Our last day on the Cape

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
We really wanted to go on a whale watching tour while we were in New England, but Mother Nature conspired against us. We took off for Provincetown once again to catch one of the whaling tours, but they were all closed down because of the surf advisories. The waves were reaching 6-10 feet tall, so it was probably a good thing we weren't out in them!

We were disappointed about missing the whale watching, but we were able to get a seat on a schooner and get out on the water. She was a beautiful ship, and I was glad for a chance to ride on her. Our itinerary for the day was to follow the Great Provincetown Schooner Regatta. We were actually watching the 2009 Fisherman's Cup Race. You can read more about the boats that were entered in the race here. We decided to root for the Alabama and the Virginia since they are both Southern states. I don't remember who won, but we had a great time sailing in the harbour and watching them!

Here are some of the photos we took from our seat on our ship.

After a couple of hours on the schooner, Rhonda and I were pretty much done. It was raining and it was COLD! We did see a shark in the water, and the rain made a beautiful rainbow to cap off our day. If you look really hard you can see the rainbow in the pictures of Rhonda and myself. It was a wonderful end to a long boat ride!

After we got back to the pier we saw another rainbow! It's hard to see in the picture, but it was pretty, too!

All that sailing makes for two hungry girls! On our way back to Boston we once again stopped in Eastham to eat at Arnold's. We'd heard good things about the place, and we weren't disappointed! Since there were no fast food restaurants once you got to Eastham, we decided that this was their version of fast food. We both had the hot lobster roll, and it was DELICIOUS! Basically you get a hot dog bun filled with chunks of lobster. There was a side of melted butter served with the sandwich, which made it totally sinful! We also tried the clam chowder. We both liked it, too.

After getting our bellies full, we knew that our time on the Cape was pretty much at an end. We headed back to Boston in the rain. We did take some of the smaller highways so that we could see some scenery. Our detour through Hyannis was sorely disappointing. It wasn't nearly as picturesque as we imagined. We passed through several other little towns and thought they were beautiful. We are already planning another trip into that part of the country for next year. Who knows where we'll end up?

Provincetown - Commercial Street

Sunday, September 20, 2009
Exhausted and a little sweaty after the walk on the breakwater and the climb to the top of the Pilgrim Monument, we finally decided it was time to eat. We knew we wanted to see Commercial Street, but weren't really sure how to get there. We finally just programmed the GPS unit to the "Lobster Pot" on Commercial and figured we'd find our way. We knew we were on Commercial the minute we saw all of the rainbow flags and art galleries. I didn't get a good enough photo of Commercial Street to convey the true vibrance and energy of the area. I borrowed these from the web, and hopefully they'll show you just a little of what I'm talking about.

We somehow managed to snag an awesome (and FREE) parking space and headed out in search of sustenance. We knew we wanted seafood, preferably a lobster. We looked around for quite a while, but with the help of an iPhone, Google and our hunger pangs we decided...What better place to eat than a place called the Lobster Pot?

At first the Lobster Pot just looked like any old dive, and since we were only a party of two, we fully expected to be tossed to an awful table in the middle of the room. Boy, were we wrong! We got a corner seat at the end of the dining area that was surrounded by windows facing the water. What more could we ask for?

The rest of our time at the Lobster Pot could only be termed "Foodie Heaven"! We both ordered the clambake, and we were not disappointed. The only thing we didn't like was the oysters. I just cannot see why anyone would want to eat those things! We also got some "little steamers" and those were better. The clam chowder was excellent, and the salad was out of this world! Let me take a moment to describe this salad... There was NO iceberg lettuce (thank goodness). It was composed of all kinds of field greens. Lovely! The waiter presented us with four different types of homemade dressings; a tasty Buttermilk Ranch, a Ginger Vinaigrette, a fresh Bleu Cheese and a Honey Mustard type sauce. We liked them all! Neither of us are Bleu Cheese eaters, but we did find this one tolerable. The rest were amazing! I actually passed up dessert and had another serving of salad after I ate my lobster.

The lobster that arrived hot and steaming on my plate couldn't have been more tender. After actually figuring out how to get that booger out of his shell we proceeded to stuff ourselves. I think Rhonda and I both skipped eating our potatoes, but enjoyed everything else immensely.

We really enjoyed the couple sitting at the table next to us, too. They were both retired school teachers and were very interesting to talk with. Of course, the minute they found out we were from Arkansas they wanted to know what we thought of Bill Clinton. I had a hard time thinking of a politically neutral way to answer their questions. I eventually said that I liked his politics, but thought he acted like a bit of a hooker. Probably not the right thing to say, but it was the truth! The wife of the couple also wanted to know if we felt "claustrophobic" living in Arkansas... Say what? We told her that living in Arkansas was just fine. She clarified her question by asking how we liked living where we couldn't see the ocean. I at least understood her query then, but still thought the question was strangely worded. Rhonda and I assured her that we had plenty of lakes and rivers to help keep claustrophobia from being a problem... I wish I had thought to get their names so we could send them a trip report. They probably would have enjoyed it!

