"She's a New Yorker, you know. Thinks New Englanders are a species of elves."
June 13, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm going hiking on Cape Cod (around Wellfleet) and am looking for cool places to visit en route to/from Boston. Points for weirdness and local flavor.

We'll probably have soaked up all the nature we can, so I'm looking for more culture-oriented destinations. We're interested in everything and we like things gritty more than fancy. My guest is visiting New England for the first time, and it would be cool to find some local/backwater/whatever places that give off a those-wacky-new-englanders! vibe. I've been to the area a few times, but my main memories are of kitschy town centers full of similar-looking candy and tchotchke purveyors. I do like that stuff, but I'm hoping someone will know about some spots that are special.

In particular, I seek a good place where an omnivore looking to experience the local cuisine (i.e., seafood) and his vegetarian host can both feed happily.
posted by zadermatermorts to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. As a transplanted New Yorker (I'm the one in the Yankees cap trying to avoid a lynching) I feel the pain, but I'm not not sure how well South-of-Boston has married "local backwater" and "culture oriented".

Check out this for some options. I can speak to the Plymouth Philharmonic as being interesting (although I can't say the same for the tchotchke laden waterfront or the disappointing monument to a rock). Also, the Duxbury Art Complex Museum might be worth a stop (even a picnic at the Standish Monument) but the key feature of the area is the beach, not the arts.

Hope this helps.
posted by dragonbay at 11:30 AM on June 13, 2006

Oh. I forgot to mention one other thing. Its not artsy, but should fit the bill for local backwater... try to catch a Cape Cod Baseball League game. Its cheap, low key, lots of fun, and pretty down-home.. and the quality of play is great if you're into baseball.
posted by dragonbay at 11:34 AM on June 13, 2006

If you're looking for local flavor on the cape P-town is the place to go.
posted by Charlie Brown at 11:35 AM on June 13, 2006

Best answer: As far as I know, the Cape Cod Fiddlers (or just random fiddlers, banjo pickers, guitar strummers, etc) still congregate weekly around sunset on an Eastham bay beach, last I knew it was Cooksbrook Beach.

Kind of related, if there is a show at The Chapel in the Pines (First Encounter Coffeehouse), it is a great little place to see local and sometimes national acts.

Provincetown is cultured, yet still gritty. You pretty much need to devote at least one evening to checking out Ptown.

It is nature related, but if you haven't walked Fort Hill and Cedar Swamp in Eastham, it is a don't miss area.

As far as local cuisine, it is more of a question where not to go than where to go. Almost every place has fresh seafood, decent chefs, and poorly paid cooks. A few recommendations:

For "fine dining" from personal experience:
- Abbicci
- Impudent Oyster

For quick but good food:
- If you lots of people, try it. People return to the Cape year after year and most places that develop loyal customers do so for a reason.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 11:38 AM on June 13, 2006

I LOVED Plimoth Plantation. We stayed for hours watching the daily chores and chatting with the "locals". It IS old New England after all.
posted by beccaj at 12:00 PM on June 13, 2006

Best answer: How about Plimoth Plantation?

"Gritty" you say? Quincy Naval Shipyard.

And while we're on "naval" - Battleship Cove.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:01 PM on June 13, 2006

The New England Diner!


This was always a good mag... you may find what you are looking for in here.
posted by beccaj at 12:03 PM on June 13, 2006

Nash DinoLand is pretty darn kitschy... paper-maché T-Rex and all.

Or, how about the Lizzie Borden Musem?
posted by xo at 12:09 PM on June 13, 2006

Not New England-y per se but Wellfleet has an old-fashioned Drive-in.

There is also the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
posted by MasonDixon at 12:53 PM on June 13, 2006

Best answer: Well, real Cape Cod culture means working fishermen and oystermen, and in Wellfleet you'll find them drinking (ok, drunk) at the Bomb Shelter, under and behind the Bookstore restaurant down by the harbor.

And you can eat the best seafood on the Cape right across the road, at Mac's. I gather he's opened a sit-down restaurant where the old Lobster Pot was back past the harbor on Commercial St.

The equivalent bar in Provincetown is the Old Colony, on Commercial St. (different town, different street, same name) near Standish. But P-town's a tourist nightmare.
posted by nicwolff at 2:20 PM on June 13, 2006

I'm not not sure how well South-of-Boston has married "local backwater" and "culture oriented".

Hey! The South Shore is wonderful!

If you're going to be coming down around breakfast-time, you should bother to take Exit 12 and follow 139 all the way to Brant Rock, where you can have a wonderful breakfast at Arthur and Pat's (on the Brant Rock "esplanade"). I've been going there for all 27 years of my life and the people there are like family, practically.

In fact, if you're really feeling inclined, I would stay on 139 towards Duxbury, then take 3A all the way south to the canal (if you have time and you like scenic drives that include both nice views and weird town centers.) You can also pick 3A up even further north if you decide to check out Quincy. If you do that, you will cross the North River, which is near and dear to my heart.

As a Plymouth resident, I can certainly tell you that the typical Plymouth tourism things are fun if you've never seen them, especially the Plantation.
posted by nekton at 2:55 PM on June 13, 2006

For dinner Napi's at 7 Freeman St., Provincetown * Cuisines: American, Brazilian, Mediterranean, Eclectic, International. a delicious and fun place years ago. portugese restaurant.

The great thing about the cape is not culture but nature. There is nothing greater in the world than to go to Newcomb's Hollow Beach in Wellfleet and just walk along the beach forever, then to go to one of the freshwater ponds on the way home to rinse off from salt and sand.

Provincetown has all the kitsch you seek.

In Wellfleet go to the Box Lunch for unbelievable wraps- veg and meat.
posted by madstop1 at 4:34 PM on June 13, 2006

Response by poster: Drunk fishermen! That's what I want!

Thanks, all.
posted by zadermatermorts at 9:29 PM on June 13, 2006

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