2017 Life Annual Guide: Outer Cape
Eastham, North Eastham
Known as the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham is home to breathtaking scenery, a bevy of beaches, and beaucoup opportunities for outdoor recreation. The town also has an exciting history—and some historically good restaurants.
Located at the entrance to the seashore, The Salt Pond Visitor Center provides information on the whole of the seashore—a U.S. National Park—as well as exhibits describing the area’s natural history and wildlife. Outside, visitors can explore the property on various trails, including the quarter-mile Buttonbush Trail, a multi-sensory route featuring special signage and guide ropes for the blind.
Continuing eastward, Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Beach offer miles of sand and majestic views of ocean, marsh, and dune. Just north, one comes to Nauset Light Beach, named for the locale’s historic lighthouse. Along with its predecessors, including the famed “Three Sisters,” Nauset Light has been guiding ships at sea since the early 1800s. By day, one can often spy seals off shore, and countless bird species enjoying their habitat.
Across town—on the inner side of Cape Cod’s “forearm”—First Encounter Beach looks over Cape Cod Bay, and offers calm waters and tidal pools. The site is where in the fall of 1620 the newly arrived Pilgrims first met, and skirmished with, Native Americans. Nearby, the 25-acre Nickerson Property has walking trails along Bridge Pond and Great Pond; it’s a good spot to observe the annual herring run. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities in Eastham’s various water bodies, as is walking and cycling along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs north to south through town.
And now . . . to eat! The Fairway Restaurant & Pizzeria in North Eastham serves homemade biscuits, granola, and more for breakfast, and seafood and pizza for dinner. Also on Route 6, Karoo Restaurant brings the flavors of South Africa to the Outer Cape with its samosas and a traditional bobotie, a curried meatloaf. Of course, a visit to Eastham would be incomplete without enjoying some fried clams—or a round of mini golf—at Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar.
Looking for a place to stay?
The Whalewalk—it’s been a cozy B&B since 1953
Spread across three acres, the Whalewalk Inn & Spa in Eastham consists of six buildings including a saltbox cottage, a carriage house, and a restored barn. Elaine Conlin, who owns the inn with her husband, Kevin, says each of the property’s 16 guestrooms—including the premier 1,700 square-foot suite—is individually decorated; some rooms are equipped with whirlpool tubs and king beds, and some have cozy fireplaces. Guests can treat themselves in the on-site spa and wellness center, which offers massage as well as a gym, sauna, and resistance swimming pool.
Originally a whaling captain’s home, the property was a farm in the early 1900s, but has been hosting guests as a B&B since 1953. After their children had all settled in the Boston area, the Conlins, who were living in Arizona, purchased the inn and moved to the Cape in 2001.
Hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and roses add color to the manicured grounds, and in the summer breakfast is served on the patio. Elaine whips up a different entrée each day, including her signature Whalewalk sandwich, a tasty combination of egg, prosciutto, and mozzarella.
The Whalewalk Inn & Spa
220 Bridge Road, Eastham
508-255-0617 • whalewalkinn.com
South Wellfleet, Wellfleet
With a unique geography that includes miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast and a vast harbor that opens into Cape Cod Bay, Wellfleet has endless attractions for those who love nature and the outdoors. The town is also home to the world famous Wellfleet oyster, and has long been a haven for the arts.
On the ocean side, Marconi Beach presents visitors with towering dunes, lengthy views, and robust waves. It’s a great spot for surfing and sunbathing. To the north, visitors can enjoy sand and sea at White Crest Beach, Lecount Hollow Beach, and Newcomb Hollow Beach. Across town, Great Island serves as Wellfleet’s western border; the peninsula runs north to south, protecting Wellfleet Harbor from the bay. For the adventurous, the Great Island Trail features perhaps the Cape’s most rigorous walk through soft sands and woods to the end of the peninsula at Jeremy Point. Inside the harbor, Mayo Beach is a gentle swimming spot and, at low tide, the beach flats are great for explorers in search of shells and marine life.
