May 2015

There are so many reasons to celebrate!

Cape Cod Life  /  May 2015 / , ,

Writer: Cape Cod Life Publications / Photographer: Don Sylor, Jennifer Dow, Kelly Cronin Bicknell, Paul Rifkin, Peter Partridge, Terry Pommett, and Thomas DiCicco 

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photo by: Kelly Cronin

Setting out to cover “great wedding venues” on the Cape and Islands is akin to scanning through all of the local history materials in the Sturgis Public Library; browsing in all of the shops, boutiques, and places to eat along Hyannis’s Main Street; or counting the seals off Chatham. Read: there’s a lot!

Writing about the region’s different vacation options and ideas for interesting and adventurous daytrips can be similarly daunting. For every luxurious resort, welcoming B&B, and comfortable campground on the Cape, there seems to be another, and another, and another, either in the next town, across the harbor, or just next door. Conclusion? The Cape and Islands have so many wonderful places to stay, visit, and tour there is literally something here for everyone to enjoy.

Having said that, in the following pages we provide descriptions, details, and anecdotes on four unique wedding venues, four spots to enjoy a relaxing vacation (a high-end hotel, a family friendly resort, a cozy B&B, and a popular campground), and itineraries for four unique daytrips— one each to Falmouth, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

Whether you’re here for a wedding, a vacation, or just to spend the day, we sincerely hope you enjoy your stay. And we’re confident that in a very short time, you too will be learning about many more wonderful resorts, restaurants, beaches, boutiques, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Enjoy!

Matthew Gill — Wedding Articles

Liberté, the Schooner

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: Liberté, the Schooner

Many couples celebrate their weddings at venues around Cape Cod with beautiful views of the water. But how many have the chance to get married on the water, while sailing along the coast?

Over the years, about 100 couples have married aboard the Liberté, a stunning, three-masted schooner owned by Chris and Jane Tietje. Docked in Falmouth Harbor, the ship maintains a regular, summer sailing schedule, offering three tours daily. The Liberté is also chartered for special events, including on-the-water weddings. “First of all, you can’t beat the scenery,” says Jane, “and being under sail is awesome, too. Throw in a sunset, and it’s really spectacular.”

The Liberté measures 77 feet from bow to stern, is rigged with six sails, and has room for 49 passengers. “There aren’t many sailboats that can take as many people as we can,” Jane adds.

On the big day, the wedding party gathers at the dock, where a quick safety presentation is given. Setting off, most of the sails are raised, and the ceremony begins at the couple’s direction. For the ceremony, the couple stands toward the bow, offering guests on the deck a great view of the proceedings. After saying, “I do,” the newlyweds often raise a ceremonial sail together. A champagne toast follows, as does music, dancing, and dinner.

Jane says many couples charter the Liberté because they want elegance and adventure—and a casual setting. Sometimes, the wedding party decorates the ship beforehand, and “Hawaiian” has been a popular theme. For another wedding, a festive, four-piece bluegrass band performed throughout the reception. “It all depends on what the individuals are looking for,” Jane says. “We personalize each charter to exactly what they want.”

In addition to weddings, the Liberté hosts rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and other special events. “We’ve also had wedding proposals,” Jane says. “Those are always good, too.”

Matthew Gill — Wedding Articles


Pelham House Resort

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of : Pelham House Resort

For the many couples who celebrate their wedding at Pelham House Resort in Dennisport, one of the major draws is that their wedding is the only show in town—at the resort, that is—for the entire weekend. In other words, the bride and groom and their guests occupy all of the resort’s 40 rooms for the weekend, creating a special, exclusive ambiance for the celebration.

“The biggest thing is having everyone in that one area,” says Tim Norton, the resort’s assistant manager. “We sell it as a weekend.” Typically, guests arrive on Friday, celebrate with the couple on Saturday, and enjoy the resort’s amenities throughout the weekend.

The main inn features 33 rooms, and a separate court-house offers seven individual rooms, each with king-sized beds. The bridesmaids, Norton says, usually stay in the court-house. The resort also offers an 80,000-gallon pool, a fitness room, and free Wi-Fi. On the wedding weekend, a full breakfast on Saturday and Sunday comes with the cost of a room, and plenty of parking is available for additional guests not staying at the resort.

Norton says the ceremony itself is performed either on the lawn, on the resort’s private beach overlooking Nantucket Sound, or at a local church, with the reception following at the resort. At about 10 p.m., staff set up a beach bonfire with fire pits and beach chairs. Guests don sweatshirts, toast s’mores, and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Asked to share an anecdote or two from a recent wedding, Norton says one ceremony in 2014 was accentuated by a beautiful, full rainbow that emerged from the clouds at just the right moment. “That,” he says, “was pretty cool.” Another fun detail? “Probably about 80 percent of the people that do get married here,” Norton says, “come back—often for their anniversary.”

