Cape Cod Trip Report

Jun 26th, 2005, 08:22 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 71
Cape Cod Trip Report

My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful week (4-11 June) on Cape Cod, and we intend to return and explore this fascinating destination in the future. Thanks to many of you expert Fodorites who gave us excellent tips. We arrived by plane in the early afternoon on a Saturday, picked up our rental SUV, and made a surprisingly easy drive to Falmouth in the Upper Cape. We had a nice lunch at Quarterdeck in Falmouth and drove to Woods Hole and enjoyed taking photographs of Nobska Light as fog rolled in. After checking into our timeshare unit in Falmouth, we then drove through the many villages in that part of the Cape and were impressed by the beautifully landscaped and well maintained properties. We were thrilled to see the rhododendron in glorious bloom, and we also were amazed that azalea and irises were at their peak. For dinner that night, we chose the branch of British Beer Company in Falmouth Heights. We enjoyed a walk along the beach close to the restaurant.

On Sunday, we followed the instructions we had received on this forum about driving into Braintree and taking the T to Fenway Park. Everything went smoothly! We had great seats in the outfield close to the Red Sox bullpen. The game was played on a very warm sunny afternoon reminscent of a humid Memphis. The Red Sox played a great game and beat the Angels 6-3. What is it about "Sweet Caroline"? We never knew that that famous Neil Diamond tune was a Fenway tradition. What a neat park Fenway is! We took our time browsing in souvenir shops around the stadium after the game and had no trouble at all returning to Braintree to retrieve our parked vehicle. We drove back to Falmouth and ate dinner at Sam's Seafood, which we understand is a Cape Cod chain.

On Monday, which was an off-and-on overcast day, we ate lunch at Betsy's Diner in Falmouth and then enjoyed a hike to The Knob on Buzzards Bay. We really enjoyed strolling through Spohr Gardens as well. We then decided to drive down 28 to explore other towns. We made it as far as Chatham, where we were most impressed by the downtown area and the Chatham Light. We definitely want to spend more time there on a return trip.

We got an early start on Tuesday to MV. We were very impressed by how smoothly the parking, shuttle bus, and steamship operated. Arriving in Vineyard Haven, we picked up our rental car and first drove to Oak Bluffs. We were awed by the gorgeous homes surrounding Ocean Park, and we took our time taking photographs of many homes. We just missed the Jawsfest activities of the preceding weekend, but we were able to take some cute photographs using a huge "Jaws" cut-out that was in place in front of the ticket booth at the Island Theater. After eating lunch at Linda Jean's in OB, we drove to East Chop Light in OB and then to West Chop Light in VH. Then, we drove up island to Aquinnah. We took numerous photographs on the beautiful cliffs and awesome brick lighthouse. We took time to hike down to the beach and then along the beach past the lighthouse. The cliffs show colorful strata. The afternoon lighting could not have been better. What a gorgeous place! We then drove to Edgartown and took our time enjoying the beach area around the lighthouse. We checked into Colonial Inn on N. Water Street and had a late dinner at Square Rigger. On Wednesday we took to On-Time Ferry to Chappaquiddick Island and enjoyed strolling through Mytoi preserve. We then walked around the gorgeous neighborhoods of Edgartown and took lots of photographs. Water Street is so pretty! We had lunch at Alchemy. Mid afternoon we drove to OB and spent a few hours strolling through the Campground neighborhood. The open-air tabernacle and all the surrounding gingerbread Victorian homes are so unique. We then drove to VH, returned the rental car, and had dinner at Black Dog Tavern before catching the steamship back to Woods Hole.

On Thursday, we drove to Provincetown to make a late afternoon Dolphin Fleet whale-watching cruise. We were able to see a finback whale and several Mencke whales. This finback whale is well known to the scientists from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, and she toyed with our ship for about 30 minutes. We were able to see her quite well. We ate dinner at Way Downtown, a very nice place.

