Destination: Cape Cod
*Before beginning another tale of vacation shenanigans I’ve got to send some love and positive vibes out to my friends in Boulder, the Front Range and D.C., who are dealing with disasters of very different sorts. If you’ve found yourself on this page, hopefully it’ll provide a little escapism from the more serious realities of life.*
On the Saturday morning of our Labor Day Weekend getaway, I woke up early to go for a run in Boston before heading to our next destination: Cape Cod.
This time I ran toward the waterfront, winding up and down a series of wharfs. On my first one, I glanced through a window and saw what I thought was a hotel swimming pool. Nope, it was the sea lion pool in the aquarium. I can definitely say that was the first time I ever got to watch sea lions play during a run.
Trotting along, I passed many beautiful boats, harbor views, waterfront hotels and residences.
When I decided to head back home, I somehow found myself back in the North End where we’d eaten dinner the night before. It looked a lot different, empty in the early morning hours. There I ran through Paul Revere Square and saw the Old North Church.
No lanterns in the steeple – the British were not coming.
I made it back to the hotel in just about 30 minutes and jumped quickly into the shower. We were in a hurry to get on the road to the Cape early in order to avoid Labor Day Weekend traffic.
Our plan worked because we only hit one slow-down during the whole trip. We even made time to stop off in Quincy at Marylou’s Coffee. Tina, the author of Carrots n Cake, a blog I’ve been reading for years, raves about Marylou’s delicious flavored iced coffees constantly. I’d been wanting to try one for literally years.
We walked in to an overwhelming variety of mouth-watering flavors, but I knew my order without even checking the menu: a Peanut Butter Wonderful specialty iced coffee.
This wasn’t straight-up iced coffee. It had something added to it to make it especially rich and creamy. I’m not sure exactly what it was but I didn’t care. It tasted indulgent and peanut buttery, definitely more of a treat than a simple cup of coffee. Plus their medium size was 24 oz. We’re not at Starbucks anymore people. There are Marylou’s locations scattered around the Boston area, so check out their website if you’re interested in finding one.
Fully caffeinated, we made it to Chatham in about an hour and a half. The drive flew by, and suddenly we were at the front door of the Chatham Guest Rooms, our home for the next few days. It was too early to check in, so we headed down the street for lunch.
Before our trip to Chatham, my whole family – who grew up in Massachusetts and spent a lot of time at the Cape – told me that we needed to eat at Kream ‘n’ Kone. I ignored the atrocious spelling of the name because I remembered loving it on a past family vacation, and we headed over for a fried food bonanza.
I hadn’t realized before our trip that fried seafood is pretty much the signature cuisine of Cape Cod (you could make an argument for lobster rolls and clam chowder, of course, but I found fried food to be even more prevalent). At Kream ‘n’ Kone, we jumped in head first.
We split an order of fried whole clams, fried onion rings and one of their famous burgers. The burger was my favorite item, but the fried stuff was sinfully good too.
I also found it a little surprising how expensive the fried seafood on the Cape was. I associate fried with cheap, which was certainly not the case here. Our small order of fried clams was around $15 and we found that to be pretty standard elsewhere. I’m not sure if that’s just the price of fresh seafood these days, or if everyone charged so much just because they could. Thoughts?
Anyway, I left Kream ‘n’ Kone so full of fried food that I couldn’t even bring myself to try one of their Black & White Frappes (milkshakes, to the rest of the country). I actually felt like I needed to hose the grease off myself and take a nap. I’m still pretty sure the meal was worth it.
Instead of hosing ourselves off and napping, we headed into downtown Chatham to wander around, window shop and take in the quaint and adorable town.
We passed a sign on a side street proclaiming “Windmill Open.” Unwilling to resist, we followed the arrow through winding streets until we came to this.
It was pretty cool to go inside the windmill and there was a man there explaining how it worked and how it’s been recently restored. From the windmill to the adjacent Labyrinth, it was an interesting side trip.
From there we wandered around some of the beautiful residential streets of Chatham until we found ourselves back downtown, then headed to our inn to check in and relax for a bit.
Come dinner time we weren’t exactly starving due to the aforementioned fried food, so we headed to the Chatham Squire to sit at the bar and enjoy a casual dinner.
The Squire is a little cheesy, a little divey and a total Chatham icon. It was the spot to be that night and we were lucky to score two seats at the bar. Bracing myself for tourist trap-quality food, I was pleasantly surprised by my Mussels Marinara. The mussels were fresh, flavorful and perfectly prepared.
As we left the Squire, we noticed a line forming all the way down the block of college-aged kids waiting to get into the bar. We laughed a bit to ourselves because it definitely didn’t seem like the kind of place worth waiting in line. Then I felt old for not “getting” it.
Instead of hanging out and partying like college kids, we opted to walk down the block to Buffy’s Ice Cream for a cone, then strolled around town until we were ready to go to bed.
It was a relaxing and delicious welcome to Cape Cod!