's in Wellfleet.

Coast Guard Beach in Truro, which was a short walk from our campsite.



Moby Dick's Restaurant in Wellfleet. I kind of loved the casual/nautical decor.

Fish 'n chips from Moby Dick's.



While in Truro, we both wanted to explore the local sites. Josh just finished the Tesla biography, and was super excited to see the sites of the Marconi towers, so we did that. It offered incredible views of the water, so I was happy. We also went to see Highland Light, which is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on the Cape.

Highland Light behind us. We're obviously more excited than we should be for a lighthouse.



View from one of the Marconi station sites.




I wanted to get some nature walks in, so we found a blog that detailed a few lovely trails in Truro that we decided to follow. One trail led to an old cranberry bog house, and I thought it was kind of funny that the front door was on the second floor. The other path led to an amazing beach that had almost no one on it. We got to walk for a while with the beach to ourselves for the most part, and it was spectacular.

The old cranberry bog house with the door of the second floor.

Part of a nature trail in Truro that led to an amazing beach.

And we made it to said beach.


We also did some of the walking trails in the Wellfleet Wildlife Santucary, which was also incredibly scenic and relaxing.

Lily pond in the Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary.

This amazing boardwalk in the Santucary led to beautiful views.


iPhone Pano view of the same view.


Later that night we had dinner at Mac's on the Pier in Wellfleet overlooking the water.


Fried clam strips at Mac's were to die for. 
On our last night camping, we did a beach fire. I've always wanted to do a beach fire on an ocean beach, but we just never made it happen. Mostly, because it takes a lot of planning and coordination with the weather and local fire department. Beach fires on the Cape are only allowed on specific beaches, and fire permits are required. Some towns allow you to request the permit a few days in advance online, and some require you to be present at the fire department building the day you want the permit for, and they usually only allow a certain number of permits each day on each beach. It's a lot to plan when you're on vacation, and we just kind of lucked out this year. We applied for a permit on Coast Guard Beach in North Truro the day before, and we got the last available permit. You then have to call the fire department at 4 p.m. the day of the permit to make sure they're allowing beach fires (based on weather conditions), and then, my friends, you can go ahead with your beach fire if they give you the okay. All day that day, it was cloudy, windy and threatening rain, so I didn't have my hopes up. But by the afternoon, the clouds disappeared and the sun came out for a perfect evening. I'm so glad we got a chance to do this, and it was beyond fun. I kind of want to do it every year now, even though it's a lot of work. It was such a great way to end the camping portion of the trip.







iPhone Pano of our scenery.







And then, we were off to Dennis Port to check-in to our cottage for the week, and do all our usual things. We stopped in Ptown before heading to Dennis Port, went to our usual restaurants, visited the Bass Hole Boardwalk, walked around Chatham, swam at our favorite beaches, ate way too much ice cream, wandered bookstores, stocked up on beach reads (I finished 1.5 books, Josh finished 2), shopped at the boutiques in the different towns and also, tried to squeeze in some time to be lazy at the cottage. We were so incredibly lucky this trip because as rainy and chilly as this summer has been so far, every single day on vacation this year, with the exception of the first two days at the campground, it was bright, sunny and warm. We couldn't have had better weather. Here are some photos from the cottage portion of our trip.

Benches in Ptown that I thought were really cool.

When your wife tells you to get in the giant chair.





Baked scrod and vegetable pasta at The Skipper in Yarmouth. It.was.so.good.





Sunset at Bass Hole Boardwalk in Yarmouth.

iPhone Pano view of the sunset at Bass Hole Boardwalk.

Beach Day! Coast Guard Beach in Eastham (not to be confused with Coast Guard Beach in Truro).


Sunset walk at Bank Street Beach in Harwich Port.


When your husband doesn't know where to look while taking a selfie.



I loved this little display in front of a store in Chatham.


I always go to this store in Chatham (which I can't remember the name of to save my life)
because they have such lovely displays. I always pretend I have a beach house,
and start to decorate it in my head while here.


Don't forget to stop and smell the hydrangeas.






Lobstah roll from Sesuit Harbor Cafe. Hands down the best on on the Cape (that I've had, anyway).



"This boat is called Sea Pup! Let's take pictures in front of it!"

Hot fudge sundae at Sundae School.

Josh loved this make your own chocolate chip cookiewich from Ice Cream Cafe in Orleans.
He got red velvet ice cream (with real red velvet cake chunks in it!)

Our view for my birthday dinner at Ocean House. The server totally sweet talked me into this strawberry, rose &
elderberry sangria drink, and I have zero regrets.

Seafood bruschetta from the Ocean House in Dennis. Uh-mazing. No words. 

When it's the last day of vacation, and you want a picture on your birthday,
but your husband still doesn't know where to look while taking selfies.

We did have one morning where it was super foggy for our run to the ocean, which I kind of love. Who doesn't love a beautiful, foggy New England morning before the day starts? So I kind of loved these photos and plan to use some of them them in our master bath (you can read about the inspiration here).








