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Friday, January 27, 2012

Cape Cod Vacation Tips

Make Your Cape Cod Vacation the Best Ever

Whether you are making your first trip to Cape Cod for that much needed vacation or are on your annual chill, there are a few things you should avoid if you want to have an enjoyable stay. We hope your trip includes a stay at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast in historic Sandwich Village. But most of all, we hope your time spent on our rock is memorable in a good way, and that these suggestions will help make it so.

Transportation – Bring a car! Public transportation on Cape Cod is not a myth, but close to it. The Cape is 65 miles long and 25 miles at the widest part. If you are hoping to see the scenic beauty of Cape Cod, you cannot do so without a car. And don’t even think about taxi service. If you are able to locate a taxi, the cost will leave you breathless.

Crossing the Bridges – There are two means of getting onto and off of Cape Cod; the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore Bridge. The traffic onto the Cape on Friday evenings and off the Cape on Sunday is very heavy, due to the fact that so many folks who have weekend or summer homes here come down on Friday evening and leave on Sunday. You are advised to make the crossing any other time if at all possible. If you cannot avoid crossing on Friday, try to make it as early in the afternoon as possible. On Sunday, if it is a rainy day, folks will leave the Cape in the morning. If it’s a sunny Sunday, people will stay at the beach as long as possible and will therefore be leaving later in the day. If you keep that in mind, you may be able to avoid the long wait crossing the bridges.

Traffic – It’s Cape Cod, one of the most popular resort areas in the country. Just accept it. If nobody wanted to come here, neither would you. The heaviest time of the year for traffic is the summer months. If you plan your vacation for May or early June, you may not have as many beach days, but the traffic is certainly lighter. Although Cape Cod is thought of more as a summer destination, many people come here in the fall because the weather is great and it is so beautiful that time of year. It may not be beach weather, but there is so much more to the Cape than just amazing beaches.

Rotaries – Yes, those are those circular things located in many areas of Cape Cod. If you cross onto the Cape via the Bourne Bridge, the first thing you will encounter is a rotary or traffic circle. Traffic travels counter-clockwise and you enter and exit from the outside lane. The first time you encounter one is a bit nerve-wracking but you’ll get used to them. Just remember that the car already in the traffic circle has the right-of-way. Just a warning, some folks here enter a rotary with the belief that you only have to give up the right-away if you make eye contact with another driver.

Fender Benders – The traffic in many of the areas of Cape Cod moves slowly during the summer months, especially along Route 28. Try not to get impatient. If you have a fender bender, not only will it ruin your vacation, but you will really upset the people who have to sit in traffic waiting for the mess to be cleaned up.

Biking – Whether you bring a bike or rent one when you arrive, there are lots of great bike paths throughout the Cape. Ride to your heart’s content but stay off Route 6A and Route 28, for your safety and so that you don’t add further to the angst of people who are driving in heavy traffic along these narrow roads.

Diets – Oh, come now! You ate lettuce for a month before your vacation so, live a little. The Cape is covered with seafood restaurants and what could me more healthy.

Fast Food – Save it for when you are at home. Cape Cod has so many wonderful places to eat that you can try a different one for every meal. Seafood is fresh and plentiful here at restaurants and at the ubiquitous Cape Cod seafood shack. Just about every village has one and the experience is quintessential Cape Cod.

Crowded Restaurants – This is to be expected during the summer months. Make a reservation if you can and be on time so that you don’t lose your table. If you have to wait, try to be patient. Again, if no one wanted to eat there, neither would you. If the crowds are just too much for you, keep in mind that people flock to places to eat after being at the beach all day. Going a little earlier or later than the normal dinner hour may help you to avoid long waits. Keep in mind though that many places here stop serving around 9:30 pm. You may want to check with someone local to see which places serve late into the evening. If you are staying at a bed and breakfast, your innkeeper will know the best places to go.

Shopping – If it is raining, everyone will be shopping and restaurants will be full. Note: the Christmas Tree Shop only sells Christmas stuff during the Christmas season.

Social Networking Sites – You have got to be kidding! Don’t you get enough of that at home? Besides, do you really want people to know where you are? Give it a rest and enjoy a good book at the beach. Then, you will have lots to share when you get home.

Email – See above! Besides, it’s probably work and you came here to get away from that.

Beach Parking – Most beaches on Cape Cod charge a fee for parking during the summer months. The price ranges from $10 to $15 per day. So, you see a place where you can park your car along the side of the road near the beach to avoid paying to park. Come on folks, it’s the beach and there is sand. If you get your car stuck, don’t expect too many folks to stop and help you. Most will drive by rolling their eyes and thinking what an idiot you are. Save yourself the embarrassment and the expense of calling a tow truck.

Whales – Yes, the waters on the outer Cape are full of these magnificent giants. When you go whale
watching, you can avoid any stomach discomfort by chewing a bit of ginger. It’s good for you and why take a chance on spoiling the experience if you are prone to seasickness.

Sunburn – The most common self-inflicted vacation hazard. Don’t spend the rest of your vacation huddled in the shade wearing long sleeved clothing and wincing if anyone comes within a foot of you for fear they may bump into you and cause hideous pain.

Sharks – Yes, there are occasionally sightings of these creatures in the waters around Cape Cod. Avoid being lunch if you possibly can.

Seals – Many areas of the Cape are home to these adorable mammals. They like to sun themselves on the beach. Do not approach them or try to feed them. They can be dangerous. If you think one is hurt and in need of assistance, call 911 and report it so that the proper people can come to its aid. Also, be aware that sharks love to munch on seals and where they are plentiful, so may be the sharks. You may not want to wear a dark wet suit and swim near the seals.

Jelly Fish – If you see them in the water, avoid them if you can as they may not avoid you. If you see them on the sand at the beach, they look like a bubble of jelly. It is not wise to step on them.

Day-tripping to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard - The ferry to Nantucket leaves out of Hyannis and you cannot take an automobile. The island is small and easy to get around on foot, by bike or moped, and rental cars are quite reasonably priced. The ferry to Martha’s Vineyard leaves from Woods Hole and if you are thinking about taking an automobile, check with the Steamship Authority ahead of time for available space and cost, as it is quite expensive. It is wise to park at one of the Steamship parking lots in Falmouth and take the shuttle to Woods Hole. During the summer months, some 22,000 or so people day-trip to the Vineyard each day. There is a small, pedestrian ferry (The Island Queen) that departs from Falmouth Harbor. It is inexpensive and great fun.

Cape Cod is an amazing place to vacation. Our quaint villages are each unique and charming and our history is your history. Strolling through the streets and back roads of Sandwich, the oldest of our villages, is a walk into the past. Come visit us and you’ll see.


Jan Preus, the Innkeeper, chef, and artist in residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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