Cape Cod Guide 2010: Where to Eat, Stay & Play

 

BEST ICE CREAM
Four Seas
Owner Douglas Warren has strong feelings about what makes an ideal scoop. Unlike at many tourist traps, he won’t name any of his flavors after Cape landmarks. ("You shouldn’t have to give good ice cream a fancy name," he says.) Nor does he believe in jimmies. ("Why would you put something that’s mostly wax on top of a good scoop?") What he does believe in is doing things the old-fashioned way. Which makes sense: The shop has been churning out simple flavors like fresh peach and mocha chip since 1934. 360 s. Main St., Centerville, 508-775-1394, fourseasicecream.com.

BEST LUXURY STAY
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club
While Cape Cod has lots of high-end hotels, few really have it all. Provincetown has some gems, like Carpe Diem Guesthouse and Crown Pointe Historic Inn, but they’re small, and the downside of their in-town location is, well, that they’re in the middle of town. When we want to feel far, far away from it all — not to mention ridiculously spoiled — we check into Wequassett. Ultraplush suites and clapboard cottages, a pristine pool and cabanas overlooking Pleasant Bay, superb dining at Twenty-Eight Atlantic, picture-perfect golf courses and tennis courts, an outdoor fire pit…are we there yet? One Pleasant Bay, Chatham, 508-432-5400, wequassett.com.

BEST OLD-SCHOOL ACCOMMODATIONS
Days’ Cottages
Bare-bones cottage colonies are everywhere on Cape Cod, especially on its outer reaches, where families come to spend sun-drenched afternoons by the shore. Why not stay at the most famous ones on all of the Cape? Built during the Depression, the 23 identical Days’ Cottages — often called the "flower cottages," as each bears the name of a different bloom — are a source of local pride. Many families return year after year, so reserve early. 271 Shore Rd., Truro, 508-487-1062, dayscottages.com.

BEST PLACE TO RIDE A BIKE, OUTER CAPE
Province Lands Trail
Like the Shining Sea Bikeway, this trail got a major upgrade last year. Originally built in the ’60s, this 7.3-mile route runs through the sandy dunes of the Province Lands, with one spur out to Herring Cove Beach and another out to Race Point Beach. Where there were once death-defying curves and chewed-up asphalt, there’s now a straighter, smoother, more user-friendly path. Free parking at Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Road, Provincetown, 508-487-1256, nps.gov/caco.

BEST EXCURSION
Dolphin Fleet Whale Watching Tour
A great whale watch should be as educational as it is entertaining. The team of naturalists that leads Dolphin Fleet’s trips along the coastline and to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is headed by Carole Carlson, an adjunct scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. All whale sightings are documented, and photographs are catalogued to help various organizations study humpback whale populations. During a trip, guides also offer information about the birds and other marine species you’ll encounter. 305 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-240-3636, whalewatch.com.

BEST PLACE TO SOAK UP SOME CULTURE
Left Bank Gallery
In a burg that’s dubbed itself "Gallery Town," Left Bank rises above the fray for both its size and its selection, a frequently changing rotation of well-known Cape artists. High on the summer’s list of wine and cheese openings is the July 4–ish reception for Jim Holland, a local painter with an eye for capturing the Cape’s light. Those with a little less cash need not be intimidated here: The back room contains shelves full of ceramics, jewelry, cards, and other small pieces priced right for anyone wanting to bring home a piece of the Cape without breaking the budget. 25 Commercial St., Wellfleet, 508-349-9451, leftbankgallery.com.