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yk's April 2021 vacation to Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard

yk's April 2021 vacation to Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard

Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 07:44 PM
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yk
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yk's April 2021 vacation to Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard

Sorry this is a way overdue trip report. We have not taken any trips outside of Massachusetts because of travel restrictions for a good part of 2020 and first half of 2021. My son had school vacation in April so we booked an airbnb in Woods Hole for 5 nights.

With the pandemic on-going, out travel style has evolved. We used to be museum people, doing lots of indoor things. Now we spend a lot of time in nature, doing lots of hiking. We rarely eat out, if so, only outdoor dining or take-out.

Day 1 (Saturday)
Given that it is only a 1.5-hr drive to Cape Cod, and because our check-in isn't until 3pm, we stopped in Mass Audubon's Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Wareham for some hiking. It has only 4 miles of trails and we covered over 3 miles of it. It has an Osprey overlook point where you can see a platform for osprey nests. Afterwards we made our way to Woods Hole, which feels very eerie as it is quiet and empty. All the other times we have been were in the summer where cars and people clogged up the few narrow streets in WH. Our Airbnb is on the top floor of a 3-story home, overlooking Eel Pond. It has 2 bedrooms and on the small side. The kitchen is the only room with a view but that view (looking at Eel Pond) is absolutely lovely.

Day 2 (Sunday)
We started the morning hiking at The Trustee's Mashpee River Reservation in Mashpee. This place also has a number of osprey nests. The trails follow the Mashpee river. Not far from Mashpee River Reservation is another Trustees property, Lowell Holly. We headed there next for more hiking. It has 250+ american holly trees and quite a large fresh water lake. Even though just a few miles apart, these 2 Trustees properties have very different ecosystem and scenery.

That evening we got seafood takeout from Landfall Restaurant in Woods Hole.

Day 3 (Monday)
My husband drove home Sunday night as he had to work the following week. My son (age 8) and I stayed for a few more days. We started our day by driving over to Chatham and looked at the Chatham light. We have tickets for the White Shark Conservancy in Chatham. Even though it is a small "museum", it packs lots of information and display. We spent an hour on all the exhibits. An acquaintance has told me about food at The Knack. I ordered ahead online which saved us a lot of time standing in line. We took our lunch to a nearby park where there are picnic benches. We were pretty lucky that the weather has been quite nice (and warm! for April!) which made it possible to eat outside.

After lunch we continued to the Outer Cape to Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. This place is pretty big and very cool. Lots of trails but we took the one that crosses over the marsh and out to the sandy beach. We were there during low tide so there was plenty of beach to walk on. My son had a lovely time splashing in the waves.

Somehow when we drove back towards the Falmouth/WH area, we found enough energy left to visit Spohr Gardens in Falmouth. It is one of my favorite places to visit in Falmouth. We went back to our apartment for dinner, then I dragged my son out again to visit Nobska Light at sunset. It was quite beautiful and there were no one else there (again, big contrast to summer season).

To be continued

Last edited by yk; Aug 23rd, 2021 at 07:48 PM.
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Old Aug 24th, 2021, 03:31 AM
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We often visit the Cape off season and also find it nicer then. Looking for the rest of your trip. Thanks for reviving nice memories.
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Old Aug 24th, 2021, 07:28 PM
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Day 4 (Tuesday)
My alarm was set for 6am as we have a car reservation on the 7am ferry to Martha's Vineyard! (We are a bit spoiled as the airbnb rental is a 1-minute drive to the ferry.) Visitng the Vineyard was kind of a last-minute decision (last-minute = 1 week prior) as I was debating if we should go to MV or not on this trip, and if we were to go, whether we should bring the car. When I mentioned my dilemma to the airbnb host, she encouraged me to go, and suggested that i could bring the car given April is still low season. Lo and behold, I was able to get a reservation (well, the 8am was full so 7am was my only choice), though I was a bit taken aback by the cost of it. The car + 1 adult + 1 child r/t was close to $200. OTOH, the last time I visited MV was 30 years ago so it was about time. If I don't bring my car along,
1) we won't be able to cover much of the island (don't want to rent a car, don't want to take the bus due to covid, can't cover much distance with bike rentals)
2) we will be lugging a ton of stuff with us on the ferry (food options were extremely limited back in Apri, as many places weren't open for the season yet, while others were short-staffed or scaled back opening days due to covid)

The night before i had set out to make a very detailed time schedule for the day, and miraculously we stuck close to it. Taking the car on the ferry is not for the faint of heart, given that every space on the ferry is maximally utilized, which means you are always at risk of scratching your car against the wall or a pillar.

