I spent a week on Cape Cod last July, and I’ve been meaning to share these photos ever since!
We biked the Cape Cod Rail Trail… kayaked at Nickerson State Park and Herring River… walked around downtown Chatham… watched fireworks at night from the beach… and enjoyed several grilled dinners and fresh berries over angel food cake.
Photo highlights follow.
One of our favorite Cape lakes was semi-ruined earlier this year when we found out there are snakes in the water. Although let’s be honest… there are probably snakes in every body of water on Cape Cod. My sister is deathly afraid of slithering reptiles (remember our Africa snake story?) but the rest of us still go in Sand Pond, albeit less frequently and for shorter stretches of time. Regardless, the sandy beach remains one of our favorite places to lounge in a chair with a good book or crossword puzzle.
Red River Beach
We frequent this beach to walk our dogs in the parking lot after 6pm (most beaches on the Cape don’t allow dogs at all in the summer). Love the views here.
One morning we walked for several hours around Chatham, admiring the beachfront houses and looping through Main Street.
(For more photos, check out this post exclusively on Chatham that I wrote in 2015.)
That’s Chatham Light below (more in this post here):
Lighthouse Beach, looking as idyllic as ever:
We always stop at Mermaids on Main:
Biking with Dad on the Cape Cod Rail Trail
This was a long ride (just over 9 miles from Harwich to Nickerson State Park) and so chill. We went on an overcast day and not many people were on the trail. I did the same ride again by myself a few days later.
Kayaking and swimming at Nickerson State Park
I’ve already documented our love for Nickerson. We continued to enjoy this state park, as I walked the perimeter trail around Cliff Lake (takes about one hour) while my parents kayaked. After we went for a swim to cool off and then lounged in our beach chairs. The water is crystal clear and even appears Caribbean blue on a sunny day. There are many different beaches along this lake with various levels of privacy. Every time we go, we easily spend a whole afternoon here.
Kayaking the Herring River
I wrote about this in greater detail in yesterday’s post, so here are the quick highlights. This is the first time I’ve done this particular kayak route after hearing my parents rave about it for years. It’s tide-dependent, meaning you depart at a specific time relative to the tides so that the water carries you inland, and then you return as the tides switch — that way you’re not fighting the current, and it helps you paddle effortlessly. It’s still a good workout as it takes around 3 hours to complete. The scenery is really impressive. If you plan to go, check out that post link above for detailed maps and parking directions.
Pre-July 4th fireworks
During the evenings leading up to July 4th, it is common for people to set off fireworks on the beaches. One night we brought our chairs down to watch them. Not bad for a free show!
West Dennis Beach for July 4th
On the actual 4th, we went to West Dennis Beach with my aunt and uncle. We brought along a picnic dinner (I picked up fried clams and haddock from Original Seafood nearby) and enjoyed the views and near-empty beach. Around sunset we went for a walk up and down the shore. As it grew darker, the whole area filled up with people anticipating fireworks. They didn’t actually set off fireworks at this beach (with the exception of amateur fireworks, of which there were plenty) but you can see the firework displays in the distance for all the other towns up and down the coast, and even out on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Best meals we ate on the Cape
Honestly, the best meals are the ones we made at home. We usually avoid restaurants in the summer since they’re so crowded out here. Fortunately my mom is an excellent cook and my dad is handy with the grill. And I chip in by making dessert every once in awhile!
Attention: these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. I tweaked a New York Times recipe by adding two things suggested in the comments: tiny amounts of orange zest, and also ground coffee (1 teaspoon each) which you can’t specifically detect but they add a general spice flavor that is mind-blowing. I toasted walnuts in a skillet before adding them to the dough. And I let the dough chill for 48 hours in the fridge before baking since apparently that makes a difference (I rolled it into balls first). And I used regular flour (not cake and bread flour as the recipe specifies). These cookies were so delicious, especially when dunked in milk.
I tried Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters in Brewster for the first time and it’s such a cute place:
And we stopped by Monomoy Coffee Company in Chatham during our walk for a caffeine jolt:
And we LOVE Cottage Street Bakery in Chatham — especially their dirt bomb muffins:
Meeting up with friends in Dennis!
On one of my last nights on the Cape, I found out friends of mine from the TV world (Leslie and Sandy) would be in town. I drove over to meet them at Scargo B&B on Scargo Lake in Dennis — what a gorgeous place! It’s an enormous Victorian Mansion with expansive grounds and a beach for kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle boarding). The interior is really impressive, too. We chilled out around a fire pit in the backyard with the very funny co-owner, Roy, and other guests. Super fun night.
And that wraps up a very full seven days on Cape Cod! Thanks to my parents for hosting me!