Pump It Up: For gas and the healthiest chain-brand chow, pull off at exit 6 in Hyannis and into the Mobil station and adjacent food court. Subway may not exactly be the Red Inn, but it sure beats melted trail mix.
Above Par: Boston restaurateur Gary Sullivan professes a “weakness” for the onion rings at Arnold’s. Pay attention, parents: This refueling spot is near the top-notch Poit’s Lighthouse Mini Golf. 3580 Rte. 6A, Eastham, 508-255-2575, arnoldsrestaurant.com; 5270 Rte. 6, N. Eastham, 508-255-6321, poits lighthouseminigolf.com.
Spice World: Dougie Freeman, owner of P-town’s West End Salon & Spa, recommends stocking your rented kitchen with wholesale-priced rare spices, fortifying snacks, and exotic loose teas from Atlantic Spice Company. 2 Shore Rd., North Truro, 800-316-7965, atlanticspice.com.
Peace Out: Long drives may not be a Zen experience—but a stop at Bayberry Gardens is, says Boston interior designer Ken Dietz. He advises taking a break at this Truro nursery, whose on-site goldfish pond exudes tranquility. 250 Rte. 6, Truro, 508-349-6764, bayberry gardens.com.
Natural Selection: In hilly, pine-covered Nickerson State Park, reached via exit 12, kettle ponds—the remnants of 10,000-year-old glaciers—channel Thoreau’s Walden. Rte. 6A, Brewster, 508-896-3491, mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/nick.htm.
Book Marker: If rain is spoiling your ride, spare yourself the hydroplaning and spend the afternoon at the Parnassus Book Service, housed in a mammoth old barn. Exit 7 to 220 Rte. 6A, Yarmouth Port, 508-362-6420, parnassusbooks.com.
Culture Collective: The exceptionally well-maintained Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis houses seven galleries full of paintings, sculptures, and etchings by local artists like Ann Packard. Also, hallelujah, clean restrooms. Exit 7 to Rte. 6A, Dennis, 508-385-4477, ccmoa.org.
Rise and Dine: It’s breakfast-only at the very local Dino’s Harwich Port Grill. The Cape Cod Repertory Theatre’s Janine Perry reports that Dino himself mans the griddle to serve pancakes and scrambles to the newspaper-reading crowd. Exit 9A to 561 Main St., Harwich Port, 508-432-0700.
Buzz Stop: Some of the Cape’s most potent caffeine is poured daily at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow. For sweet tooths, the café mixes its iced mocha with fudge sauce and scoops out homemade ice cream. Exit 12 to 5 Old Colony Way, Orleans, 508-240-2230, hotchocolatesparrow.com.