With cold waters and strong tides, the harbor’s unique ecosystem is an environment where oysters flourish—and the town has gained international renown for its tasty shellfish. One can observe the oyster harvest off Mayo Beach, or enjoy the local catch at The Bookstore & Restaurant, Pearl, and Mac’s on the Pier. The Wicked Oyster also serves the delicacies by the half-dozen, and diners can wash them down with a sweet cocktail called Harbor Sunset.
Wellfleet’s Main Street and its surrounding neighborhoods offer a collection of art galleries, gift and clothing boutiques, cafes, and more. It’s an inviting area for walking and shopping. Also on Main, Preservation Hall presents films, concerts, and other events during the year, while the Wellfleet Historical Society Museum shares exhibits on the town’s past, including industries of old like whaling and salt making. Wellfleet Marketplace is a good spot for coffee, snacks, and reading material. Artists’ note: The galleries often host extended hours on Saturday evenings in summer.
Other must-visit attractions in town include The Wellfleet Drive-In, The Harbor Stage Company, and The Beachcomber of Wellfleet, a legendary hot spot for food, drinks, and music—and views overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach.
Looking for a place to stay?
A warm welcome awaits at the Wagner at Duck Creek
Leo and Erica Wagner bought the Inn at Duck Creeke in 2015, renaming the historic guesthouse The Wagner at Duck Creek. Parents of four adopted daughters—sisters Cindy, Elisa, Joana, and Gigi from Puerto Rico—the couple bought the inn with the girls in mind. “We did it for the girls,” Erica says. “We are laser focused on providing them with a work ethic and a nice environment to grow up in.”
The Wagner comprises three distinct buildings, each constructed in a different century. The Carriage House, c. 1930, has a suite and three guest rooms. The Captain’s House, built around 1822, offers 18 guest rooms. Newly renovated, the c. 1771 Cottage has five guest rooms, four of which are named for the Wagners’ daughters, along with a restaurant and tavern known simply as the Well.
The Wagner at Duck Creek
70 Main Street, Wellfleet
508-349-9333 • thewagneratduckcreek.com
North Truro, South Truro, Truro
With the smallest population of any town on Cape Cod, Truro provides residents and visitors the opportunity for a serene—and secluded—experience. What it lacks in fast food restaurants and streetlights, it makes up for in peace and quiet.
As more than half of the town’s land lies within the Cape Cod National Seashore, a visit to Truro often includes time at the beach. Corn Hill is a favorite on the bay side for its easy access, mild surf, and regular ice cream truck visits. To the northeast, Head of the Meadow Beach overlooks the Atlantic and delivers breathtaking scenery, seal sightings, and a sandbar at low tide. Bonus: These beaches, and several more in town, allow beach fires!
Walkers and hikers will find many areas to explore in Truro, including Pilgrim Spring Trail, which passes by a spring the Pilgrims may have visited in 1620; and Small’s Swamp Trail, a half-mile loop around an area that was farmed in the 1800s.
Over the years, Truro has also been home to whalers and shipbuilders, and like many Cape communities, has witnessed many a shipwreck along its shores. To guide sailors at sea, Highland Light in North Truro was built in 1797—the first lighthouse on Cape Cod. Tours are available on select dates, and visitors can also stop in the adjacent Highland House Museum, a former hotel, to peruse artifacts of the light and the town. For an adventure on the high seas, patrons set out from Pamet Harbor into Cape Cod Bay with Reel Deal Fishing Charters in hopes of hooking a bass or a Bluefin tuna.
Speaking of seafood, Terra Luna in North Truro is highly regarded for its fresh, Italian-inspired fare such as Sicilian Littlenecks, Penne Prosciutto, and Scafata, a vegetable stew with artichoke hearts, fava beans, and escarole. Savory & The Sweet Escape is another tasty option with a menu stocked with pizzas, paninis, and pastries.
Other sweet spots in town include The Atlantic Spice Company which sells gourmet foods and more than 250 herbs and spices, and the Chequessett Chocolate Factory and Café, where one can learn about the bean-to-bar process and try handcrafted flavors such as Cherry Almond and Wellfleet Sea Salt.
Looking for a place to stay?
