Summer Escapes: Drift Away

By Janelle Nanos | Boston Magazine |

Duxbury

Claustrophobes know that from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Cape Cod equals Cape Fear. So why bother heading south at all? Because sometimes, going only halfway is just as good as going all the way. Case in point: this sleepy town, which exists somewhere between suburbia and vacationland.

Duxbury has long sought to preserve its heritage (read: keep at bay anyone who isn’t a descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims), but has recently let up a little, and now lures outsiders with terrific shops — like the Studio for handwoven throws — and eateries like French Memories.

For the most part, though, the community remains blessedly isolated, thanks to an impressive land-conservation effort. As a result, a certain quietude pervades, much of it extending to the shoreline. So if you’re coming in from Route 3, don’t follow the signs to the water; they’ll only lead you to a cramped parking lot. Instead, book yourself at the Winsor House Inn, a historical spot resplendent with fresh flowers and canopy beds. Then wake at 8 a.m. and drive Powder Point Avenue along the bay until you encounter the epic wooden bridge. Do not drive across; parking on the other side is for town residents only, and you’ll be getting there early enough (right?) that spaces will still exist in the small lot before the bridge. Instead, walk the half-mile span, then spend the day lolling on sands frequented exclusively by locals. At day’s end, cross back over the bridge, sandy-footed and possibly a little sunburned but exhausted only by the place’s voluminous beauty. >> Winsor House Inn (starts at $120 per night), 390 Washington St., Duxbury, 781-934-0991. — Alexandra Hall

CHEAT SHEET
Shopping Stop   Gear up for the beach at Millbrook Market; the local institution carries necessities (every kind of SPF you could need) as well as snacks for the beach (sandwiches and baked goods).
The Scoop   Finish the day with a swing through Farfar’s Danish
Ice Cream Shop   For one of the sweetest dairy experiences around — don’t bypass the peanut butter or bubble gum flavors.

  • Tourist

    Awful, run-down, overpriced, understaffed.

  • Duncan

    Folk such as me, my family, and my friends, who are blessed to have raised their children in ‘sconset never go near the Summerhouse, which, while located near our charming village, is totally not of the village. A better idea is to drive your leased Escalade to the Hamptons and hope you get to slobber during a celeb-sighting (and you’ll be doing ‘sconset a favor). If you must visit us, please do so on a bike and have dinner at the Sconset Cafe.