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As always during the slow season at our bed and breakfast on Cape Cod, Rich and I are on the lookout for new spots to share with our guests. It may be a new drive we discover, or a new shop, or just a new vista we uncover on our frequent roadtrips around the Cape. I also scan the local newspaper for ideas, peruse the facebook postings of fellow business owners and friends here on the Cape, and listen to the musings of our guests around the breakfast table to get the skinny on what’s new, what’s hot, or what’s worth checking out.
So when several guests mentioned they had tried The Oyster Company in Dennisport the same week that our gardener was telling us about the place, it didn’t take us long to put it on our “hit list” to scope out. The real clincher, however, was when I spotted a coupon in the local newspaper offering “½ dozen oysters on the half shell with a minimum purchase” at the restaurant. “Start the car” I screamed to my husband, perhaps the Cape’s number one oyster fan. I am not a enthusiast of the raw version of the bivalve, but I was definitely along for the ride when someone mentioned “the best burger on Cape Cod”.
We opted for lunch the week before Christmas, as it was time for a celebration and a great excuse to indulge in some holiday spirit. From the outside, the building is rather nondescript, though the promise of casual outdoor dining in the warmer months was evident on the patio. Inside the dining room and adjacent bar area are tastefully done in shades of blue and white, with buffalo check tablecloths and an attractive array of nautical, not kitchy, décor.
Our waitress was a breath of fresh air: warm and friendly and very patient in helping us to select an adult beverage to start the meal. Spotting the coupon on the table she immediately suggested she bring the oysters with our drinks, allowing us to peruse the extensive menu. Claiming to be a “raw bar and grille” naturally there was an impressive selection of fresh local shellfish prepared both hot or cold according to your preference. And the humble oyster was the star of the show. But, lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari also had a decent presence, along with a nice selection of fried seafood, soups and chowders, salads, sandwiches and burgers.
It was the burger we had come to try, touted as perfectly cooked and accompanied by seasoned fries or housemade sweet potato fries, my particular favorite. Ordered medium rare, they did not disappoint. Also on the menu were some tantalizing entrees including sashimi-grade yellow fin tuna, pan-seared dayboat scallops, native cod, swordfish, and the requisite beef and chicken offerings for the landlubbers.
Our waitress continued to be an intricate part of what turned out to be a delightful lunch date, informing us of the restaurant’s prix fixe menu during the week, and the standing offer of 99 cent oysters available everyday until 6:30 PM. We asked for a dinner menu to take home with us, which looks equally tempting and imaginative, and certainly deserves a return visit soon, and perhaps often. Their martini menu isn’t too shabby either.
The Oyster Company is open for dinner Monday through Thursday at 4:00 PM and on Friday and Saturday at noon, serving both lunch and dinner. The restaurant is closed on Sundays until the spring, when presumably the patio dining with be open, weather permitting.
Here’s a great idea for your New Year’s Eve celebration: a getaway to Cape Cod. Enjoy a romantic seaside interlude to welcome in the New Year here at the High Pointe Inn. We’ve put all the elements together for a relaxing 3-night stay. Food, wine, dancing, and romance all rolled into one fantastic deal. The NYE package includes a 4-course gourmet dinner on New Year’s Eve with a champagne toast and dancing to a live band until the wee hours at our favorite restaurant on Cape Cod. For just $750 per couple complete, your package includes:
There are only two (2) rooms left at this great rate, so call now (888) 362-4441 to reserve.
Driving down Route 6A last night from our bed and breakfast on Cape Cod, I was reintroduced to the magic of the holidays here. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, decorates their homes and yards to the “nines“. Yesterday I wrote about the lighted statues that line the businesses along the Old Kings Highway, but they are not the only ones worth noting. There is a property at the corner of Route 6A and Quaker Meeting House Road that truly goes over the top with decorations. Lights, figures, scenes, animals, crèches, you name it, it’s there. Delightfully tacky and yet heartwarming at the same time.
It’s a toss-up for me whether I prefer the traditional colored lights of my youth, or the more sophisticated and elegant blue and white theme that seems to be today’s dominant motif. Some homeowners go to town with the icicle lights, others with the netted hedgerow lights, and some with the whole-house outline effect. Then you have the blow-up Rudolphs and Santas that dance and sway in the breeze. I suppose the median age of the household determines how, when, and what to decorate, but the “if” seems a forgone conclusion here on Cape Cod.
Having just returned from an extended vacation abroad, the decorations seem more of a surprise this year than ever. We left just after Halloween when pumpkins and scarecrows were all the rage, missed the Thanksgiving sheaves of wheat and fruited displays and jumped right into Christmas lights, window candles, and mistletoe. So I have some catching up to do, to be sure.
I also have some catching up to do with what’s going on here on Cape Cod for the holidays. So I have been pouring over the newspaper inserts and monthly magazines to get the lowdown on the holiday scene. Here’s the round-up for the next couple of weeks, just in case you’ve been away like I have, or just not paying attention.
Over the past several holiday seasons we’ve spent here at our Inn on Cape Cod, Rich and I have noticed an evolving new holiday tradition along scenic Route 6A, the old Kings Highway. Drive the route after dusk beginning around the Thanksgiving holiday and you’ll notice mammoth illuminated metal sculptures along the way depicting everything from the local high school’s mascot (a blue knight) to a tri-cornered colonial man, a juggler, and a chef.
