There’s a Cape Cod myth that says Labor Day is the end of things. Come September 6, the cottages empty, shops are shuttered, the water turns cold, the weather becomes harsh, tourists leave for good, and Cape Codders withdraw into an off-season of silence.But nothing could be further from the truth. Autumn on Cape Cod means the once traffic-heavy roads open up for a sun-drenched cruise underneath the foliage. Shop doors are mostly wide open; you might even catch an end-of-season sale or two. Dinner and room reservations are much easier to book. And right through September, the water is often warmer than it is in June. Villages from Falmouth to Provincetown—the Islands, too—are buzzing with activity, a full season of events blooming under the changing colors of the leaves. Whatever your interest—a scenic marathon run through Falmouth, an exciting Vineyard competition to catch the biggest fish, or a weekend in Wellfleet dedicated to delicious fresh oysters—there’s plenty of attractions after Labor Day. It’s a familiar refrain to year-rounders, and it’s one worth repeating: Autumn is the best time to visit the Cape and Islands.
2,057—the number of runners that showed up for last year’s Cape Cod Marathon, which takes place on October 31 and begins at the Falmouth Village Green. The marathon, which was started by the Falmouth Running Club in 1978, has been voted one of the top ten scenic marathons by Runner’s World magazine. There’s an array of races for runners, walkers, and relay-racers through Falmouth’s cranberry bogs, farmland, and miles of breathtaking coastline. For more information and to register, visit www.capecodmarathon.com
Three Can’t-Miss Happenings at the Barnstable County Harvest Festival
Celebrate a bountiful fall harvest at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds in Falmouth on October 2-3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s a full slate of live entertainment, pony rides, food, and all of the hallmarks of a fall festival. Make sure you carve out enough time for these activities:
- Farmers Market: Pick up fresh produce and handmade goods from local growers and artisans.
- Beer Garden: Sip a frosty brew in the festival’s Oktoberfest-style beer garden.
- Hay Rides: Climb aboard and take the whole family for a spin through the festival grounds.
For more information, visit www.harvestfestival.info or call (508) 563-3200.
41st Annual Bourne Scallop Festival – September 24–26
What started as a small festival organized by local fishermen has bloomed into a celebration that draws more than 50,000 visitors eager to munch on more than three tons of deep-fried scallops in Buzzards Bay Park. Lots of rides and games, a juried craft show, plenty of nightly entertainment, and, of course, ample quantities of seafood round out the attractions. For more information, visit www.bournescallopfest.com or call (508) 759-6000.
15—the number of Cape Cod restaurants serving up everything from laid-back appetizers to five-course, candlelit meals during Eat Local Week, which takes place from September 20-26. This culinary event complements the Cape Land and Sea Harvest (CLASH) from September 24 to 26, a gathering of outstanding local chefs and enthusiastic foodies. Complete with a farmers market at Hyannis Village Green, grape-stomping at local vineyards, and a Farm to Table community dinner, this is true celebration of the Cape’s bounty. For more information and a list of participating restaurants, visit www.ediblecommunities.com/clash.
Three Can’t-Miss Happenings at the Ninth Annual Goreyfest and Fundraiser
The grotesque style of Edward Gorey’s illustrations comes to life at the Ninth Annual Goreyfest Gala and Fundraiser, held at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod at 307 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth on October 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Here are three highlights of this fun and slightly askew evening:
- The Atmosphere: The center is transformed into a Victorian-age scene with vivid sets from PBS’s Mystery! series. Gorey contributed his memorable drawings to the series.
- The Fashion: Dolling up is optional, but many attendees come dressed in the garb that adorned the macabre figures in Gorey’s work.
- The Fur Coat Auction: Paradoxically, proceeds from this auction of Gorey’s very own fur coats benefit animal welfare and protection services.
Visit www.edwardgoreyhouse.org or call (508) 362-3909 for more information and updates.
32nd Annual Yarmouth Seaside Festival – October 9-11
When Jan Butler organized the first Yarmouth Seaside Festival in 1978, her goal was to create community spirit and pride. Little did she know that there would one day be 25,000 guests who would share her vision. Every Columbus Day weekend, Yarmouth gives summer an unofficial farewell with a parade, craft fair, 5K road race, pie-eating contest, fireworks, and tons of music at this free festival. For more information and a full calendar of events, visit www.yarmouthseasidefestival.com or call (508) 778-1008.