Matthew Gill — Wedding Articles

The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa

Beauty, luxury, history, and charm: offering each of these in spades, The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa in Sandwich provides a wedding package few venues in the area can match. “Couples love the Dan’l Webster, because we have all the quaint, historic charm with all of the modern amenities,” says Bethany Holbert-Catania, the inn’s catering sales manager and in-house wedding planner.

Holbert-Catania  adds that the resort’s comprehensive wedding package is an attractive choice for couples. The Dan’l Webster can host everything from the ceremony and reception, to bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and even the post-wedding breakfast.

Naturally, the package includes accommodations for the newlyweds on their wedding night. Traditional rooms feature a king-sized bed, or couples can upgrade to a suite with a step-out balcony and a heated tile floor that leads to a whirlpool tub. The suites also feature hand-done, antique furnishing reproductions.

The ceremony is often held in the garden, which overflows with daffodils and tulips in spring, and features a beautiful tree under which couples often exchange their vows. “The garden changes throughout the year seasonally,” Holbert-Catania says. “It’s very colorful and beautifully manicured.”

Alternately, the ceremony can be held at nearby Sandy Neck Beach, with transportation provided. If it rains—or in the off-season—the wedding can be held in the Conservatory, a beautiful glass-enclosed dining room; or The Music Room, a colonial style space with a baby grand piano and a gas fireplace.

For the wedding meal, many couples choose lobster chowder, followed by the chicken Oscar, featuring a boneless chicken breast served with lobster, spinach Florentine, and a bernaise sauce. Another option is the slow-roasted breast of duckling. “Everything that we do is made from scratch,” says Holbert-Catania. “It’s fantastic.”

The Dan’l Webster Inn also features a full-service spa, a cozy tavern, and a one-of-a-kind location on historic Main Street in Sandwich.

Matthew Gill — Wedding Articles


Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photos by: Kelly Cronin

In the months before their wedding in July of 2014, Meg and Ryan Payne had visited several different potential venues. Why, in the end, did this couple from Barnstable and Harwich choose the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club? “We knew we wanted to get married on the Cape, and we wanted that beach atmosphere,” says Meg. “We fell in love with the Wequassett as soon as we got there.”

The Harwich resort offers 120 guest rooms, four restaurants, two pools, and a spectacular view overlooking Pleasant Bay. Meg and Ryan’s ceremony was held on the lush croquet lawn overlooking the water. Nearby flower gardens added color to the festivities, as did the bridesmaids’ dresses in light, sea glass blue.

Following the ceremony, a cocktail hour was held in the resort’s new Garden Terrace pavilion, which was completed in 2014. The reception followed in the ballroom.

“It was perfect,” Meg says of her wedding day. “Everything went off without a hitch. The Wequassett staff was so organized; they made it a stress-free experience.” From the event planners, to the bartenders, to the housekeeping staff, Meg says everyone was helpful—and helped make her and Ryan feel special. “I felt like everyone was there for us specifically,” she says. “Everything was awesome.”

Meg says some memorable moments from the day included a sentimental—and unexpected—speech from one of the groomsmen, and a well-mannered performance by the ring bearer, her dog. After the wedding, the couple stayed at the resort for a few days, enjoying the great food, the pools, and evenings by the fire pits.

Describing some of the resort’s new additions, Meg says she was amazed. “Their landscape,” she says, “is like nothing you’ve ever seen.” Watching her wedding video, she adds that one can even make out butterflies in the background.

Matthew Gill — Wedding Articles

Red Jacket Beach Resort

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: Red Jacket Beach Resort

For those seeking quality family time this summer, the Red Jacket Beach Resort offers a wonderful and affordable vacation option on Cape Cod. Located in South Yarmouth and overlooking stunning Nantucket Sound, the Red Jacket is a great spot where families can unplug and spend many enjoyable hours outdoors and with each other.

Kenneth Smith, the resort’s executive vice-president, says the Red Jacket is all about bringing people together to create special memories they can treasure and come back to. “We take our guests away from the modern distractions that detract from relaxing, having fun, and being together,” he says.

The resort offers 150 guestrooms, as well as houses, townhouses, and family suite accommodations. There is a full-service restaurant and lounge, an onsite spa, a tennis court, and three heated pools—one indoors, and two outdoors. Naturally, the resort also features magnificent views overlooking the Sound.

