The gentle clickety-clack rocking while passengers take in panoramic views of cranberry bogs, salt marshes, and quaint Cape Cod villages transports riders on the Cape Cod Central Railroad holiday excursions to a world far removed from the season’s hustle and bustle. From elegant dinners and dramatic murder mysteries to magical rides on the North Pole Express, travelers of all ages can ramble on Cape Cod’s generations-old tracks and experience the romance of the rails.
On the Thanksgiving Dinner Train, departing from Hyannis at 1 p.m. on Nov. 24, the passing scenery of hidden Cape Cod creates a captivating setting as the train makes its way toward the canal and over the railroad bridge, before returning to Hyannis three hours later. Bring an appetite: A leisurely five-course meal featuring a choice of traditional turkey, pistachio-encrusted salmon, herb-encrusted tenderloin crevette, or vegetarian roast vegetable manicotti is served onboard.
On Dec. 2, 3, and 4, the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce sponsors seven trips for children and families aboard the North Pole Express as part of its Holly Days festivities. During the 45-minute ride from Sandwich to West Barnstable—Cape Cod’s North Pole—Santa strolls through the train and his helpers read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. When they arrive at the North Pole, volunteer elves and reindeers greet the children at a tent where they enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and have their picture taken before returning to Sandwich station. “The children firmly believe they have been to the North Pole and back,” says Dede Kiely, Cape Cod Central Railroad vice president for sales and marketing. All children receive a bell as a memento of their trip.
Grown-ups have their own fun on the Murder Mystery Train, which takes place on Dec. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Costumed cast members from the Cape Cod Cabaret mingle with guests during a five-course dinner as they try to solve a Dickens-themed murder. “It has a good plot and festive holiday music,” Kiely says. “And usually, someone gets decked in the halls.” For information and reservations on the dinner trains, visit www.capetrain.com or call (508) 771-3800. To reserve a seat on the North Pole Express, visit www.sandwichchamber.com.
“Have you had any fun lately?” That is what my brother Connor had the nerve to ask me when we sat down for lunch together. His question gave me cause for pause. I needed a little time to think about what fun means to me nowadays. Operating a small publishing company amidst the economic conditions of recent years has been, shall we say, pre-occupying. So, I thought about his question. Read more…
Nantucket will host the Opera House Cup, August 18 to 21, part of the North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. The Opera House Cup takes its name from the eponymous venue whose owner, in 1973, had the idea of organizing a regatta reserved for wooden sail boats. It is the oldest regatta of this kind to take place along the East Coast. Every year, a large fleet of vintage boats gathers in a thrilling spectacle. The Opera House Cup has become a summer spectator tradition as the Rainbow Fleet escorts the boats past Brant Point lighthouse to the start.
Past participants include former America’s Cup winners (Intrepid, Weatherly, Columbia), well-known competitors (Shamrock, Endeavor) and other notable yachts like the Mystic Seaport schooner Brilliant and General Patton’s When and If. On the smaller side, prestigious boats in the Dragon class and the classic Herreshoff-designed and Nantucket-built Alerions also often participate. Yachts must be made in wood or metal, built according to traditional designs and methods, with wood or aluminium spars.
The North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge takes place in three locations throughout the season: the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta in Marblehead, the Opera House Cup in Nantucket and the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport.
For each regatta, an Officine Panerai prize is presented to the overall winner and to the winners of each class. The overall winners for each of the three regattas receive their prizes in a ceremony held during the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport. To compete for the final trophy, each boat must participate in at least two of the three events in the schedule, one of which must be the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta.
The Opera House Cup Regatta is the grand finale of Nantucket Race Week, and the events culminate with the OHC Awards Party, held under the tents on Jetties Beach on Sunday evening. Good food, drinks, videos of the OHC race, a silent auction, presentation of the awards and music keep the party going late into the evening. The OHC Awards Party is one of “the parties of the season” on Nantucket.
For information on the Opera House Cup, go to www.operahousecup.org.
