Summering on the Cape


One of my life goals is to be the type of person who’s financially stable enough to use the word summer as a verb. You know the type; the summer in the south of France, or they summer in Bermuda, or maybe they summer in the Hamptons-no matter the destination, it’s usually somewhere a bit exclusive, classy and with a pretty bougie history. As much as I love it in Sea Isle, you don’t summer there, you just go down the shore.

Anyhow, I’ might be on my way because in two days I’ll be heading for a weekend trip to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, two places that people most definitely “summer.” I’m excited. I love New England, specifically Massachusetts and it’s been two years since I’ve been to the greater Boston area. We vacationed a few times at Cape Cod as a kid (my dad grew up in Connecticut spending summers on “The Cape”) and a two day trip to Martha’s Vineyard was one of my favorite childhood vacations.

I was practicing for Cape Cod last weekend. This will probably be my life come Thursday, minus the Stegmaier, and with a much better view.
I was practicing for Cape Cod last weekend. This will probably be my life come Thursday, minus the Stegmaier, and with a much better view.

Despite it’s WASPy reputation, Cape Cod is a pretty affordable destination, and there’s a lot to do besides lay on the beach and drink, well, Cape Codders. My sister (who planned the trip) booked us into the Hyannis Harbor Hotel (for two nights…in Hyannis) and the Island Inn (in the Martha’s Vineyard enclave of Oaks Bluff). They’re a little more expensive than I would’ve booked, but they are damn classy, and while looking around, I found a lot more affordable options within walking distance of our place in Hyannis (minus a lot of the bells and whistles and harborview). There’s also quite a few campgrounds, which I wouldn’t be opposed to, especially on Martha’s Vineyard.

This trip is somewhat unplanned-I made the executive decisions to attach myself to my sister and her friend’s vacation sometime after 2am on the morning of the 4th of July-I think they expected me to wake up and not follow through, but I’ve been wanting to go back to the Cape for sometime now, and it was nice that they’d already booked the hotels and done some of the ground work. All I had to do was add myself to the equation and then completely take over by typing (yes, typing) out an itinerary for us all to follow. Here’s a rough breakdown:

Day 1: We’re leaving my parent’s house around 7 (on my sister’s timeline this actually means more like 8:30) and hope to roll into Hyannis around noon. My trips are usually pretty activity filled, so I’m excited the girls want to just lounge at the pool/pool bar. I’ll probably do that for a little bit as well, but will also probably wander over to the Kennedy Memorial and Museum. I’d also like to hit up the Cape Cod Beer  and if time take a Catboat Ride into the harbor. Our plans are to head to Trader Ed’s Pool Bar for dinner, a pool bar with $12.95 lobster dinners on Thursday evenings. I also plan on probably eating more than one stuffed quahogs there-my brisket and beer feeding frenzy in celebration of America this past weekend pretty much sealed the deal that I’m going to be beached whale status in my bathing suit, so why not just go all out, right? Hyannis supposedly has a pretty fun bar scene which we plan on exploring Thursday night.

Day 2: This is the day with the most leeway. I wouldn’t mind heading up to Provincetown and hiking out to the very tip of the cape. I also wouldn’t mind exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore, and maybe lunching at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, an old life saving station turned restaurant. Friday night we’re heading to Plymouth, to meet our cousin Mary for dinner, and hopefully take it easy because we have an early wakeup Saturday.

Day 3: There’s ferries from Hyannis to Martha’s Vineyard, but I don’t know why anyone would take them. Even on the express ferry, the ride is an hour and it costs almost $70.00. We’re waking up early to drive to Falmouth, where a roundtrip ferry ride on the Island Queen  (with no vehicle) is $20.00 and 35 minutes. If you want to take a car over to the Vineyard, you have to make reservations well in advance. I would have if I were planning this trip earlier, Martha’s Vineyard is definitely doable without a car, but it’s not a tiny island. You can’t rely only on walking and biking. We’re actually renting a car the first day (my biggest disappointment is that the rental shop was out of mustang convertibles). It’s $90.00 (before taxes and whatnot) which I actually thought was a bargain for a touristy destination (plus there’s three of us splitting costs).

I’d like to circumnavigate the entire island, which is something we didn’t do when I was there as a kid. Our main destination that day though is Gay’s Head Beach, an awesome beach overlooked by a series of clay cliffs, so we could both lounge and hike. Part of the beach is also clothing optional, which for prude Americans like us, adds some humor (my parents did not know this when they took us there last time-my dad was not happy).

We’ll head to our hotel eventually and I’m sure check out the town. Oaks Bluff is one of two “wet” towns on Martha’s Vineyard (the other is Edgartown), which I’m sure had nothing to do with us booking rooms there.

Day 4: We’re renting mopeds on Sunday, because I feel like if you’re on an island, you need to rent mopeds. Our plans our to head to Edgartown for lunch and some exploring (fun fact: most of Jaws was shot here) and then take the ferry over to the island of Chappaquiddick for the day. The only reason most people know Chappaquiddick is because it’s where Ted Kennedy killed (allegedly) a girl in a New Year’s Eve car accident back in 1969, which is too bad because it’s supposed to be gorgeous. It’s only accessible by ferry, so has a pretty off the beaten path feel, and by all accounts I’ve read you could easily find beaches where you’ll be the only residents. I think I’m most excited about exploring Chappaquiddick, and we don’t really have any solid nighttime plans because I’m not sure how much time we’ll kill there (and the last ferry runs at midnight).

Day 5: I’m not sure what time we’re planning on taking the ferry back Monday (we’re going to play this one by ear). I wouldn’t mind taking a quick paddleboard around the harbor, but we’ll see how things pan out.

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