Travel Guide: Cape Cod.

Cape Cod - Travel Guide

*this post is originally from 2014, but I updated it in July 2018 to be more accurate!*

Many of you know that I grew up in Dennis, Massachusetts (a small town in the middle of Cape Cod.) One of the questions I get most is where to go on the Cape… so I thought I’d put together a little guide for you!

I am obviously a little bit biased here as I grew up in Dennis, so naturally I think that Dennis is the best part of the Cape. Everyone who is from Cape Cod thinks that their town has the best beaches, but Dennis actually does (sorry, Chatham and Orleans.) And the best beach in Dennis (far and away) is Mayflower Beach. Really, it is just the best beach ever. You’ll see when you get there, but it’s my happiest place. Stretches of powdery white sand and when the tide goes out it feels like the beach just goes on and on forever. If you have four wheel drive, go to Chapin Beach. It’s right next to Mayflower but really fun to drive onto.

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Lunch & Snacks:

The Merc in Dennis Village has the yummiest sandwiches ever. I’ve been known to stop in for iced coffee (their coffee is really good), sandwiches (and sometimes a China cookie) before a day at the beach. I’m partial to “The Veggie” on multigrain. It’s the most scrumptious, filling sandwich… every vegetable you can imagine with havarti cheese. My mom is a big fan of the chicken salad + apple sandwich. The broccoli salad is also to die for. They’ve been making it for decades (seriously) and it’s always exactly the same — incredible.

Sesuit Cafe in East Dennis makes the best lobster roll you will ever eat. It’s expensive (around $18, I think?) but it basically has an entire lobster in it. (see below photo!) It’s an absolute must-do while you are visiting. It’s BYOB, so pick up a bottle or two of wine beforehand and have a little picnic. Our favorite thing to do is sit at the raw bar and order oysters + littlenecks. They’ll also let you order a lobster roll there which means skipping the line. There are only 5 seats so it can be hard to get a spot but if you do, it’s the best!

Captain Frosty’s has my favorite seafood. I don’t eat fried food but when I do, you an find me at Frosty’s, munching on clam fritters and sucking down an Orange Freeze (the yummiest, creamsicle concoction – I can’t go home without getting one!)

Kender & Sisters just opened up this year (2018) and they have the best wood fired pizzas! Also the pulled pork sandwich is insanely good. My dad is obsessed and he knows his food!!!

Sesuit Harbor Cafe Lobster Roll

Dinner:

My parents sold their restaurant, The Red Pheasant! It recently opened up under new management as Pheasant (by a sweet couple in their thirties)  and the food is fantastic. They’re doing a farm to table concept and the cocktail list is incredible. I love the brick chicken and the clam pasta.

Inaho is our favorite favorite spot for sushi. Everything there is so so good. Like, so good. The scallop sashimi is fantastic.

Encore is the new restaurant at The Cape Playhouse (a great spot to see a show!) The food is very good.

Grill 43 is my one of my parents’ favorite restaurants – it’s the old Abici and looks very good.

The Seagrill is our favorite place to eat right now, but for something fancy (and usually we are pretty casual when I’m home). If you’re looking for a fancy night out this is the place to go. Everything is amazing.

The Flats is a fun, casual restaurant in Brewster. It’s owned by one of the chefs from my parents’ old restaurant and you can definitely tell when you eat there. Everything we had was really good and I love how you order the sides separately from your protein so you can have just a salmon salad if you aren’t super hungry, or you can do something more hearty. I had a great burger when I went.

Girl Reading in Hammock

What to do!

If I had my way, I’d just stay in the hammock all day when I’m home, but trips to Chatham and Orleans are also really fun.

If you head to Chatham, go to the lighthouse, and take a stroll on the beach. Lunch at the Chatham Squire is a must (think beer, oysters, and more seafood) or if you are feeling a bit more fancy, go to the Chatham Bars Inn. (The Chatham Bars Inn is one of the nicest hotels on the Cape too… chances are, you know someone who has gotten married there.) I love shopping along the main street. Midsummer Nights is one of my favorite little stores (they stock a bunch of my favorite designers like DVF + Tory Burch) but also the most gorgeous stuff for home (I love their cnadles + bought all my Turkish bath towels there.) I also really love grabbing ice cream or buying some salt water taffy at the Chatham Candy Manor.

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And if you go to Orleans, you have to get lunch at The Land Ho. Their clam chowder is so delicious and it’s just a really fun spot. My favorite vintage store (in the world… way better, and better prices than here in New York) is also in Orleans — every time I go, I end up with a new beaded handbag, pair of oversized clip on earrings, or fur stole. I buy all of my furs there (cheap!) and have gotten some really fun costume jewelry and coats there as well. They have an entire bridal shop too. On the way home, stop at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow. Seriously good coffee – and their chocolate covered oreos are insanely delicious.

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Nightlife!

Lastly, what to do at night! I love grabbing cocktails (and hitting the raw bar) at Chapin’s. They have a great outdoor space and it’s always low key + casual. Harvest Wine Bar in Dennis is really nice, too. Yummy appetizers + snacks and really great wine. They almost have live music (fun fact – my dad sometimes plays there with his band!) and it’s just a nice but chill place to hang out. For the longest time, there weren’t any good wine bars on the Cape so this spot really filled a (necessary!) void. I also am a little bit obsessed with The Woodshed in Brewster. They almost always have great music playing, and it’s dive-y + fun. It’s where all the locals go. When I was younger I lived at The Improper Bostonian during the summer… live music and lots of dancing. I have a lot of great memories from the nights I spent there… but don’t really go back there anymore… I’m too old! 😉

I didn’t mention Provincetown because I don’t get out there a lot, but that is a really fun day trip… other than that, these are all my “spots” in one place!

