Cape Cod Vacation Recap Part 1: What I Did

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I will be doing a two-part vacation recap.  Part one will be all about what I actually did while I was on the Cape this year, and part two will cover the things I didn’t get to do this time around, but wish I did.  I’m going to go with a chronological format for this post, starting with the drive down Friday night.

I had to drive down by myself, which sucked.  Ben couldn’t come because it’s still during the school year, and the rest of my family carpooled because they all got to stay the entire week.  Thankfully, traffic wasn’t bad.  I blasted my show tunes and breezed south, singing my face off.  I arrived at my Aunt Beth and Uncle Rob’s place in Sandwich around 11 pm, and pretty much everyone else was already asleep.  Rob and Beth’s place is pretty small, so I ended up sleeping on couch cushions arrayed on the living room floor.  Needless to say, I didn’t actually sleep much.

My dad is an early riser, so he was up and at ’em before 6 am.  His banging around in the kitchen woke me up, and I had a snuggle sesh with this lovely pup, our border collie, Harley.

Photo Jun 10, 5 58 43 PM

I decided to get a quick run in, so I pulled on my sneakers.  The thing about Cape Cod is, it’s very small and compacted.  Most of the smaller neighborhood roads are either dead ends or cul-de-sacs, so I had to run up and back on several cul-de-sacs just to get 2 miles.  It was very hilly, but I felt good.

This was breakfast pretty much every day-veggie omelet, toast, coffee and patio :)

This was breakfast pretty much every day-veggie omelet, toast, coffee and patio 🙂

After breakfast, my sister Haley and I headed over to our rental house in Dennis to drop off our cars and hit the beach.  Our rental is in a neighborhood by Bayview Beach, which is usually less crowded because the parking lot is for Dennis residents only.  We got there by 8:30 am and there was hardly anyone around.  We were joined later by one of our other sisters, Hilary (Hilary and Haley are twins), their friend Morgan, and my mom.  We stayed on the beach for several hours, soaking up the sun and chatting.  Around 1, we headed back to the house for showers and food.  Saturday was my parents’ 34th wedding anniversary (!), so they went out to dinner at their favorite Italian place, Gerardi’s.  Us kids were on our own.  We read or watched TV, and I made a delicious stir-fry for dinner.  I was in bed by 10:30 because I was dehydrated from sitting on the beach all day with no water.  I had also ended up with some weird blotches of sunburn due to poor sunscreen application 😦

Since I missed my long run Saturday, I got up at 7 on Sunday and hit the pavement.  I had planned out a 5 mile loop that I could repeat twice for 10 miles.  Unfortunately, I got mixed up somehow and my loop ended up only being 4 miles.  This worked out fine, because I was dehydrated and hot, so 8 miles ended up being more than enough for me.

As would be the case pretty much everyday except for Tuesday, my parents went out on Rob’s boat to go fishing and we kids were left to our own devices.

After breakfast and a shower, I decided to meet up with my Uncle Kevin, Aunt Julie, and cousins Mike and Michelle at Crowes Pasture.  This is a nature preserve with a drive out beach past the sand dunes.  One of the things I love most about Dennis beaches is that there are sandbars that go really far out, so there’s a lot more room to spread out at low tide.  I picked up a sandwich at Tedeschi’s on my way over, and then spent a glorious 3 hours on the beach with my family.

Photo Jun 08, 1 05 39 PM

We headed to our respective homes around 3, because the plan was to meet at the Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis to see Smitty, the Fishin’ Musician.  We’ve been listening to this guy play for years, and he goes fishing with my Uncle Rob a lot.  I had 6 oysters on the half shell and several cocktails.  My family gets a little rowdy when the booze starts flowing, and we love to sing and be the center of attention, so things got a little silly.  Thankfully, my dad was the DD, so I got home safe and sound.

Photo Jun 08, 5 13 25 PMPhoto Jun 08, 4 53 39 PM

Sister selfie-me and Haley

Sister selfie-me and Haley

Sister selfie-me and Hilary

Sister selfie-me and Hilary

Photo Jun 08, 5 41 23 PM

Smitty-the Fishin’ Musician

Dinner was a pretty simple affair with hamburgers and potato chips after all that, and once again I was in bed early.

