While you’re visiting Anchorage on the Cove, check out some of these local attractions.
Cape Cod National Seashore/Beaches
Whether you’re looking for a placid beach with a toddler in tow, or seeking five-foot waves and scenic vistas, Cape Cod offers swimmers, surfers, strollers, and sunbathers many choices. The wild and cooler Atlantic beaches call to some with their waves, surfing, seals and sand dunes. The placid, warmer waters of Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound appeal to families with their tidal flats, crabs and sand dollars. The sun rises over the ocean beaches, and sets over the bay.
Nationally famous beaches are mere minutes by car from Anchorage on the Cove. In total, over 40,000 acres and almost 30 miles of shoreline are federally protected, from Chatham to Provincetown. Eastham is home to Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center, official gateway to Cape Cod National Seashore (don’t forget to get a permit for a magical evening at the beach with your own bonfire, a unique experience not to be missed). The National Seashore celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Park Rangers offer activities for the whole family, including kayak trips, campfires and interpretive walks. Eastham’s ocean beaches include the spectacular Coast Guard Beach − according to 50 criteria, voted in the top 10 North American beaches by Dr. Beach every year since 2009. Its constant waves make it a must-do for surfers. (The town of Eastham and Coast Guard Beach have been featured in National Geographic Traveler.)
Next beach down is the famous Nauset Light Beach, home to the famed Nauset Lighthouse − see why it has been rated as one of the top 20 ocean beaches in North America. A family-friendly beach, it offers free concerts in July and August.
Eastham’s calmer, bayside beaches, perfect for little ones, include First Encounter Beach, the site of the Pilgrims’ first meeting in 1620 with Native Americans. Purchase beach stickers at the Natural Resources Facility at 555 Old Orchard Road or visit www.easthamchamber.com.
Nearby Orleans offers Nauset Beach (www.nausetbeach.org), nine miles of perfect white sand and wild waves. Or the calm and picturesque Rock Harbor Beach.
If you like to walk a beautiful Cape Cod trail, you’ll enjoy Eastham’s Fort Hill with its fabulous views of Nauset Marsh, the Nauset Spit, and the Atlantic Ocean. The trail is 1.5 miles long, and takes about an hour. The second parking lot is an ideal spot to survey, by day, the scenery, and, by night, the 180-degree view of the night sky unspoiled by ambient light. Don’t forget to visit the Captain Penniman House, a restored whaling captain’s mansion whose entrance is framed by whale jawbones. It’s just across from the parking lot. 5 minutes away by car.
This popular local town harbor is the place to go to rent charter boats. Go sport fishing for blues, bass, cod and even tuna. It’s a must-see if you rent a bike and want to watch the fishing fleet come in. It’s also the only local launching area for boat trailers on Cape Cod Bay. Not to mention a great spot to watch sunsets, sometimes accompanied by steel drum music! 10 minutes away by car.
Wellfleet Drive-In Theater/Flea Market
One of the last old drive-ins and symbol of old Americana. Relive your youth, or try a new experience. This makes for a great evening outing with family. In the summer, visit the daily flea market on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. 10-15 minutes away by car.
Cape Cod Potato Chip Co.
This Hyannis factory processes 28 million pounds of potatoes a year. Peer through glass windows to see machines that wash, peel, and slice the potatoes before they’re slowly fried in small batches. Then the golden-brown chips are processed to remove any excess oil. After being salted and flavored, the chips are hand-packed into bags. Open Mon.- Fri.; free admission. Good for a rainy day!
Ready for a daytrip? At the upper tip of the Cape lies Provincetown, an artist’s colony and shopper’s paradise where alternative lifestyles are celebrated. Once a quaint old fishing town, P’town’s one-way Commercial Street is now a mecca for local crafts and people watching. Just park your car at the municipal parking lot on the pier, and walk your way through the “P’town experience.” Whale-watching trips run from MacMillan Pier in the old port. For a fabulous view, visit the wraparound deck at the Pilgrim Monument, built to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first landing. Also try the beaches, surf fishing, and wonderful restaurants. Sample the Portuguese bakeries and food, or one of the many outdoor cafes that cater to people with their pups.
More conservative than Provincetown, but equally charming, is Chatham. A beautiful, quaint village, it is home to great shops and restaurants. Watch the fishing fleet come in, or use it as a jumping-off spot to see the Monomoy seals.
Only 1/3 mile away, this town has shopping, shopping and more shopping, not to mention good restaurants and art galleries. A perfect little town meant for strolling and exploration. . .
If bird watching is your thing, come to Audubon’s world-famous Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, acres of protected habitat in Wellfleet, including five miles of hiking trails and guided walks and trips through salt marsh, wooded uplands, fresh-water wetlands, ponds and fields. Nauset Marsh on the ocean side is also well-known, 10 minutes away by car. Visit Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Its large salt marshes are home to great blue herons, sandpipers, osprey, plovers, and terns. The marsh and the barrier paths are also a great place to see seals.
