February 16, 2012

Cruisin' in Cape Cod

The second leg of our summer holiday was going out to ‘The Cape’ for a few days. We had done minimal research and hadn’t really planned on doing much because we didn’t really know much about the area. We were staying in South Yarmouth and we had no idea how close or far it was to Yarmouth. We had no concept of distance so we figured it was safer to plan once we arrived at our destination. Our first night we discovered how easy it was going to be getting from one place to another and how relatively close everything was along the Cape. Instead of taking you through each day (because many were the same as the day before) I’ll just tell you how beautiful everything was and how much we enjoyed ourselves.

The only thing on our ‘must-do’ list was to go whale watching and see some marine life. Many years ago we took a whale watching tour from Victoria, BC and were really disappointed not to see anything. It had been off season so we knew there was a risk. But here, along Cape Cod, there is a migratory route so our chances were good. We were lucky enough to see a blue shark (which is rare) and some humpback whales. Everyone was in awe (and made sounds to prove it) and it didn’t seem to last long enough. I’m sure I could have stayed there all day watching.

Our hotel was right on the water in South Yarmouth and we were impressed that we got a beach-view from our room. Every morning we began our day with a walk along ‘our beach’. Is there any better way to begin your day?

The Honey knows how much I love water and feeling nice sand between my toes and so we did plenty of walking along beaches. We would go to one and walk for an hour or so, then we’d go to another for an hour or so, then another. It was a wonderful way to spend a holiday.

We more or less ventured to every part of the cape. We drove along Hwy 28 and 6 much of the time stopping off here and there, either to walk along a beach or through a downtown area. Throughout our trip I felt like I was back in England – all the cute cottages and British names like Falmouth, Yarmouth, Woods Hole, and Truro.

Food was not a problem in Cape Cod as there was plenty of fresh fish and seafood wherever we went and there were ample grocery stores too. We were lucky enough to have a Shaw’s located about a 5-minute drive away and they had a nice selection of gluten-free goodies. There were also quite a few beer and liquor stores along our routes so it was possible to pick up some Woodchuck cider whenever I wanted.

I had read about a gluten-free restaurant through Gluten-Free Living’sblog called Idgy’s, located in Yarmouth. We went there for breakfast and it was delicious. It was so good that we went a few times and of course, every time I left I had a box or a few bags of gluten-free baked goods that were just to die for (keep an eye out for a separate post coming soon).

Along one of our drives something special caught The Honey’s eye – white egrets in a marsh. They were majestic looking and so peaceful. After watching them for a while, marvelling at their beauty, we got back in the car making our way for the next surprise.


One beach had a plover nesting area fenced off and protected from the main beach and The Honey would stop every so often to watch them flying overhead. They were mesmerising as they flew in large flocks and moved so effortlessly.

We smiled at some of the names we encountered – Sandwich, Buttermilk Bay, Crystal Pineapple Store. We stopped in Wareham and had lunch out on a patio overlooking a bay and the boats docked. It was so peaceful. In Wood’s Hole we understood the power of fog. We had seen fog before, but nothing like this. When we arrived we could see the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, but after 15 minutes they began to disappear in the fog.

The Honey was quite patient as we popped into stores and cafes here and there. We even wandered around a market in downtown Falmouth. We found The Black Dog, a restaurant and store in Martha’s Vineyard with stores throughout the cape. He found a ball cap that fit (a tough task) and I got some great coffee.

We found a pizza place in Dennisport called Hit Pizza that served gluten-free pizza. It did the trick, but it could have been less well-done. The Honey’s regular pizza looked in much better shape and he was happy with it.

For breakfast one morning we went to the Optimist Café in Yarmouthport, after reading that they served gluten-free toast and English muffins. It was a busy place and breakfast was good and satisfying.

Along some of our walks we felt like we were being watched. One time we thought it was the thick fog hanging around at ground level, but then we realized we were being followed. Every once in a while we would see a shape in the water and then finally we saw something surface – seals!! Once we knew they were there be begun keeping our eye out for them. Sometimes we caught just a a glimpse and other times they graced us with their presence.


For dinner one evening after an exceptionally long day of walking we ventured to Uno’s Grill and Pizza on Route 132 for some great pizza and beer. It isn’t very often that I can have a beer when I go out for pizza and having Redbridge available makes the experience a little bit special when you’re gluten-free.

Further north along Hwy 6 is Truro Vineyards, where we thought would be a nice afternoon stop. We had some of their wine in a restaurant in Provincetown and looked forward to trying some more. They not only had tours, buts tastings too (the tastings drew us in). The sommelier even suggested trying different wines than your partner/friend so we could try a wider variety. A great idea and as a result, The Honey and I tried every one of their wines. We found our favourites and purchased a few bottles to bring home.

After a morning of walking in the sand in Chatham we had lunch at TheWild Goose Tavern. While not a gluten-free restaurant. This historic inn has character and great food. They accommodated me effortlessly allowing me to enjoy my delicious lunch. While it may appear to be posh, the great painting near the bar tells me they know how to enjoy themselves in the cape.

In Orleans we happened upon a beach wedding which seemed to put smiles on everyone passing by. The young couple seemed so happy with their small group of friends and family in the beautiful soft white sand. It seemed like a wonderful idea. If it hadn’t been our last evening, we would have stayed for the music and bonfire that was planned for the end-of-summer party.

Back at our hotel we ended our holiday the same way we began it: with snacks and drinks on our balcony overlooking ‘our beach’. We watched the sunset and talked about our wonderful holiday. It also showed me (once again) that good things still happen when you don’t plan.

Early the next morning we packed up the car and took once last walk to ‘our beach’ and saw a beautiful sunrise. Another first – that’s the first time The Honey and I have seen the sunrise together.

Going near the end of September proved to be ideal. There were still tourists and things to do, but there weren’t the hordes of people I imagined during the peak summer season. The weather was also great. We had sunny warm days throughout our holiday and only had a sprinkling on our last full day, but it ended up being quite refreshing as some of the afternoons got a little muggy.

Some highlights included the beautiful sand and the ocean life we saw. From piping plovers to some crazy looking lobsters (that had washed up on the shore) to magnificent humpback whales to seals who followed us; we encountered one wonderful experience after another. Would going back again next summer be silly? We’d love to plan another trip to the cape; we love it there.


Psychgrad said...

Beautiful pictures! I've never been to Cape Cod, but everyone that goes loves it. I really like the idea of going in September to avoid the main tourist season.

I just posted a gluten free recipe, so it made me think of you.

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