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In honor of National Clam Chowder Day, February 25th, I’m posting my favorite chowder recipe. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s delicious. Today would be a perfect day for a warm bowl of creamy chowder. Although this recipe calls for a firm white fish like haddock or cod, you could probably substitute clams, but I cannot vouch for the results. Be sure to serve it up in big bowls with plenty of oyster crackers.
1 pound of firm white fish, such as haddock or cod, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 cup water
4 potatoes, diced in 1 inch cubes
1/2 yellow onion, diced finely
4 strips of uncooked bacon, diced finely
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Spice
1 pint light cream
In a heavy sauce pan, brown bacon and onion; add water and potatoes; cover and bring to boil; cook for 10 minutes. Add spice and fish; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cream and heat through, but do not boil. Serve immediately.
Bon appetit from the High Pointe Inn!
This morning over breakfast at our Inn on Cape Cod, a guest described to me what we often hear from first time bed and breakfast guests: their genuine surprise at how lovely their first experience at a bed and breakfast inn really was. Having been an innkeeper for 12 years now, I am amazed at how many people still have an arcane image of bed and breakfasts, envisioning tiny guestrooms with even tinier bathrooms, or even worse, a shared bath. Amenities at many inns these days now far exceed what you might find in a 5-star hotel.
Most bed and breakfast inns today feature free wireless internet access throughout the property; spa-like en suite bathrooms outfitted with luxurious fixtures and finishes; hot beverages and sweet treats offered throughout the day; and complimentary turndown and concierge services, all of which are included in the price of your stay. In addition, many inns now have an on-site spa or in-room spa services available for an additional fee. Add these luxuries and conveniences to a comfortable room with upscale furnishings, top-of-the-line bedding and linens, and a breakfast fit for a king and, in my opinion, choosing a well-reviewed bed and breakfast inn is a far better value than some of the other offerings you might consider for your vacation accommodations.
Location: Our central location on Cape Cod makes the Inn an ideal spot from which to explore all that the region has to offer. Situated just off scenic Route 6A, the Old Kings Highway, on the historic north side of the Cape, we are an easy drive from Boston, Providence, RI; Manchester, NH; or Hartford, CT and very close to the ferries for the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Our convenient setting allows easy access to fabulous beaches, unique shops, great restaurants, art galleries, museums, and historic points of interest.
Privacy and serenity: Situated high on a hill overlooking the Great Salt Marsh, the dunes of Sandy Neck Beach, and Cape Cod Bay affords not us only breathtaking views, but the quiet and calm you seek for a relaxing getaway from your hectic lifestyle. With such a small number of guest rooms and an abundance of common space you can always find a private spot in which to enjoy the latest bestseller, an afternoon cocktail, or an early morning cup of coffee.
Complimentary Concierge Service: All confirmed guests have access to our complimentary concierge service. Need innsider information on where to go to find the freshest lobster, most succulent clams, or best restaurant with an ocean view? Looking for a great spot to catch the sunset or our favorite bike paths? Want something special sent to your room? No matter what your looking for to complete your perfect Cape Cod vacation, we’re here to help. From restaurant reservations to ferry tickets, driving tours or picnic setups, we’ve got the innside track to make your dreams a reality.
Breakfast Choices: At the High Pointe Inn it’s all about choices. We built our reputation by offering an extensive selection of breakfast entrées from our full menu each morning, plus a daily special created with the freshest local ingredients and finest quality available.
Warm Hospitality: As seasoned innkeepers, we pride ourselves on finding the delicate balance between being available to our guests when they need us, and respecting their privacy. We are here to insure your comfort, offer our insights and recommendations on what to see and do, as well as where to go to find exactly what you’re looking for in a restaurant, bike ride, beach or whatever. But when you want to be alone, you‘ll find all the privacy you need.
Cleanliness: Although our guests are often amazed at the cleanliness of the Inn, we do not take our responsibilities in this manner lightly. We maintain the building, the grounds, and especially our kitchen to the highest standards. Our housekeepers are expertly trained and their work is regularly inspected. Attention to detail is our motto and our guests’ comfort is sacrosanct.
Sustainability: The High Pointe Inn is committed to continually evaluating our operations in order to employ more environmentally friendly methods of providing the best service to our guests. We believe that each initiative that we pursue with the help of our guests, no matter how small, helps to preserve our beautiful setting for future generations. A portion of the proceeds from each reservation is donated to the Barnstable Land Trust for the preservation of our natural resources and our fragile environment. And all gently used bath amenities are donated to the “Clean the World” initiative.
Value: We strive to offer the service and amenities of a full-service inn with a 5-star rating at a reasonable rate. Full breakfast, afternoon hot beverages and sweet treats, plus complimentary after-dinner drinks from our cordials bar are included in your room fee. We also offer an assortment of all-inclusive packages, last minute specials, spa services, extended stay discounts, and full concierge service for all confirmed reservations.
You might be surprised to learn that Cape Cod has miles and miles of walking trails. Nearly every town on the Cape has set aside abundant land, much of which is full of little-known walking trails, and which is protected from future development. For the most part level and easy to navigate due to relatively few hills in the region, these trails are a great way for visitors to “get off the beaten path” and see Cape Cod from a new perspective no matter what the season.
Talbot’s Point, East Sandwich
In East Sandwich, Talbot’s Point Conservation Area and the adjacent East Sandwich Game Farm offer a total of 245 acres of open space. The main trail is a loop just a mile and a half long. Allow plenty of time for photos (you might spot the occasional osprey nest). Multiple side trails wander through the adjacent Game Farm next door. Bear right just beyond the parking area onto a well packed sandy trail. Within yards you’ll come to an expansive salt marsh that changes color with the seasons.