On Friday, we packed a picnic lunch and ate it at Highland Light in North Truro. We enjoyed learning about how that gorgeous lighthouse was moved inland about 450 feet in 1996, and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to climb the lighthouse and take in the beautiful views from the top. We then went to Provincetown and walked around and took photographs on a gorgeous day. We climbed to the top of the Pilgrim Monument and were treated to fantastic views. We enjoyed the walk up and down Commercial Street to see many unique shops and art galleries. We took Art's Dunes Tour sunset tour. We were amazed at the size of the dunes! The dune shacks are very unusual. Although we had read about the shacks, we were surprised to see the variable sizes of some of them. The only blur on that nice day was that the clouds came along to obscure the sun as sunset approached. The dunes tour was excellent nevertheless. We ate dinner at The Mews Cafe, a wonderful place.

On Saturday, we had to vacate our timeshare unit. We drove back to Boston and stayed at Hilton Back Bay. We had time to enjoy the observation deck at Prudential Center and to take the Old Town Trolley tour. We had dinner at Chart House at Long Harbor.

Our week was most enjoyable. As many of you said, Cape Cod has so much to do that we could not possibly cover it in one week. We really enjoyed Martha's Vineyard. What gorgeous places are Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Aquinnah! We would love to spend more time in Vineyard Haven and Chilmark. Falmouth is a beautiful town, and it served as a good base for our trip. We hardly covered the Mid Cape, and we most definitely want to return and learn more about that area.

The timing of our trip was excellent since we seemed to be in the shoulder season before the huge summer crowds. The weather was so nice, with highs in the mid 70s.

Thanks to you all for your insights and tips!
volcam is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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great report, thanks for taking the time to file it!
cmcfong is online now  
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:07 AM
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Thanks for posting this wonderful report, volcam! Sounds like a great vacation. I love to read others' first impressions of places that are familiar to me.
Dreamer2 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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Wow!! What a wonderful report and what a great trip!! We spend 2 weeks on the Cape every summer and don't do a tenth of what you did!! I will keep your report and use it for inspiration when we are there being "lazy". Which timeshare did you stay at?

I am so glad you had a Fenway experience. It is so great just to be there and be able to take it all in.
socialworker is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Thanks for your great report. My husband and I are planning a trip in late August, and your tales got us in the spirit! Were you happy staying Falmouth? Would you rather have stayed in Chatham? Which town do you think would be the best home base from which to explore the rest of the Cape? Anyone else?
tessab is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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We stayed at Briarwood Resort in Falmouth. The resort is in a good location in Falmouth, close to the nice downtown area and convenient to a nice supermarket. Falmouth is a great location from which to explore the Upper Cape and Mid Cape. Our 2-day, 1-night trip to Martha's Vineyard was very easy to do from Falmouth. (When using a timeshare, we often take advantage of having a home base and work two full days around one night away from the timeshare. This is a very cost effective way to get a lot out of a destination!)

Driving to Provincetown from Falmouth was a bit of a drag. The traffic was not too bad, but I would not want to have to make the long drive during peak season. From Falmouth, we took a less traveled route through Mashpee to hit 28. We then hit US 6 at Marston Mills, which saved a good bit of driving. US 6 is a divided highway for several miles, but there is a 13 mile long segment where the route is only a 2-lane highway that allows no passing. After that segment, the route tends to be a 4-lane road that is not divided. You must pass through several towns and negotiate a lot of traffic lights.

When we return, I would like to stay in a more central location, probably Chatham. We were so impressed by that town! We did some shopping and ate dinner one night at Pizzeria Uno in Hyannis, but we didn't have time to do a harbor cruise or take the Cape Cod Central Railroad there.

Provincetown is one of the most unusual towns I've ever visited. I really can't describe the feel of the place, but you must go there and stroll around and observe. The shopping and dining there are upscale. I don't know if I would like to stay there for a week, but others may have different opinions.

