Things To Do on Cape Cod
West Barnstable, a quaint, seaside village in the northwest part of Barnstable, is at the midpoint between Sandwich to the West and Hyannis to East. This makes it a perfect jumping-off point for every kind of adventure Cape Cod has to offer.
Humpback Whale Watching
For most of my guests, the biggest hit of all is whale watching. Head over to Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, just five miles away at Barnstable Harbor, and you can zip up to Provincetown and the Stellwagen Bank on their high-speed, 130-foot boat specifically designed for whale watching in New England. Stellwagen Bank is the summer feeding ground for mama whales and their calves who come up from the South, and in April 2022 I saw 30 whales there in a single day. The variety ranges from Humpbacks and Minkes to North Atlantic Rights, Fins, Seis and Pilots. You’ll also see a gorgeous variety of sea birds and may even catch a glimpse of dolphins, seals, and an ocean sunfish, which can grow to 2,000 pounds!
Another way to get to the whales is to drive up to Provincetown. Choose a leisurely pace on beautiful Route 6a, where you can peruse the Cape’s famed collection of antique and second-hand shops, grab a fresh seafood lunch and pick up a cone of your favorite flavor at a local creamery. Many want to get there more quickly, however, and hop on Route 6, the Cape Connector, saving 6a for the drive home.
Once in Provincetown, you’ll board one of the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown vessels. Their boats are smaller, which means you may be closer to the whales, but both are equally good – don’t forget to ask me for coupons! A nice side trip for this route is a glimpse of the National Seashore, where you’re likely to see seals and maybe even a shark or two!
Biking Cape Cod
Bicycling is huge on the Cape, and I’ve got several you can rent at the manor. If you need more, I’m happy to arrange it. Once equipped, you can drive half an hour to Falmouth and explore the 10.7 miles of the Shining Sea Bikeway. You’ll first encounter it in North Falmouth, and you can take it all the way to Woods Hole, passing through marshes, woods, and cranberry bogs and paralleling several beaches. Lunch on quaint Main Street in downtown Falmouth is always a treat, or wait until Woods Hole and gaze out over the water and its busy fishing-fleet scene.
If you choose the opposite direction you’ll hit Yarmouth and the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 25.5-mile paved path that passes through Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Eastham, and Wellfleet – a true Cape Cod tour! As Wikipedia notes, it also connects to the 6-plus mile (10 km) Old Colony Rail Trail leading to Chatham, the 2-mile Yarmouth multi-use trail, and 8 miles (13 km) of trails within Nickerson State Park.
Kayaking Cape Cod
Kayaking is another adventure you won’t want to miss. I’ve got a couple of kayaks to rent so you can freestyle it along Scorton Creek and other waterways nearby. You can also go for a full-on tour of the beaches and marshes, with knowledgeable guides and other groups of tourists.
Restaurants around the Cape
Restaurants are plentiful in both Sandwich and Hyannis. There are also several fine ones closer to the manor. You can opt for Italian at Amari, just a mile west of the manor at the junction of Sandy Neck Road – with live music on weekends and during some happy hours. Four miles down the road in East Sandwich you can get a huge stack of pancakes or any omelette you want at the 6a Cafe, along with mimosas, beer, and wine. Across the street at Father’s you can sample gourmet bar eats, pizza and brews as you catch the sports of the day. Drive the 5 miles to Barnstable proper and you’ve got Nirvana coffee shop, a perennial hit, as well as the Dolphin – an old-fashioned family favorite – or Mattakeese Wharf for beautiful sunsets and Osterville Fish Too – informal fried seafood at picnic tables.