Mobile Phone User click here
View Kayaking on Cape Cod in a larger map
Rich and I first tried kayaking in North Conway, NH, long before we bought our Inn on Cape Cod. Great friends of ours were up for a visit and, looking for an adventure, we decided to rent kayaks and meander down the Saco River for a lazy summer afternoon.
We put in at the bridge in the center of town, loaded down with sandwiches and a cooler full of soft drinks. With only a crude map of the river to navigate by, and the cryptic directions of the rental outfitter to the pick-up spot several miles south, we set off shortly before noon. Last shuttle back to town was 5:00PM. The river was slow, being late in the season, and devoid of its spring rapids. The four of us barely paddled, allowing the current to propel us forward at its own pace.
We stopped for a quick dip near the golf course where the river widened into a natural swimming hole, and then again a bit farther south on a wide swath of sandy beach to enjoy our sandwiches. The afternoon was hot and still and the river was dotted with kayaks, canoes, old inner tubes and all manner of flotation devices. We passed a camping area full of families enjoying bar-b-ques and pick-up games of volleyball. There were folks fly fishing along the banks of the river, and the occasional dog chasing a stick in the water. All in all, it was the perfect summer outing with good friends, sharing laughter and reminiscing about our other adventures together.
As the afternoon progressed and the sun sunk lower on the horizon, we consulted the crude map the outfitter had given us to locate the pick-up spot. It looked to be just past the railroad bridge that crossed the river near Conway. Having no idea where we were on the river, and seeing no sign of the railroad bridge, we decided to pick up the pace a bit. Out came the paddles, and with purpose afoot, each of us assaulted the river in our own unique styles. Michael, being much younger and clearly more fit than the rest of us, pulled out in front, with Karen and I a close second, carving the river left and right in a frantic effort to gain ground. Rich was a distant third.
With little concern for his ability to keep up, I checked my watch, and noting that the time was rapidly approaching the witching hour, concentrated on reaching the pick-up spot in time for the last shuttle. “Every man for himself” seemed to be our battle cry. As we rounded a bend in the river, the railroad bridge finally appeared on the horizon. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief at that point, allowing ourselves to take a break from our frenetic paddling. It was Michael that first noticed just how far back Rich was, and more alarmingly, how low his kayak was in the water. Rich was carrying the cooler and was the heaviest of the four of us, but that was still not enough to explain why the back of his kayak was nearly under water. We circled back to check on his safety, only to find out that his kayak had sprung a leak and he was trying desperately to bail the boat out while continuing to paddle.
I think it was the look on his face, a compromise between sheer determination and utterly pissed-off, combined with the total exhaustion we all felt as a result of paddling at breakneck speed that led us to uncontrollable laughter. Here was my husband valiantly paddling his wounded kayak down the Saco River with the remains of our summer picnic in tow, sinking slowly beneath the surface of the water while franticly trying to bail out his boat. It was priceless.
Needless to say, we all survived that excursion and many more since. In fact, Rich and I fell in love with the sport and bought kayaks of our own, which we brought with us when we moved to Cape Cod. So far we have kayaked in Barnstable Harbor, on Little Pleasant Bay, on the Parker River (to a 4th of July fireworks display), and on Lake Wequaquet, all memorable experiences to be sure, but not nearly as noteworthy as our Saco River adventure.
Many of our guests are avid kayakers with their own equipment. But others are new to the sport and need advice about where to rent equipment. There are a number of good kayak rental outfitters on Cape Cod, and a few that offer guided tours and instruction. Our favorite is Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures operated by Dick Hilmer and his wife. Dick is a heck of a guy, a throwback perhaps to the 60s, but a supremely knowledgeable and extremely eco-conscious individual with a terrific sense of humor. We have sent a number of our guests on kayak adventures with Dick, and all return with high praise for his unique ability to share his love of, and concern for, the fragile Cape Cod eco-system.
When time allows we will tackle the rest of what Dick tells us are the best kayaking spots on the Cape. Here is his top ten list, in no particular order:
SCORTON CREEK, Sandwich
Launch from the State Wildlife Reservation off Route 6A by the Scorton Creek Bridge. Scorton means “place where the stream branches.” Follow this twisting tidal creek through the Great Marsh, which once stretched as far as Barnstable Harbor. Explore adjacent Mill and Shove Creeks. Highlights: herons, egrets, ospreys, and striped bass.
WAQUOIT BAY, Falmouth & Mashpee
Launch from Great River Boat Landing, Great Oak Road, Mashpee. Paddle down Great River and west across Waquoit Bay to Washburn Island. Continue south along the island, across the channel to South Cape Beach State Park, then return across the bay. Highlights: walking the pristine 330-acre Washburn Island (primitive camping available), beachcombing on South Cape Beach, shorebirds.
BARNSTABLE HARBOR, Barnstable
Launch from Blish Point State Landing, Millway Road. Head across Barnstable Harbor to Sandy Neck and explore this spectacular seven-mile long barrier beach that protects the 4,000-acre Great Marsh. Highlights: second highest sand dunes on Cape Cod, views of the Great Marsh, quaint village and old lighthouse at Beach Point.
BASS RIVER, Dennis
Launch from Cove Road and paddle north. Bass River is the longest river on Cape Cod, stretching seven miles from its headwaters at Mill Pond to Nantucket Sound. Highlight: walking the two mile trail at the Indian Lands Conservation Area, spring wildflowers (including lady’s slippers).
