High on the list of “frequently asked questions” is this one:
But what on earth is there to do on Cape Cod in the winter? Isn’t it completely dead?
Answer: Well, we huddle around the fire in our little wooden shacks watching seagulls get blown down the empty streets for months on end… This is the answer I’m sure the questioner is expecting.
In reality the Cape Cod winter is anything but boring.
Let’s start with what to us is obvious:
‘Indian’ summer: those glorious months after the first light frost when the earth warms up again and the light is spectacular.
Us ‘Codders’ find ourselves with gorgeous beaches to roam with or without 4 legged Friends who are once again allowed the freedom to run with gay abandon. The locals switch to a winter suit and ride the surf, and friends linger over barbq dinners as the new batch of pebbles are rolled in on a wave.
There is nothing like an early morning walk watching the sunrise over the ocean. We have the beaches back and we relish in that beauty and space.
Our favorite restaurants welcome us without a queue, and the winter specials begin. Many offer tasting or theme dinners, wine discounts. Many pubs still have live music playing, and in the winter there are extra ‘shows’ put on either Sunday Brunch, or Friday early evening. We have fantastic local musical talent on the Cape and the winter showcases many acts.
Then there are the special events that various towns put on. Wellfleet has the Oysterfest – but we learn that Wellfleet has tasty oysters, fab restaurants and great shops all winter to enjoy! Orleans has a clam-b-q, Eastham the Windmill festivities and Chatham has special events just about every week now year round! Leading up to Christmas, New Year and Holiday celebrations, many towns have great strolls with the stores offering tasty treats and special pricing. There are parades and fun runs too!
So what if it snows? Up until last winter locals would tell you that ‘it never snows on Cape Cod’. 2015 sort of proved that wrong; HOWEVER, we didn’t have the 6-9’ piles with limited sidewalks, we didn’t have any parking nightmares, we could all still get to work, school, and the fun stuff. AND…. It melted faster than off Cape!
The Cape has an extensive bike path system which is fun for walking and biking; but give us a little snow and the Cape is a wonderful place to snow shoe and cross country ski! How about all those wonderful golf courses we have? They make fantastic sledding hills! Sunny days will find the ‘slopes’ packed with families enjoying winter fun.
And then, when you are a little chilled, desperate for warmth; there are no better coffee and hot chocolate shops than those on Cape Cod. You will find super little cafes open year round bustling with all generations. My favorites: Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans which is always busy year round; Buckies Biscotti in Dennis, and a great new coffee roaster in Brewster called Snowy Owl. Whilst in Brewster, how can you resist visiting the new bakery ‘Eat Cake 4 Breakfast’?!
Now that you are beginning to think you are putting on a few extra lbs; it may be time to join a local gym and take advantage of group classes that are easy to get into in winter. I made lots of friends and had a great time at Fitness Revolution in Orleans and their spinning and yoga classes. For one of the best social and exercise experiences, head to the Bowling Alley in Orleans! Original candlepin bowling dating back to the 1950s. Family business, Dave the new entrepreneur, added a restaurant and bar a couple of years back and we can honestly say they serve some of the best food on Cape Cod! Fresh, Original menu, emphasis on great southern barbq, with nightly superb specials.
Phew… the list is getting long….
So how about some culture? The Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra has wonderful offerings year-round. Many theatres are open throughout the winter putting on outstanding plays with great local talent. The Cultural Centre of Cape Cod in Yarmouth is a wonderful new addition. They have incredible exhibits, classes and fun events all winter long.
Due to the amazing light on Cape Cod, we have become home to multiple artists and as such, we have great art galleries and art events year round. For example Fall for the Arts; and Cape Cod Art Association has events and classes.
And don’t forget the museums! Woods Hole and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster have year round programs, and in Brewster, you can take any number of posted beautiful walks.
Well, that is the short version of ‘what do you do in winter on Cape Cod?’ I think it is just the greatest time to relax and enjoy the incredible beauty around us. Even a winter car drive through the dunes of Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown reminds us all of how special a place Cape Cod is; and you can always enjoy a good book by a warm fire in your wooden shack as the seagulls roll past…