A September 2003 trip
to Cape Cod by Irishdancer
Quote: Cape Cod is like a chameleon. IN SEASON it's crowded, fender-to-fender traffic, and long waiting lines for bridges, restaurants and attractions. INDIAN SUMMER--it's not! The best way to get intimately acquainted with the real Cape is to spend several days in one area and explore all it offers.
Most tourists think "Boston" when you mention the state of Massachussetts, NOT Cape Cod. As you cross over the Cape Cod Canal via the Bourne Bridge, you understand why. The Cape is an entity unto itself - a veritable natureland. She entices with her scents of the sea, dazzles with the beauty of her marshes, and tempts with the flavors of her fishermens' catches. You'll never forget her!
OBSERVATIONS: - Hydrangeas and roses are bountiful (see photo). Morning glories produce blooms in unusual shades of purples and blues. - "Sand" lawns are the norm topped with scrub brush and pine trees. - "Raking of the Seaweed" - a common ritual along public beaches. - Sea lions frolicking on Nauset Beach (see photo).
TIPS: Take a ride to Yarmouthport to experience "Jack's Outback" for breakfast. It's not for whimps!Visit "Secondhand Rose" in Denisport. Save it for a rainy day so you can investigate every corner of this antique and art shop.Try "Jake Rooney's Restaurant", Harwichport, for the warmest of welcomes to the Cape.Don't miss "
"Grandma Daisy's" in Dennisport. The owner's distinctive taste is evident in her home furnishings and unusual gift/memorabilia items.
RESOURCES:Here are a couple of helpful websites to access when planning your Cape Cod visit:Cape Cod Connection and Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
WALKING is always my first choice and The Cape is a perfect place to do just that. BIKING is easy as the terrain is fairly flat and paved. Off-road bike trails are abundant. Hitch your bike to the back of your car or rent a bike - bike rental shops are plentiful. DRIVING: The best way to see the entire Cape if you have limited travel time. Route 6 extends from the lower Cape all the way to Provincetown. Route 6A is a picturesque alternate route to see quaint towns and neat shops OR Route 28 will bring you along the water to Hyannis, Harwich, Chatham, etc.
Restaurant | "JACK'S OUTBACK"
- Jack Braginton Smith. You've GOT to meet him. He's the reason we keep going back!
- Binoculars at every table to observe a multitude of colorful visitors to his many birdhouses all over the back and side yards of the restaurant.
- It's "outback" from the other business establishments in Yarmouthport.
- Jams from Denmark i.e., raspberry-rhubarb, orange-pineapple, and strawberry-mango.
- Menus don't exist.
HOURS: 6:30am to 2pm, Mon - Sat; 7am to 2pm on Sun. Open daily year round for breakfast and lunch.
PAYMENT: Cash only.
Outside the front door you get a "taste" of what's ahead of you. A sign informs you that "If there's a big line, use your brane; GO AWAY"! The entrance leads right into the open kitchen/counter area. Jack himself will welcome you by either ignoring you completely, grunting, or talking to some local at the counter ABOUT you (see photo). Be assertive and ask questions - he loves it! There are no menus. Across from the kitchen there's a menu board of sorts (see photo). The spelling is strange but you can figure it out. Prices are another issue. They may or may not be displayed for certain dishes. Recommendation: The corned beef hash is outstanding and the portions for each of our orders were generous. Good, down home cooking. There are order sheets and pencils on the counter. Write down what you want and give completed orders to Jack and see what happens. You seat yourself in the dining area (see photo). Try to get a booth so you can use the binoculars. Help yourself to coffee, tea, ice water, utensils, jam, and other condiments. Jack and company will serve you -- after awhile. When it's time to pay, you're on the honor system. Jack may interrogate you or just shake his head. After you pay him, don't be surprised to hear horns and chimes!
SOME AFTERTHOUGHTS: Jack has owned this restaurant for 23 years. The building used to be a home. Now, Jack lives upstairs. A native of West Yarmouth, he never leaves the Cape. When I asked him why, he replied: "I'm happy here and love what I do".
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 2, 2003
Jack's Outback Restaurant
161 Main Street
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts 02675
Restaurant | "LA SCALA RESTAURANTE"
HISTORY: The owners of La Scala Restaurante, Bob Simone and George Fenzell, are longtime friends. They moved here from Wooster, Massachussetts. They opened the restaurant on June 17th of this year with their first waitress, Ellie (see photo).