We got off at Vineyard Haven and drove over to Oaks Bluff right away. No trouble finding parking and we walked around the historic center where the gingerbread cottages are. We then drove to the Jaws bridge for a photo op, then to Mass Audubon's Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown, arriving around 9:30am. We hiked on a few trails for about 45 minutes, then back to the car and drove to Edgartown itself. Again, no trouble finding parking in this tiny yet picturesque town. Had a look at the Chippy Ferry, walked around town and could only find one single eatery open - and it's a hole in the wall greasy spot that was offering take-out only service, which is fine with us. We got 2 sandwiches to go, back into the car and drove to Katama Beach where we ate lunch on the beach. I had promised my son we would spend time on the beach. We were lucky as it wasn't freezing cold though the water was numbing. We were on the beach for a little over an hour from 11:30am to just before 1pm. Then back to the car and drove over to Aquinnah. Again, parking was not an issue for us at the Gay Head Light. We spent about 45 minutes there. Then drove to Menemsha Hills, a Trustees property where we hiked from 3pm-4pm. We got back to Vineyard Haven by around 4:30pm for our 5:20pm return ferry. We had time to park our car in Vineyard haven so we could walk around some, finally found ONE single ice cream place that was open so we got ourselves some ice cream.

It was a very long day, but it was well worth it. And my son was totally game for it as well. I was glad we went off-season, as it was easy to drive around and find parking, and most places were quite deserted. I can only imagine what MV is like in peak tourist season in the summer. I was also glad I planned everything out in advance, as logistics gets tricky during off-season and covid. Finding places that offer food is the biggest challenge IMO. FWIW, I had packed sandwiches in a cooler in my car, plus several bottles of water, just in case we weren't able to find places that open for food.

Day 5 (Wednesday)
It was check-out day, and the first cloudy rainy day on our trip. As i said, we totally lucked out with mid-April weather in New England. For all I know, it could have been raining and freezing cold the whole time. Instead, I think the temps were in the 50s & even 60s for our trip. We left early and stopped at Highfield Hall in Falmouth on our way home. We didn't go inside, but the gardens are fun to explore. We weren't there for long, and by the time we got back into our car, it had started raining and it rained the entire drive back.

Thanks for reading.
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Old Aug 24th, 2021, 08:00 PM
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Sounds like you had a great trip (its so nice to be reading real TRs again)

I've never been to Cape Cod/MV - have always read that off season is REALLY off season, and high season is a zoo. But it sounds like early Spring is good.
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Old Aug 24th, 2021, 10:37 PM
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Great report. So glad you got the ferry to the Vineyard. My best friend's cousin and wife live there full time. Oaks Bluff. They were both school teachers, retired now. I love the big old porch on the house and the colors are wonderful but they love the off season. I didn't go with her in July this year as I like it better in Sept. I am saving this as we never do nature things except for walk on the beach. and this sounds good for the next trip. Our best meals are take out from the seafood markets. Thank you.
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 03:50 AM
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Nice TR, yk. Though I remember quite a lot of it from what you posted on WFD, I'm not sure that I realised that MV was that close to the Cape. Perhaps i should put it on my list for next time. [I am the perennial optimist!]
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for this, yk. Fewer crowds = the only good thing about what we're going through.
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 05:24 AM
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Nice report, sounds like you saw a lot of the island. I can't believe the $200 fare for the car for the short trip from Wood's Hole. That's high-seas robbery!
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 01:00 PM
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Thoroughly enjoyed your report as I am returning to Woods Hole next week for 3 nights. I worked 2 summers there in college. What I enjoyed most was the mix of locals, summer help, scientists and transients only passing thru to the islands, and some fishermen. I miss the seals at the Aquarium. Maybe take the ferry over to Oak Bluffs to visit the Tabernacle and Houses. I won't have the mobility to do much more. I will bring dishes to put our take out on and eat on the balcony. This will be our 3rd visit to WH since covid. My husband got it's groove right away and embraced the area. He will go each morning to Pie in the Sky unless we pick up some goodies in Falmouth Boulagerie. Looking forward to the knob and will check out that garden. I lived on Oyster Pond Rd those 2 summers. Hoping for mild days, great sunsets, and rolling fog!

Also, very wise to take advantage of taking a car. It is not for the faint of heart but is worth every penny to have the freedom to get where you want.

Last edited by Inakauaidavidababy; Aug 25th, 2021 at 01:14 PM.
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Old Aug 25th, 2021, 06:17 PM
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If you haven't been, you could spend a week eating here everyday...

https://www.yelp.com/biz/maison-vill...h?osq=pastries
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for posting the details of the trip. I hope your son loved it too.
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Inakauaidavidababy View Post
If you haven't been, you could spend a week eating here everyday...

https://www.yelp.com/biz/maison-vill...h?osq=pastries
Pie in the Sky opened for the season on our departure day, so we did go there to get some baked goods (the LINE was insane)!

We got desserts from Maison Villatte

Last edited by yk; Aug 26th, 2021 at 09:12 AM.
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