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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wellfleet OysterFest 2011

 Yes, it is early October, and guests staying at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast cannot believe the temperature has been pushing 80 degrees. Many of the Cape beaches and summer oriented attractions and shops close after Labor Day and even still more shutter up for the winter after Columbus Day. Sadly I missed my last lobster roll of the season at the Sesuit Harbor Café, which closed on Columbus Day. 

So, yes the weather continues to be unseasonably warm and pleasant, but even without the beach focus, Cape Cod offers so much to do in the fall. Last weekend was the height of Cranberry Festivals, with celebrations of the cranberry harvest from Brewster to over the bridge in Wareham. If the prediction of more great weather doesn’t attract you to Cape Cod, how about the opportunity to attend the Wellfleet OysterFest in Wellfleet, MA? To the well-informed oyster aficionado, it is no secret that this quiet, bayside port is the home of the world famous Wellfleet oysters, and the site of the 10th annual Wellfleet OysterFest on October 15th and 16th. This is a two-day celebration of the town’s long shellfishing history with a weekend of food, art, music, and fun.The Wellfleet OysterFest was started by, and is sponsored by, a local non-profit group called SPAT. I kid you not, SPAT, which stands for Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, was created with a mission of “fostering a greater understanding of the towns shellfishing industry.” Also, in case you did not know and I sure didn’t, an oyster actually is formed from a free-swimming larva called a spat.

Today, the Wellfleet OysterFest is two full days of great fun and activities. The winding streets of the downtown area of Wellfleet are blocked off and street vendors offer every imaginable method to consume oysters. It is a sheer delight to eat a plate full of raw oysters that you watch being shucked just after they were plucked from an icy bed in a full sized dingy heaping with fresh oysters from Wellfleet harbor’s pristine oyster beds. I am not sure I would have used the SPAT acronym, but who am I to argue with success.  

Last year, we lucked out with the comings and goings of guests and made it to the Wellfleet OysterFest on Sunday. Beware that on a summer day the traffic from the Orleans’s rotary to Wellfleet can be a bumper to bumper slow go, and on this autumn weekend it will be just as busy. A parking tip from our experience is to ignore the signs and flag wavers directing you to off site parking as soon as you hit the town limits. These distant temporary lots are miles from the action and require you to hop on a shuttle bus. Since we have been to Wellfleet many times, we headed to the harbor which has a huge parking lot. Although it was full when we arrived, spots soon opened up and we were then only a short walk from Main Street and the events, including the Oyster Shuck-off.

From our Sandwich Inn, it is only about a 45-mile trip. You may experience some delays on the road into town, but it will be well worth the wait to participate in this one of a kind seaside festival on October 15 and 16, 2011. Come stay with us and share your experiences with us and our other guests over breakfast the next morning.

Charlie Preus, Assistant Innkeeper and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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