HOURS: Tues thru Sun, 5:00 pm till 10:00 pm. Closed on Mondays. Open all year round.
WEBSITE: None at this time.
APPETIZERS: Fried calamari was cooked well but tender and the marinara sauce outstanding. Cost: $6.95. It was shareable for the 4 of us and to go back for seconds. ENTREES: Seafood FraDiavlo is on the regular menu for $14.95. The seafood portions of scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, and calamari were more than generous and just the right amount of linguini. One of their specials, Sausage Parmegiano, was quite different with a couple of browned sausages, smothered in peppers, onions, mushrooms, with melted cheese over choice of pasta. Very filling. DESSERTS: We had some willpower that night. 2 of us ordered dessert and shared with our partners. The canolli's were delicious to the very end.KID'S MEALS: This is a family-friendly restaurant and has 4 offerings for kids @ $4.95 each - chicken fingers, , chicken cutlet w/pasta, and All-American favorite, hamburger.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 2, 2003
106 Depot Street
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
What's the best way to describe Jake Rooney's? It's welcoming, comfortable, layback, lots of friendly locals, and an extensive menu. Debbie, the bartender, has a quick wit and puts you into an instant comfort zone. PLUS, they have Keno! My sister-in-law was only too happy to mentor me in the world of wagering, best odds, etc.
LOCATION: Route 28 and Brooks Road(on the bend in Harwichport).
NOTE: Master Card, Visa, and Discover accepted with a $10 MINIMUM.
ENTERTAINMENT: Every Saturday night.
APPETIZERS - Begin with an order of Grilled Portobello Bruschetta or Scallops Wrapped in Bacon. Both cost $6.95 and there's enough to share. SOUPS: Try a cup($3.95) or bowl($5.25) of the Lobster Stew Lots of lobster chunks and quite filling. SANDWICHES: Nice variety - Scallop Roll @$7.95 and Lobster Salad Roll@$12.95 were recommended by locals at the next table (see photo). Instead, we chose to move onto the main entrees.MAIN COURSE: We all tried something different. All entrees included choice of potato, veggies, rolls & butter. Whole Belly Clam Dinner($12.95) was on a large dish overflowing with fried, browed, chubby clams. Sirloin Steak Tips were prepared in a tasty, smoky marinate and very tender($12.95). Garlic Crusted Scrod($13.95)consisted of fresh native scrod with light breading and sauted in lots of garlic butter. They're known for their Black Angus Steak ($11.95/8 oz, $14.95/12 oz) and didn't disappoint. It was cooked to order(well done, killed) but stayed juicy and tender. When every glass was removed and dish cleared away, a more content foursome could not be found in Harwichport!
CAPE TRIVIA: The expression "wash ashore" means someone who came to Cape Cod from someplace else and bought here.
119 Brooks Road
Cape Cod, Massachusetts 02646
Restaurant | "THE EBB TIDE RESTAURANT"
LOCATION/DIRECTIONS: The Ebb Tide is located across from the Nantucket Sound in Dennisport. Approach the Cape on Rt 3 or Rt 6 and cross the Sagamore Bridge. Take Mid-Cape Hway(Rt 6) to Exit 9A, Rt 134, Dennis. Turn left, pass thru village of Dennisport into W. Harwich. Right onto Belmont Rd. and follow to the end(ocean). It's the first property on the right on Chase Avenue.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: When you approach the restaurant edged with large planters brimming with colorful mums, the freshly painted and white sided building highlighted with navy blue awnings and trim, you know this restaurant is cared for (see photo).
ATMOSPHERE: We were warmly greeted by Gail and noticed a hand written sign there asking patrons for their patience regarding service "as much of the wait staff has gone back to college". We were led through 2 cozy dining rooms before we got to our beautifully set table (see photo). All six of the dining rooms are decorated in nautical colors, seascape pictures accent each corner, large mirrors framed in floral borders are pleasing to your eye, and hydrangeas abound. (see photo).
