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Every year brings the return of beloved celebrations and annual events to Cape Cod. This year we again celebrate a number of traditional observances plus a few quirky ones, and are introduced to a new event or two hoping to win us over for the long run. From high-brow to down-low, every month it seems there is a happening that piques our curiosity, pulls at our heartstrings, or just plain tantalizes the taste buds. So for you planners out there, here is a list of our favorite reasons to make a beeline for Cape Cod this spring, summer, or fall.
Whale Watching and seal cruises begin in mid-April
April 13 – Oct 27: Driving Our Dreams: Concept Car Exhibition, Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich
April 26 – 28: Annual Brewster in Bloom Festival
April 27 – 28: Spring Festival, Main Street, Hyannis
May 1 – October 31: Harbor Your Arts artists Shanties open at Hyannis Harbor
May 15 – 19: Nantucket Wine Festival, Nantucket Island
May 17 – 19: 32nd Annual Herb Festival & Plant Sale; Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen, East Sandwich
May 18 – 26: The Rhododendron Festival; Heritage Museum & Gardens, Sandwich
May 19 – June 21: 20th Annual Cape Cod Maritime Days.
May 25 – 27: 42nd Annual Figawi Regatta. Hyannis to Nantucket
June 2 – 28: 18th Annual All Cape Art Show, Creative Arts Center, Chatham
June 8: Inaugural Falmouth Food & Wine Festival, Barnstable County Fairground
June 8: Antiques, Crafts & Flea Market, Orleans Historical Society
June 12: Cape Cod Baseball League opens for the season
June 16: 19th Annual Father’s Day Auto Show, Main Street, Hyannis
June 19 – 23: 14th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival
June 21: 5th Annual Cape Cod Quahog Day, West Dennis
June 26 – 30: Annual Provincetown Portuguese Festival
June 29 – 30: 11th Annual Art in the Village, Barnstable Village
June 30: 66th Blessing of the Fleet, Provincetown
July 1 – August 9: Arts Foundation Summer Concert Series, various towns throughout the season
July 1 – August 30: Cape Harmony A Cappela Concerts, Artist Shanties at Hyannis Harbor every Friday night
July 4th Parades & Fireworks: various towns throughout Cape Cod
July 5 – 7: Annual Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal PowWow at Barnstable County Fairground, Falmouth
July 11: Palette to Palate: Art and cuisine celebrated at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis
July 19 – 21 Annual Grecian Festival: St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Centerville
July 20 – 27: Barnstable County Fair, Barnstable County Fairgrounds
July 27 – Aug 3: 2nd Annual Whale Week,
July 27 – August 3: 22nd Annual woods Hole Film Festival
August 9: La Tavolta Feast Under the Stars at South Cape Village, Mashpee.
August 11: 28th Annual TD Bank Pops by the Sea Concert at Hyannis Village Green.
August 11: 41st Annual Falmouth Road Race, Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights
August 17 – 18: 43rd Annual CraftFest Cotuit at Cotuit Village Green.
August 17 – 19: 9th Annual Provincetown Jazz Festival
August 18 – 24: Annual Carnival Week, Provincetown
August 24: 24th Annual Pops in the Park at Eldredge Field, Orleans
Sept 1: Truro Agricultural Fair
Sept. 1: 8th Annual 5k Labor Day Road Race, Johnny Kelley park, South Dennis
Sept. 6 – 8: Eastham Windmill Weekend
Sept. 7: 13th Annual Seaside le Mans Kart Race, Mashpee Commons
Sept. 7 – 8: 26th Annual Cape Cod Antique Glass Show & Sale, Sandwich Glass Museum
Sept. 7 – 8: Bird Carver & Wildlife Arts Show & Sale, Green Briar Nature Center, East Sandwich
Sept. 13 – 15 Cape Cod Bird Festival
Set. 14: Annual Cape Cod Wildlife Festival, Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable
Sept 20 – 22: 44th Annual Bourne Scallop Festival at Buzzards Bay Park, Bourne.
Sept 28: 2nd Annual Cape Cod Brewfest, Barnstable County Fairgrounds
Sept 29 – Oct 28: 7th Annual Fall for the Arts Festival, Cape-wide
Oct 4 – 6: Jazzfest, Falmouth
Oct 12 – 13: 35th Annual Yarmouth Seaside Festival, Route 28, Yarmouth.
Oct 19 – 20: Wellfleet OysterFest, Town Pier, Wellfleet
In a never-ending quest to entice more visitors to Cape Cod and to improve the experience for returning guests, new services, events, attractions and activities debut each year on this little peninsula we call home. Some are seasonal, some experimental, and others just a tip of the hat to what’s currently hot elsewhere in the world. Never one to just sit back and rest on its laurels, Cape Cod, like a few other savvy tourist destinations, strives to keep pace with the demands of the market. As innkeepers here on Cape Cod, we applaud the efforts of so many local, regional, and state organizations to enhance our guests’ vacation experience. Here in a nutshell, are a few of the most promising new offerings for 2013:
Rail Service from Boston to Cape Cod
A partnership among the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, MassDOT, and the MBTA has resulted in rail service returning to Cape Cod after almost 25 years. Beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend, the CapeFlyer will offer rail service from Boston to Buzzards Bay and Hyannis. Trains will leave South Station in Boston on Friday nights and offer roundtrip service on Saturdays and Sundays. From the Hyannis terminal it will be easy to connect with local bus service on the Cape or hire a rental car. Transit time is expected to be under two hours and will allow visitors to skip the summer weekend traffic often encountered at the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. The final schedule will be available shortly at capeFLYER.com.
