Cape Cod

Old Feb 4th, 2003, 07:47 AM
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Cape Cod

My wife and I were planning on going to Cape Cod either in May (before Memorial Day) or early July. What's it like in May? Will it be dead? While we would like to avoid the masses of midsummer, we would like it somewhat lively. How's the weather in May, generally? And would you reccomend Marthas Vineyard or Nantucket for a day trip? Any other tips or suggestions would be appreciated (we plan on spending a lot of time at the National Seashore, bicycling, and some shopping). Thanks!
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Suggestion - take time to go whale watching. My husband and I found the experience fun and enlightning. Take the boat from Provincetown - the one with the nature guides. If you're interested in staying at a B&B I can recommend the one we stayed in - Ashley Manor.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 04:52 PM
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I would opt for May considering that your interests: bicycling, shopping and beach walking can be done in a less warm season with less traffic and much lower accomodation rates.

The weather in May will be warm, and mostly sunny getting warmer each day, but the ocean will probably not be warm enough to take a plunge.

The Cape will be anywhere from 75 to 90% open at this time and you will find plenty to do.

I agree with LizQ. Go for a whale Watch cruise instead of a day-trip to MV or Nantucket. Based near the National Seashore, you are much closer to the Whale Watches out of Provincetown then Island boats.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 05:03 PM
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You just never know about the weather. Some years it's freezing over Memorial Day weekend! I'd recommend June over May. (And, everything will be open after Memorial Day.) I would NOT recommend "early July". The first two weeks in July are the worst of the summer.

For a day trip, either is do-able, though Nantucket is smaller (but a longer ferry ride), so you can see more of it.
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Old Feb 4th, 2003, 06:35 PM
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The weather in May is extremely unpredictable. It can be cool and raw, or pleasant and sunny (hey, come to think of it, that describes July as well!) Seriously, the ocean temperature heavily influences the weather, so May is more likely to be cool and damp. If you want to sit on the beach your chances are much better in July. As for "lively" -- there are a lot of retirees on the Cape now, so the roads are "lively" year-round. Some beach-oriented places won't be open in May, but others will. Bicycling will be easier in May. The austere beauty of the ocean will be easier to appreciate in May.

Martha's Vineyard is an easy and charming day trip if you take the Island Queen from Falmouth. There's a shuttle bus on the island so you can get to Edgartown as well as Oak Bluffs (where the Island Queen docks). From Hyannis, both islands are further away, though of course MV is still closer than Nantucket. If you want to do Nantucket as a day trip you really need to take the high-speed ferry. Expensive, but not compared to staying overnight.

In Oak Bluffs, walk around the old "camp meeting" part of town to see some wild gingerbread. The harbor in Edgartown is lovely and the gardens are worth a slow stroll.

I've never been to Nantucket but observing it from Hyannis, I can testify that in May it may be shrouded in fog for days on end. (The "Fugowi" sailboat race takes place in late spring. Not sure how to spell but accent on second syllable. Like the "Heckowi" tribe on F-Troop.)
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 05:09 AM
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I'm going to be charitable and say that your comment about Nantucket was idiotic. You cannot see Nantucket from Hyannis-not even close. Fog on Nantucket can happen any time of the year and doesn't last "for days on end."

SeanM, The weather in July will probably be better than in May, but you never know. The biggest difference between the times you mentioned will be crowds. Make your choice based on that and you will be happy.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 01:46 PM
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The Cape starts picking-up in May but with the exception of Memorial Day weekend it is not too crowded.

Be prepared in your travels that there are often traffic jams on Friday evenings in May at the rotaries due to Bostoners visiting there cottages before rental season - particularly the Sagamore rotary. Also Memorial Day weekend has notorious Monday departure nightmare traffic jams.

The weather can be chilly. I'd say 2 of every 3 Memorial Days has non-beach weather. The water will be cold on the bay and outercape. The South-side/MV Sound should be tolerable.

As for daytrips, both islands are nice and would be nice trips. I couldn't recommend one. Don't plan on taking your car unless you want to spend A REALLY LOT of money. I heard Nantucket costs $360 to bring a car.

As another fun thing to do checkout the Cape Cod baseball league ( I'm not sure when the season starts but the games are free and fun.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 03:48 PM
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I vote for May. July = way too crowded, not to mention more expensive.

May can be a lovely time on the Cape. Personally, it's one of my favorite months to go. September and October are also nice.

I have experienced May days on the Cape that were sunny and in the upper well as ones that were blustery and cold. Pack so you can dress in layers, and do bring at least one pair of shorts just in case you get some really great weather.

Water on the Nat'l. Seashore will definitely be too cold to swim in in May (heck, in August it gets only into the 50s!), but you can walk on the beach and sit and read with your clothes on. I HAVE taken a brisk dip in Cape Cod Bay in May but wouldn't necessarily recommend it!

Have a great trip. I wish I were going this year but I may not be able to pull it off.
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 04:00 PM
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Doh...I neglected to post ideas about things to do when you go!

For shopping, definitely hit Chatham at the Cape's "elbow" and Provincetown at the very tip. Lots of shopping opportunities in both towns, though they each have a different feel.

As for the Vineyard or Nantucket daytrips, if you choose Nantucket the ferry ride takes such a long time that you may not have a lot of time on the island unless you take a really early ferry.

If you're into hiking, the Great Island area on the Bay side in Wellfleet offers about 7-8 miles of interesting terrain, including marsh-side, pine woods, and beach-front. Take hats, drinking water, sunscreen and bug spray. Outhouses are available at the trail head but not within the trail itself.

If you get a rainy day, an interesting destination might be the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on Rt. 6A (Old King's Highway). It's in the town of Brewster.

You might want to pick up a guidebook on the Cape and islands at your local bookstore.

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