After eating our dinner we waddled out into the fray on Commercial Street. It was interesting in its' own special way... I have never seen so many art galleries in one place! We wandered into a couple of those and thoroughly enjoyed the art. We stopped to have ice cream at Lewis Brothers and loved it. I ordered a banana split. I thought that would be a pretty simple request. Just a classic banana split. Well, in Provincetown, there is no such thing as a "classic" banana split. I ended up walking the guy through what types of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla & strawberry), what types of toppings (marshmallow, chocolate syrup & strawberries) and which kind of nuts (almonds). I was totally pleased with the outcome, but thought it was strange that he put the bananas on top! He told me I was high maintenance, too. We got a good laugh out of that!

All in all, we had a great night in Provincetown. We made it back to the hotel pretty late and crashed for the night. We're off for more adventures tomorrow!

Provincetown - Pilgrim Monument

God was watching over us while we were scaling those slick granite rocks, as we soon found out. We finally made it back to the car and hadn't been in our seats for more than a couple of minutes when it started raining. I don't mean misting, I mean RAINING! We were tired, but at least we didn't get soaking wet! We drove around P-town for a bit to thaw out, then we decided to go see the Pilgrim Monument. We paid $10 for parking (only to get stiffed on the way out when the parking attendant wasn't there to give us our refund for the voucher we earned by buying tickets to the monument) and got out to check out the monument. We strolled through the museum in search of a bathroom and saw some pretty interesting things along the way. One of the biggest things we saw was an actual whale jawbone. That thing was HUGE!

There were also several other interesting exhibits in the museum. We looked at some of those and then made the wet trek out to the monument. Here is a little information about the Pilgrim Monument:

The Pilgrim Monument was built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown on November 21, 1620.

The tower is 252 feet, 7.5 inches (77 meters) tall and rises 350 feet above sea level!

The heart-healthy walk to the top on 116 steps and 60 ramps only takes about 10 minutes at a leisurely pace.

The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. The granite came from Stonington, Maine, and each stone is the thickness of the wall. The design is patterned after the Torre Del Mangia in Siena, Italy.

During your climb, you'll see many interior stones that were donated by cities, towns and organizations from all of the United States.

President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone on August 20, 1907.

President William H. Taft led the dedication ceremony after the Pilgrim Monument's completion on August 5, 1910.

The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum is Cape Cod's oldest non-profit and cultural institution.

I don't know about the "heart healthy" part of the statement above, but it was certainly a climb! I thought I was going to die before we got to the top! Between the excursion on the breakwater and my broken toe, I was worn out! We persevered and made it all the way to the top. The views were beautiful, if a little soggy at the time.

Exterior view

Inside looking up!

Inside looking down!

Of course, I borrowed the first picture in that series, because the skies looked NOTHING like those blue skies while we were there! I didn't manage to take any pictures from the top of the monument because the rain was blowing around too much, but needless to say, the views were impressive.

Even though it was a long way to the top, I was so glad we stopped to see this little bit of history. The climb up and down was enough to work up a raging hunger, too! At last, IT'S LOBSTER TIME!

Provincetown! What a trip!

Saturday, September 12, 2009
Heading down Route 6 to Provincetown in no way prepared us for what we would experience today! Our first stop along the was was at a roadside jam and jelly stand. What we discovered there was certainly worth the stop! They had every kind of jelly, jam and chutney you could imagine! Even tomato! The name of the place was Briar Lane Jams & Jellies. It was amazing! We were waited on by the daughter, and the mom was in the back cooking up some of their Beach Plum Jelly. I bought three jars and Rhonda bought two. Make sure to check them out if you're ever going down Route 6. You'll see them on the left side of the road right before you see the Moby Dick restaurant. Good stuff!

Photo courtesy of Diary of a Locavore

Coming into Provincetown we saw a road sign with a sand advisory. Looking off to the right we could definitely see why. The dunes were amazing!

We rounded the end of the Cape and went by the Race Point beach. We ended up at the juncture of Route 6 and Commercial Street where we saw the most amazing breakwater! Seeing something so incredible meant we HAD to go across it!

The walk across the breakwater was arduous, but SO worth the work! We saw some interesting beach trash (a boat) and we watched a schooner creep across the horizon on the way over, and the view of the beach was incredible!

We were able to see two lighthouses, the Wood End Light and the Long Point Light, although we were too wiped out to try walking to either of those after the trek across the breakwater. The thing that struck us the most about the tip of the Cape was the emptiness. It was totally deserted. We were the only humans on that little portion of land at that time. It was peaceful and beautiful, and we loved it!

We did find out on our way back why the beach was so empty... The tide was coming in and the water got REALLY high on the breakwater! I am sure that the locals were snickering at the green tourists as they were leaving and we were headed over. There were actually portions of our rock walkway that were almost underwater! Believe me, granite gets slick when it's wet! Rhonda and I were both thanking God for our Sperry's! The logo on the box says, "Get Wet!", so we did! There were times when the surf would hit the rocks and splash up on us. It was a little scary! We didn't know if the tide would come over the rocks, and we didn't want to be caught out if it did!