I most definitely want to explore more of Truro and Wellfleet. Truro still has an undeveloped look to it, and thankfully the residents seem intent on keeping it that way.

We had our timeshare exchange through Interval International. I'm not sure what other Cape Cod properties are listed with II, and I don't know how many properties are listed with RCI. I'll be making notes of those places and probably making an exchange request for our return visit. Also, I would love to sample some of the beautiful inns and B&Bs we saw throughout the places we saw on the Cape.

I hope all of you have as great of a trip as we did!
volcam is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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What a good report! We are timesharers also and keep looking for availability in a reasonably warm season. Several years ago when husb and I made lists of places we had never been and wanted to go, Cape Cod was tops on my list. I was so drawn to it that I must have lived there in another incarnation! We have only been once, to Provincetown, in July, and a memorable day trip to Nantucket when the roses were in bloom. Our report has awakened my interest in going back.
lscott is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:22 AM
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Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park - its one of my favorite things about going to a game. Can only be experienced at the park - if you only watched the games on tv or listened on the radio you would never know how insanely popular that song is. Good times never seemed so good, so good, so good!!!

Travel is all about discovering stuff like that.
bennnie is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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There is a great scene in Fever Pitch of the Fenway crowd singing Sweet Caroline, that captures the feeling nicely--next best thing to being there!!
socialworker is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Yes, we definitely plan to visit Nantucket on a future trip. I cannot recommened enough Martha's Vineyard! We decided, on the recommendation of Fodorites, to not try to do both Nantucket and MV on this trip.

Being in the crowd at Fenway when "Sweet Caroline" was being played and sung was a real treat! The passion of the crowd was certainly obvious. We hope the Red Sox have a great season!
volcam is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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Really enjoyed your report -- Can you give me more info on renting the car for the day (hours) in MV --
Was it very expensive -- Never thought of doing that - great idea....
JoJo1 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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About renting a car on Martha's Vineyard:
I had initially wanted to take our rental car (that we picked up in Boston) over from Woods Hole on the steamship, but the cost each way is $57 and you must have a license plate number in order to make a vehicle reservation. Since we wouldn't know our vehicle's license plate until we picked it up, that approach didn't work. Then, I checked about renting a car on MV. I typically use Hertz because of excellent AAA discounts, and indeed Hertz had convenient locations on MV. You can pick up your reserved car in Vineyard Haven just across the street from where the steamship docks. You can return your car at the same location *regardless* of the time of day. We returned our car after that location had closed for the day, but all you had to do was fill out the appropriate information on the rental document folder and drop off the keys and the folder in a booth at the edge of the parking lot.

I used the Hertz website to book the car because I wanted to reserve a specific class of car, but I believe that you can also accomplish more or less the same thing via such services or Orbitz and Expedia.

Although the travel guides I read tell you repeatedly that you can rely on the fabulous mass transit (bus line) system on MV, I want more definite control of my time. We had two days and one night on MV, and we maximized our time by having a car. We were able to cover the wonderful highlights of MV readily because we had our own car.

Hope this helps!
volcam is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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Note about cost of rental car on MV:

I neglected to add the cost of the car that we rented from Hertz in Vineyard Haven. We had a Buick Century (not that exciting, but it was an upgrade from the class of car that we had booked) for 2 days for $120 including all fees and taxes. I never purchase any of the insurance coverages since my auto insurance and one of my credit cards provide more than adequate coverage.

We drove the car for 102 miles (I'm looking at the rental agreement), an amazing amount of miles for a rather small island. See how much ground you can cover when you are in control of your ground transportation?

I hope all of you take the time to visit Martha's Vineyard, particularly Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Aquinnah. What a gorgeous island!
volcam is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I was just wondering what timeshare you stayed in...a friend offered us a week in his timeshare for our honeymoon, so I'm researching that now.

katie_scarlett is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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Nevermind, I didn't read first!

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