Getting toTalbot’s Point, East Sandwich
The Knob, Falmouth
Winding through woodlands past views of quaint Quissett Harbor and an ancient stand of oak trees, the trail to Falmouth’s Knob is another little-known treasure. Park in one of the designated spots in the small lot and beware the tow zone signs. They mean it. The trailhead begins directly behind you, to the right of the harbor. Stay on the trail through the woods for approximately 15 minutes and soon you’ll emerge onto a crescent-shaped sandy beach tucked into a small inlet. The Knob, a hill of land jutting out into the water that offers amazing views of Buzzards Bay, will be on your left as you face the water. To the far left, you’ll spot the Elizabeth Islands on the horizon. The towns of Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Fairhaven follow the coast from right to left. Sakonnet is the last town before the coast shifts around into Rhode Island Sound.
Getting to The Knob, Falmouth
Bell’s Neck, Harwich
Just over the Dennis/Harwich line, and not far from exit 9 off Route 6, is Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands, a nearly 260-acre parcel of woods, salt marsh and ancient cranberry bogs. A 3-mile trail loop leads through the marsh to an active herring run where, for a short time in the spring, thousands of river herring fight their way upstream to spawn.
Getting to Bell’s Neck, Harwich
This is one of our favorite places on Cape Cod. It’s a great place for a summer picnic, welcoming to dogs on leashes, and the launching point for the water shuttle to Monomoy Island. At the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge you can walk the nature trail along the top of the cliffs, stopping at the frequent overlooks for spectacular views of the ocean, then mosey down a set of wooden stairs to the beach below. Across the channel is North Monomoy Island. At the bottom, take off your shoes, stroll down the beach to the right a bit away from the stairs (which is the launching spot for the shuttle), park your chair at the edge of the water and watch the parade of boats, birds, and sea life until the sun sets…or the tide comes in…or you get hungry or thirsty and the picnic basket is empty…or nature calls. You get the picture; it’s a great way to spend the afternoon. Be sure to interrupt your picnic for a short walk to the right in front of a couple of pretty spectacular homes. Less than a mile out you’ll see Stage Harbor and the old Stage Harbor Light out around the bend.
One thing of crucial importance here is the tide. Plan your visit around low tide or count on getting wet above the ankles because there is one short stretch of beach that is under water at high tide.
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” –Albert Camus
To enjoy Cape Cod in winter, you must abandon all previous thoughts of what makes this remote peninsula so alluring at other times of the year. Gone is the penetrating warmth of summer sand, and the omnipresent mopheads of hydrangea blossoms. What remains is stark, cold, and infinitely beautiful.
We took a walk on Corporation beach in Dennis last Sunday. The sun was warm and the sky impossibly blue after days of winter’s gray. After breakfast at Grumpy’s, a local joint worthy of visit from Guy Fieri for an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, we felt the need to walk a bit, and with Casey, our faithful yellow lab along for the ride, a beach seemed the ideal destination.
Corporation beach is one of those perfect crescents of sand, bounded by a rock jetty at either end, with the deep blue sea in between. Actually it’s the bay, as in Cape Cod Bay, to be exact, and on this day it was a magnificent Mediterranean blue, with just enough surf to create a crescendo of waves pounding against the shore.
Casey was in her element, frolicking on the beach, her sniffer pressed deep against each new heap of seaweed she encountered. Rich and I marveled at the wide expanse of sand nearly deserted at this time of year, the stiff wind against our cheeks, and the thrill of being the first to find a treasure amidst the flotsam and jetsam that washed ashore. Rich came home with a new lobster buoy to add to his collection, and I, a handful of colorful sea glass burnished to perfection by the tumultuous sea.
The summer homes that bordered the beach were locked and shuttered to protect them from winter’s wrath, with their steep wooden stairs that lead to the beach pulled up and shackled to prevent them from becoming driftwood on some far-flung beach. As we walked in silence, each lost in our own thoughts, my mind drifted to all the beaches I’ve had the pleasure to walk along: from Maine to Florida to California; and further afield, Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Bali, Komodo Island, Australia, Rio, the Caribbean, and even a remote beach halfway down the Amazon.
As we made the turn at the end of the beach, it occurred to me that the simple act of strolling along the sand with the waves curling close to your toes is a pleasure unlike anything else. It matters not whether the calendar reads winter, spring, summer or fall, nor if you are attired in earmuffs and down parkas or an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini. What matters is the company you keep and the song you sing in your heart. And for me that would be Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind.
“The summer wind, came blowin’ in – from across the sea.
It lingered there, to touch your hair- and walk with me.
All summer long, we sang a song – and then we strolled that golden sand.
Two sweethearts, and the summer wind.”
When the temperature reaches single digits, as it did here at the High Pointe Inn on Cape Cod last night, I start looking for signs of spring. Chalk it up to a “Peter Pan” syndrome, but scanning my world for signs that spring is on the horizon cheers me up, gives me hope, and most importantly, helps me focus on the positive. “Accent the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative…” a Johnny Mercer tune, pretty much outlines my approach to life.
So it was welcome news that the Red Sox equipment truck left Fenway Park yesterday and headed south to Fort Myers, Florida, home to Boston’s spring training. For many New Englanders that is the first and most significant sign that spring will indeed come to Red Sox nation. Catchers and pitchers report to camp on February 15, with the rest of the club reporting on the 19th. And once again, the quest begins.
But that is not the only sign of spring I look for in the days and weeks that lead up to the season opener. Each week, it seems, another harbinger of spring arrives. Here, in no particular order, are the ones that speak to me:
Of course, you may spot a theme in numbers 7-11, but as a confirmed clam shack aficionado I have my priorities. But, if you’re in need of something to look forward to, we have a great “Spring Fling” package available from March 1 through May 14 that is sure to bring spring into your heart.