Help me relax about relaxing!
August 5, 2012 7:30 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I have booked a hotel for a long weekend in Eastham (Cape Cod), just after Labor Day. I am getting anxious about what exactly we will be doing during that time, rather than looking forward to the time. Please help me to (loosely) schedule time and/or suggest things to do (especially those that are pet-friendly) while we are there...

We are bringing our dog and cannot leave her alone at our hotel, so we can really only go places that welcome dogs (or kennel her for part of the time, but part of what I look forward to on vacation is spending time with our dog).

We are excited about the cottage place we're staying, and ostensibly, it will be nice to just lounge around there and do nothing with maybe some short trips to the beach or short hikes. But I'm having trouble picturing that... I am getting more and more worried that we will regret being stuck 'doing nothing' rather than relaxing. I think my husband was all set with the idea of lounging until I started describing my anxieties, and now I'd like to try to quell it a bit on my own without getting him further worried... (We haven't taken a 'real' vacation in a while, so I suspect that I am partially just anxious about making this time 'count' rather than 'wasting' it, and I can understand that some of this is irrational. It typically helps me to try to make plans when I am feeling afloat like this about 'wasting' time.)

So, can you suggest dog-friendly places to check out and/or describe how you've spent similar weekends?
posted by Tandem Affinity to Travel & Transportation around Cape Cod, MA (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Go to the Wellfleet Drive in!!

There are some beaches and great trails open to dogs, even IN season...

Here's a great map

Here's a great site. It will include dog friendly restaurants
posted by beccaj at 7:41 PM on August 5, 2012

Also there are pet friendly charter boats!!
posted by beccaj at 7:43 PM on August 5, 2012

Hole in One, an amazing donut shop, has a few picnic tables outside, where puppy should be welcome. Their donuts are Delicious.
posted by quodlibet at 7:59 PM on August 5, 2012

Go to Provincetown. It's awesome and you can spend a whole day there. But really I think if your husband just wants to lounge around, you should allow him that option too.
posted by WickedPissah at 8:34 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: OMG. You are ridiculous. STOP THIS.

I live in LA now, but grew up in NYC and spent nearly some part of every summer somewhere on The Cape or on Martha's Vineyard.

You are going there after Labor Day?? THIS IS PRIME TIME!!!!!

All the fun, none of the crowds.

I am bereft and jealous. Give me your cottage. I know what to do with it!

Sorry. I have been especially missing The Cape this year now that my first child is 1 1/2 years old. Catalina is NOT like The Cape. You are so damn lucky. So damn lucky.


#1 - You will visit The Brewster Cook Shop and The Brewster Country Store.

Do the Country Store every morning. It ROCKS.

#2 - You will hang out and do nothing on the beach - bay side or ocean side - on the ocean side the wind can be terrific. That's OK.

#3 You will drink wine and have a snack and watch the sunset. Every. Single. Night.

This is a daily event all Cape Cod peeps show up for!

#4 There is a cute nature museum in Brewster. Too far for you to bike to, but you can drive it easy.

#5 If you have access to a private-ish beach - evening fire and snacks. Our cottage was on the beach. Have you ever fallen asleep on the beach next to the water? Especially on the bay side? WOW. We used to wake up after the fire died down and move inside, these are my favorite memories.

#6 You WILL look up the tide schedules on the bay side and rock waaaaay out into the water at Wellfleet or similar beach. Take a camera. You will spy tide pools with awesome blue snails and other critters. Best. Pictures. Ever.

You will get caught too far out in the surf as the tide comes in, and feel the thrill of racing nature back into shore!

#7 You will have yummy deep fried Cod Fish, Clam, and Chips at a clam shack.

I miss this especially.

#8 On one of your last nights, you will pick an upscale seafood restaurant and go there for dinner. I recommend HERE.


Shops, Restaurants, Drag Shows, Bars.

#10 You can see something at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater - check their calendar!

#11 You will visit seafood purveyors and cook amazing local seafood at your cottage!

(memail if you want my uber secret Clam Chowder recipe that I perfected over 5 summers. If you've got your shit together, you can dig up some quahogs to add to your chowder when the tide is out on the bay side, but likely you'll have to supplement with a container of frozen local clams from a purveyor.)


#13 You can rent a sailboat. If you are not experienced, bay side. If you have experience and want to brave the elements on an otherwise sunny day - ocean side!

#14 Snorkeling on the bay side. Fun!!