Exploring the Cape

One of the requirements of vacationing with me is that we eat breakfast. One of the perks of having a hubby that has platinum status with Starwood hotels is free breakfast. These things work well together!

I made sure that Rhonda and I were up and moving early enough to get our breakfast before the 10:30am cutoff. We pretty much rolled out of bed at 9:45am and rushed through showers to make it on time. Of course, for two girls who can get ready in twenty minutes flat to catch a train to Boston this wasn't much of a feat! I was impressed with breakfast our first day at the hotel. It was cooked to order, which is always a nice surprise! I had french toast and Rhonda had pancakes. With a definite carb overload we were prepared for the day!

Our first adventure was to do a little geocaching in Eastham. Our first find of the day was the Lady Slipper Trail Cache. Nice little hiking trail that led to some AMAZING ponds! We soon found the Cape Cod Kettle Ponds cache and the Where's Widow Harding cache. We saw so many beautiful things! We even ran into a couple gathering mushrooms for their dinner. The one thing we didn't see was wildlife. No squirrels, no deer, not even a lowly skunk, thank goodness! It was surprising that we didn't see more animals in such a wooded, lovely area, but it was still an amazing place to visit.

We wanted to walk around more and see more of the trails, but, alas, my broken pinky toe had other ideas. I was already limping, so I didn't want to push it so early in the day. We did get a few pictures of the area. I can honestly say, though, that the pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the area. I've never seen water as clear as those ponds...

After leaving the kettle ponds we headed into Eastham to find another cache. This one was the Eastham Windmill cache. It was a little difficult to get to this one because there were muggles EVERYWHERE, but we were patient and found the prize! The scenery was amazing, too.

Here is a little information about the Eastham Windmill. You can find more information about the windmill and other activities in Eastham at this site: http://www.easthamchamber.com/Activities.cfm

THE EASTHAM WINDMILL, located on the green in the center of town, was built in Plymouth about 1680. It was moved to Truro in the 1770s and then to Eastham in 1793, first to where the National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center is now located, and then to its present site in 1808. Lovingly restored and maintained, it is both the oldest and and last working gristmill on the Cape. Owned and maintained by the Town of Eastham, the mill is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during July and August; 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

After roaming around and looking at the windmill, Rhonda and I were in definite need of some serious caffeine in the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle and a bit of chocolate. We headed across the street to the Eastham Superette. Who knew those were still around! Being inside the Superette made me think about going to the grocery store with my Papaw when I was a little girl. It smelled the same! They had everything you might need for a day at the beach or for cooking at home. There was fresh produce, a deli counter, and of course, COKES! Those were our saving grace!

After visiting the windmill and the Superette, we decided to head on up to Provincetown. And that, my friends, is a post that is all it's own!

Checking in & Checking things out

Friday, September 11, 2009
After our stop in Sandwich, the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We made it to our hotel, the Sheraton Four Points in Eastham, MA. Upon arrival, we could tell that it wasn't a new hotel, but it looked pretty good from the outside. Check in was easy and efficient, and the clerk even gave me a choice of three different rooms. We chose room #129 and headed that way. When we entered the hallway leading to our room I was a little disturbed. The carpets were dingy and the walls were scuffed. I even told Rhonda that I was afraid I was going to be disappointed with our room. Thankfully, I was wrong! Our room was big and nice. The bathroom was small, but very clean. We had a fridge and two armchairs to relax in. I was pleasantly surprised! It was a little dark, but when we opened the drapes the whole room lit up.

We ditched our bags and got ready to head out on our first adventure in Eastham. We had come to see the National Seashore, so that was our first stop. I was not prepared for the raw beauty of the ocean in the Northeast. I've been to the beach in the Southern states, but this was a totally different experience.

First, it was COLD! I am sure that for a local the 63 degree temperature with 40mph winds would be nothing. For a Southern girl used to temperatures in the 80s in September it was cold!

Second, the beaches were so steep! There were no rolling dunes where we were walking, just a cliff that dropped off into the sand and then the edge of the ocean.

Third, this beach just looked so powerful! There were surf advisories the whole time we were in Cape Cod that warned of 6-8 foot waves. They were amazing to see up close.

I cannot describe the stark, amazing attraction of the beach at Eastham. I'll just have to let the photographs speak for themselves.

After our visit to the seashore we were ready for more food. We wanted something nearby, so we decided to try Messina. Once again we were treated with the infamous Northeastern hospitality. We walked in the front door of the restaurant and saw a hostess stand, so we stopped there. There was a gentelman standing there chatting with another man. We assumed he was the owner. We waited. And we waited. Finally, after about five minutes of standing there looking awkward, we were acknowledged and seated. This was only after he had finished his conversation with his friend. The service was good, but not excellent. We ordered an artichoke dip for an appetizer and we both had shrimp scampi as our meal. Both dishes were excellent, but we waited at least 20 minutes just to get our appetizer. Our food took a long time, too. I enjoyed my dinner, but I'm not sure I would return. There are so many other places to see!

After dinner we headed to our room and crashed... For two old women, we'd had a pretty full day! It started out in Providence, Rhode Island, and ended up in Eastham, Massachusetts. What a trip! We can't wait to start tomorrow!