Rediscover the Cape
Follow these region-by-region itineraries and fall in love with your new ports of call. Plus: The most relaxing beaches and where to eat, shop, and stay.
Outer Cape: For Escape Artists
There’s a karmic release when Route 6 finally tapers off, a realization that the drive is worth it. In a way, that’s the essence of the Cape’s more far-flung reaches, and the reason that painters and poets have sought respite here for decades, enjoying blissful solitude among the dunes.
3 p.m.: A road-bike rental from Ptown Bikes (508-487-8735, ptownbikes .com) will get your legs pumping after the long drive. Pedal seven miles south along Route 6A, then stop for a sip at Truro Vineyards (508-487-6200, trurovineyards ofcapecod.com). Toss a bottle of their rosé in your basket for an al fresco toast at nearby Cold Storage Beach in North Truro, where you can watch the sun sink beside the Pilgrim Monument.
7:30 p.m.: Provincetown is the country’s oldest continuously operating arts colony, and you can be part of the scene, if only for a little while, at the weekly Gallery Walk (celebrate provincetown.com). More than 35 spaces open their doors, giving you a rare peek into the creative process.
9 p.m.: Go with a corner table at the Mews (508-487-1500, mews .com), and then almond-crusted cod or steak and scallops paired with a cocktail mixed up from the ridiculously large vodka selection.
9 a.m.: A raspberry-cheese croissant at Far Land Provisions (508-487-0045, farlandprovisions.com) is fuel for a hike through salt marshes to the Race Point Lighthouse (508-487-9930, racepointlighthouse .net). The keeper there offers tours before 2 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month in season. And since you’ll be taken with the view, why not book a night’s stay at either the Keeper’s or Whistle houses on site? Both come with 42 acres of beachfront property.
12 p.m.: Vibrant works by abstract artist and one-time resident Robert Motherwell are the centerpiece later this summer at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (7/20–9/30; 508-487-1750, paam .org). The paintings, selected from museums and private collections around the globe, will be displayed on the Cape for the first time.
3 p.m.: Reserve a sloop from Outer Cape Sailing (508-237-4012, outercapesailing.com) for an afternoon jaunt. The three-hour round trip departs from Wellfleet and makes a stop at Jeremy Point, where you can watch the seal pups play.
7 p.m.: By now you’re tired of fried seafood, which is why it’s off to Wellfleet’s PB Boulangerie Bistro (508-349-1600, pbboulangeriebistro.com). This place has real Francophile cred—the chefs, who hail from Lorraine and Lyon, make a mean steak frites and spit-roast chicken. Take a pastry to go for Sunday’s breakfast.
9 a.m.: Provincetown and Truro’s famous dune shacks—the 19 rustic cottages that once sheltered writers and artists like Jack Kerouac and Jackson Pollock—recently landed on the National Register of Historic Places. To explore them on foot, pull over to the right side of Route 6 at Snail Road in Provincetown, trek a mile over the dunes to the ocean, and meander along the water.
2 p.m.:Salt Pond in Eastham is open for noncommercial shell fishing on Sundays. Get the required permit and a tide schedule at the town’s Natural Resources Department (508-240-5972, eastham-ma.gov), then take home a bucket of quahogs, littlenecks, and steamers. —JANELLE NANOS
GET SOME SUN
Race Point Beach, Provincetown: Situated on the north side of the point, this sandy stretch has rougher waves than nearby Herrings Cove and direct sunlight all day long.
Coast Guard Beach, Eastham: Called the “Great Beach” by Henry David Thoreau, this strip is one of the most sought-after on the Cape. The crowd is thinner and the water is warmer on the bay side.
Marconi Beach, Wellfleet: Everything about this beach is dramatic—from the 40-foot drop down to the water to the views of the Outer Cape atop the observation tower at the ranger station.
REST YOUR HEAD
Brass Key Guesthouse, Provincetown: This recently updated cluster of cottages offers a bit of serenity in the heart of bustling P-town (summer rates* from $229; 508-487-9005, brasskey.com).
Fort Hill Bed and Breakfast, Eastham: You can’t beat the idyllic location of this historical inn: It overlooks the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Nauset Marsh (summer rates from $250; 508-240-2870, forthillbedandbreakfast.com).
*summer rates are from June to August*
Drop in for a massage or yoga class at Wellfleet’s Quiet Mind Studio (508-349-2429, quietmindstudio.com), located in a former grain warehouse. You’ll be supple and stress-free in no time.