Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacations with Kids: Cape Cod

Red and cousin Scarlett head for the beach!

Who doesn't love the Cape?  Since we used to live in Massachusetts and my husband spent a couple of years living on Cape Cod, we kind of consider ourselves veterans in terms of vacationing there.

In the past, we've rented a house (we've stayed in Eastham, Hyannisport and Yarmouth in the past) and hunkered down for a week by ourselves and drove to a bunch of different towns.  This year we stayed in Yarmouth with my sister's family and my mother-in-law for a little less than a week.  Even with all the togetherness (5 adults and 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house!), I think it was a best trip yet!

First of all, if you've never been to Cape Cod and you're looking for a place to rent, may I suggest the Great Island Ocean Club in Yarmouth.  This is where we stayed.  You are literally steps from the beach.  In our case, we were about 2 houses away!  They also have a pool, tennis courts and a playground on the property.  Needless to say we spent a lot of time at the beach:

Everyone coming on to the beach.
Tom Thumb chasing Daddy!
Me and my sister Andrea
The kids are pretending they're lifeguards.
Out on the rocks...
A daddy son moment :-)

If you get tired of the beach, here are some other great spots to try:

Cape Cod Creamery - This is seriously the best ice cream on the Cape---and we've tried most of them! :-)  They make it themselves and they have all kinds of fun flavors named after different parts of Cape Cod.  The kids couldn't get enough of Marston Mills Mint Chip, while I became addicted to Corporation Beach --- a new addition to their menu that features chocolate ice cream with pretzels filled with peanut butter.  I literally got it both times we went there.  Sit in the Adirondack chairs out front and watch the tourists drive by!

The Lobster Boat - Cheapest place for lobster around!  I totally recommend the buy it at the fish market and cook it at the house method (if you go this way, there is a fish market right next door to this restaurant that is good), but if you'd rather have someone kill the lobsters for you this is the place to go.  If you're looking for a fancy pants atmosphere this is not it, but for $22 you can have two steamed lobsters, a baked potato, and an ear of corn.  Their chowder wasn't too shabby either.  If you want value for your money, it's The Lobster Boat.

The Sesuit Harbor Cafe - Want to do it like the locals?  Go here for the lobster roll.  It will be confusing getting in there.  It looks like a private boat marina and you have to get a parking pass to get in, but once you're in be prepared for the most yummy lobster roll around.  My sister and her hubby are big fans of the fried seafood there too.  My little sis recommends the fried scallops.

The Book Rack - Don't have an e-reader, but want a book quick at a reasonable price?  Hit The Book Rack.  It's in a strip mall on Route 28 and has nearly every genre used book you can imagine organized in an easy to find method.  I went in there looking for Half Broke Horses.  They didn't have it so I walked out with Bel Canto at half the list price.  That's their price methodology---half the price listed on the back of the book.  Easy peasy.  Is it as cheap as Amazon?  Maybe not depending on the book you choose, but you're paying a bit for convenience.  This is vacation, remember?

The one new thing we tried on this trip was a seal watch.  Unfortunately, we had to do it the unorthodox method because the waters were too rough the day we went.  Normally, you get on a bigger boat for a couple hours and they drive you around the perimeter of the island to see the seals.  We got the little boat instead.  They did give us a $10 a head discount for the inconvenience (normally it's $35 for adults and $30 for kids 12 and under).  They loaded us on to a glorified ski boat, dropped us on an island, and we walked to where the seals were beached.  We did get some great photos however and the kids were simply thrilled:

Here we are on "the little boat."  Tom Thumb thinks he's the captain!
 Here's Red---the seals are the black on the beach in the background.
 We were able to get a smidge closer to get some pictures.  Keep in mind that my camera is still zoomed all the way in.  We didn't want to scare them into jumping back in the water! 
Check out the cute baby seal in the foreground.
 Some of the younger seals were swimming right up to the beach to check us out!

Overall, despite the snafus with the water, a great experience.  Here's a link to the tour company we went with for the seal watch.  Just FYI --- you need to make advance reservations for this one.  

There's still time to head to the Cape before summer ends!  Ha ha!  Where are you going on your vacation this summer?

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