Summer Escapes! The Great(est) Lakes

Testing the waters across New England, we uncover nine beauties worth their salt—or lack thereof.


LONG POND: The Best of Both

Saltwater proximity! Shady pines! Cape cod cachet!

Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you’ve long fancied giving lake country a try, but your ocean-addicted family—boat-loving Cape bunnies who insist on using “summer” as a verb—always nix the idea. This year (purely hypothetically), suggest Long Pond, and you’ll be able to pick off every counterargument like an expert marksman. A mere four miles from the nearest saltwater beach, it’s an excellent choice for weaning the brood off sodium without going cold-turkey in some landlocked Vermont forest. The 6.4 miles of pine-shaded shoreline spans the towns of Brewster and Harwich, for anyone requiring a quick social fix. Not that they will; frankly, the pond action will draw them in. There are two main beaches—one off Crowells Bog Road, the other off Long Pond Road—both of which have lifeguards and clearly delineated swimming areas during peak season, so let the kiddies have at it. Three ramps make this lake pleasure-boating central, and the beautifully laid-out Cape Cod Bike Trail provides picturesque workout opportunities, plenty of bike racks, and—if you really must—an escape route to the coast. —Laurie Wilson

DIMENSIONS 716 acres | DEEPEST POINT 66 feet | WATER QUALITY Clear, cold, well oxygenated | AQUATIC LIFE Bass, perch, pickerel, salmon, smelt | CRITTERS Black ducks, blue herons, hawks | OFF-LAKE ACTION Seaside biking; lobster-roll scarfing

Photograph by Bob O'Connor

Photograph by Bob O’Connor


PLAY: Rent bicycles at the Bike Depot (starting at $15/half day, $25/day; 11 Pleasant Lake Ave., Harwich, 508-776-5805) or Brewster Bike (starting at $10 for two hours; 442 Underpass Rd., Brewster, 508-896-8149, The stretch of 6A that snakes through Brewster is flanked by great antiques stores, providing a rainy-day respite.

EAT: Pick up sandwiches and other sustenance at Pleasant Lake General Store (403 Pleasant Lake Ave., Harwich, 508-432-5305), or sit outside on the patio at Brax Landing and munch on meaty lobster rolls while admiring the parade of boats in Saquatucket Harbor (705 Rte. 28, Harwich Port, 508-432-5515, Brewster FishHouse is a solid option for chowder, fish sandwiches, and burgers (2208 Main St., Brewster, 508-896-7867).

SLEEP: For elegance sans snootiness, check into the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club (doubles start at $200; 2907 Main St., Brewster, 508-896-9000, A cheaper option: Seadar Inn, in a prime location (doubles start at $135; One Braddock Ln., Harwich Port, 508-432-0264,