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1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

Lubbock, TX
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1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

The wife and I have decided to take one day out of our Boston holiday just to get the flavor of the Cape, as we've never been. We must return the same evening since our Boston hotel's prepaid and I'm too cheap to pay for two rooms and leave one vacant. This will happen on Tuesday or Wednesday, September 12th or 13th.

Our choices are the fast ferry to P'Town and spend the day there on foot, or drive down and visit the Cape maybe as far as Chatham. If we go to P'Town, we can arrive as early as 9:30 and leave as late as 7:30 PM with Boston Harbor Cruises. If we drive, we can probably get the same 8 or 10 hours on the Cape.

Our objective: walk on a beach (not swim), see pretty scenery, interesting architecture, unique shops. Leisurely paced, not seeking athletic challenges or thrill seeking.

Which would you prefer the ferry or driving, and why?

Suggestions for P'Town activities and eateries?

If we drive, where should we go and eat? Suggest an itenerary.

Thanks.

Chicago, IL
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1. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

You have a couple of options. Here's one. Stay on the Upper Cape and divide your time between Sandwich, Woods Hole and Falmouth. For Woods Hole see my post under To Do List for Lollygal. Arrive in Sandwich in the afternoon so that you can enjoy lunch (til as late as 3PM I think) at the Dunbar Tea Room. Yes, they have tea and dessert but also specialize in microbrewed beer and authentic ploughman's lunch. There is so much to do in Sandwich but don't miss walking out to the beach on their boardwalk over the marsh. When you get to the ocean you won't know which way to look first as the ocean and marsh views are both so gorgeous. If you are strapped for time then drive around and out to this town beach and skip the boardwalk part. Learn about glassmaking and see wonderful examples at the www.sandwichglassmuseum.org. Other historic homes to visit along with the Heritage Museum and Gardens depending on your interests. Start with Wood's Hole if you have interest in science. Woods Hole Science Aquarium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), Marine Biology Lab (MBL). Walk around Village Green in Falmouth, visit the interesting shops and soak in the charming New England atmosphere. Take a drive. Falmouth, the Cape's second largest town, has more shore and coastline than any other town on the Cape. www.falmouth-capecod.com and www.woodshole.com and 800-526-8532.

There's plenty to do in Provincetown for a full day but, just so you know, P-town won't give you an idea of Cape Cod because it is an artist's colony (I think I heard recently it's the oldest in the country in fact) and is very different. If you take the ferry then you will want to stay right in PTown and you will have enough to do. Soon you'll have lots of comments about things to do in PTown and Chatham.

Have a great trip Tex to Boston, the Cape and Maine.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

Oops, I was all set to give my views on the pros-and-cons of each 'til I remembered I'd done so earlier this year in this thread :-)

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60745-i48-k480935…

CCC's suggestions for the Sandwich area are great & it would shorten the drive. My one reservation about making that your destination is that the beaches around there are nothing special imo... they are "quiet" bay beaches without much surf -- unlike, say, Race Point Beach outside P-town -- and some stretches of sand are pretty darned pebble-y. Non-resident parking restrictions can be more of a hassle to summer visitors there than many other places elsewhere on the Cape, but since you'll be visiting after Labor Day, that won't be a problem for you.

Good luck, have fun!

Lubbock, TX
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3. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

CockleCove, I forgot I had posted nearly the same question over 3 months ago. I reread the old thread. Sorry to repeat myself. I guess I'm still unable to decide.

Leaving at the same time, we could be in P'Town by ferry or, say, Hyannis about the same time, 9:30 AM. In P'Town we wouldn't have to worry about parking or getting lost, plus we'd have an enjoyable, relaxing boat trip each way. By car, we would have the freedom of visiting a variety of towns, beaches, etc., and with 8 - 9 hours, we might see much of Hyannis, Chatham, and maybe Eastham or Orleans before heading back on 6A before dark.

I appreciate both your replies, and will do some more study, revisiting similar threads here and on other forums.

One question - how busy will mid-cape or outer cape be on a Tuesday or Wednesday in mid September?

Chicago, IL
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4. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

Not very busy. If you think you'll visit Chatham then you'll have a 50/50 chance of finding the lighthouse open for a visit on a Wed. and a 0 chance on a Tues. ...just a thought since you previously mentioned Chatham.

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5. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

No need to apologize, Deubster, yours is not an easy decision; don't hesitate to post back again! Here are a couple more thoughts which maybe will help tip the balance in your mind...

