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First Time on the Cape

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Utah
posts: 40
reviews: 8
First Time on the Cape

We will be leaving Logan Airport by rental car this Friday around 9am. Can I just follow my Garmin onto the Cape? Did I read there may be trouble with a bridge and/or traffic? We will be staying at the Commodore Inn in West Harwich. This was recommended by my employee who grew up on the Cape. We'd like to ride bicycles and take a day trip to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. The weather report says rain on Sunday and Monday. Any suggestions, please?

South Chatham, MA
posts: 383
reviews: 3
1. Re: First Time on the Cape

Regarding traffic, did you read this other thread?: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g185492-i369-k3093…

From all that I've heard, the backup is almost always going OFF-Cape, not on...as coming this way, you have easy alternatives, but not when heading back.

There are numerous other threads that have similar questions about bikes and islands and such...

For me, I'd go to Vineyard via Woods Hole as it's less time on water and thus cheaper ferry.

cape cod
posts: 180
reviews: 5
2. Re: First Time on the Cape

I think I wrote in the other thread about he bridge traffic but I'll repeat it in this one because not everyone goes back and reads past threads....

My friend commutes to Boston on the P&B every day from Hyannis... she told me that leaving the Cape at rush hour in the mornings there is not much of a back up. I guess "rush hour" means anywhere from 6 am to 8 am.

But she said coming home on the P&B from Boston she hits a traffic back up every single night trying to get on the cape.

I think its all a moot point in regards to this question because the poster said they were getting into Logan at 9 am. So by the time they get the car and get to the Sagamore bridge it should be in the neighborhood of 11:30 am and I'd venture to guess that even on a Friday the back up at that point won't be too bad.

Your garmin GPS should work just fine for finding the Cape! When I go to destinations I've never been to before I often use turn by turn directions as well but I always like to know where I'm going (generally) before I get in the car.

Follow 93 south to Rt. 3 (exit says Cape Cod) follow that all the way to Sagamore bridge. Once on the Cape you'll take Rt. 6 all the way to Harwich (I'd guess you'd get off at exit 9 or 10).

For me picking Nantucket or the Vineyard is always a toss up. Nantucket is a longer boat ride by a half hour or so and can be a bit rougher in bad weather. But if the town is directly at the ferry terminal. You walk off the boat and you can shop and lunch.

The Vineyard I actually think I like better... but its bigger and although there is a town at the ferry terminal too, its worth going to see some of the sights all around the island.

Tons of bike riding all over the cape. I hope your wrong about wet weather this weekend, personally I never trust the weather report here that far in advance, they have enough trouble figuring out what tomorrow will do!

Enjoy your trip! I write a blog about the cape and I've taken a bunch of plane rides at the airfield near my house. The blog has some travel ideas and the airfield is a blast!

Susan

www.UndergroundCapeCod.com

www.CapeCodAirfield.com

Bonaire
posts: 5,948
reviews: 137
3. Re: First Time on the Cape

The wait getting on Cape can be worse then going off. My teen's friends are all atheletes and spend a good deal of time sitting in buses waiting to get off to head to meets and then coming back. It's a mess. Never heard of the Commodore Inn. West Harwich is mid point to a lot. You will enjoy Chatham for sure. Nothing really in W. Harwich but Harwichport is charming too. Seagrill has great food in H Port. Ocean House in Dennisport, 10 min from W. Harwich is amazing as well. The bike trail is a lot of fun. Start at 134 in S. Dennis. I feel Nantucket is better for walking. Town has a lot and you can easily walk to Brant Point.

Hadley...
posts: 785
reviews: 59
4. Re: First Time on the Cape

You should probably get off Rt. 6 at exit 9-A for West Harwich. I second Caribchakita's suggestion about the bike path and my favorite part of the path is the Harwich section. It goes by cranberry bogs and ponds and is just beautiful.

The Oyster Company restaurant in Dennisport is another suggestion and for coffee/breakfast/lunch Buckies in Dennisport on Rt. 28.

I am a Nantucket fan as I think the town is beautiful and unique and you can spend a day walking around the town looking at the beautiful buildings, shops and have lunch. Maybe go to the Whaling Museum or the Lightship Basket Museum. If you are up for a amazing and expensive lunch go to the Wauwinet House. They have a jitney to get you there and back from town.

Martha

Toronto, Canada
posts: 737
reviews: 16
5. Re: First Time on the Cape

We just returned and used our Garmin Nuvi Gps everywhere we went. For the ferry at Woods Hole type in Steamship Authority in your GPS and it will offer you all their locations. Cant remember which one for Woods Hole but if you map each location its the one right at the tip near Falmouth. Very easy to find.

We took their slow boat ferry across but it was only 45 minutes and its a nice ride. Snack bar etc on board plus wireless internet access for free.

