Longnook Beach, Truro
Longnook Beach, Truro, part of the Cape's Outer Beach. Cape Cod, MA
The Cape does fried seafood really, really well. Beyond that; dining in the area can be hit-or-miss. Loire Valley expat Frederic Feufeu reels it in with authentic French bistro fare the likes of which the Cape has never seen: cassoulet with duck confit, poached foie gras au torchon, escargot in garlic butter. 10 Market St., Mashpee, MA 2649, bleurestaurant.com.
Of Note Stationers
In an effort to revive the lost art of everyday note-writing, Kate Kellman and Isabel Bonenfant founded Of Note Stationers, a small paper-goods company that prints simple, minimalist cards and stationery. The duo insists no occasion is too small for purposeful writing, and with simple messages like "Glad you’re here" and "I think of you often, and I want you to know" their cards prove that taking pen to paper isn’t just for birthdays. MA ofnotestationers.com.
Mill 1 at Open Square
Housed in a refurbished paper mill out west in Holyoke, Mill 1’s brick walls and pine beams take full advantage of the 5,000-square-foot space’s historical details while keeping elegance at the forefront. Better yet, the staff of expert event managers can deck out the venue to suit your style — from a white-linen affair among glittering bistro lights to a more pared-back fete with wooden farm tables and paper lanterns. Bonus: Open Square is a net-zero-energy development (it generates as much energy as it uses), so your wedding will be both beautiful and carbon-neutral. 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 1040, mill1events.com.
Land's End Inn
Only Philistines and acrophobes could fail to fall in love with this, the most rapturous among Cape Cod's many small inns. Part oasis, part museum, the property perches high above Gull Hill and peers over what seems like every crevice of Cape Cod. If you somehow get tired of the view, you can turn you attention to the luxuriant gardens and lavish collection of ornate late-19th-century antiques, Tiffany lamps, and statues. If it's free, book the Bay Tower Room which hovers above the sea, dunes, and miles of marsh; you'll feel like you're sleeping not just at the tip of the Cape, but on top of the world. 22 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA landsendinn.com.
The Lobster Trap
The golden whole-belly fried clams are worth an impromptu day trip. Add in the Buzzards Bay and Back River vistas, the newly built bar stocked with local brews, and the overstuffed lobster roll served on buttery brioche (yes, brioche), and what you've got is, quite simply, one of the Cape's best casual seafood joints. 290 Shore Road, Bourne, MA 2532, lobstertrap.net.
Harbor Hotel Provincetown
Shady motor inns might be quintessential Cape Cod, but we don't have to like 'em. So we're thrilled to see the old Cape Inn reborn as the Harbor Hotel, with a mod new look and superb amenities. Spend all day dipping your toes in the pool, then wiggle them in the sand while sitting by the fire pit. 698 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA 2657, harborhotelptown.com.
Oceanquest Discovery Cruise
How many of the Cape's innumerable boat excursions actually let you participate? During this 90-minute cruise, passengers play with oceanographic equipment, pull lobster traps, and examine the chemistry of seawater. Departs from Waterfront Park, Woods Hole, MA oceanquest.org.
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
A marvelous collection, including both Robert Kennedy's and Ernest Hemingway's papers. Columbia Point, Dorchester, MA .
The Raw Bar
Mashpee's New Seabury is one of the Cape's toniest communities, brimming with quaint shops, picture-perfect lawns, and crushed-seashell pathways. The Raw Bar, which dispenses cheap beer beneath bare-breasted mermaid memorabilia, is the one place locals and visitors can really let their hair down. And they do—over platters of raw oysters, littlenecks, and heralded lobster rolls. The latter are technically big enough to share, but if you're like us, you'll want to savor every bite of your own. 252 Shore Dr., Mashpee, MA 2649, therawbar.com.
Hamlet & Kenn
Primarily a caterer, their cookies and petits fours are unrivaled. 123 Appleton St., Boston, MA .
Museum of Fine Arts
Original art, hand-pressed paper. When you care enough to really send the best. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
Charles Pierce, <em>Boston Herald</em>
He has become the most consistently engaging and entertaining sports columnist in any Boston paper.
Coast Guard Beach
Thoreau once walked the 40 miles of the Cape's pristine eastern coast and wrote a whole book on the experience. JFK, also a fan, ensured that the shoreline and its marshes, freshwater ponds, and lighthouses were preserved for future generations. On the southern end of the protected strip sits Coast Guard Beach. With its rolling dunes and ever-shifting conditions—roaring one day, serene the next—it's a breathtaking place to stroll, lounge, picnic, or surf. Doane Road, Eastham, MA 2642, .
Rene Oranburg's firm will stage any kind of get-together you want, arranging for caterers, decorations, and entertainment. Reasonable fees, too. 110 Independence Dr., Chestnut Hill, MA 617-469-9736.