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Comments

  1. Gabriela says 7.31.14

    I dated a guy with family in Orleans, and totally forgot about visiting the Hot Chocolate Sparrow when we were there- truly a little gem of a place! And that lobster roll…my goodness, heaven in a roll!

  2. Looks so idyllic! That lobster roll is so mouth watering! Congratulations to your parents for their awards – definitely no reason to recommend anywhere else!

  3. You are making me crave a trip to the Cape! So many great spots. And I plan on sitting in a hammock in NH and crushing the two books that have been sitting on my desk ALL summer. XOXO

  4. smash says 7.31.14

    Such a great post! Has me itching to take a weekend getaway! xx

  5. Belen says 7.31.14

    Awesome!! it’s so cool that your parents have a restaurant!! I want to go.
    Xo, Belen
    A Hint of Life

  6. Sounds like foodie heaven with a beach! I’m definitely putting the Cape on my list.

  7. jillian says 7.31.14

    so beautiful ! i want to go there someday! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  8. Renee W. says 7.31.14

    YES CAPE COD. Spent every summer of my life in East Orleans (worked at Fancy’s Farm Stand and the Orleans Yacht Club; drove out on Nauset Beach every Saturday and Sunday at 7am; spoiled for life.)

    Just seeing your mention of the Woodshed (YES. A thousand times yes.) and the Land Ho chowder (YUM) made me so happy. Also, The Red Pheasant was my parents’ favorite no-kids date night when we were growing up and I have since taken my husband to keep the tradition alive!

    I might add Sir Cricket’s as a fried food destination in Orleans, and the Beachcomber and Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet as two of my personal favorites 🙂

    • Grace Atwood says 7.31.14

      How on earth did I miss the Beachcomber? MAJOR oversight… haha. But I need to check out Sir Cricket’s. And totally agree… we are 100% spoiled for life. 😉

  9. Samantha says 7.31.14

    Love this! Lobster rolls are my favorite!!

  10. Emily says 7.31.14

    I’m radicoulously happy Captain Frosty’s made your list. It’s been one of my favorites since I was a child. 🙂

    • Grace Atwood says 7.31.14

      Ahhh it’s the best!!!

  11. Dawn says 7.31.14

    Definitely a YES to Mayflower Beach! Used to love walking when the tide was out, and searching for sand dollars. Also another yes to The Chocolate Sparrow! Love their frozen hot chocolate! Yum! Btw, The Land Ho in Harwich is equally is nice. I am partial to that one, because I am a resident there.

  12. Ellen says 7.31.14

    Love these photos! I would love to go to Cape Cod!

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

  13. Kara says 7.31.14

    Your wrap up of Cape Cod is fantastic! I grew up spending summers in Dennisport, and you mentioned all my favorite places (except for Sundae School)! The jetty at Cold Storage Beach in Sesuit Harbor is my favorite place on earth.

    Crazy – I have been reading your blog for ages and never knew your parents were the owners of the Red Pheasant, or “The Phez” as my mom and I call it! It is her favorite restaurant. She lives in Brewster and Denise (your mom, I guess!) and many of the servers know her well! We always go when I’m visiting her, and I ALWAYS get the sole meuniere and ask for extra gougeres! What a fabulous family you have!

    • Grace Atwood says 7.31.14

      Oh my gosh what a small world! This comment makes me so happy… I love it! Yup, The Red Phez! And my mom is Denise. Dying! The Sole is SO GOOD and I always ask for extra gougeres too!

  14. wockyjabber says 7.31.14

    I’m headed to the Cape on Saturday! We stay in Chatham. Thanks for the pointers.

  15. Krissy says 8.1.14

    You nailed it Grace. And yes, Dennis beaches are the best. And I love all your suggestions!!! I 100% agree!!!

  16. I love this travel guide! I grew up spending summers in South Dennis and my in-laws live in Wellfleet year-round now so we spend a lot of time up there too. Huge fan of Land ho and I’m going to find that vintage place next time we’re up there. We’re also huge fans of The Red Inn since we got married there 🙂

  17. Katie H. says 6.11.17

    We’re going to Cape Cod for the first time ever. This post is so helpful, but I’m curious if you have any recommendations regarding where to stay. Thanks!

  18. Patsy says 8.22.18

    So random that I found this! We grew up down 6A a bit, but I worked at The Pilot House (which is now Scargo Cafe) and we used to order to-go desserts from The Red Pheasant! It was mousse in a chocolate cup. Best. Dessert.Ever. Please thank your parents 🙂

    And so much yes to all the others, Capt Frosty’s, Inaho, Sesuit Cafe, Harvest, The Woodshed……

  19. Kristen says 8.23.18

    Your recommendations are spot on. I had the sesuit lobster roll for the first time this year, it is easily the best out there. Next time you are in Wellfleet – Mac’s Shack! (their sushi rivals inaho for best on cape, IMO!) I feel like you would just love Wellfleet Harbor / the little downtown – the art gallery / local art scene is excellent.

    By the way – I believe Chapin Beach has been closed to Oversand vehicles. (Crowes is open, but anyone with 4 wheel drive can’t just head out for the day, you need a special pass from town hall.) However, Chapin is just like Mayflower in that you can pay to hit up the parking lot!

    • grace at the stripe says 8.23.18

      This makes me so happy – glad you had a great time!!!

      That’s so sad re: Chapin Beach. I need to update my post!