We took the truck so paid a bit more but there were plenty of people with bicycles. Must admit though that we didnt find Marthas Vineyard that great. I just posted our trip report further down this page [well posted it last week]

Our hosts at our cottage suggested that Nantucket might have been more to our liking.

But using the GPS enabled us to find some things a lot faster and for the last few days I never had it switched on as I got familiar with roads etc very quickly.

Regarding the traffic. The Sagamore bridge works started just last week. Traffic going off cape is reduced to one lane and backs up right along 6a/130 and 6 hy. We were staying in Sandwich last week and the traffic through the town was heaviest from about 3pm to 8pm. But, if you take the exit off of 6a [just west of Sandwich] that leads to the bridge you can be way ahead of the traffic and quite close to the bridge, we did that and didnt have to wait to long [2 minutes tops] as you jump ahead of the main traffic coming off of 6 hy etc..

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
posts: 8,314
reviews: 19
6. Re: First Time on the Cape

The Commodore Inn is in a residential neighborhood and is the first property back from the beach. Your accommodations will not be beachview but it is a very short stroll to the beach there.

Your hosts are quite lovely and the wife is able to point you in the direction of healthy foods and discuss all sorts of local dining options. They cook breakfast but I believe that is only in season.

If you are not so worried about healthy eating then don't miss going to Bonatt's in town for breakfast. Imho, the best items on their menu are the lobster eggs benedict and the raspberry stuffed french toast.

Yes, you will encounter a cruel traffic snarl as they are working on the Sagamore bridge and two of the four lanes will be closed. You arrive when you arrive but you will need to take this seriously when you plan your return trip. Nothing worse than missing a flight home...or is there...lol.

BTW, we've noticed that you can't plan too much according to the weather report. It's not accurate all that often. And the weather is different depending where you are on the Cape. The oddest case is when it is cloudy in Dennisport and then sunny and lovely in South Dennis and in Dennis Village on the Bay side. If it is not pouring then you might consider biking the rail trail. As Caribchakita mentioned the start of the rail trail is in South Dennis and you can rent bikes at Barb's Bike Shop (and see a bunch of info on her website too) but you can start in Harwich instead as well.

Have fun.

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
posts: 8,314
reviews: 19
7. Re: First Time on the Cape

If you drive to Falmouth to catch the ferry plan on the trip to take you 70 minutes from West Harwich.

If you use the Hyannis ferry then plan for a drive of 30 minutes (or less-- we do it in 20 from Dennisport). Don't forget to plan some time to park your car.

There's more to do in MV than Nantucket. You might want to go onto those two boards and read through some of the posts to get the flavor of each.

Utah
posts: 40
reviews: 8
8. Re: First Time on the Cape

Thank you for all the great advice! The weather report is backing off the rain warning, so I'm very excited! My friend and I took advantage of the JetBlue fly anywhere for a month deal and we've been to NYC, San Diego, Cape Cod this week and LA the week after...so much fun! I'm most especially excited about this weekend, though!!

PleasantForest-Thank you for the on & off Cape advice. We will be traveling 'on' around 1100 hrs on Friday and will be going 'off' on Monday about the same time. Hopefully, this misses most of the busy traffic!

Pixieish - (love the name..) I was worried about construction and/or detours..glad to know my Garmin should work out OK. I'm leaning toward Nantucket because it lands closer to town for walking & other posts said it was their favorite.

Caribchakita - We will be eating at the Seagrill for sure. Thanks for the bike trail starting point in South Dennis. Leaning even closer to Nantucket on your advice!

MarthaL - OK..The Oyster Company for dinner in Dennisport. You're a Nantucket fan! I think I've leaned right over and I'm heading to Nantucket. Would Sunday or Saturday be a better choice? Depends on the weather??? We may want to splurge at the Wauwinet House. Did you suggest a buggy ride to get there?

Lucywestie - (love your picture..) Thanks for the GPS advice to the Steamship Authority and directions to get off the cape. You said you didn't especially like the Vineyard, so again, we'll go to Nantucket. Maybe the Vineyard next visit...

Hadley...
posts: 785
reviews: 59
9. Re: First Time on the Cape

lilybutt,

Go to www.wauwinet.com and look at Toppers Restaurant to see the menu etc. They have a Sunday Brunch and it looks like a lunch special. I was taken there for lunch by a dear friend the third week of September 4 years ago and I will never forget it. We sat outside as it was a beautiful day. Do take note of the prices though:)

The link for the jitney(fancy name for a van) is:http://www.wauwinet.com/experience/hints.php

they also have a water taxi from Straight Wharf, so you might check that too!

Utah
posts: 40
reviews: 8
10. Re: First Time on the Cape

MarthaL: Checked out the Wauwinet on line and I think Sunday brunch might be calling!!! Thanks for the tip!

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