Harbor LIFE: Sandwich Marina
If you’re on foot, walk east from the parking area near the harbormaster’s headquarters. As you stroll along the marina’s edge, you’ll see the mix of fishing boats, charter boats and recreational boats in the slips. (There are 140 seasonal slip holders, 42 commercial slips and 24 transient slips.) A small Coast Guard patrol boat and the Sandwich Fire Rescue boat also are docked there. A metal chain provides a barrier between the sidewalk and the grass and rocks that slope to the water’s edge. The links are made of metal rings that are about twice as thick as your thumb.
A small memorial paying tribute to the Sandwich fishermen who’ve been lost at sea overlooks the marina. You get a better sense of the history of the area from a rusty anchor and a ship’s bell on display on the grass by the roadside.
Just east of the marina is the Sandcatcher Recreation Area. A dirt path leads to the jetty that marks the canal’s eastern entrance, about a five-minute walk. Look to your right and you can see Horizons on the Bay, a restaurant on Town Neck Road, and a string of beachside houses, some of which were damaged by a round of winter storms.
Your eyes can follow the curve of the Cape, including the shoreline cliffs in Dennis and beyond. On a clear day, perhaps with the help of some binoculars, you might even make out the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. On this day, there was evidence of a recent storm, which had pushed the wrack line well up the beach, almost to the base of the jetty, leaving behind crab claws, a hand-size bit of yellow fish net and cluster after cluster of blue mussel shells.
On your way back, stop in at the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center (60 Ed Moffitt Drive; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from early May through late October) for historic films, interactive exhibits and interpretive programs.
If the walking and fresh air have triggered your appetite, you have a few options, especially if you like seafood. Ringing the marina are several good choices. Fishermen’s View at 20 Freezer Road is the new restaurant at the marina, and has an attached fish market. The building has white sides and a red roof, mimicking the look of the nearby Coast Guard Station and Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center. Launched by fishermen Bob and Denny Colbert in the summer of 2016, it’s open year-round and offers sushi in addition to seafood and other lunch and dinner items—and also has a great cocktail menu. With a lovely outdoor seating area, the restaurant also offers live music. The Pilot House Restaurant at 14 Gallo Road is open from March through December for lunch and dinner, with outdoor dining in season and a calendar of live music. Seafood Sam’s, also seasonal, at 6 Coast Guard Road, is perfect for a quick, casual meal.
There is a lot to see and do in the village of Sandwich—it is, after all, Cape Cod’s oldest town—but the harbor area is not to be missed.
Freelance writer Bill O’Neill is a Cape Cod native who lives in Yarmouth Port.
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