Saturday, 12 July 2008

A Week in Cape Cod

Ingrid and I have just returned from a week in Cape Cod. What a place! We booked a week through RCI at a place called Pier 7 Condominiums in S. Yarmouth. Roughly 1200 km from our home we decided to take 2 travel days at each end of the week - and we were both really glad we did it that way and not try to do it all in one day.

Day 1 - Friday June 27
We travelled from home (Holland Landing, Ontario, Canada) to Newcomb in Adirondack Park where we spent the night and part of the next morning at a delightful B&B called Aunt Polly's that used to be a stage coach stop. Maggie, our hostess (Aunt Polly has long since moved on with history) took us for a walk on the property to see the largest beaver dam, complete with lodge, that I have ever seen. OK. After 10 years in Canada I've only ever seen 3 or 4 beaver dams before this one but I had no difficulty understanding why Maggie was pretty proud of this one. Unfortunately the mosquitoes were out in force, bug-spray notwithstanding, so we couldn't stay at the beaver dam too long. (See the bites on my leg in the photo on Day 4.)

Day 2 - Saturday June 28.
From Newcomb we travelled through the beautiful Adirondack Park to Cape Cod. Click on the link to see the route we took. Google maps, take a bow. We could not have done it without you. We took a wrong turn once going down and once coming back - and each time it was because I didn't do properly what I was told or I didn't watch the kilometers on my odometer.

Our studio unit was OK - nothing to rave about in itself. We certainly did not appreciate that the previous occupants obviously smoked inside the unit.
However, the staff were friendly and helpful and the location was excellent, both for use as a base for daily excursions to the many attractions of Cape Cod, as well as affording us a view of a small nature reserve complete with lagoon, grassland backed by trees, and an osprey nest with a mating pair.

We dined out every day and decided that we would try the fish dishes at a different restaurant each time. Only once did we not have fish; more of that on Day 7, and we did a repeat of one restaurant because their place mats provided a set of instructions for dummies on how to eat lobster which Ingrid decided to go back and try out.

Day 3 - Sunday June 29
We went to mass at the local Catholic church with a new title for Our Lady that I had never heard of before - Our Lady of the Highway. Route 28 is certainly a major road traffic wise, but hardly a highway having only one lane in each direction and overtaking is illegal. I have since found out there is a Shrine of Our Lady of the Highway in Michegin.

After that we took the 64 km trip to Provincetown at the very north-eastern tip of Cape Cod. We had no idea and were pleasantly surprised to find this was the weekend celebration for the annual Portuguese Blessing of the Fleet. We missed the actual blessing but the banners and people were everywhere.

We put our feet into the waters of Cape Cod Bay.

Very much to our surprise we found a place called Karoo Kafe which, unfortunately, was closed from 15:00 to 17:00 for siesta time. More of that when we went back on Day 7 (Thursday).

Day 4 - Monday June 30

The state of New York has set aside a huge section of the south-eastern coastline as a coastal reserve called the Cape Cod National Seashore. On Monday we went there to see Doane Rock and then took the 1.5 km walk to Coast Guard Beach where we took our first swim in the Atlantic since skinny dipping at Sandy Bay on the shores NW of Capetown in February 1976 - it was just as cold as ever. (That's me right in the middle of the pic on the left.)

When we got back to Pier 7 we watched the ospreys mating and then went to a really nice restaurant to celebrate the eve of Canada Day.

Day 5 - Tuesday July 1 - Canada Day
We went a bit further along the Cape Cod National Seashore to do a guided nature walk of about 1 km and then had a look at the Marconi wireless station site.

Back at Pier 7 we took a stroll at the lagoon and watched a wader we could not identify trying to catch fish. Being Canada Day we again went to eat at one of the nicer restaurants :-)

Day 6 - Wednesday July 2
On Wednesday we decided to stay out of the sun and did part of the Pottery and Art tour. Cape Cod is full of pottery and other arty type studios. We took the opportunity to buy a few gifts.

Day 7 - Thursday July 3
This has to be the most memorable day. We went to Provincetown to do the whale watch cruise. To put something in our stomachs we went to Karoo Kafe and had boerewors rolls - so wraggies. There we met Sanette, 'n boer se dogter van Ceres in die Kaap. The boerewors was good.

Our whale watch cruise departed at 13:00. On the way to the whale spotting area in open sea we were given a very instructional talk about whales by, I gather, a marine biologist/researcher.

Although we only saw 2 whales, the second was a juvenile humpback, so we were told, who kept us entertained and enthralled for nearly an hour with his head stand flipper wagging, flipper slapping, arching and rolling and breaching - leaping clear of the water on two occasions less than 30 metres from the boat.

I was using the optical zoom on my camera and he (she?) was so close that s/he could not fit into the camera frame. Ingrid and I both resolved this was something for which we should return to Cape Cod in a couple of years' time.

Before going home we went back to Sanette and the Karoo Kafe to have dinner. Neither if us had fish. :-) I ordered babotie, Ingrid ordered Cape Malay stew, and we each swapped half of what we were served. It was delicious and I highly recommend Karoo Kafe to anyone visiting Provincetown, South Afican or otherwise, for a good, reasonably priced meal.

Day 8 - Friday July 4 - US Independence Day holiday
We went to the Museum of Natural History which, of course, was closed for the holiday; so we went for a hike along one of the National Shoreline self guided trails which was right there - and once again put our feet into the waters of Cape Cod.

We decided against getting stuck in the traffic around any of the major locations that were setting off 4 July fireworks, and instead I spent 30 minutes on the south facing upper veranda of the resort watching the much smaller local effort.

Day 9 - Saturday July 5
We did a leisurely checkout from our unit and drove to one of the restaurants that advertised breakfast, but it had a 30 minute wait; the next had a 40 minute wait. Bad idea. Every restaurant on the R28 on Cape Cod was packed with cars. Obviously everyone and their aunt had the same idea so we began our trip back on an empty stomach.

Our trip back was also through Adirondack Park and we stopped for the night at Long View Lodge, Long Lake. A little more pricey than a B&B it was really a nice place with very reasonably priced fine dining on offer. Our room had a beautiful view of Long Lake. I just wish the American "Continental Breakfast" could be more continental and less American. Muffins and coffee is not what I was offered for breakfast when traveling in Europe.

Day 10 - Sunday July 6

We traveled home via Gananoque on the Thousand Islands scenic route, where Ingrid and I had lunch. All in all it was a great vacation.

Evening view of Long Lake, Adirondack Park.

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