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36 Hours in Outer Cape Cod

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Start the day with an outing on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, fashioned from a 19th-century rail line that once ran all the way to Provincetown. The 25-mile trail unfurls south from Lecount Hollow Road in Wellfleet, past marshes and ponds. Stop at the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham, where you can learn about the geological and cultural history of Cape Cod. (Fun fact: Milk on Cape Cod used to taste salty because farmers fed hay harvested from salt marshes to their cows.) From the visitor center, pick up the Nauset Bike Trail, which winds through dense stands of oak to Coast Guard Beach, where you can walk along the ocean and see seals at low tide. Bicycles are available to rent from Idle Times Bike Shop (about $20 for four hours) or Little Capistrano Bike Shop ($16 for two hours), both with locations in Wellfleet and Eastham.

At the northern end of the bike trail is PB Boulangerie Bistro, a bakery-restaurant that has been transporting Cape Codders to France since 2010. That is when Philippe Rispoli, a native of Lyon, planted his flag in Wellfleet. In the evening, diners gather around a crackling fire pit outside the rose-colored restaurant before dinner. But in the morning, it is not unusual to join a line of acolytes 50 deep, patiently waiting for a pain au chocolat, almond croissant or Kouign-amann, a buttery confection originally from Brittany.

With wind-swept shorelines and muted hues, the landscapes of the Outer Cape serve as both magnet and muse for artists. Scores of galleries dot Cape Cod’s downtowns, but Wellfleet has one of the finest clusters. Left Bank Gallery, now in its 49th year, represents 30 artists. Among them are Katie Trinkle Legge, whose whimsical oils depict vintage bathing suits, beach balls and summer fruit ($500 to $4,800). Jim Holland’s large-scale landscapes and buildings ($3,500 to $11,000) evoke Edward Hopper, who summered in Truro from the 1930s until his death in 1967. Not far away is the Frying Pan Gallery, whose owner, Steve Swain, is known for his sculptural reliefs, in particular, schools of fish crafted from plasma-cut steel. A single fish is $12; a school of seven fish, $70. Shops beckon too, from the Customs House Fine Papers & Fancy Goods to the Jewelry Studio of Wellfleet, where the owner, Jesse Mia Horowitz, and her sister, Neile, capture the shapes and colors of the Cape with sterling silver and semiprecious stones.



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