Dig clams right in our own Town Cove waters (you can get your permit down the road at the Natural Resources Facility, 555 Old Orchard Road in Eastham). Try your hand at the saltwater flats fishing right off our dock (that striped bass and bluefish would taste mighty good, along with your freshly dug clams). Permits are not required for recreational saltwater angling on Cape Cod. For bait and tackle, go to nearby Goose Hummock on Route 6A in Orleans, or Blackbeard’s on Brackett Road in Eastham. Go to Rock Harbor (see above) to rent a boat for sport fishing.
Cape Cod is chockablock with museums for adults and children alike. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on picturesque Route 6A in Brewster offers nature programs, guided walks of trails by the bay through wildflower gardens, woodlands and salt marshes, and has natural history day programs for children ages 3 to grade 7. It also has an aquarium/tidal pool and numerous exhibits on everything from whales and dolphins to beehives, birds, and coastal change.
Cape Cod Children’s Museum‘s slogan is “Where Children Play to Learn and Adults Learn to Play!” Located in Mashpee, the museum features interactive exhibits, role play, drop-in programs, birthday parties, and educational classes. Sample activities include a talk on the traditions of the local Wampanoag tribe, storytelling, “Show and Tail with the MSPCA,” planetarium shows, campfire singalongs and a puppet show.
Heritage Plantation in Sandwich is devoted to the preservation of Americana. It maintains grounds that feature more than a thousand types of trees, shrubs and flowers; and zipline activities.
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum features a multimedia exhibit focusing on JFK’s times on Cape Cod, with a large photo collection, and audio/video recollections by his friends.
The Provincetown Museum features exhibits on the Pilgrims, maritime history, whaling, and the early days of American theater, including Eugene O’Neill and the Provincetown Players.
The Cape is known for its summer regional theater. The Cape Playhouse in Dennis calls itself “America’s Most Famous Professional Summer Theatre.” Or there is the Provincetown Players. The nearby Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater has been called by the Boston Globe “a jewel in Massachusetts’ crown.” It holds “WHATforKids,” special events such as poetry readings, art openings, opening night parties, and “PlayMaker Talkbacks,” a chance to talk with the actors, director and design team.
Cape Cod is known for its whale watching. Take a Dolphin Fleet boat out of MacMillan Pier in Provincetown. Watch these inspiring creatures and learn about them as you enjoy an exhilarating few hours out on the water visiting the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a federally protected feeding ground for migrating whales. You won’t just see whales such as the humpback, minke, right, and finback; you may also see dolphins and sea birds. Whale sightings can be expected May through October. Bring your sunscreen, camera, extra layers and rubber-soled shoes.
Experience fine private and public golf courses located within easy reach of Anchorage on the Cove. Captain’s Golf Course offers a junior program for kids.
And don’t forget that all-American pastime − mini-golf, with two fine nearby examples. Ten minutes away, in Eastham and located on Rte. 6, is Arnold’s Mini-Golf, which includes water features while telling the history of Eastham.
Cape Cod Bay
The site of many placid Eastham beaches, the Bay provides great low-tide walks on sand flats and super surf casting at high tide. Visited by the first settlers, historic First Encounter Beach is a good bay beach.
If you like to sample all kinds of foods, from family-style to fresh-caught local lobster and fish, to fine dining, we are the place for you! We’re surrounded by great eating spots, and we’re happy to provide you information on great nearby restaurants. Eat in what used to be the Orleans town jail, now a beautifully restored pub with restaurant. Or try Middle Eastern/Thai fusion at Abba. We’ll send you to the local “watering hole” to see locals talking about their day and enjoying great, reasonably priced food. Or there’s the local seafood/sushi combo restaurant. . . not to mention outdoor seafood shacks. The list goes on. . . In 2011, Arnold’s in Eastham was named in the top three “Best Dives in Massachusetts” by Coastal Living Magazine. That same year, Cape Cod Magazine awarded it “Best Fried Clams.” A few minutes up the road is the South African Karoo, with a menu tailored to vegan and gluten-free diets, as well as meat-lovers’ tastes.
Our town, originally called Nauset by native Americans, is the oldest incorporated township in the U.S. and is home to Fort Hill, Cape Cod National Seashore’s Visitors Center, Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach, First Encounter Beach, and some great restaurants. Its cemeteries provide the resting place for Mayflower passengers. Eastham’s windmill, located on the town green, was built in the 1680s and is Cape Cod’s oldest working windmill; take a tour! Windmill Weekend in September offers fun, food, entertainment, an arts and crafts fair, a parade, and activities for all. Eastham was featured on Boston.com as “everything you need in a Cape Cod retreat.”
Another interesting side trip can be made to this site of the home of the Kennedy family. Go whale watching, shop the quaint village, sightsee or take one of the many boat tours to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard for a day’s visit. Enjoy a scenic ride on the Cape Railroad. Dine in the old Pullman dining car as you pass small villages and water views at sunset. Relive an earlier era.
Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard
Want to spend a day at one of these charming, nearby islands while you’re on the Cape? It’s as easy as booking with Hy-Line Cruises out of Hyannis. Kids ride free on the traditional ferries, and there’s also high-speed ferry service.