Throughout the summer, activities for children are organized daily, and include fishing derbys and crab races by day, and beach bonfires when the sun goes down. “Kids stay active so that mom and dad can relax during the day,” Smith says, “and there are family events in the evening so that everyone can have fun together.”

One activity intended for all is the resort’s “Dive-in Movie Night,” held one night per week throughout the summer. When the sun sets, a family-friendly film is projected onto a large screen by the pool so guests, if they’re so inclined, can watch while they swim. The Red Jacket also hosts a baseball clinic from July to mid-August, featuring players from the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. For more information, visit

Erin Murray — Vacation Articles

The Chatham Bars Inn

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: The Chatham Bars Inn

Situated on a bluff overlooking Aunt Lydia’s Cove—and the Atlantic beyond—Chatham Bars Inn is one of the Cape’s most beloved vacation destinations. What began in 1914 as a semi-private, hunting lodge is now, 101 years later, a breathtaking resort that is synonymous with luxurious vacationing on the water.

Guests can stay in one of 217 rooms on the property, including 40 in the historic Main Inn, and many more in cottage rooms and suites spread out around the property.

The inn offers three great restaurants, including Stars, for formal dining; The Sacred Cod tavern for more casual fare  and The Beach House for cool drinks and meals just steps from the sand. Much of the fresh produce served at the restaurants comes directly from CBI’s eight-acre farm in nearby Brewster.

Naturally, the resort’s primary attraction is its location on the water, and its one-quarter mile of pristine, private beach. Taking advantage of this, the inn offers several water activities and sports including sailing and kayaking. “We are the only resort on Cape Cod with a full fleet of boats,” adds Jennifer Allard, CBI’s marketing manager. Experienced skippers lead guests on fishing charters, seal-viewing excursions, and more.

One of the resort’s beloved traditions is its classic beach clambake. Open to resort guests and visitors, the meal includes clams, lobster, potatoes, and corn, and is served on the Sunday of both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, and every Monday through Thursday in between.

CBI also has its own 12-suite spa where guests enjoy massages, steam baths, and other treatments. Additional activities include golf, and swimming and sunbathing by the pool.

Chatham Bars Inn is also located nearby the Cape Cod National Seashore and several local beaches and iconic lighthouses; a shuttle service is available for guests to visit these areas. Just around the corner, downtown Chatham offers dozens of shops, galleries, and even a brand new, historic cinema: The Chatham Orpheum. For more information, visit

Erin Murray — Vacation Articles

Nickerson State Park

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: Nickerson State Park

Cape Cod is known for its miles of sprawling, scenic beaches, but the peninsula is also home to wooded areas, kettle ponds, breathtaking trails for walking and hiking, and endless opportunities to view wildlife. Nickerson State Park in Brewster offers access to all of these natural features and a variety of fun activities. With so much to offer, the park is a coveted vacation spot for tourists and Cape Codders alike.

The park is open from mid-April through November 1 and boasts 1,900 acres of pristine wilderness. Camping is available at eight different campgrounds featuring a total of more than 400 campsites.

Inside the park, visitors can enjoy a quiet and serene sanctuary with five large ponds, which are great for swimming, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and sunbathing. The much-loved Cape Cod Rail Trail, which travels from Dennis to Wellfleet, runs right through the park, and thousands of walkers, runners, and cyclists enjoy the trail every year—especially on a warm spring or summer day.

The park is close to several beaches including Crosby Landing Beach, and is also just a short drive to a number of restaurants and attractions. In the evening, visitors can attend a performance of the Cape Rep Theater which offers both indoor and outdoor shows.

Park supervisor, Eric Levy, advises campers-to-be to plan their stay ahead of time as the campground fills up early. “People make reservations six months in advance to visit here in the summer,” Levy says, adding that from Memorial Day to Labor Day guests are allowed a maximum stay of two weeks so more visitors can experience the park. “After all,” Levy adds, “it’s the most beautiful place on Cape Cod.” Reservations can be made at

Erin Murray — Vacation Articles

Long Dell Inn

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Courtesy of: The Long Dell Inn

To many, the term “Bed and Breakfast” conjures a variety of images and memories revolving around comfort, coziness, and customer service. The Long Dell Inn of Centerville offers a heaping helping of all of these amenities.

In 2012, Donna Wren and Marc Jacobson purchased the inn, a former ship captain’s home built circa 1849. Though guest accommodation has been offered in the building for more than a century, the new owners redesigned the inn to reflect their own personalities. The ambiance is warm, inviting, and fun. Jacobson describes the décor as “coastal-comfort meets cottage-funk.”

