Friday, July 9, 2010

Wellfleet and Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Wanderlust is a dangerous thing.  Once you catch the bug, the cure is elusive.  Apparently four and a half months of poking around the globe didn’t quench my wanderlust, because we’re still feeling antsy to wander locally.  We’ve been home for a whopping eight weeks and already we’ve spent four days in Toronto, Ontario (visiting family), a couple days in Harpswell and Freeport, Maine (camping and gorging ourselves on New England seafood), and we just returned from a spontaneous four-day getaway on Cape Cod. 

If you’ve rented a vacation home before, you know that it can be an incredibly affordable and comfortable way to vacation. My favorite site is, which we have used to find vacation cottages, condos, and homes in places as diverse as Park City, Utah; Whistler, British Columbia; Ludlow, Vermont; Rockland, Maine; Martha’s Vineyard; and Rabos, Spain.  The key is to convince friends and family to join you, and then enjoy amenities like gourmet kitchens, fireplaces, private hot tubs, and expansive back yard decks at a fraction of the cost of a stay in a cramped hotel room.  The one disadvantage is that you usually need to commit to a minimum week-long stay. 

When the temps climbed toward 90 degrees in Boston in late June, I started to daydream about a cottage by the ocean.  However, since we spent the first third of 2010 globetrotting, our accumulated vacation time is pretty measly right now, and a weeklong vacation at a beach house isn’t in the cards.  No worries, all I had to do was bide my time until the July 4th long weekend, and call places that were still vacant on Wednesday before the holiday weekend.  I found a half dozen places on Cape Cod that would let us show up on Friday night after work and stay until Tuesday morning.  We talked four of our friends into joining us for the weekend, and voila!  We had an instant mini-vacation.  

The three-bedroom cottage we found was in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, about a two-hour drive east of Boston onto the  Cape Cod peninsula.  We didn’t pay the steep premium rate to have a place right on the ocean, but within a five minute drive of our front door, we had a choice of the western (bayside) shoreline, eastern (oceanside) beaches, and a large freshwater pond.  We also had a big deck with plenty of lounge chairs and a gas grill.  For six city-dwellers from Boston and Montreal, a backyard and a BBQ were all we needed to get away from everyday life!  

If you're visiting New England for the first time, I highly recommend Wellfleet as a great location to explore the best of the Cape.  We spent an afternoon at the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore (on the ocean side of the Cape), and then topped the day off with beers and oyster shots (tequila, lots of cocktail sauce and raw oysters- bottoms up!) at the crowded and always-fun Beachcomber bar right on the water.  

We spent the next day enjoying the warmer water on the bay side of the Cape.  The temps climbed into the high 90s and it was HOT but we kept cool playing frisbee in the waves.  Afterwards, the guys headed to Great Pond for some freshwater swimming.  

We spent the last day of our mini vacation in Provincetown.  We fueled up with iced coffee at my favorite place, the Wired Puppy.  After a bit of shopping, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of fish tacos on a second-floor deck overlooking Commercial Street and the harbor beyond.  On our way home, we were disappointed to just miss the last scheduled winetasting at Truro Vineyards.     Mohit and I have visited the vineyards on past trips to the Cape and although the wines aren't *quite* comparable to those in Napa, the atmosphere still makes it easy to imagine you're enjoying the West Coast!

We ate and drank like kings; peach french toast, jamaican-jerk marianated chicken kebabs, homemade tzatziki, good prosecco, bourboun stout beer, indian-spiced chicken burger sliders, and ice cream sundaes.  We split the costs of the food, drinks, and the house among the six of us and the total for this fabulous weekend was a mere $200 per person for the four night getaway.  We hope to do it again soon!

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