# 15 Rent kayaks on the bay side between Wellfleet and Brewster and kayak the estuaries. Do this AFTER your visit to the natural history of The Cape museum - it will mean more to you then.

#16 Ferry to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket for the day. (Both need 2 days, but whatevs. You seem conflicted, this might work out great for you:))

# 17 Outdoor shower! Our cottage had one, hopefully yours will, too.

The Brewster Country Store sells a sample size of a seaweed soap... Let's just say that was my one Cape guilty pleasure every year, no matter how chilly it was outside, and leave it at that.

I saved Clam Chowder Day for the one overcast day we'd have during this time of year that you'll be there. FYI.


In short, I am jealous as hell right now. Tear it up.

Take comfort. You are super blessed.

posted by jbenben at 8:49 PM on August 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

Except for the upscale restaurant, kayaking, the theater, and the outdoor shower - your pup is pretty much welcome to all I listed.
posted by jbenben at 8:52 PM on August 5, 2012

Drive up and down 6A. It's slow and meandering, and has dozens of bookstores and antique shops and whatnot. Open the window for the dog's head to stick out. Good times.

You need to go to Arnold's for your fried clams and lobsters, etc. Right in Eastham. Huge lines during the summer, but you should be good after Labor Day.

Visit First Encounter Beach during low tide. Tide pools, nice warm water, on the bay side.

Cape Cod National Seashore - Visit Nauset Light Beach, Coast Guard Beach, Marconi Beach on the ocean side for big waves. Easy hikes at Fort Hill or the Nauset Marsh Trail. Great Island Trail for a more difficult hike to a practically deserted beach.

Have a frozen hot chocolate at Hot Chocolate Sparrow.

There's a vineyard in Truro which offers wine tastings every 30 minutes.

It's too bad Thompson's Clam Bar is no longer open.

Have a wonderful time!
posted by Seppaku at 9:29 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Take two cameras along and have a picture taking race! (You go separate directions and try to take pictures of ten odd or pretty things that your spouse will enjoy. Then you meet up and choose the winner picture!)
posted by Omnomnom at 4:54 AM on August 6, 2012

I go to the Wellfleet area for a week every year, and all of the places mentioned above are great. I also recommend Mac's Seafood in Wellfleet, which is right on the town pier and has outdoor seating (I'm pretty sure I've seen dogs there). They also have a proper restaurant but the outdoor counter place is what you want. The new-ish PB Boulangerie in South Wellfleet is out of this world. They have dinner but I've only ever gone there for mind-blowing pastries. Other than that, I think dogs are allowed off-leash on the beaches after 5 p.m.
posted by chowflap at 8:36 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Highland Light in Truro to walk around and enjoy the views with your dog

Provincetown has been voted one of the most dog friendly towns in the U.S. here's an outdated page but a place to start.

Walk your dog along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which goes from Wellfleet (through Eastham) down to Dennis & Chatham
posted by wannabecounselor at 6:10 PM on August 6, 2012

I'm literally in Eastham RIGHT NOW. We come every year, staying at our family's vacation home. We bring our dog, but this time of year he technically can't come to the beach until late evening. Though honestly nobody really cares much if there's a dog around. As has been mentioned, at low tide you can walk out for what seems like a mile. Dogs love it - room to run, birds to chase, dead stuff to roll on.

We also see dogs frolicking in the water around the Wiley Park area. It's a big freshwater kettle pond, with loads of trails surrounding it.

Seconding Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans for dessert/chocolate. PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet is indeed amazing. Get there early and watch them pulling incredible pastries and breads out of the oven. For donuts we choose Fleming's over Hole In One, but that's just habit.

Arnold's is the popular choice for fried stuff - and don't let the line fool you, it moves fast. But there are other equally good and less touristy places further up.

But overall I agree with the above - doing "nothing" is the best part. Park yourself on the beach, hunt for sea glass and interesting shells, bundle up and watch the amazing sunset with a bottle of wine, then read until you fall asleep. Hard to beat.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:15 PM on August 6, 2012

Oh, and yes to outdoor showers. It's one of the highlights of our stay. Rain or shine, day or night, it's the greatest.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:17 PM on August 6, 2012

Adding to jbenben's list:

18. All the tension will drain from your gut as you cross the Bourne Bridge (even if you've been in inexplicable traffic jams, are listening to the audio of In Cold Blood and have to pee like crazy) and NOTHING will faze you.

It was just my 1st time here. Very little will stop me from returning.

"I'm in love with Massachusetts......"
posted by brujita at 6:14 PM on September 5, 2012

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