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.
Upper Cape: For History Buffs
Highlights here include relics from Falmouth’s whaling past and vestiges of the salt-works business in Bourne and the glass industry in Sandwich, the oldest town on the Cape. If you’re feeling spendy, hit the shops to take home a treasure from a bygone era.
5 p.m.: After inching over the traffic-clogged Bourne Bridge, you’ll feel like a Pilgrim arriving at Plymouth Rock: tired, thirsty, and famished. Soothe rumbling stomachs with porcini-dusted day-boat haddock and lobster strudel at the Glass Onion (508-540-3730, theglassonion dining.com) in Falmouth.
8 p.m.: Help create, or at least witness, theatrical history at a play read-through presented by the Cape Cod Theatre Project at Falmouth Academy (508-457-4242, capecodtheatreproject.org). Your feedback for the actors and director could go far; many a production launched here has landed on Broadway (The Mineola Twins) or off-Broadway (Modern Orthodox).
9 a.m.: Locals start the day right with Belgian waffles and bottomless cups of coffee at Moonakis Café (508-457-9630) in East Falmouth. Like a side of politics with your bacon? Pick up one of owner Paul Rifkin’s “Make breakfast, not war” tees.
11 a.m.: Enjoy whaling artifacts at the Conant House (508-548-4857, falmouthhistoricalsociety.org), an 18th-century Colonial-style home on Falmouth green. Spectacles once worn by “America the Beautiful” scribe (and town native) Katharine Lee Bates are also on view.
1 p.m.:Don’t let the crowds deter you from stopping by Mashpee’s Raw Bar (508-539-4858, therawbar.com) for the buzzed-about lobster roll–you can split one and still leave full.
3 p.m.: Take in glass-blowing demos and peruse items made at the now-defunct Boston & Sandwich Glass Company at the Sandwich Glass Museum (508-888-0251, sandwich glassmuseum.org). A hologram (yes, a hologram) of Rebecca Burgess, a ship captain’s wife, watches over a Victorian-era dining room table set with finger bowls , an epergne, and other glass pieces.
6 p.m.: Fans of yard sales and Pawn Stars will enjoy a live auction at the Sandwich Auction House (Saturdays in June, Wednesdays in July and August; 508-888-1926, sandwichauction .com). You could score a glittering art deco bauble on the (relatively) cheap.
8 p.m.: Tucked away in a former Catholic church, the Belfry Inne & Bistro in Sandwich (508-888-8550, belfryinn.com) has stained-glass windows and tasty dishes like seafood risotto. Live piano music is the perfect excuse for an après-dinner tipple or two. Feeling chatty? It could be because wine is stored in an old confessional behind the bar.
10 a.m.: Oh-so-fluffy pancakes at the Dan’l Webster Inn (508-888-3622, danlwebsterinn.com) should fortify you for a trip to the 6,000-square-foot Sandwich Antiques Center on 6A (508-833-3600, sandwich antiquescenter.com), where you can lose yourself among the clocks, lighting fixtures, and furniture.
2 p.m.: Wrap up a weekend of antiquity with a spin on the 1908 carousel and a stroll through the hydrangeas at Sandwich’s Heritage Museums & Gardens (508-888-3300, heritage museums.org). Don’t miss the new exhibit “Norman Rockwell: Beyond the Easel,” which features more than 150 works by the legendary painter. —Naomi Kooker
GET SOME SUN
Old Silver Beach, North Falmouth: This crescent beach boasts Buzzards Bay water temps (in the 70s), tide pools on the southern end, and striking sunsets.
South Cape Beach, Mashpee: Situated between Waquoit Bay and Vineyard Sound, this beautiful one-mile stretch of white sand has plenty of blanket space and over-the-dunes boardwalks.
Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable/Sandwich Town Line: Relax among 4,700 acres of dunes and maritime forests—or hike from the beach to the Great Marsh wildlife sanctuary.
REST YOUR HEAD
Sea Crest Beach Hotel, North Falmouth: Fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation, this hotel on Old Silver Beach features gorgeous rooms, a fitness center, and two pools (summer rates from $360; 508-540-9400, seacrestbeachhotel.com).
Woods Hole Passage B & B, Falmouth: Between the cheery welcome, full breakfasts, and garden grounds, you won’t want to venture too far from this carriage house cum inn (summer rates from $199; 508-548-9575, woodsholepassage.com).
At Titcomb’s, a three-floor, 42-year-old Indie bookshop in Sandwich, you’ll find everything from classic Dickens to a Thoreau first edition to the latest non-fiction bestseller (508-888-2331, titcombsbookshop.com).