Looking for a sweet retreat? Try the Gingerbread House
The Gingerbread House is a family-owned guesthouse offering four apartments with all the amenities of home. Three of the apartments feature multiple bedrooms, and the units are popular with families.
“For almost 60 years we have welcomed many returning guests,” says owner Jane Ray. “They all request ‘their rooms.’”
Originally built c. 1875, the main house is architecturally significant, according to Ray. “The Massachusetts Historical Commission says it has one of the steepest roofs in Truro, if not the steepest,” Ray says. “It was built that way to keep the birds off the roof.” Also, the home’s decorative trim, often described as “carpenter Gothic,” is comparable to that seen on the “gingerbread” cottages in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.
Ray’s parents, Walter and Gertrude Bushey, bought the home in 1958, and the following year opened the property to guests. “My mother named it The Gingerbread House after the trim,” says Ray. Open year round, the property is located in a quiet neighborhood just a mile from picturesque Pamet Harbor.
The Gingerbread House
42 Depot Road, Truro
508-349-2596 • gingerbreadhousetruro.com
Those that make the trip to Provincetown, located at the very tip of Cape Cod, are rewarded by a vibrant community that is full of history, natural scenery, and the wonderful, colorful Commercial Street.
For starters, this is where the Pilgrims first arrived in the New World. The Pilgrims’ stay in Provincetown Harbor in 1620 is memorialized in P-town with the iconic Pilgrim Monument, a 252-foot climbable tower that offers spectacular views of the harbor. Below, the Provincetown Museum has thoughtful exhibits showcasing the town’s fascinating history including its role in the whaling industry.
Like other Outer Cape towns, Provincetown is blessed with beaches along every coast. Facing north, Race Point has sweeping views as well as showers, bathrooms, and ample parking. Looking west, Herring Cove offers calmer waters and stunning sunsets. There are also miles of sandy beaches inside the harbor. To further explore the area’s natural beauty, cycle or hike in the Province Lands, or head out with Art’s Dune Tours, a company that combines education and humor on guided ATV tours through the dunes. Whale watches are always fun, too, and that’s no fluke!
Of course, the spirit of P-town is best experienced on Commercial Street, a cornucopia of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues. From historic sites and art galleries in the East End, to charming cottages in the west, and lots more in between, there’s something here for everyone. One fun shop is Marine Specialties, which sells nautical-themed antiques such as lanterns and bells, as well as gear for camping and the outdoors. Another shop, Botanica, has a bouquet of ideas for home and garden décor.
Hungry? Commercial Street has much to offer, including favorites like The Lobster Pot and Bubala’s By the Bay. Jimmy’s HideAway is another tasty choice with seafood dishes such as Portuguese cod or lump crab and corn cakes. For casual dining, The Canteen has lobster rolls, and house specialties such as shrimp sliders. For another treat, Fanizzi’s By the Sea serves Sunday Brunch with a fabulous water view. And for sweets, Cabot’s Candy Shop is beloved for its fudge and brittle, while I Dream of Gelato dishes out incredible flavors like pumpkin pie and banana chocolate cherry.
Looking for a place to stay?
Get the royal treatment at this adults-only inn
With one main building known as the Mansion, built in 1850 for a wealthy local sea captain, and six carriage houses where his fishermen lived, the Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa is like a little village unto itself. Just a short walk from Commercial Street in Provincetown, this adults-only lodging features many luxuries such as fine dining at the onsite restaurant, the Pointe, and an award-winning spa featuring Kiehl’s cosmetics products. An attractive bridge leads guests over a koi pond to lush gardens designed following feng shui principles.
How did all this beauty come to be? “My partner, Tom Walter, and I fell in love with P-town over 20 years ago,” recalls David Sanford, one of the inn’s co-owners, “and I once said to him, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to own a hotel here?’” In 1999, the property went up for sale, and Sanford, Walter, and business partner Ken Masi all jumped at the opportunity. “We opened for business in 2000,” Sanford adds with a laugh. “I don’t know how we did it.”
Crowne Pointe Historic Inn
82 Bradford Street, Provincetown
508-487-6767 • crownepointe.com
~Marina Davalos, Ashley Owen
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