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.
Lower Cape: For the Pampered Set
Sometimes you just need to treat yourself, and the Cape’s elbow —with its chichi eateries, stellar golf courses, and cushy spas— is the ideal destination. Put your feet up, preferably with a drink in hand, and uncover all that postcard-perfect Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, and Orleans have to offer.
4 p.m.: There’s no better way to salute the end of a day than with a refreshing “Mango Tango”—vodka, tangerine liqueur, and mango purée —at Libaytion, the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club’s waterfront bar. From there, it’s a quick stumble to the hotel’s posh Twenty-Eight Atlantic, where chef James Hackney (formerly of L’Espalier) turns out butter-braised lobster and lavender roast chicken. Long wait? No problem. Order from the dinner menu at the adjacent bar, Thoreau’s (508-432-5400, wequassett.com).
9 a.m.: Ease into the day with coffee and a bagel at JoMama’s (508-255-0255, jomamascapecod.com). The café has 20 types of cream cheese—plus vegan tofu spread.
11 a.m.: You didn’t come to the Lower Cape to exert yourself. Emerald Hollow Farm (508-685-6811, emeraldhollow farm.com) offers relaxing guided horseback rides through Brewster’s Punkhorn Parklands—835 acres of wooded conservation land full of cranberry bogs and kettle ponds.
1 p.m.: If it’s fresh off the boat, it’s for sale at the Chatham Pier Fish Market (508-945-3474, chathampierfishmarket.com). Call ahead for a steamed lobster, or spring for the fresh local sushi. The takeout shack doesn’t offer much in the way of ambiance, so grab your order and hail a charter boat to quiet North Beach for a romantic picnic.
5 p.m.: The liveliest cocktail hour is at Orleans hangout Land Ho! (508-255-5165, land-ho.com), where everyone seems to know one another. And before long, the bartenders will be calling you by name, too.
7 p.m.: Reservations are a must for dinner at Abba (508-255-8144, abbarestaurant.com), a bistro serving up an oft-changing menu of refined Mediterranean food with Thai influences—try the lobster-and-shrimp pad thai. Bonus: an oenophile-approved wine list.
8 a.m.: It’s tee time. You may have heard about the top-notch golf with spectacular scenery at the Wequassett or Ocean Edge resorts. But those courses are open only to members and guests. Brewster’s Captains Golf Course (508-896-1716, captainsgolfcourse.com) is a great public option, with 36 holes and PGA pros on hand to give quick swing tips.
12 p.m.: Aaah the afternoon away at the Chatham Bars Inn’s spa (508-945-6737, chathambarsinn.com). Arrive early to your appointment and enjoy a steam shower and the relaxation room and gardens. The “Spa Escape” is the ultimate indulgence—a three-hour treatment that includes a body scrub with sea salts or raw sugar; a neck and back massage; a heated-oil scalp rub; and a pedicure. Sweetheart in tow? Try a couples’ massage.
3:30 p.m.: Now that your limbs are feeling like Jell-O, hop in the car, roll down the windows, and head down 28 for one last hurrah at the Harwich Port ice cream joint Sundae School—fickle sweet tooths should opt for the four-scoop sampler (508-430-2444, sundaeschool.com). Then it’s back to Route 6 and the real world. —LINDSAY TUCKER
GET SOME SUN
Nauset Beach, Orleans: It boasts eight miles of shoreline (just under a quarter-mile is watched by lifeguards), but it’s the waves that make this place a favorite among Cape visitors and surfers alike.
North Beach, Chatham: Actually the southern end of Nauset, this hidden gem is accessible only by boat. But trust us, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Skaket Beach, Orleans: A serene stretch that’s perfect for a sunset stroll or devouring a juicy novel in your lounge chair.
REST YOUR HEAD
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Harwich: There are many reasons to stay here, but our favorite is the oceanfront pool, complete with Jacuzzi and bar. There’s also the fantastic private golf course and one of the Cape’s best restaurants (summer rates from $410, 508-432-5400, wequassett.com).
Chillingsworth, Brewster: We love this place for the private beach, afternoon wine and cheese, knowledgeable staff, and award-winning eatery (summer rates from $110; 508-896-3640, chillingsworth.com).
Get your art fix (and an impromptu lesson) in Brewster—James Maddocks paints New England seascapes and chats with onlookers in his 1860s carriage house turned gallery (508-896-6223, jamesmaddocksgallery.com).