I was up and out the door by 7:30 to get in a quick 4 miles before another beach day.  It was still hot, but I managed just fine.  The route I planned out is pretty hilly, but at least 40 % of it is nicely shaded, and the first part has some beautiful beach views.  After breakfast, my cousin Michelle picked me and Hilary up to go to Chapin Beach, which is a couple of miles away from our rental.  Since Michelle’s parents live on Cape, they’ve got a Dennis beaches sticker that allowed us to park at any beach we wanted for free!

Since it was Monday, there was literally NO ONE ELSE on the beach for the first hour we were there.  The weather wasn’t perfect–it was a little overcast and cool, but the sun came out for an hour or so, and we just listened to music and enjoyed ourselves.  When it started to cloud up again, we decided it was time for ice cream!  Michelle suggested Sundae School, which was fine with me.  I’ve been hearing for years how awesome it is, but we’ve never gone.  You know how you just get comfortable with your favorite places and you’re reluctant to try anything new?

Anyway, we picked up my older sister Jessica (yes, I have three sisters, no brothers), and headed over to Sundae School in Dennisport.  This place is seriously cool–they have an old player piano that actually works, and an old fashioned soda fountain on display.  I got 2 scoops of coffee Oreo ice cream, and it was PHENOMENAL.  I mean, I’ve had coffee Heath bar, but coffee and Oreo is a whole new level of awesome.

Photo Jun 09, 2 57 31 PMPhoto Jun 09, 2 57 44 PM

Monday night, Aunt Beth and Uncle Rob came over for dinner.  We had shrimp cocktail, chicken wings, rib eye and salad.  I was the designated bartender for dinner and I made some mean margaritas.  I was stuffed and tipsy by the end of the night, but gosh we had a blast.  My sister busted out the frozen daquiris and frozen margaritas after dinner, and there were some hilarious conversations:

Hilary:  Do you want another one?

Dad:  If I do, it’s lights out.

Hilary:  So, do you want another one?

Dad:  Well, yeah!

Photo Jun 09, 8 50 30 PM

My family, ladies and gentlemen…  I went to bed very early Monday night.

It was cloudy and threatening rain in the morning, so we decided that we all (Aunt Beth and Uncle Rob had stayed over) wanted to go out to breakfast at Sesuit Harbor Cafe, and then go to Provincetown.  Unfortunately, right as we pulled up at Sesuit Harbor, it started pouring.  Since they only have outdoor seating, we had to find an alternative.  Rob suggested the Red Cottage, a diner not too far away.

This was a new one for us, and it was kind of a mixed bag, in my opinion.  Jess got some insanely good cinnamon french toast, and I got a delicious breakfast burrito, but the home fries were super bland, and Haley’s veggie pocket was under cooked.  Apparently, the “Cottage Fries,” which are home fries with ham, mushrooms, sour cream and a bunch of other stuff mixed in are really amazing, so maybe pay the extra to “upgrade” your home fries and you’ll be happier?

With the rain, we decided not to go all the way out to Provincetown (a good hour long drive), and to go home and regroup instead.  Rob and Beth went off to do their own thing.  For a while everyone was sort of grumpy and out of sorts, but Dad, Hilary, Haley and I ultimately decided to go to some thrift stores to try to find movies and board games to occupy our time, and Jess and Mom were gonna go shopping in Dennis.

I scored a really adorable mini-dress for $5, and a great Forever21 cardigan for $2.  While we were out and about, Mom called and said that Rob and Beth had picked her and Jess up, and they were on their way to Chatham, so we decided to thrift our way over there.

Chatham is (in my opinion), a hoity-toity, touristy town with lots of overpriced shops and bars, but there are a few places I ALWAYS go:

Chatham Penny Candy:  Obviously, there’s no such thing as “penny candy” anymore, but they have lots of bulk candy.  I always get chocolate covered gummy bears.

Click for Source

Click for Source

Ben Franklin:  Sort of a cross between an old-timey five-and-dime, a craft store, and a tourist trap.  You never know what you’ll find.

Yankee Ingenuity:  This store has just about anything and everything you could ever possibly want in a tourist shop, and lots of stuff you never knew you needed.  It’s also pretty reasonably priced.

