The Orleans Inn (www.orleansinn.com, 508-255-2222) enjoys a soothing view of Town Cove, a vista that is the perfect backdrop for enjoying a wide-ranging menu that runs the gamut from elegant seafood fare to hearty sandwiches. The inn is also a draw for thrillseekers: It is reputed to be haunted, and was featured on an episode of the TV show Ghost Hunters in 2010.
For dessert, the Hot Chocolate Sparrow (www.hotchocolatesparrow.com, 508-240-2230) is the place to go. This coffee and chocolate bar offers delightfully decadent beverages, like the Mocha Sparrow (espresso and milk with hot fudge sauce) as well as wonderful hand-dipped chocolates.
Cap’t. Cass Rock Harbor Seafood is sort of the old salt of Orleans restaurants: paper-plate dining and BYOB. It’s housed in a spare shack draped in old lobster buoys and overlooks Rock Harbor. The lobster roll is a favorite here.
The waters off of Orleans were the site of Cape Cod’s first shipwreck. On Dec. 12, 1626, the Sparrow-Hawk grounded off of Nauset Beach. According to the Pilgrims, the Sparrow-Hawk had been carrying 25 European passengers bound for Virginia, who all safely came ashore. The area where the Sparrow-Hawk first grounded is part of the “ocean graveyard,” a 50-mile stretch of sea and hidden sandbars between Chatham and Provincetown. Just one section has claimed more than 1,000 ships, according to the Cape Cod National Seashore.