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Culinary tourism is one of the current “hot” things to do when visiting a new destination. With the trend towards “farm to table” the traveling public has developed a penchant for exploring farms, farmstands, microbreweries, and unique purveyors of locally grown products whenever they visit a new place. Cape Cod has warmly embraced this trend, I’m happy to say, and hence there is no shortage of great places to explore during your stay at our bed and breakfast inn if you want to have an authentic culinary experience.
Rich and I did a culinary tour on a recent visit to Vermont. Our travels took us to a maple farm where we learned the maple sugaring process; Cabot Creamery to see cheese being made; Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to tour the factory where the makers of Cherries Garcia got their start; and to Stave Puzzles where devious artisans create unique and challenging wooden jigsaw puzzles. It was a blast. We’re still talking about it weeks later, entertaining our guests with stories of “sugaring off” and other trivia gained on our culinary adventure.
So it seems perfectly fitting that we should offer our version of “Culinary Cape Cod”. Here among the beaches and scrub pine is a veritable gold mine of home grown producers and beverage purveyors who are as eager to share their wares with guests as guests are to learn about, and perhaps sample, them.
So let us begin by quenching our thirst:
Cape Cod Beer, 1336 Phinney’s Lane, Hyannis, (508) 790-4200. Guided tours available Tuesdays at 11:00 AM and Saturdays at 1:00PM year round. Self-guided tours available during regular retail hours: Monday-Friday, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Saturday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Closed Sundays.
Truro Vineyards, 11 Shore Road (Route 6A), North Truro, (508) 487-6200. Open for tours and tastings. Weekends in April, November-December; 7 days a week May-October. Noon to 5:00 PM
Cape Cod Winery and Vineyard, 681 Sandwich Road, East Falmouth, (508) 457-5592. Open for tastings. Weekends spring and fall; Wednesday through Sunday in July and August. 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
In the mood for a jam session?:
Chatham Jam and Jelly Shop, 10 Vineyard Avenue, West Chatham, (508) 945-3052. Tastings encouraged. Retail shop open in the summer Monday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Open weekends in the winter, spring, and fall. Call to confirm.
Green Briar Jam Kitchen, 6 Discovery Hill Road, East Sandwich, (508) 888-6870. Open mid-April through December, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Saturday; and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sunday. January to mid-April, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. Jam making workshops offered March through October. Call for schedule.
Herbal, Medicinal, and Botanical Remedies:
Cedar Spring Herb Farm, 159 Long Pond Drive, Harwich. (508) 430-HERB. Herb specialty shop offering organic herbal products, organically grown culinary, medicinal and decorative plants, and related botanical products. Open May 15 to November 15, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Winter hours by appointment.
Cape Cod Lavender Farm, Island Pond Road, Harwich. (508) 432-8397. Visit this 12-acre farm when the lavender is in bloom, typically late June through July. Lavender plants and products for sale in the gift shop.
Atlantic Spice Company, 2 Shore Road, North Truro. (800) 316-7965. Offering quality culinary herbs and spices, teas, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, seeds, botanicals, essential oils, spice blends, potpourri ingredients and fragrance oils at wholesale prices. Open Monday through Friday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM; and
Sunday: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Down on the Farm:
Coonamessett Farm, 277 Hatchville Road, East Falmouth. (508) 563-2560. Pick your own berries, herbs, and vegetables. Feed the chickens. Visit alpacas, sheep, donkeys, ducks, guinea hens and turkeys. Farm stand open weekends in April, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Sunday, May through September, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and in the fall, Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. On-site café serving soup, sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Farm stand and gift shop. In season: Jamaica grill and buffet night every Wednesday, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM; Friday night farm dinners from 5:00 to 8:00 PM; and special Saturday night buffets. Call for details.
Food for Thought:
Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory, 100 Breeds Hill Road, Hyannis. (888) 881-CHIP (2447). Self-guided tours offered Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Gustare Oils & Vinegars, 425 Main Street, Chatham. (508) 945-4505. Sample imported extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. Open Friday through Sunday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
“What are the absolute “must sees” and “must dos” when visiting Cape Cod?” Often asked this question by our Inn guests, we decided to put together our list of the top things to see and do here. It wasn’t easy. Surrounded by miles of sandy beaches and gorgeous coastline, dotted with picturesque villages, and blessed with countless quality museums, Cape Cod is a destination that offers endless opportunity for the explorer and serenity seeker alike.
Of course some activities are seasonal, but the season is long on Cape Cod. So here are some of our favorites, all of which we recommend to our guests when asked, and all of which we have done ourselves, many more than once. Of course, the list could be twice as long as it is, but this will give you a starting place at least, to help you plan your stay.
An exhibition of the works of Norman Rockwell, one of this country’s preeminent illustrators, opened this past weekend at the Heritage Museum and Gardens, just a 10 minute drive from our little bed and breakfast inn on Cape Cod. Entitled, Norman Rockwell: Beyond the Easel, the exhibit includes some of the artist’s most notable works, as well as an in-depth look at the photography that inspired him and the processes he used to create them.
Rockwell, a prolific artist, is perhaps best known for his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post. Over a span of nearly 50 years (1916-1963), he eventually amassed more than 300 cover illustrations for the Post depicting the American family and lifestyle.
Featuring more than 150 original pieces, the exhibit will be on display through September 3, 2012. In addition to his artwork, this show includes many of his photographs, which the artist used as a compositional aid. Complimented by a lecture series, the exhibit is showcasing two perspectives: the photos and related illustrations, plus works the artist completed for the health care industry that focus on the doctor and patient relationship.