Spohr Gardens enchants visitors all year long
Margaret and Charles Spohr began creating this lovely garden around their home in the 1950’s and gladly received an ever-increasing number of visitors who came to see its rumored beauty. After their deaths, the gardens were left to the Margaret K. Spohr and Charles D. Spohr Charitable Trust with the specification that the property be open to the public every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with no admission fee. For more information, visit www.spohrgardens.org.
By Lindsay Oliver
He and a few friends will cycle hard for six or seven hours. They’ll cross the Bourne Bridge, traverse the Service Road, follow back roads to the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Dennis, and pass Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.
From there, the group will take the back roads in Truro and finally get into Provincetown, feeling like kings of the road as they breeze down Commercial Street. There, they will stop for lunch—and a quick change of clothes—at the Crown & Anchor.
“That’s a great day,” Leach says of this trip he makes every August, usually on a Friday because the bike paths are less crowded. “The whole thing is great. It’s so different throughout. … Probably the most memorable part is the end of the bike path all the way to Provincetown. The scenery and the whole idea of being out on the Outer Cape and then heading into Provincetown and being on Commercial Street is fun.” Read more…
Don’t miss this years fireworks! Check the dates below to find parades and fireworks shows in your area! From everyone here at Cape Cod Life Publications, cheers for a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!
On first sight, the giant blue vinyl tent pitched over cement risers beside a gravel parking lot west of downtown Hyannis seems an unlikely spot for a 60-year success story. But once inside, as childhood tent-by-the-campfire instincts take over, the audience of 2,000 swiftly bonds with the performers beneath the canopy’s cozy cocoon. “The fans are so close that they become part of the show!” rock star Melissa Etheridge exclaimed following a recent appearance. Read more…
Spohr Gardens enchants visitors all year long
11th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
March 18-20 Experience innovative filmmaking in the off-season at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Held at the Chilmark Community Center, the festival is packed with more than 50 feature-length productions, short films, discussions, and other events. To find out more about this year’s festival, including an updated schedule of films, visit www.tmvff.org or call 508-645-9599.
Brewster in Bloom
April 29–May 1 The Brewster Chamber of Commerce presents Brewster in Bloom, a celebration of springtime in this pristine Lower Cape community. The weekend itinerary is chock-full of events like craft shows, open houses, culinary events, sales at local shops, and much more. Visit www.brewsterinbloom.org or call 508-896-3500 for more information.
Figawi Race Weekend
May 28-30 It wouldn’t be a proper start to summer without the Figawi Race Weekend, a friendly sailing competition across Nantucket Sound that celebrates its 40th occasion in 2011. The race is also accompanied by cocktail parties, award ceremonies, and time well spent on the island. On May 21, the kick-off Figawi Charity Ball, which allocates its proceeds exclusively to local charities, is held at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis. Visit www.figawi.com or call 508-221-6891 for more information.
10th Annual Cape Cod Maritime Festival
June 11-12 The ever-popular Cape Cod Maritime Festival returns to the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis to celebrate the region’s rich maritime heritage. Explore the museum’s catboat Sarah, check out a host of historical exhibits and nautical crafts, dine on local seafood, and experience other facets of Cape Cod’s maritime heritage. Visit www.capecodmaritimemuseum.org or call 508-775-1723 for more information.
14th Annual Secret Garden Tour
July 10 The Provincetown Art Association and Museum opens a world of natural wonder in several private gardens on its 14th Annual Secret Garden Tour. The vibrant gardens are a great source of inspiration and a pleasure to experience firsthand. Proceeds from the event benefit the museum and its programs. Visit www.paam.org or call 508-487-1750 for more information.
Falmouth Road Race
August 14 The prestigious Falmouth Road Race returns for its 39th year. The race traverses a scenic seven-mile course and traditionally draws more than 10,000 racers—and many thousands more spectators—to raise money for several charities and nonprofit groups. For information on entering the race or sponsoring a runner, visit www.falmouthroadrace.com or call 508-540-7000.
The 9th Annual Goreyfest & Gala in South Yarmouth. See the whole gallery →Visit www.edwardgoreyhouse.org for information on next year’s event.