With nearly 600 miles of unspoiled coastline, quintessential, shuttered New England cottages and darling restaurants serving up fresh-catch lobster and oysters a plenty, it’s no wonder city-dwellers are always planning their next trip “down the Cape.”
This Relais & Chateaux property is as boutique as they come. Plopped into the middle of quaint downtown Chatham, this 18-room hotel has been newly renovated from its original 1830 grandeur, with only the charming historical aspects remaining: wooden beams, fireplaces and the intangible Cape soul.
Located on Jones Pond in Falmouth, The Coonamessett, part of Lark Hotels, was recently reimagined to reflect the nostalgic Cape vibe with modern touchpoints. In-room decor highlights include pickled floors and shiplap, while outdoor accents include hammocks for lazing. All 29 rooms are remarkably spacious, featuring king or king Deluxe as well as king junior suites.
The onsite restaurant at Chatham Inn is the only Relais & Chateaux dining experience on the Cape, celebrated for its four-course, prix-fixe menu. Not only is the evening menu one worth booking a reservation, but also the weekend brunch where oversized cinnamon buns and farm-fresh eggs steal the show.
Built as one of the nine original life saving stations on the Outer Cape, The Beachcomber dates back to 1897, serving up heritage and history alongside fresh oysters at a beachfront restaurant. Expertly shucked regional bivalves can be ordered at the raw bar for you to carry on over to a picnic table overlooking the protected dunes.
Perched above Pleasant Bay, LiBAYtion is this grand resort’s beachfront bar that serves up everything from thirstquenching frozen daquiris to perfectly stirred martinis under a classical Cape pergola. The venue is only open during the summer months, which makes it all the more coveted.
Located at the northern tip of the Cape, Ptown is a beloved and accepting destination for the LGBTQ+ community, with cabaret performances often overflowing onto the main street. When you’re not dancing the day or night away, al fresco dining options allure with the freshest seafood, from lobster rolls to flash-fried calamari. Try Pepe’s Wharf for a fried fish sandwich, Mac’s Fish House for daily $1 oysters after 4 p.m. and The Mews for an elegant dining experience. For sweets, order up malasadas at Portugese Bakery or homemade scoops at Lewis Brothers Ice Cream. And don’t forget to shop! Yesterday’s Treasures is known for their antique treats, while On Center Gallery is the place to peruse for contemporary and transitional art.
By now you’ve probably figured out that the Cape is sprawling, with each town portraying their own personality. Founded in 1712, Chatham is one of the most charming downtown areas with a main street featuring artisinal candy shops, quriky souvenirs and unique high fashion. Even when most of the Cape takes a seasonal break in the winter, Chatham boutiques remain open for the curious traveler. Don’t miss The Squire, a local drinking institution offering a classic pub vibe.
Not far from downtown Chatham is this scenic stretch of sand worthy of spending an afternoon on a warm summer day or a bundled beach walk on a chilly winter’s day. The lighthouse above it also deserves a visit, one of 16 remaining lighthouses on the Cape Cod Coast.
Paddleboard through the estuaries
Standup Paddleboarding, or SUP, has undoubtedly become one of the most popular recreational water activities in recent years so why not try your hand, or balance, in one of the Cape’s calm estuaries? Operators like Cape Cod Waterways and Peace Love SUP offer rentals on Swan River and canals in Mashpee, respectively for a sporty but serenic way to experience this region’s waters.
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