We’ve been told we’re a “kayaker’s paradise”! We’re minutes away from the easily accessed Nauset marshes. Yours to borrow are complimentary kayaks, canoes, or a rowboat − or bring your own! (Life jackets mandatory!) You can set off from our own short path a few feet to water’s edge.
A number of boat ramps in Eastham are found nearby. Practically next door and only a minute away, are two boat ramps at Collins Landing on Town Cove. Five minutes away is Rock Harbor, and there is Hemenway Road (all 1/2 of usable tide). In Orleans and five minutes away, you’ll find Goose Hummock Shop (all tides). Goose Hummock also provides guided kayak tours of the local marshes and bays.
Arts and Crafts
Outdoor shows are held throughout the summer, with prominent ones conducted in Orleans, Harwich and Falmouth Village. Eastham’s Windmill Green also hosts crafts shows.
Nearby Nauset High School (past the Baskin Robbins!) on Cable Road has five courts.
Experience true, traditional baseball-with-a wood-bat by seeing the Cape Cod Baseball League. It’s America’s oldest amateur league, and celebrates its 132nd season in 2016. Famous for feeding college players to the pros, the league is proud to say that one of every 7 major leaguers has played in it. In 2011, the space shuttle Endeavor lifted off with a baseball from the Cape Cod League. Ten minutes from Anchorage on the Cove, the Orleans Firebirds play in Orleans’ Eldredge Park, which underwent major renovations in Spring, 2010. The field has been called by Baseball America magazine “the top collegiate summer ballpark in the United States.” Come see true Americana, and hear the crack of the bat, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and bring your blanket or chair, and an appetite. Concessions.
The Orleans Firebirds also run a baseball youth clinic during the summertime.
Grab your picnic makings and head out. Catch the paved Cape Cod Rail Trail, 30 miles long, at the rotary, 1/3 mile from Anchorage on the Cove. It connects Rte. 134 in Dennis with LeCount Hollow in Wellfleet; it runs the length of Eastham along the old Penn Central Railroad tracks. Or pick up the paved 1.6-mile Nauset Bike Trail at the Visitors Center at Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham. It runs eastward from the Salt Pond Visitor Center at the corner of Rte. 6 and Nauset Road in Eastham to Coast Guard Beach. Bring the family or just get away from the crowd. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Cape − our forests, kettle ponds, cranberry bogs, and salt marshes.
It’s not just flat and sandy, and it’s not just the Rail Trail. Think forests of scrub oaks, pines, roots, and rocks. For single track, head to the 20-mile network of trails at Nickerson State Park in Brewster; or the 20-mile Trail of Tears in W. Barnstable (its North Ridge defies most experts); or for classic X-country and free ride, try the Bourne/Falmouth area.
Hidden Hiking Trail
Here is one secret hiking trail that hasn’t made it into the tourist brochures. Snail Road in nearby Truro is reached by Rte. 6, heading toward Provincetown. At the intersection, you’ll see a sign saying “To Route 6A, Provincetown.” Park in the parking lot on the right, and begin your trek along the unmarked Snail Road. Scenic and about 1½ miles long, it offers beautiful vistas – worth the exertion through the sand. At the summit, you’ll see the Atlantic, Cape Cod Bay and the peak of Race Point Light, Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument, and vistas of rolling dunes. A beach and solitude await at the end of the trail.
Or try Nauset Marsh Trail in Eastham, an easy, one-mile, one-hour stroll across wood bridges and among kettle ponds formed by the glaciers. It skirts Salt Pond and Nauset Marsh, and is a destination for birders and those interested in salt marsh ecosystems and upland succession. Park at Salt Pond Visitors Center.
Pilgrim Spring Trail in North Truro is a half-hour ramble with fabulous vistas, with pines in the foreground and the distant sight of sand dunes and the Atlantic. A plaque memorializes the first fresh-water source found by the Pilgrims in 1620.
As the air cools, and the seabreezes become more bracing, the Cape slows down to a calmer pace. Come see the cranberry bogs brighten up to a rich red. Five miles of sandy trails await at Mass. Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Take the 1.6-mile Nauset Marsh Trail from the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center past Salt Pond and Nauset Marsh to Coast Guard Beach. Nickerson State Park in nearby Brewster is 1,900 acres of pristine woodlands and wetlands, plus a slew of kettle ponds; it offers three loop trails around the ponds. Festivals abound such as September’s Windmill Weekend in Eastham, and Celebrate our Waters in Eastham and Orleans. In mid-October, enjoy the Wellfleet Oyster Fest or the Full Moon Tour of Nauset Light. Visit Eastham’s Fort Hill for spectacular views of the night sky free of ambient light. Enjoy bird watching.
For Pet Lovers
Want to bring your best friend with you? Yes, we have two cottages and one apartment that are pet-friendly, all complete with gated decks. We even have our own secured dog-play area. There’s no reason that Fido or Fifi can’t enjoy “the good life” along with you! We’ll even let you in on the nearby dog-friendly beach! If you want doggie daycare one day when you want to leave the Cape, try nearby Nauset Kennels, a lucky pup’s home away from home. The Woof Waggin’ and the Bark Bus are available for pick-up and delivery of your cat or dog.