I know I promised to post this third installment days ago, and clearly, I didn’t. I’m also pretty sure that no one lost sleep, cried, or pulled hair out in frustration over the fact that I didn’t get this installment posted. I’m not even sure where yesterday went. It was one of those days that got away from me. So…here we go…more Cape Cod!
I’ll start by saying that I was completely remiss when it came to taking pictures in Chatham. I’m not sure if I was tired, or just plain forgetful, but photography just didn’t occur. That’s a shame too, because Chatham is one of my favorite towns on the Cape. Although the parking is tricky, once you find a parking spot in the large public parking lot, once you’ve parked your car there is plenty within walking distance to see and explore. For me, Chatham is one of the best shopping towns I’ve visited on the Cape. It has an interesting mix of high-end boutique-style shops, and more affordable stores that cater to those of us who cannot afford Chatham real estate!
I’m a book store junkie. Chatham has two…the first is called Yellow Umbrella Books. Yellow Umbrella is a small bookstore that sells both new and used books. I’ve found that their mystery section is excellent, but I also love their large collection of local history books (being currently obsessed with all things Cape Cod). This is a book store that you need to take your time browsing. They are open year round and often have book signings and other events throughout the summer during tourist season.
The second book store is Where the Sidewalk Ends. This one is a larger and more spacious store…it’s actually more than a store now. It’s a complex. When I first visited this store in 2009, I fell in love. If I had any architectural knowledge or vocabulary, I’d use lots of very important sounding words to describe this store. Since I don’t have that skill set, I’ll just go with what I know. This place feels like a combination of a book store and your best friend’s house. It is warm, welcoming, and cozy. Since my first visit, the store has added a Children’s Annex. The Children’s Annex is everything a kid could want in a book store. Books, toys, educational games….you name it… Where the Sidewalk Ends is bookstore perfection!
Our next Cape day included a morning at Coast Guard Beach on the Cape Cod National Seashore and an afternoon in Provincetown. This was my first time on one of the Seashore beaches and it was a perfect day. I loved it so much I braved the 58 degree ocean waters for a long dip.
I don’t really know how to do justice to Provincetown. Provincetown is the most open, welcoming, and celebratory town on the Cape. It is unlike any of the other towns I’ve visited. It’s the otherwise relaxed and quiet Cape’s party animal cousin. While we were there, we walked the pier and cruised Commercial Street’s wide array of shops. One of our stops was to The Purple Feather for frozen lemonade and decadent chocolate truffles. The Purple Feather is one of many confectionaries on the Cape, but it’s my favorite. They do everything here…breakfasts, lunches, truffles and candies, gelato, coffee and tea. If you take a trip to P-town, you have to stop here.
While we were in Provincetown, we also learned that it was Carnival Week. This is a week-long celebration that includes parades, live music, casino nights, and the event we saw in action…Drag Queen Bingo. This event was just getting started as we were walking by and it seems to be a HUGE draw. Everyone was so excited and the attendees and other visitors to Ptown alike were full of carnival spirit.
And now for Martha’s Vineyard. I have, for a long time, really wanted to make the trip to one (or both) of the islands off the coast of Cape Cod. We chose the Vineyard for this trip. Our trip began with an hour-long trek to Falmouth to take the Island Queen ferry to Oak Bluffs. The ferry trip was short, only 35 minutes, and very affordable for a round trip ticket. After a great deal of researching our ferry options, the Island Queen won out – mostly because of price.
Once we arrived in Oak Bluffs, we walked from the pier to Circuit Avenue to browse the shops. We made a stop at Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Cafe & Bakery for some morning treats — croissants and doughnuts — a delicious and popular stop. After our treats, we headed into the Trinity Park area and walked through the neighborhoods that house the famed gingerbread cottages. These cottages are like something out of a fairy tale and something everyone should see. I want to live in one of these cottages.
One of the other highlights of our day on the Vineyard was a ride on the Flying Horses carousel. This is the oldest operating platform carousel in the country. I didn’t get a picture of the carousel from the inside because I was too busy reliving my childhood while riding the carousel. I did, however, take a pretty decent photo of the sign outside…that’s enough, right?
Once we left the Vineyard, we spent the rest of our final vacation day visiting stores in the area around our resort. We visited the Brewster General Store, a fun store to poke around in if you have some time. They have a little bit of everything, and ice cream next door. We also visited The Potted Geranium in Harwich. This is, like many of the stores and shops on the Cape, a great place to pick up a gift.
This trip was busy, and although it didn’t feel like we took a lot of time to rest and relax, it definitely was a vacation. I did feel relaxed and restored after spending this time on Cape Cod. You can’t help but ease into a slower pace. You breathe easier in the midst of the fresh ocean air and your body just seems to know that you’re in a place where the day-to-day worries of your world are far enough away that you can forget them for awhile. This trip was exactly what I needed, and now I hope to begin a new school year with a feeling of renewal and excitement that I so dearly needed.
I’ll be back to cooking and baking very soon! Please stay tuned and visit often. As always, let me know what you think!