Travel to Cape Cod during the off-season.
Here are a few reasons to go exploring in the fall, winter and spring.
by Patrick Flanary
See & Do
Barnstable Comedy Club is the Cape’s longest-running theater, now in its 100th season, with plays running from November to May. For those who are looking for hands-on activities, pottery and painting classes are offered year-round at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. “The winters are not as quiet as they used to be,” says Benton Jones, art director at the museum. “There’s quite an offering for somebody who might be here for just a weekend.”
Get some fresh air with a hike through the protected wetlands of Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, or along the seven-mile Sandy Neck Nature Trail, both of which are accessible all year from Barnstable. Those feeling extra adventurous can hop on a bike and pedal the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail to the Outer Cape.
Bookworms can browse Isaiah Thomas Books in Cotuit and Parnassus in Yarmouth Port for a wide selection of antiquarian titles and beach reads. Then end your day with one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see, from the boardwalk on Grays Beach (also known as Bass Hole) in Yarmouth Port.
Enjoy mouth-watering local oysters while overlooking Hyannis Harbor at Spanky’s Clam Shack, which serves until mid-October. Year-round, grab a box to-go from Cotuit Oyster Company, or slurp in style at Five Bays Bistro.
Even if you sleep in, you can still grab breakfast all day at the year-round Sea Street Cafe in Hyannis. Coffee is always an option at the ever-popular Nirvana Coffee in Barnstable. At lunchtime, try an on-the-go vegan wrap from Earthly Delights in Osterville. Find waterfront dining at Italian favorite Gina’s by the Sea in Dennis, open through Thanksgiving, and the Ocean House, which serves seaside meals until New Year’s Eve. For a micro-escape within your getaway, book a five-course meal aboard the Cape Cod Dinner Train from Hyannis Station until late October.
Breweries abound year-round here: Barnstable Brewing, Cape Cod Beer, and Devil’s Purse Brewing Co. are worth the trip for a flight of craft IPAs, sours, and stouts. Live music quiets down; however, rock and blues acts are booked through winter at the Music Room in West Yarmouth.
An indoor water park? And a year-round outdoor heated pool? Some families check in and never want to leave the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis. For cozier digs, plenty of B&Bs are open in the off-season. The pet-friendly Lamb and Lion Inn was a favorite respite of the Kennedys, and Ashley Manor offers a culinary paradise, sourcing food from the organic farm across the street. Want a fireplace? Or a whirlpool tub? Have both at the Captain Farris House, open until mid-December. “We provide an experience,” says innkeeper Carol Watson. “When people come, they can really just exhale and relax, and feel like they’re away.”