“We used to stay in a lot of B&Bs, and we knew what we liked,” Jacobson says. “When we bought this, we loved the location and we’ve made it all our own.” The inn features seven distinct rooms each with en suite bathrooms, a carriage house, and a charming fireplace. A recently completed addition includes a new patio and a pictureesque pond with waterfalls and fish.

The innkeepers aim to make guests feel as comfortable and “at home” as they can and do their best to accommodate requests. “If someone wants to do something, like girls’ weekends, art weekends, or photography excursions,” Wren says, “we make it happen.”

The same attention to detail goes into the food the couple serves, ranging from homemade lemon ricotta pancakes, to morning glory muffins and baked peach French toast.

The Long Dell Inn is located in the heart of Barnstable and close to many popular Cape Cod attractions. For starters, the inn is just a short walk from Four Seas Ice Cream and within walking distance of scenic Craigville Beach. It’s also just a few miles from downtown Hyannis which features many great shops and restaurants and serves as the departing point for ferries traveling to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The inn is open for business April through December and for special long weekend stays like Valentine’s Day. For more information, visit

Erin Murray — Vacation Articles

Falmouth Day Trip

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photo by: Peter Partridge (Left) Photo By: Paul Rifkin (Right)

It could be said that the town of Falmouth, tucked in the southwest of the peninsula, is one of Cape Cod’s hidden gems. Offering 68 miles of coastline including 10 beautiful beaches, cultural organizations, and the only Cape Cod bike path that travels along the shore, Falmouth is a town that should not be missed.

The town’s beaches offer all of the relaxation—and nearby attractions—associated with a stay in a coastal town. In particular, Chapoquoit Beach (1) and Old Silver Beach are known for their brilliant sunset views. The Knob at Quissett Harbor also boasts very unique geography—and some fun hiking trails.

Whether a novice or an athlete in training, cyclists enjoy riding along the Shining Sea Bike Path, an 11-mile route that winds along salt marshes, cranberry bogs, woodlands, and the beautiful shore. The path begins at Route 151 in North Falmouth and travels a winding route to Woods Hole with plenty of stopping points along the way for lunch, or to enjoy the view. For those in the mood for hiking, a three-mile trail runs through Beebe Woods in East Falmouth.

History buffs will enjoy a visit to Falmouth’s Museums on the Green, a unique venue overlooking the town green offering loads of artifacts and information on the rich history of this community. The museum features two 18th-century houses which display period furniture, fine art, textiles, and more. The museums open for the season on June 9; summer hours are held from Tuesday through Saturday.

Another recreation option is the free outdoor band concerts held on Thursday nights in July and August at the Harbor Band Shell in Marine Park. Also in July and August on Wednesday nights, free, family friendly films are screened under the stars at Margaret E. Noonan Park.

No visit to Falmouth is complete without a stop at the Flying Bridge Restaurant on Scranton Avenue. A favorite among locals and visitors, the Flying Bridge offers a well-stocked menu including a seafood platter, crab cakes, and the Flying Bridge’s signature onion rings.

Mary Stanley — Day Trips Articles

Provincetown Day Trip

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photos 1, 2, & 4 Courtesy of: Chuck Anazalone, Photo 3 Courtesy of: Shutterstock/ Jathys

A trip to Provincetown is a must for anyone visiting the Cape. With its narrow streets and a vast array of quirky, colorful shops, this town overflows with art, antiques, and fantastic restaurants—and some pretty spectacular coastal scenery.

First on your trip, head out to Race Point Beach. Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Race Point is considered one of the best beaches on the Outer Cape due to its soft sands and seemingly endless sunshine. After relaxing in the sand and playing in the waves, tour the historic Race Point Light Station (4), which is a short walk from the beach. Built in 1816, the lighthouse marks the tip of the Cape for ships passing by.

In the mood for something wild? Sign up for a whale watch with The Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown. The cruises travel out to Stellwagen Bank, where sightings of awe-inspiring and magnificent whales are virtually guaranteed.

If your adventure on the high seas works up an appetite, stop in for lunch or dinner at the famous Lobster Pot Restaurant on Commercial Street (2). A Provincetown icon, The Lobster Pot serves some of the Cape’s freshest and finest seafood, including fried clams and lobster tacos. After the meal, head down the street to Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream for a sweet, creamy treat. Kids will enjoy Mississippi Mud, Cookie Dough, or other flavors, while adults may opt for Mudslide Chip, or Limoncello. 

