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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.
So as we await the impending storm here on Cape Cod, I found myself with a few extra minutes to play around with a fun new app from Expedia for Facebook.
You can check out the results the results of my efforts here.
We’ve battened down the hatches and made safe the lines and hope that we come out unscathed on the other side.
To all our friends, family, and guests in the Northeast today, be safe.
It’s official! The High Pointe Inn in West Barnstable, MA was selected as a 2013 Top 10 Romantic Inn by BedandBreakfast.com. According to the press release, “the High Pointe Inn is recognized as a top inn around the world providing the best travel experience in this category.” We are honored to be among such good company, including inns in France and Mexico, as well as all across the U.S.
BedandBreakfast.com is the most comprehensive global site for finding bed and breakfast properties around the world, with more than 13,000 properties worldwide representing nearly 80,000 rooms. Each November, BedandBreakfast.com names 30 overall top inns based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews from the past year. We were delighted to receive the Top Ten status from BedandBreakfast.com in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
Starting in December 2011, BedandBreakfast.com decided to recognize more of the world’s best inns and began a monthly awards program to honor 10 more B&Bs every month in a special category. “These award-winning inns, including the High Pointe Inn, really showcase bed and breakfasts and inns that often become a destination to discover, and not just a place to stay,” says Gregory Sion, general manager of BedandBreakfast.com. “Travelers select bed and breakfasts because they enjoy staying in a one-of-a-kind place that offers not only character, special amenities and unmatched hospitality, but also enables them to discover new experiences.”
It’s a true honor to be chosen for the 2013 Top 10 Romantic Inns award, and we are thrilled that our hard work has set us apart. View all the award winners at BedandBreakfast.com.
With Valentines’ Day approaching, be sure to check out our “February is for Lovers” package on the Special and Packages page of our website. Don’t you deserve a little romance this season?
I can take a hint. So when Bistrot de Soleil kept coming up in conversations about where to eat on Cape Cod in the quiet season, I immediately began searching for a reason to visit. I found one this week when some very good friends came to the Inn for a visit and we decided to “break out of the mold” and try something new. A very wise decision indeed.
Bistrot de Soleil is a relatively new restaurant on the Cape, located on Stevens Street between North and Main in what once was the home of the popular Harry’s Blues Bar. A small venue, the décor is a blend of understated elegance and French kitsch. It’s an interesting combo that belies what awaits you on their extensive menu. We were lured in part by the 3-course prix fixe dinner special advertised in the local Cape Cod Times. Accompanied by a glass of chef-selected wine for just $20 per person the abbreviated menu suited three of just fine.
We started with a choice of four appetizers including soup, salads, and a hot dish. We opted for the salads, caesar and caprese, and were not disappointed. The caprese was lightly dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and the Caesar perfectly chilled, a great start to what turned out to be a magnificent meal. The wines that accompanied the prix fixe entrees were also good, in particular the Honoro Vera Jumilla, an organic monastrell from Spain, which suited my entrée nicely. Smooth and jammy from start to finish, it had a particularly nice mouth feel and stood up to the sea salt, pepper, and garlic preparation of my grilled bistrot steak. The steak was accompanied by pomme frites and haricot vert, a nice counterpoint to the beef. Portion sizes of the prix fixe menu items were smaller than the main dinner entrees, but I still ended up taking home at least half of my steak.
One of our dinner companions has a wheat allergy and was delighted to find so many gluten-free options to choose from on the menu. After much deliberation, he went with a pan-seared pork chop that was served with sautéed cherries and a blueberry chutney. The dish was a decided hit, as evidenced by his clean plate at the end of the meal.
The restaurant prides itself on sourcing the freshest local ingredients and offers an extensive menu of European-inspired dishes, as well as pastas, risottos, pizza and burgers. Desserts are house-made, and judging by the crème brule I had, worth saving room for. Our server, Luiz, was a delightful addition to our evening out, attentive without being over-bearing and well-informed without being smug.
With so much to offer it goes without saying that we will recommend this new find highly to our guests of our Inn and will find many more reasons for a return visit ourselves often this winter.
Bistrot de Soleil is open seven nights a week starting at 4:30 PM. Starting in the spring they will also open for lunch.