Hi there Biomom,
While the Cape differs quite a bit I think from Cape May, NJ I'm sure you are going to enjoy yourselves. The Cape is more "pilgrim" and colonial than victorian so if you like history then consider getting in on the once weekly guided history walking tours in the oldest Cape Cod town -- Sandwich. Read about it at www.capeweek.com. You can pick up a copy at the Dennis info booth when you arrive. And, if you DO go to Sandwich don't miss walking out over the marsh on their boardwalk (ask for directions) and you might want to have lunch at Dunbar's Tea room as they are open til about 4PM I think. They have 'ladies tea' but also authentic ploughman's lunch complete with specialty brews - beer I mean but of course that applies to the tea as well. lol.
And speaking of Sandwich, let's talk about dining. You didn't mention if you want Zagat rated dining for adults or if you'll have kids with you so I'm just going to give it all to you - all within a mile that is.
You may know that the best Dennisport restaurant - Ocean House - is directly next door to your hotel. We always find a table in this crowded restaurant with very little wait -- in the bar. We just order a bunch of appetizers including one of their small gourmet pizzas. One time we did wait in line for a table in the dining room and the meal was very nice but we like the lower cost and the variety that we can put together in the lounge. Some have mentioned that the lounge is noisy. Yes, it IS a summer crowd of people all having fun.
You'll be able to grab breakfast and maybe even a sandwich at the small cafe inside your hotel.
Most people enjoy the Ebb Tide, a nearby restaurant that exudes Old New England atmosphere. Don't miss visiting their gift shop too. We usually look for extra value so this is the place that we go when we have skipped lunch and we go for the early bird dinner. At that time there are fewer crowds and more time afterwards to work off all that food.
You can also walk up to Wee Packet at the corner of Depot and Lower County Rd. I've only been there once for breakfast since the new owner took over but we used to get lobster rolls (take out) for a beach lunch from there.
Continuing west on Lower County about a block puts you in front of Sundae School for terrific homemade ice cream. Don't miss at least one trip here if you like ice cream. Try a sundae.
Also recommend (now in the car) continuing down Lower County for a meal at the casual Clancy's Beach House. There usually is a wait but there is a fun bar atmosphere with a popcorn machine to keep you busy.
You may also want to check out Woofies Bakery for breakfast but I think Terri may be open all day in season, at least that was the case last year.
In that same area is the produce stand if you like having some fruit on hand in the room for snacking.
A little further along is the popular Dog House, a glorified hot dog stand with such extras as Clam Chowder.
Continuing on you can try Swan River Restaurant. If you arrive early enough to watch the sunset, it is beautiful setting over the marsh with views of Nan. Sound beyond that. Let them know it is your first visit and ask for a window seat.
If you'd like to visit a fun spot that is sorta a 'dive' then when you walk to Wee Packet go east (right) a bit on Lower County to Wooden Shoe. Small sports bar type place and order the lobster. (Cash only.) It's a friendly staff and atmosphere. Nice gift shop in that area too - Grandma Daisey.
A little further up Depot by Rt. 28 you can have them build some of their gigantic sandwiches for the beach at Bob's (or 'dine' there) and I'd also like to recommend The Oyster Co. I can't say that I have gotten inside yet but have heard a lot of good things, have met one of the owners and we plan to dine there next month.
For breakfast right up in that area too is The Egg and I. This is the only place where I order corned beef hash anymore. Delicious. Don't be tempted by the buffet. Suggest you order from the menu.
You might also really enjoy tea or cocktails out on the porch at The Lighthouse Inn (maybe two miles from your hotel) on the way to West Dennis beach. On the way to the Inn you'll probably notice the SandBar on your right which has evening entertainment.
If you are a serious walker, grab your sneakers and try a long morning walk on the sand or the parking area at West Dennis beach. Otherwise, I like the beach better where you are staying.
If you decide to leave your 1-2 mile area around the hotel, and really you won't need to, then make it a trip to Mayflower beach but only as the tide is going out, or is out if you haven't enjoyed tidal flats before. You can get a terrific custom made sandwich for the beach at the Dennis Market on Rt. 6A which is directly across the turn off for Mayflower beach - take a map. Really you can go to any of these bay beaches. This is just my favorite.
If you get to Hyannis and want to eat on the harbor check out Baxter's Boat House on Pleasant St. Arrive by car or by boat. Check out both sides of the restaurant and see which atmosphere you prefer. This is my favorite place to get scallops, lightly breaded and fried and with the malt vinegar.
And, going the other direction, if you want to have a big breakfast one day (you won't need lunch) I highly recommend Bonatt's on the south side of the st. downtown in Harwichport on Rt. 28. You WILL have to wait to get in but you'll be rewarded with blackboard specials like lobster eggs benedict and raspberry stuffed french toast.
You might need a bit of exercise following all this. Right up on Rt. 28 (just a little east of Kreme n' Kone on the other side of the st.) you'll be able to rent a kayak or an electric paddle boat. Suggest you paddle down Swan River to the ocean which we think is the more interesting direction. We kayak out into the ocean a little though they don't want you to do that. There are discount coupons that will save you a little $$$ that you'll find in most of the tourist booklets.
There is much to see and do on Cape Cod and I bet you can tell from reading items on this forum that one week will only let you scratch the surface. But, then that just means that you can look forward to returning to the Cape another day.
Have lots of fun. I know you will.