BELLS NECK/HERRING RIVER, Harwich
Launch from Bell’s Neck Road and cross the West Reservoir, a freshwater cedar swamp. Take out at the dike and put back in on the Herring River. Follow the winding river to Route 28 in West Harwich. Highlights: 245 acres of salt and freshwater marshes, woods, herring run, cranberry bogs, kettle ponds, hiking trails.
BREWSTER PONDS, Brewster
Launch from Punkhorn Parklands parking lot, Run Hill Road. An easy canoe trip through a chain of freshwater ponds, Walker’s, Upper Mill, and Lower Mill. These kettle ponds were created 12,000 years ago by melting blocks of glacial ice. Highlights: Stony Brook Grist Mill, the herring run, five miles of trails in the 800-acre Punkhorn Parklands.
LITTLE PLEASANT BAY, Orleans
Launch from Portanimicut Road, Orleans. Paddle across Little Pleasant Bay to circumnavigate Sampson and Hog Islands and explore Nauset Beach. The privately owned islands allow visitors, and Nauset Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Highlights: snorkeling, eelgrass beds, horseshoe crabs, ospreys.
NAUSET MARSH, Eastham
Launch from Salt Pond below the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or Hemenway Road off Route 6. Nauset Marsh is a vast system of salt-marsh, creeks, channels, islands, and barrier beach. Circumnavigate the marsh heading north through Salt Pond Bay and Nauset Bay, then south along Nauset Beach, and back through the Main Channel. Or head south through Skiff Hill Creek along Fort Hill, past Town Cove to Inlet Marsh and back. Highlights: former Coast Guard Station, thousands of nesting terns, migrating shorebirds, seals, striped bass, ospreys, beachcombing, National Seashore visitor center, hiking trails and bike paths nearby.
WELLFLEET PONDS, Wellfleet
Launch from Gull Pond Landing off Schoolhouse Hill Road. This is a short and easy tour, especially good for beginners, of three kettle ponds – Gull, Higgins, and Williams – in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Williams Pond was the home of the “Wellfleet Oysterman” immortalized in Thoreau’s Cape Cod. Highlights: water lilies, red maples, turtles, frogs, sunfish, swimming.
PAMET RIVER, Truro
Launch from the South Pamet Road culvert to explore the freshwater Upper Pamet or from the Pamet Harbor boat ramp on Depot Road to explore the saltwater Lower Pamet and Pamet Harbor. The Pamet is an outwash channel carved by the glaciers with its head at the Atlantic Ocean and its mouth at Cape Cod Bay. Highlights: foliage, panoramic views of the Pamet Hills.
Cape Cod Maritime Days, sponsored jointly by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, the Cape Cod Commission, and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, celebrates the region’s rich maritime history. Now in its17th year, Maritime Days are comprised of numerous special events and activities held throughout the region during the entire month of May that salute our unique maritime traditions. Highlights include lighthouse tours, nautical art exhibits, lectures on maritime lore, boat-building exhibits, kayaking excursions, and a Maritime History Symposium. (more…)
I’m a homegrown girl. There’s just no two ways about it. And, as a small business owner on Cape Cod, I have always been a proponent of buying local whenever possible. To sustain our native economy, it only behooves us all to frequent local markets, support local missions, and promote local vendors. Lately, there has been a movement underfoot to “buy fresh, buy local”. That groundswell initiative extends from seasonal fruits and vegetables, to fish, meat, and poultry, and even to jams, jellies, honey, and dairy products. Recently, a new word was coined to embrace this new philosophy: localvore. (more…)
This weekend we had two very special events take place at the High Pointe Inn. The first was an engagement and the second a babymoon. The first couple is embarking on an adventure that we hope will bring them much happiness now and in the future, as two become one and share a life of love together. The second couple are preparing to help shape the life of another, that of their son or daughter when he or she arrives in May.
Each couple chose one of our spa vacation packages to celebrate their special occasion; the first our Celebration Vacation package and the second our We’re Having a Babymoon package. Combining two nights accommodation with side-by-side in-room couples massage and a 3-course gourmet dinner for two at one of Cape Cod’s finest restaurants, the spa packages are a great deal for couples celebrating a significant milestone. For each package we tuck in a special gift from the innkeepers to commemorate the occasion.
We are lucky to have the Pampered Mermaids, a mobile spa service, that allows us to offer our guests a complete menu of spa services done in the privacy of their guest room. Our Girlfriend Getaway guests often choose to have manicures and pedicures, but the Pampered Mermaids can also do facials, exfoliating body polish, and 60- or 90-minute deep relaxation massages. Any service can be added to a reservation on an a-la-carte basis, or bundled together with one of our special packages.
Becoming more and more popular with our guests, spa services are perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, mother/daughter weekends, or just a soothing way to unwind after a hectic week. So the next time you plan a weekend getaway to Cape Cod, why not make it a spa vacation and treat yourselves to a special service from the Pampered Mermaids. Relax, refresh, renew…we bring the spa to you.
In today’s Cape Cod Times newspaper, there was a photo of a whale swimming about a half mile off Race Point Beach in Provincetown yesterday afternoon, March 18, 2010. That marks one of the earliest sightings of whales returning to Stellwagan Bank just off Cape Cod Bay, and heralds the beginning of the whale watching season here. Many types of whales are found here in season, including finback (the largest), humpback (the most playful), right (the most endangered), killer, pilot, and minke. Each species has its own distinct habits, but, generally, the whales begin arriving in this area in early spring and leave for warmer waters in early winter. (more…)