* were you house-hunting, getting lost on back roads might be more of possibility, but anywhere on the Cape you're likely to want to go is along (or within easily navigable access) of the 3 major roads: the Mid-Cape Highway, Rt. 28 or Rt. 6A. So I predict you'll lose little, if any, time going off/getting back on track.

* I have noticed over the course of the 20 years I've been going to the Cape (rented the same house in Chatham every year) is that the crowds don't thin out as much in September as used to be the case. The Cape has become an increasingly popular destination for European visitors (especially those from Germany & the UK), and many of them seem to be opting to visiting in the fall, even as late as late October.

But although you won't have the place to yourself in mid-September, the traffic/congestion are appreciably reduced from summer months, and your idea of visiting mid-week means you'll be running into even less traffic, etc. than on an autumn weekend. Frankly, I kinda resented it when my son was of school-age because that meant we could not longer vacation there in September which is my *favorite* time to be there: evenings can sometimes be even chilly, but daytime temps are quite pleasant... and the water is warmer than, say, in June!

* Since I wasn't sure where Lubbock is, I looked it up and now know you're far in-land, a very, very loooong drive from even a Texas beach along the Gulf coast. Having grown up in a similarly-landlocked town in the Midwest, the ocean has a special allure for me. So, if that's true of you as well, then I think you'd be happier driving. Race Point Beach outside of P-town would give you a fine taste of being at the shore, but you reallly do need a car to get to the best beaches on the Cape -- and, unlike other locales, the lighthouse at Race Point is a *hefty* walk from the beach entrance.

* Which brings me to another factor you might want to throw into the equation. Will this daytrip be your only exposure to the New England of old on this particular vacation... and do you see yourselves heading back out this away again in the foreseeable future?

If you'll definitely be returning to New England at some point soon and/or if you're planning to tour some other part of coastal New England on this vacation, that might prompt you to lean towards the more leisurely day in Provincetown alone. If this, however, represents your only chance for who-knows-how-long to get a taste of New England, then exploring by car would be imo more rewarding for you. But honestly, I think you'll have a fine day no matter which you choose.

One more comment: unless you have a very particular reason to visit Hyannis (e.g., the John F. Kennedy Museum?), I'd urge you to give it a pass. Its central location makes it a draw for many vacationers, but you will have precious few hours on the Cape as it is, and there are more memorable classic New England architecture & scenery, more interesting shops & eateries, and better beaches elsewhere.

Hope this is of some help, and not just added to your confusion :-)

Lubbock, TX
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6. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

CockleCove, thank you for your very kind reply. As to whether we'll return, that depends upon my wife, but I certainly hope so. I have been to Boston on many business trips and always had a day during each trip to explore, usually the southern Maine coast. I've never been to Cape Cod, and never north of Portland. I plan to do both this trip. My wife has never been to New England at all, and I'm excited at the prospect of showing her something she's never experienced. We've been married nearly 8 years though we're both in our early 50's (the kids are grown & gone). Last year was the first year we both had jobs that allowed us to take a real vacation rather than a 4-day getaway weekend. We went to Hawaii. She fell in love with it and wants to go back. I know she'll do the same with New England. We may have to alternate destinations.

Back to the question at hand - at this point I'm leaning toward driving down, and would certainly want to include Chatham. If Hyannis is not that interesting, would you suggest Eastham? Orleans? Dennis Port? Brewster? What's a really nice beach with easy access?

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7. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

There's no objective answer to your question about the best beaches AND there are enough so that you can visit one each day of the year. The most beautiful that come to the top of my mind are the one in Sandwich that I described earlier with the bay beach in front of you and the gorgeous marsh behind you. Perhaps you could make that your sunset stop and then have dinner at the Dan'l Webster Inn. Find out when low tide is (usually it is listed as Brewster) and walk out...way out...on the tidal flats at Mayflower Beach in Dennis just north of 6A. If you are going to Chatham I think the gorgeous beach in front of the lighthouse is the ticket. And certainly you won't miss going to any of the National Seashore beaches. Coast Guard beach made it to #6 on Dr. Beach's list of the 10 best in the US....a list that starts with Hawaii.

I bumped up the Best Beaches message so you could easily peruse it.

You can't do it all and anything you two do you'll certainly enjoy so relax and throw a blanket in the trunk, bring $$$ and you're all set.

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8. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

I agree with CCC that a stop in Sandwich is definitely worthwhile, and dinner at the Daniel Webster Inn would be lovely. The thing is that sunset in mid-September will be 6:30-6:45 PM or ~90 minutes earlier than it is now, and getting back to Sandwich before dusk to see the sun set over the beach there would require leaving the outer Cape earlier than might otherwise be your inclination.