We also, of course, visited Nantucket for a day. This was our fourth time visiting the island. The first two years we went, we explored en foot. Last year, we rented a moped. This year, we decided to rent bicycles. This was my idea, actually. I really wanted to see more of the island, and Madaket was on my list, which is only about 6 miles from town. I had these glorious, very New England, visions in my head of peddling around the island in a cute outfit, a charming little basket on my bike, having a lovely time casually viewing the picturesque scenery on our trek out to Madaket, daydreaming about what it would be like to live there.

Wrong.

I've concluded I'm not a biker. My butt hurt the whole time, I was drenched in sweat, my thighs were killing me, and I was out of breath getting up the hills. Yes, the little basket on my bike was super cute, but it was hardly the experience I had pictured in my head. I told Josh to remind me to never rent bikes around an island again. He agreed it was the best decision for everyone.

The day was still lovely, though. On our way to Madaket, we stopped at Cisco Brewery, which now also has a winery and distillery, and the cutest little beer garden. It was pretty crowded when we went, though, so we only stayed for one beer and a few bourbon tastings (Josh, not me, obviously). He actually ended up buying some bourbon after tasting it, saying it was amazing. He was hesitant, though, because we still had a lot of biking to do, but I was like, "I'll put it in my little basket!" That bike basket was probably my favorite part of the whole freakin' day, I kid you not. So, off we went, bourbon in my bike basket, and explored Madaket Beach, which was - incredible. I'm determined to make it to Nantucket for a longer stay, and swim at this beach someday. It was wavy and not very crowded at all. We ended Madaket by eating at Millie's, which was wonderful. I got lobster quesadillas, and they were almost as awesome as my bike basket.

We took the 7:15 ferry back to Harwich Port, and as we departed, we got to see the sunset from the top deck of the ferry. It was perfection.

I was apparently really feelin' the stripes that day. 

Our foggy morning ferry ride to Nantucket.

Whenever I see this as our ferry docks, my heart grows three sizes.

When I wasn't yet disillusioned about the whole biking around the island thing.



Lunch at Something Natural is still the best for sandwiches.

They're literally bigger than our heads. I couldn't even finish mine, and I always finish sandwiches.

I was googley-eyed for this display, and pillow, at the Lion's Den boutique.

If this hadn't been almost $200, I probably would have bought it.








The only picture I took at Cisco Brewery. It was a really cool place, and they had different buildings for their beer,
distillery and winery. And then they had an outdoor seating area with picnic tables and food trucks.

Madaket Beach.

I so wish I had brought my swimsuit so I could have gone for a quick dip in the huge waves.
Instead, I just let my pants get soaked, and I didn't care a single bit.













Lastly, after a few years of contemplating, I decided it was time. I'm now the proud owner of a Cape Cod Screwball Bracelet. And of course, I purchased it from the original designer, Eden Hand Arts in Dennis. So many stores sell replicas and knock-offs of this now-famous bracelet design, but Eden is the place where it originated from. It's a long story, and you can read all about it on their website, but I've wanted one of these for a long time, and I've been on the fence about it. They're a bit pricey, although, not exorbitant, and it was Josh who finally convinced me to just do it. So off we went to Eden, where I was fitted for the bracelet that I will probably never take off because it reminds me of my happy place.


We're home now, and what I will say is that having a home we love makes leaving the Cape so much easier. Once we're in the car with everything packed back up, looking a little more sunkissed than when we first arrived and with sand all over our shoes and car, I'm actually excited to get back home. I always take so many pictures on vacations because it makes it easier to leave knowing that I've captured all our happy moments. It's a lot of photos, but I can honestly say, I go back and look at every single picture we've ever taken on any vacation several times a year to remember all these wonderful memories.

Helpful links to past posts:
Our 2016 Cape Cod Vacation Recap - includes any advice, information  and recommendations I have about visiting the Cape.
My Love Letter to Nantucket - I recapped what we've done on the island, and our preferred way to get there.
Our 2016 Martha's Vineyard Vacation Recap - I also recapped which we prefer: Nantucket or MV.

5 comments:

  1. I always enjoy your vacation posts....love the pictures of the food and I love that cute bracelet.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Arlene! I'm so happy you enjoyed this :) The bracelet is even lovelier in person. So glad I finally caved on got it.

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  2. Aww thanks for sharing your amazing vacation Sam! Seems so lovely. It motivates me to revisit the beaches. For my husband and me, San Simeon (a sleepy beach town in the central coast) is our happy beach place out here in California but maybe one day we will get out to the cape!

    Can't wait to see those beautiful photos in your bathroom! 🌊

    Shirley

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  3. You do a wonderful job in capturing your cape getaway. I have never been so thank you.

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  4. I love all the photos you posted and the recap of your holiday. You perfectly capture the wonderful experience of the Cape.

    ReplyDelete