Spearheaded by a local craftsman who specializes in glass blowing, these delightfully whimsical sculptures are the brainchild of Michael Magyar, owner of the Glass Studio on Cape Cod located on Route 6A in East Sandwich. He began with a sculpture for his own business and created “MotoSan the Glassblower” a 20 foot giant that looms outside his workshop greeting passersby. Soon after MotoSan appeared, several additional metal statues starting cropping up in front of local businesses along the route. Joining MotoSan was Teddy the Baseball player, a damselfly, a honeybee, a lobsterman, and a juggler. Now more than 2 dozen sculptures adorn the byway spawning a new holiday tradition of “statue spotting” the behemoths and identifying their relationship to the businesses they decorate.
This year the owners of the metal giants have banded together to try to capitalize on the phenomenon by creating a map depicting the location of each of the sculptures. The maps will be available at the Bee-Hive Tavern and other local businesses beginning the weekend of December 9.
You can preview the route on the map below, first published by the Cape Cod Times, along with photos of the sculptures on their website.
Having just returned from a whirlwind tour of Mediterranean ports, I can assure you that I am a fan of shopping locally whenever I travel. Local foods, local wines, local crafts. My suitcase and carry-on bags were filled with gifts for my friends and family: pashminas from Turkey, leather gloves and silk scarves from Florence, handmade paper from Venice, wine from Sicily, and chocolates from Provence. Now as I sort through my treasures I think back on the conversations I had with the local vendors as I made my choices.
There was Beatrice, an 80-something retired teacher from Provence who hand sews sachets for her home-grown lavender; a clever Turkish boy who implored that I was “killing him” in the traditional bargaining banter; and a lovely mademoiselle who carefully wrapped the boxes of chocolates I selected for the chocoholics in my life. They are gifts for my friends, to be sure, but also warm and delightful memories of a trip to far-away places with humble entrepreneurs like myself just trying to eke out a living by selling something simple, local, handmade.
Shopping is such a personal and even intimate activity. Have I chosen the right colors, the perfect size, the preferred flavors? Does the gift tell a story or embrace a memory? Sometimes the meaning of the gift may be lost in translation, but the spirit of giving remains pure.
So as I anticipate this holiday shopping season, I endeavor to shop locally whenever possible to support the local economy and choose my gifts wisely. But I also want to embrace the activity of shopping, not just the result. Often in such a simple exchange stories are shared and memories made, because each of us, shoppers and vendors alike, are just people in the end. Simple, ordinary people, living our lives and sharing our wares in the places we call home.
If your travels bring you to Cape Cod this holiday season, here are some of my favorite places to shop locally. Be sure to engage the proprietors for some local insight and inspiration. And if you need a place to lay your head at the end of a long day of Christmas shopping, be sure to call us here at the High Pointe Inn on Cape Cod. We’re good listeners and great storytellers. Happy Holidays everyone!
On what could only be called a Chamber of Commerce day here on Cape Cod last week, Rich and I ventured down Cape to a restaurant we haven’t been to before, but for sure will be back to soon. As Innkeepers, we always keep an eye out for new or new to us restaurants that we can recommend to our guests. So having read a rave review of Winslow’s Tavern in Wellfleet recently, we set off to give it a go ourselves.
It was a gin-clear early fall day, and the drive to Wellfleet was delightfully traffic-free. In just over half an hour we were wending our way down Main St. with the sun at our backs and a refreshingly crisp breeze on our faces. The restaurant sports a lovely terrace right on Main Street for outside dining, but we opted to eat inside at a table for two right by a bright sun-filled window. The tables are draped in white linen and the wide-pine floors and buttery walls reflected the sunlight giving the room a warm glow.
Their lunch menu is extensive which, when combined with the separate list of “special offerings“, made choosing an entrée and starter a bit complex. Eventually I settled on the panzanella salad to start. A mixture of heirloom tomatoes, fresh burrata cheese, and herbed croutons, the salad came dressed with a bacon jam vinaigrette. Yes, I said bacon jam. If you’ve never encountered this condiment, let me tell you it was divine. As Rich would say, it would even be great served on cotton balls. Winslow’s offers its homemade version at the local farmer’s market, so of course we had to have a jar to take home. Or two. Or three.
Rich’s fig salad was equally as good. Roasted black mission figs stuffed with gorgonzola were served over baby arugula and crispy prosciutto di parma that had been lightly dressed with truffle oil. Double yum. We each chose the grilled local sea scallop roll for our entrée. The scallops were perfectly grilled and served with a lemon dill aioli and crispy herbed French fries.
With not much room left for dessert we were still tempted by the frozen passion fruit mousse. Served with a key lime fluid gel, coconut streusel and raspberry cake, it was beautiful to look at, refreshingly light, and the perfect way to end a fabulous lunch.
In addition to serving lunch and dinner seasonally, Winslow’s Tavern offers an oyster happy hour from 3 to 5 PM, a late night bar menu, and evening entertainment. Located on Main Street in Wellfleet, MA, you can preview their menu offerings online. Winslow’s will be closing for the season in mid-October, but we have a stash of their bacon jam at the High Pointe Inn. Rich will be experimenting with it all winter and I’m sure it will end up in one of his breakfast specials soon.