Click for Source

Click for Source

It’s tradition to stop into the Chatham Squire for a cocktail and some oysters, and Rob and Beth were all about it.

Above the bar at Chatham Squire

Above the bar at Chatham Squire

But this time us girls just weren’t feeling it, so Dad suggested we go down to the harbor to see the seals.  This was brand new to us–apparently the seals hang out in the harbor because with the fishing boats come in, they toss overboard all the small or bad fish and the seals eat them!  Guys, this was seriously so cool.  There were two harbor seals just swimming around, doing rolls and popping their heads up, waiting for the boats.  And when a boat came in with a load of dogfish (small sand sharks), we got to see the seals right up close eating the cast offs!  It was amazing, and I’m so glad we did this instead of sitting in a bar.

Photo Jun 10, 2 12 55 PMPhoto Jun 10, 2 14 00 PM

Dinner on Tuesday night was pretty mellow–leftover hamburgers, pasta salad and chips.  Dad, Hilary and Haley played games while Mom and I watched old movies and drank wine.  It was awesome.

I was hoping that I would be able to get a few more hours on the beach my last day, and thankfully, the weather cooperated.  It was very breezy and only about 65 degrees, but I hauled my butt to the beach at 8:30 anyway–once again, I was the only one there!  I read and sunbathed and tried to soak up as much of the ocean breeze as I could.  Mom, Hilary and Haley joined me after about an hour, and we all hung out until around 11:30, then headed back to the house.

Photo Jun 11, 8 29 34 AM

I showered, ate lunch, and got my stuff together.  It was really hard to leave when I knew everyone else would get to stay and enjoy three more days without me, but alas, all good things must end.  The drive home was rainy and lonely, and I’d gotten a bit of a sunburn on my butt, so it was pretty uncomfortable too.  I was mostly just grouchy having to leave the Cape.

But when I pulled in at home and my kitty and my man were waiting for me, everything was better, and I was ultimately happy to be home.

Whew!  So there you have it.  Part one of my vacation recap.  Stay tuned, because next week I’ll be putting together a post about the things I wish I’d gotten to do, but didn’t because I didn’t get to stay the whole week.

As an aside, I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures for you, but it’s my philosophy to be more “in the moment” than try to document the moment.  Maybe that makes me a bad blogger, but it’s how I roll.  I don’t have a fancy camera and I’d rather watch seals cavort than be fussing with my camera trying to get the perfect picture of them.  I’m sure you understand 🙂

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

8 thoughts on “Cape Cod Vacation Recap Part 1: What I Did

  1. Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run. says:

    Sounds like an awesome time. That Sundae School place sounds awesome! It’s so funny because I grew up probably only 40 min from the Cape, but we had a summer cottage in Duxbury so we never went down there. I still only live maybe an hour plus away in RI, but we just never go. I may have to check some of these places out.

    • DarlinRae says:

      I’m probably biased because I go every summer, but I really think it’s awesome. There’s something for everyone, whether you want shopping, restaurants, or just to sit your butt on a beach 🙂

  2. dgobs says:

    What a glorious-sounding vacation! It must have been awesome having the beach pretty much to yourselves so much! I think I went to Chatham Penny Candy once when I was a kid and it was basically heaven 🙂 That sign for the Maid of Chatham… haha, wow!

    And rock on with fitting in your morning runs amidst all the fun! I aspire to being good like that someday!

  3. txa1265 says:

    Ah – I LOVE this … you KNOW I love the Cape, and I also loved that I knew so many of the places. Great description of everything, and thanks so much for sharing!

    As for Chatham, I think ‘snooty, touristy and over-priced’ is on the sign entering the town 🙂 But we always love it there … in fact it was at the Captain’s Table my wife took the pregnancy test to discover we were pregnant with our second son 🙂

  4. Susie @ SuzLyfe says:

    This is beautiful, both for the heart and the eyes. Don’t you love the simplicity of going home and travelling around with your parents? I know nothing about the cape, but I have always wanted to go. I need to take you with me, and then you can come to Chicago and I will take you around here. CULTURE SHOCK

    • DarlinRae says:

      YES PLEASE! I definitely wanna visit you, and Chicago. And then you come to the Cape and we’ll have lobster and ice cream. Not at the same time of course. Unless you’re into that, in which case, more power to you!

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