So how about making Sandwich your *first* stop of the day?

http://www.sandwichma.org

From there, take the Mid-Cape Highway to Chatham and then do a tweaked version of the itinerary I suggested in the thread earlier this year (e.g., getting to/seeing P-town after spending some time at a beach would be a tight fit unless you do little more than a drive-by of Sandwhich & Chatham)

You'll be passing through Orleans on the lovely stretch of Rt. 28 en route from Chatham to the National Seashore beaches in Eastham/Wellfleet. And thru Brewster's village center on the way back to the Sagamore Bridge if you take picturesque 6A. I wouldn't pre-plan the entire day... who knows what might strike your particular fancies once you get here?

Having said that, however, I'll encourage you to stop by Forest Beach Designs, a jewelry store (with its own parking) on Main St. in Chatham. Barb & Steve are not only excellent jewelrysmiths, but also really nice, fun people. In addition to their more expensive rings, necklaces & earrings, they offer a wide variety of Cape Cod-themed, personally designed & crafted, gold or silver charms/necklace slides which would make a lovely souvenir for your wife :-) I don't think their website does them true justice, but you'll get an idea of what's available:

http://www.capecodcharms.com

Lastly, here's one of the best websights re: Cape Cod lighthouses

rudyalicelighthouse.net/MassLgts/MassLgts.htm

and an online "guidebook" (lodgings info needs to be updated, but it's otherwise generally comprehensive & reliable); note that the links to all the "chapters" start fairly far down on the left side of the home page:

http://www.insidecapecod.com

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9. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

I agree with CCC that a stop in Sandwich is definitely worthwhile, and dinner at the Daniel Webster Inn would be lovely. The thing is that sunset in mid-September will be 6:30-6:45 PM or ~90 minutes earlier than it is now, and getting back to Sandwich before dusk to see the sun set over the beach there would require leaving the outer Cape earlier than might otherwise be your inclination.

So how about making Sandwich your *first* stop of the day?

http://www.sandwichma.org

From there, take the Mid-Cape Highway to Chatham and then do a tweaked version of the itinerary I suggested in the thread earlier this year (e.g., getting to/seeing P-town after spending some time at a beach would be a tight fit unless you do little more than a drive-by of Sandwhich & Chatham)

You'll be passing through Orleans on the lovely stretch of Rt. 28 en route from Chatham to the National Seashore beaches in Eastham/Wellfleet. And thru Brewster's village center on the way back to the Sagamore Bridge if you take picturesque 6A. I wouldn't pre-plan the entire day... who knows what might strike your particular fancies once you get here?

Having said that, however, I'll encourage you to stop by Forest Beach Designs, a jewelry store (with its own parking) on Main St. in Chatham. Barb & Steve are not only excellent jewelrysmiths, but also really nice, fun people. In addition to their more expensive rings, necklaces & earrings, they offer a wide variety of Cape Cod-themed, personally designed & crafted, gold or silver charms/necklace slides which would make a lovely souvenir for your wife :-) I don't think their website does them true justice, but you'll get an idea of what's available:

http://www.capecodcharms.com

Lastly, here's one of the best web sites re: Cape Cod lighthouses

rudyalicelighthouse.net/MassLgts/MassLgts.htm

and an online "guidebook" (lodgings info needs to be updated, but it's otherwise generally comprehensive & reliable); note that the links to all the "chapters" start fairly far down on the left side of the home page:

http://www.insidecapecod.com

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: 1 Day only - PTown or Upper Cape? Itenerary suggestions?

Hey there Cockle Cove, wish I had your energy.

Poster states he wants to spend 8 or 9 hours. I'm already stretching him to about 12. If they come down from Boston early enough to be on the Cape about 9 they can be back in Sandwich by 4 or 5 and will still have spent time elsewhere on the Cape for 7 or 8 hours. Those bayside sunsets can be so spectacular especially from the the town neck beach at the end of the boardwalk that I mentioned that they should try to catch it from SOME Bayside beach, don't you agree? Then they can cap it off with a nice meal nearby, perhaps they'd like to experience 'old Cape Cod' cooking at the Sagamore Inn in Bourne.

I know Deubster that you won't have beach chairs with you but you might try to toss some towels into the car in case you decide to sit on one of the beaches for just a bit.

I'm not trying to make a big case for you to visit one town over another 'cause there's so much to enjoy. I AM trying to offer suggestions that consider the pace of your visit since you mentioned that.

Write back if you want dining suggestions for whichever town(s) you select.