Heritage Musuem and Gardens is located at 67 Grove Street in Sandwich, MA. Open 7 days a week from 10:00AM to 5:00 PM and Wednesday evenings in July and August until 8:00 PM. Cost of admission is $15.00 for adults. For more information, call (508) 888-3300 or visit their website.
Every holiday has its special significance, whether it be celebrated quietly at home with family and friends, or with a more public, and perhaps more jubilant, display of patriotism, religion, or political affinity. As owners of a small inn on Cape Cod, we believe in holiday equality, so we try to honor all such special occasions with a little something special High Pointe Inn style.
This morning in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we served a dish first introduced to us by a very dear friend from Austin, Texas. Called Migas, it is a typical northern Mexican dish with many interpretations across the border. Our version consists of scrambled eggs with cheese and chorizo mixed in, then topped with salsa and a dollop of sour cream and served in a toasted tortilla shell. It has become a guest favorite.
Earlier this winter we were privileged enough to take a cooking class hosted by a local inn. Taught jointly by the owner and chef of Anejo, an authentic Mexican restaurant located on Main Street in Falmouth, we were introduced to the intricacies of salsa verde, pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa rojas, and mole sauce among other things. Though we have had little opportunity to serve these dishes to our guests, we have had many opportunities to perfect the Margarita recipe they shared with us.
So this evening when our guests have checked in and are chillaxing in their own rooms or out trying one of the many great restaurants we have here on Cape Cod, I will be paying a personal tribute to Cinco de Mayo and all of our friends and guests of Mexican heritage with Margarita in hand. If you’d care to join me, here is the recipe:
3 parts Blanco Tequilla
1 part Patron Orange Liquor
1-2 tsps. dark agave nectar
Splash of water
Juice of one whole lime
Place ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour into a margarita glass and enjoy! Olé!
Rich and I are huge fans of the local theater scene and encourage all of our guests at the High Pointe Inn to take in a show during their visit to Cape Cod. So it was a real treat to get an email from the Cape Cod Playhouse today announcing its lineup for the 2012 summer season. As usual it promises to be a good one.
Starting the season with a Sherlock Homes murder mystery cloaked in a shroud of physical comedy is “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (June 11 -23). Next up is “As Bees in Honey Drown”, a face-paced comedy filled with twists and turns and double takes that promises to be a rollicking good time (June 25 – July 7).
“Ain’t Misbehavin” a Tony award-winning musical featuring the tunes of Fats Waller set in the sultry dives of the jazz era guarantees to be a foot-stomping evening of great music and dance ( July 9 – 21). Close on its heels is “Legally Blonde”, a Broadway sensation based on the eponymous film that starred Reese Witherspoon in the title role of Elle Woods. A personal favorite, the play takes us from the laid-back California social scene to the uptight halls of Harvard. Playing July 24 – August 4, this one is sure to be the season’s must-see.
On stage August 5 – 16 is Cole Porter’s “Kiss me Kate”, another Tony award-winner, and a raucous romantic comedy filled with such standards as “It’s Too Darn Hot”, “Another Opening, Another Show”, and “From this Moment On”. And wrapping up the season August 20 – September 20 are the Little Sisters of Hoboken who treat us to an evening of show stopping songs and fun-filled dance numbers in “Nunsense”. Mother Superior will never be the same.
Tickets are on sale now at the Cape Cod Playhouse. Be sure to order early so you won’t miss out on the best theater experience this side of Broadway.
Today would be a great day for a walk along one of Cape Cod‘s many scenic nature trails. This lovely peninsula is crisscrossed with miles of trails that traverse marshlands, woodlands, meadows, bogs, and saltwater beaches. Maintained by numerous entities including the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Complex, private land trusts, conservation groups, independent towns and villages, and/or the National Park Service walking the trails is a splendid way to enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of the area, as well as a variety of shorebirds, songbirds, owls, hawks, and osprey.
Rich and I were avid hikers when we owned our inn in North Conway, NH, but hiking here is a more relaxed and often less challenging activity than ascending the rugged peaks of the White Mountains. We’ve adapted our style and now tend to take leisurely strolls observing the wildlife and appreciating the landscape, often through the lens of a camera for Rich, and for me with an eye to collecting unusual bits of driftwood, rocks, shells and sea glass.
I’ve written before about the walk to the Knob in Falmouth, the nature trails behind the Natural History Museum in Brewster, and the spectacular vistas from the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, but recently I’ve become aware of a few more intriguing trails that we need to put on our list of “must dos” this summer.
For example, The National Seashore has 12 self-guided trails including Fort Hill, Red Maple Swamp, Nauset Marsh, Doane, Atlantic White Cedar Swamp, Great Island, Pamet Area, Small’s Swamp, Highlands Woods Walk, Pilgrim Spring, Beech Forest, and the Buttonbush Trail near the Salt Pond Visitor Center, which is accessible for visitors who are blind. You can pick up a map of the trails at the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham.
In Chatham you’ll find marked trails on Strong Island, Frost Fish Creek, old Comers Woodland, Training Field, Barclay’s Pond, and Cedar Street. You can find detailed maps of these trails online at the Chatham Conservation Foundation website.
No need for any special equipment to enjoy these trails, just a map, some bottled water, and perhaps some bug spray. Even better, bring a picnic and a bottle of your favorite libation and linger a while. We’ll be here at the High Pointe Inn to greet you on your return.