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Question: What’s the first thing a Cape Cod bed and breakfast innkeeper does when there is no one at the Inn?
Answer: Why go out for breakfast, of course!
And so we found ourselves in just that situation earlier this week.
The first morning without guests is always a treat. The days leading up to Christmas, before the hubbub of the approaching holidays and the dawning of a new year, is the beginning of the quiet season at the High Pointe Inn. I always look forward to the first morning after a busy season that I can pad upstairs in my slippers to have a quiet cup of coffee and read the local paper without having to worry about guests catching me in my pajamas.
The sun shone brightly on a crystal clear December morn, and outside our kitchen window the dunes glistened in the distance. I could just make out Cape Cod Bay through the trees. Satisfied that the Inn was all decorated for the season, my Christmas cards stamped and in the mail to friends and family, and gifts ready to be wrapped awaiting me in the closet, I felt a certain satisfaction.
When Rich appeared on the scene, I suggested trying a new place for breakfast the I read about recently on Facebook. Located at the airport in Chatham, the Hanger B Eatery sounded like just our cup of tea. With only a few tables and a bevy of private planes parked on the tarmac that surrounds the hanger itself, it seemed the perfect spot for such a sparkling morning.
Chef Brian Erskine, formerly of the Chatham Bars Inn, opened the breakfast and lunch eatery in April of this year. Everything he serves is made from scratch, including biscuits, scones, donuts, and jams, and sourced locally. A proponent of the “Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod” movement, chef Erskine prides himself on using only the freshest of ingredients including locally roasted coffee.
Having heard that his Eggs Benedict was a real hit, I expected Rich to go that route, but instead he chose the red flannel hash and declared it “a pleasant departure from the norm due in no small part to the fresh beets, bacon, and delicate horseradish crème fraiche”. I eyed the lemon ricotta pancakes, but in the end opted for the breakfast sandwich, which was served with roasted tomatoes, avocado, arugula, and scrambled eggs with cheese atop a grilled croissant. The roasted tomatoes made for an unexpected earthy flavor.
The setting is quite homey with a bit of a funky twist due to its location at the airport. With fewer than 10 tables and an open kitchen, we felt instantly a part of the Hanger B family, and chatted amicably with the private pilot next to us, who had flown up from Hartford especially for breakfast. That’s quite an endorsement.
We watched a number of small planes take off and land while we were there, which reminded me of a favorite Saturday morning TV show from my youth (you remember “Sky King” don‘t you?!). Cape Aerial Tours, located below the eatery at the Chatham Airport, offers two scenic flight itineraries of the lower and outer Cape for a very reasonable rate. Rich lobbied quite hard to take one of the tours after breakfast, but with gifts to wrap at home I lobbied equally as hard to save it for another day.
Secretly I wanted an excuse to come back and try the lemon ricotta pancakes as soon as possible.
Hanger B Eatery is open for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday through Sunday from 7 AM to 2 PM. 240 George Ryder Road at the Chatham Airport.
We are lucky to live in an area of such incredible natural beauty. Cape Cod’s diverse ecosystem supports an abundance of exquisite flora and fauna, much of which is unique to our area. But perhaps nothing piques the curiosity of our Inn guests as the annual return of whales to Cape Cod Bay.
Humpbacks, and certain other species of whales, feed for about six or seven months along Stellwagen Bank, an 842-square-mile section of shallows lying in the Gulf of Maine just off the mouth of Cape Cod Bay. A prime fishing area, Stellwagen’s unique conditions and topography enable it to support a tremendous diversity of marine life, from single-cell organisms to great whales. A protected National Marine Sanctuary since 1992, Stellwagen Bank attracts whales due to its abundant food supply, which includes plankton, squid, herring, and sand eels.
For many, humpback whales are the most popular species to watch because they are inquisitive enough to come very close to the whale watching boats and have an engaging tendency to perform. On our most recent whale watching adventure in August of 2010, our onboard naturalist pointed out several whales by name. Identified by unique markings on his fluke, our guide introduced us to Bandit, a particularly charming and entertaining whale who liked to jump out of the water, spin in mid-air, and land with a thwack on his back to the delight of those of us onboard that afternoon. Salt, Crystal, Apostrophe, Compass, Persied, Cajun, Firefly, Tear, Pele, Milkweed, Alphorn, Belli, Draco, Bolide, Nile, Barb, Ampersand, Jabiru, Glo, and Poobah are but a few who also made regular appearances last season, many with calf in tow.
The Hyannis Whale Watcher departs from Barnstable Harbor, just 15 minutes from our inn on Cape Cod. We recommend this trip because it is so convenient for our guests. Other excursions depart from Provincetown, which is about an hour’s drive from us, but most of our guests prefer more time on the boat and less time in the car. Typically the boats run from mid-April through the end of October and are 3 ½ to 4 hours in length. All whale-watching excursions guarantee sightings during the season, so on the off chance that no whales are spotted, you’ll be given a rain check to use at another time. None of our guests has ever been disappointed, however, and several have told us stories of mothers and calves breaching together, humpbacks seeming to wave their fins, and once, of the captain having to turn off the engines while a humpback scratched its back on the bottom of the boat.
One guest in particular happened to catch a spectacular whale watching adventure a couple of summers ago and was able to document it for us with his sophisticated camera equipment. He generously shared his photos with us recently, and I have complied them into a short video that I uploaded to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
We offer the “Whale of an Adventure” package from mid-May through mid-October, which includes two nights at the High Pointe Inn, breakfast each morning, afternoon tea, after dinner drinks from our cordials bar, 3-course gourmet dinner for two one night, plus two adult whale watch tickets. Visit our Special and Packages page for more details.