Another unique attraction is the historic Pilgrim Monument  (1,3). For those with the energy and a healthy heart, climb the 116 steps to the top of the monument, which stands 252-1/2 feet atop High Pole Hill. Then catch your breath and enjoy the breathtaking view! The monument—and the museum attached—is open daily, April through November.

Looking for a one-of-a-kind way to tour Provincetown? Why not hire a Ptown PediCab (2)! The company’s slogan offers “your chariots for hire,” and these bicycle-motorized vehicles lead visitors on one-of-a kind town and sunset tours.

Mary Stanley — Day Trips Articles

Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photos by: Don Sylor

From taking a ride on an antique carousel to shopping in Oak Bluffs (2) and dining at a variety of great island restaurants, Martha’s Vineyard offers many unique options for any visitor. And with several modes of transportation—including bicycles, mopeds, buses, and taxis—traveling to and between these destinations can add to the fun.

Any Vineyard trip should include a visit to the historic Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs. Constructed in 1876, the carousel was originally operated as an amusement park ride in Coney Island, New York, before it was brought to the Vineyard a decade later. The popular merry-go-round is the nation’s oldest platform carousel and has been designated a national landmark. The ride is open on Saturdays and Sundays in spring and fall, and every day from June 21 to Labor Day.

Next, spend some time shopping on Oak Bluffs’ main boulevard, Circuit Avenue, which offers dozens of eateries and unique boutiques. Then, be sure to stroll through nearby Wesleyan Grove to view the 300 brightly decorated gingerbread cottages. The site has a unique history, as the area was first developed in the mid-19th century as a Methodist Camp Meeting site. The cottages are colorful and creatively designed, and a sight that can’t be missed!

Getting thirsty? Bad Martha’s brewery in Edgartown offers free beer tastings along with freshly baked pretzel loaves served with homemade mustard. On weekends, enjoy outdoor games and live music too.

Be sure to stop at the American Legion Memorial Bridge (1) at the Edgartown/Oak Bluffs town line. Known to many as the “Jaws Bridge” due to its prominence in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller—which was filmed on the island—the span is also a popular recreation spot. For many visitors and islanders, jumping off the bridge—despite the posted warnings—has become a summertime rite of passage.

Before boarding the ferry back to the mainland, be sure to grab dinner at The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven. The Garlic Crusted Codfish is a great choice for a perfect meal to end a day on the island.

Mary Stanley — Day Trips Articles

Nantucket Day Trip

The Cape & Islands offer an endless variety of wedding venues, vacation options, and fun-filled daytrips

Photos Top To Bottom: Jennifer Dow, Tom Dicicco, Terry Pomett

Stepping off the ferry onto Nantucket Island, one’s day of adventure has already begun because the ship docks just minutes from Main Street and the island’s downtown. The area offers many great restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and souvenir shops—not to mention Aunt Leah’s Fudge! Reminders that this island was once the whaling capital of the world abound as visitors make their way along cobblestone streets with many historic buildings nearby, including the Nantucket Whaling Museum and the Nantucket Atheneum.

Take a short stroll to enjoy lunch at the Brant Point Grille and try the restaurant’s Nantucket Lunch Box, which features a one-half lobster roll and a cup of chowder. Yum! Later in the day, dine at nearby Galley Beach Restaurant for a sumptuous meal and a spectacular sunset.

Traveling around Nantucket is easy as a bus service conveniently visits the different villages, and taxis are available for hire. Renting a bike from Young’s Bike Shop is another fun way to get around.

Getting thirsty? Stop at Cisco Brewers (2) on Bartlett Farm Road for a one-of-a kind island experience. The company has a unique history and together with its partners, Nantucket Vineyard and Triple Eight Distillery, produces wine, spirits, and a variety of brews. A $20 tour includes an overview of the different operations and plenty of samplings. The games, the live music, and the spectacular ambiance are free.

Siasconset (4) is a must-see as well. This quaint village on the east side of the island was once famous as an actor’s colony, and the area features many examples of the Nantucket cottage ‘look.’ Purchase snacks and gifts at Sconset Market, and then head on to nearby Sankaty Lighthouse (1). Built in 1850, this historical structure was moved from an eroding cliff in 2007, and today it rests just off the fifth hole of Sankaty Head Golf Course. Tour the lighthouse on Sunday, June 21, Saturday, October 10, or by appointment.

Heading home? Island lore suggests visitors toss a penny over the ferry railing as they pass by Brant Point (3) to ensure they’ll enjoy a return visit.

Mary Stanley — Day Trips Articles