Cape Cod Suggestions – posted 9/14/2014
This summer I got to spend a week on the Cape and i have to report it is still a wonderful place to go in the summer. When I lived in Alaska, the thought of Cape Cod beaches helped to keep me going. No offense to Alaska but the beaches are mudflats. There are signs around to stay off because in some places the beaches are like quicksand. Every year, there are rescues off the Alaska beaches. You do not have that problem on Cape beaches.
I thought it would be fun to highlight some Cape places to go that I really liked. This is hardly timely as the season is over but still there is next year. This piece is a departure from more serious fare but I promise to return to that soon. This space is not becoming a travel guide. My restaurant reviews will be limited.
GREAT PLACE TO STAY: I highly recommend the Bluefish Bed and Breakfast in Harwich. My wife Debra and I never stayed at the Bluefish before. We decided to stay there because it is located near where my mother in law Miriam lives in Harwich. Our hosts, Tim and Lori, are a lovely and friendly couple. They could not have been more gracious and welcoming. The rooms are cozy and comfortable and prices are reasonable. They have wifi in your room at no additional charge. The location is convenient to many places on the Cape.
The breakfasts prepared by Tim, who is a practicing chef, were pretty spectacular. Usually breakfasts don’t get a whole lot of attention. Over the last 4 years, I have travelled a fair amount and had to stay at many motels and hotels. Usual fare is drab with little attention paid to the meal. Tim is a very creative chef and his breakfasts were different. Everyday Debra and I would wonder what breakfast would be. Invariably, the breakfasts were special. Whether egg-based, pancakes or crepes, there was always an extra dimension. I was impressed because I do cook breakfast on the weekend and Tim’s efforts put my usual efforts to shame. I guess he is a chef though.
Tim and Lori are strong supporters of local farm to table agriculture. All the ingredients were fresh and from nearby.
If you plan a Cape stay, consider staying at the Bluefish. We plan to go back. An added plus is that the Bluefish is near the Harwich bike trails. You can bike or run almost right out the door. The bike trails go quite a distance on the Cape. They are a great thing in their own right.
BARS: This is probably an overly popular choice since I saw the Beachcomber won Best of Boston 2014 but the Beachcomber in Wellfleet is fantastic. My son Josh knew about this place because he had tried to book a show there a few years back when he played in a Boston-based blues/rock band, Logan. The bar is located almost directly on the ocean on Cahoon Hollow Beach. I can legitimately say it is oceanfront. Looking at it, you have to say it is a hurricane target. It is that close to the water. I did wonder whether global warming would eventually take it.
The place is so lively. There were a number of buses coming in from god knows where and we went mid-week. You might have thought it was the weekend.The food was very good too but it is the location that makes this place so cool.
I did not know the story but President Kennedy created the Cape Cod National Seashore in August 1961 and only a grandfather clause allowed the Beachcomber to remain within the National Seashore as a privately held commercial property. Thank god for that grandfather clause – this is worth the drive to get to.
I also wanted to mention a bar named the Port in Harwichport. The Port has a special on local oysters from 4pm-6pm. The special was a dollar an oyster. I hope they maintain this deal. The oysters were the freshest ever, Wow, were they good like the best I ever had. I admit I am from the middle Atlantic states. I am not an oyster aficionado like my wife who is a hard core New Englander and tough critic. She shared my opinion about the oysters though as did my boys Josh and Eric. We each ended up having a dozen they were that good.
RESTAURANTS: We did not do fancy this year. I am partisan to fried clams and my wife likes fried oysters. We went to the Original Seafood Restaurant (the old Kreme N-Kone before legal battles I believe) and it is still very good. It is in Dennisport, We went on a Thursday and it was quiet. I have been there when it is a mob scene. It is better to go when less people are competing to place an order. There were many seniors there who looked like locals, not tourists. That seemed to me to be a vote of confidence. I thought the clams were as good as my other favorite fried clam place, Bob’s Clam Shack, which is located on Route 1 in Kittery Maine.
In the more serious food category, I like the Red Pheasant Inn which is located in Dennis. I am a duck fan and I think their duck entree is the best. I did not go this summer but my wife really likes it too and she is a food expert. I just figured I would give them a plug.
BOOKSTORES: I will mention two places, Tim’s Used Books and Provincetown Bookstore. Both are located in Provincetown. Tim’s Used Books is set back from the main drag. I did think the selection had shrunk some from previous years but they still had some surprising finds. I always look forward to going there in the summer. I love used book stores. The lady who was in the store at the Provincetown Bookstore was nice enough to give me a pen so I could write down some titles. She gave me a hard time about possibly buying off Amazon but I didn’t mind. That was fair enough as I am sure small independent bookstores are in a life and death struggle. The store also has a good selection. I am thankful there are still bookstores and they have not disappeared altogether.
ODDS AND ENDS: After a good beach day, I would recommend the pina coladas at Brax Landing in Harwich right on Route 28. . Debra liked their steamers. I also liked the bloody marys at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown. Spicy good.
It is unfortunately starting to get cold here in New Hampshire. Where did the summer go? At least there are thoughts of the Cape next summer.