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Trip Report Late Sept w/e Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard

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Once a year, four of us go on a getaway weekend. This year we needed to be fiscally conservative so I was given instructions to find a cottage on a beach on Cape Cod where we could cook some of our meals and do a day trip to Martha's Vineyard. It is not easy to find a 2 night beach front cottage but I found Seaside in S Yarmouth, part of a tiny cottage enclave and secured #8 on the ocean front. These appear to be condominiums that are managed by an office across the road. Plans must be definite because cancellations are essentially non-refundable. The cottages are very quiet and one of the reasons is the lack of traffic noise since you cannot drive up to your cottage. Small carts are provided so you can transport luggage and equipment to your cottage.

Although clean, my cleanliness conscious comrades did not intend to use any plates, glasses, etc until they were first washed. In fact, an attempt was made to change the original request that we cook some of our meals to let's eat out most of the time the week before our departure. Since I had already research recipes, asked for advice on Chowhound and enjoy cooking, I decreed that we would only eat lunches and Sunday breakfast out. As this year's trip planner I had final decision powers.

Last year the best part of our weekend was the parts we had planned. If we didn't have good plans and directions we ended up wasting time and getting lost. I was determined we would have a nice weekend. We realized that we no longer like being out late and there would not be much in the way of evening activities on Cape Cod so we decided we would have a book discussion on Friday night and play board games on Saturday night. The only way to plan other details was to throw out ideas of what else we could do. The others like to debate an itinerary, not plan it. One requested we visit the Gorey Museum which had come up on a Fodor's thread so I decided we should honor her request.

Although I had mapquested each of our destinations our driver had a new and improved Tom Tom GPS device to guide us. First to Hyannis for a late lunch at Alberto's then on to the Gorey Museum.

The name might not be familiar but Edward Gorey's work is readily recognizable by anyone who watches Masterpiece Theater. His home, like many on Cape Cod, is small but the contents are intact and our docent was knowledgeable. The group that maintains the museum adds an exceedingly Gorey touch with a scavenger hunt to the short tour. One of his bizarre alphabet books, the Gashlycrumb Tinies (B is for Basil, assaulted by bears...) is the theme of the hunt and each letter is portrayed somewhere in the house.

We checked into our Seaside cottage literally by making sure the refrigerator was a decent size and whether we needed to supply our own paper towels. Then a quick trip to the supermarket and local fish market. The cottage was well supplied with everything we needed and my friends were delighted that I didn't want anyone to help me in the tiny little kitchen.

A request to eat breakfast out on Saturday was squashed by the simple fact of life and ferry boat schedule. I had forgotten my Fodor's guide but one of my friends had already determined that our destination should be Oak Bluffs and not Vineyard Haven. Although there are very few trips to Oak Bluffs, the first run in the morning worked better for our schedule than the earlier two to VH. The cottage seemed close enough to Woods Hole but our 38 mile trip was going to take almost an hour plus the parking lots for the ferry are almost 30 minutes away from the ferry itself. Needless to say, the dubious three had to make a call to the ferry office to verify this. We would need to leave the cottage 2 hours before the ferry departure to get to the parking lot ($10/day) for the free shuttle and to buy our tickets at least 30 minutes ahead of departure.

We had beautiful warm and sunny weather. Since I thought it would be fun to take the Vineyard bus around the island ($7/day pass) my friends decided a tour would make more sense even though it was much more expensive and why not simply call the number on a brochure we had grabbed at the ferry. With the wonders of modern technology we had a one hour private van tour arranged ($20 each). Fortunately the cell phone owner decided she would respond to an unknown NH number as we were getting closer to Oak Bluffs. In turned out the tour driver was originally a NH resident and kept her NH phone number. She described the van, told us to get off the ASAP and away we went. Susan kept up a running commentary and gave us a nice tour of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, leaving us off in the shopping district with restaurant and ice cream recommendations.

We can not imagine visiting MV during the summer. It was still a busy place although the restaurants weren't completely crowded. September is a popular time for weddings. Susan and her DH are year round residents and said getting to the post office during the summer is almost impossible. Things stay fairly busy until New Year's and then it's quiet until March or April.

We wandered thru the delightful Camp Meeting neighborhood of small gingerbread cottages and did a quick visit to one that is open to the public. Our energy level was waning so we decided to take the 3:45pm ferry back instead of take the bus over to Vineyard Haven where we had multiple choices of return times. Back at Woods Hole the crowd quickly departed the ferry. Buses are staged to transport people back to the correct parking lot. When we had arrived in the morning the first lot we attempted was full but the parking attendants are armed with a slip providing directions to the next lot a few miles away and a reminder of where you are parking your car. Great system.

We stopped on our way back to the cottage for some award winning chowder at Captain Parkers and planned wine and snacks on the edge of the lawn overlooking the beach. A one legged sea gull waited expectantly but we are New England born and know better than to throw a single morsel to a gull.

Sunday morning featured breakfast out at the Pancake Man. An extensive breakfast menu gave each of us plenty of choices. We made a quick shopping stop before we left the Cape, aiming to be over the bridge by lunch time and on our way home. Traffic was heavy as far as Boston. Good thing it was September and off season.

We decided we will probably do weekends at cottages or condos from now on unless we plan a city trip. It is much more comfortable to have roomier accomodations than a standard hotel room. The bike paths and beach of MV looked wonderful but we've gotten to the age when adirondack chairs near the water are more our speed.

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