First Ever Cape Cod Bird Festival
Birders rejoice. The Cape Cod Bird Club is hosting a three-day bird festival September 13th through15th at the Cape Codder in Hyannis. Birding expert, Pete Dunne from the Cape May Observatory, will be the keynote speaker. Among the scheduled activities are field trips to birding hotspots across the Cape; workshops led by birding specialists; a series of lectures; a pelagic trip; and much, much more. Enjoy fall birding at its best! Registration opens April 1st. For more information visit https://www.capecodbirdclub.org/events/cape-cod-bird-festival/
The Lanes Bowl and Bistro
Combine a 10 pin bowling alley and a casual bistro and what do you get? The Lanes Bowl and Bistro. Recently opened at Mashpee Commons, it is Cape Cod’s first-ever boutique dining and entertainment venue. In addition to bowling, the bistro offers evening entertainment, an al fresco seasonal bar, and a bocce court. Aimed at busting the stereotypes often associated with a typical bowling alley, the Lanes offers upscale dining and contemporary décor in a casual environment. For more information, visit lanesbowlandbistro.com.
HyARTS Cultrural District
Home to Cape Cod’s first state-designated cultural district, the HyARTS Cultural District in downtown Hyannis encompasses cultural and historical attractions alongside local restaurants and shops. Open year round, and centered on the Kennedy Legacy Trail, the district celebrates the long and storied history of the Kennedy’s and their influence on Cape Cod. The trail itself, a 1.6 mile self-guided route linking key locations along Main Street and the waterfront, features 10 signed stops offering a brief insight into the relevance of the site to the lives and works of the Kennedys. For more information visit kennedylegacytrail.com.
Rich and I spend a lot of time walking the beach at Sandy Neck near our Cape Cod bed and breakfast. Walking on the beach always reveals something new, especially after a storm. Waves pounding against the sand can wash up all sorts of things: beach glass, driftwood, dislodged lobster buoys, you name it. No matter what the season a long walk on the beach can sooth the soul, clear the mind, or be the source of inspiration. We have had some of our best talks while walking the beach. There is something about being so close to the ocean, sand in your toes and wind in your hair, that sheds some new perspective on problems that need to be resolved or ideas that need impetus.
Often our walks lead us to treasures too good to be left behind. On one a few years back we found an old oar head that resembled the silhouette of a whale. It was so unique that Rich had it made into a sculpture for me for Christmas that year. But mostly we find sea glass, and my new passion: heart rocks.
A friend of mine first introduced me to the phenomenon of finding heart-shaped stones on the beach. Heart rocks, as they are called, come in all manner of sizes and colors. The first heart rock I found had a small crack in its upper lobe. I nicknamed it “Heartbroken”. I have found so many heart rocks on the beach that I display them on the window sills of the dining room where we serve breakfast. Our guests are fascinated by them and eagerly hunt for them on their own walks on the beach. Some even bring one back to add to my collection.
By but far the most unusual heart rock in my collection I found right after the blizzard in early February this year. Strolling along the coastline marveling at what Mother Nature had done to the beach landscape and the dunes of Sandy Neck, I spotted a dark grey rock with a bright white heart in the center. No bigger than 2 inches long and an inch and a half wide, this rock lay among dozens of others tossed up by the sea. Small rings of white encircle its perimeter, but a very distinct white heart shape adorns its front. I call it my “Ghost Heart”. It was right before Valentine’s Day and I wondered what force of nature sculpted such a perfect symbol of love in stone.
It adorns a special corner in my collection now and everytime I look at I smile. I love the beach and I love that we live so close to it.
March 20th marks the vernal equinox of 2013, and the start of, hopefully, warmer weather and longer days, which we welcome at the High Pointe Inn. Culminating on June 21st, the longest day of the year, spring is a season of hope. This past winter has been a particularly long, cold, and dark one here on Cape Cod and any little sign of its end is greatly welcomed. Rich spotted his first gold finch showing a hint of canary yellow under his winter garb of khaki. I noticed that the birds seem to be singing louder and longer for some reason, and the Cape Cod Times reports crocuses blooming along Route 6A. Can the spring peepers be far off?
Spring also heralds the opening of some of our favorite clam shacks and ice cream shops. Steve and Sue’s Partee Freeze opened last week, along with Cooke’s Seafood. And Seafood Sam’s, open in Falmouth now, will open its Sandwich location on March 5th. It can’t be that much longer until we see the sign for Captain Frosty’s uncovered and the folks at Sesuit Harbor Café arranging the picnic tables and unfurling umbrellas for yet another season.
When we can’t make it to a warm weather destination in spring, we like to celebrate its arrival with a quick trip to one of our surrounding New England states. Sometimes just a change of scenery for a day or two is enough to put the ah…er, pardon the expression, spring back in our step. So we thought maybe we could do the same for you.
Our Spring Fling package is designed to pink up your cheeks and perk up your smile. Start with a bouquet of flowers in your room, enjoy dinner out at one of Cape Cod‘s finest restaurants, then take a quick trip to Nantucket for some island-style adventure. Of course, our award-winning hospitality completes the package. Rich has some awesome new breakfast specials to sample, and Debbie has added a new line of hand-crafted jewelry to the gift shop. Rates start at just $625 complete for the two-night package.
Come celebrate spring on Cape Cod. It’s a voyage for the soul.