DINING EXPERIENCE: It's promoted as serving "classic New England cuisine" with "Cape Cod hospitality". We were so pleased we saved this refined eatery for our last night at the Cape. Claire, our waitress, has been working here every summer for the last 6 years and will return to Ireland to finish her college degree. Her attentive yet unhurried service put all of us at ease. The menu was varied and the entrees a bit pricey but delicious and the presentation outstanding. Appetizers: Priced from $4.95 for the Baked Stuffed Quahog topped with melted cheese to $9.95 for the Crabmeat Cocktail(Alaskan crabmeat w/ cocktail sauce). Soups: Crocks of Lobster Bisque or Cape Cod Clam Chowder were $6.50. Entrees: Includes veal, chicken, beef, and seafood selections plus lobster prepared 5 different ways. All entrees include salad, fresh baked bread, house veggies, and a choice of baked or mashed potatoes, rice, or french fries. Our dinner selections included Golden Fried Scallops @$18.50(scallops filled l/2 the platter); 2 orders of Baked Fisherman's Sampler for $17.25 (shrimp, scallops, scrod baked with seasoned crumbs); and, Fresh Broiled Nantucket Swordfish Steak for $19.95. Needless to say we were all too full for dessert. They offered fresh baked pies, cobblers, etc.
INFORMATION:Hours: In Season -4:30pm till closing. Off Season - Fri & Sat, 4:30-9:00pm, Sun - Thurs, 4:30-8:00pm.Website: Visit them atEBB TIDE RESTAURANT.PAYMENT: All major credit cards accepted.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 5, 2003
Ebb Tide Restaurant
88 Chase Avenue
Cape Cod, Massachusetts 02639
Attraction | "GRANDMA DAISY'S/KAREN'S KORNER"
SERVICES: - Interior Design Consultations - Bridal Registry - Gift Certificates - Wish Lists
INFORMATION:Major credit cards accepted. Store Phone #(508)394-3373, Office Phone #(508)760-4090, Fax #(508)394-8269.Hours are 10am - 5pm. CLOSED on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPRESSIONS: Grandma's: The distinctive sign (see photo), neatly shingled buildings surrounded by multi-colored flowers, and opened double doors made a good first impression to new customers(us). From the minute you walk into this lovely emporium filled with lovely landscapes, beautiful wall hangings, and elegant home furnishings you know you want to see it all (see photo). Karen's: This shop is next door to Grandma's and smaller. However, the contents were most intriguing (see photos). Everyone planning a wedding and or shower should make this their first stop! They carry the usual wedding items, i.e., invitations, thank-you notes, place cards, cake toppers, etc. Also, they feature seating plans, ornate marriage certificate holders, crystal and gilded picture frames, table settings, brides' autograph dogs, flower girl keepsake books. If you know any confused prospective grooms, they have a very useful book entitled, "What The Hell Is A Groom & What Is He Supposed To Do"!
Grandma Daisy's / Karen's Korner
444 Lower County Road
Cape Cod, Massachusetts 02639
Some of the merchandise is consigned pieces from elderly locals. Rosemarie helps them out by accepting most of these consignments in the spring, when taxes are due and they need supplemental income.
HOURS: Daily 10am - 3pm. Closed Sundays. Open all year round.
PAYMENT: Cash or checks only.
WEBSITE: None at this time.
WHAT'S FOR SALE?
668 Main Street
Cape Cod, Massachusetts 02639
LOCATION & DIRECTIONS: Beside the Ebb Tide Restaurant, across from the Nantucket Sound (see entry on Ebb Tide Restaurant).
INFORMATION:Phone #(508)398-3444 or Toll Free #(800) 349-4009. Fax #(508)349-4009. WEBSITE: Ebb Tide Gift Shop.HOURS: They were posted on door as 10am-4pm. However, we made a couple of attempts to shop there during those hours and found a hand written sign up, "be back in 15 minutes", etc. Perhaps, it's because we were there "off-season" and they're short on staff? Also, they close for the season from mid-October to mid-May.PAYMENT: They accept all major credit cards.
FEATURES: - Lots of personal attention - Small in size but lots of unique items to examine - Signed edition books by local authors - Cape Cod bracelet jewelry - Framed prints and cards by Cape artists - Whimsical gifts for seaside homes - Nantucket basket gifts - Hydrangea gifts for the home
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: From the outside, this gift shop is quite pleasing to the eye (see photo). The McCormick Family has obviously given the same amount of caring and attention to the "Gift Shop At Ebb Tide" as their family-owned "Ebb Tide Restaurant". The white, freshly painted fence frames the shop's well-groomed lawn, colorful array of flowers in the ground as well as potted, red brick walkway, and shrubbed white sided building with shutters.Upon entering this rather tiny shop, you immediately feel overwhelmed with sensory delights. One thing's for sure - HYDRANGEA'S rule (see photo)! My favorite Hydrangea items are: - Small hydrangea Nantucket wall basket @$28. - Hydrangea lasting image soap for $4.50. - Hydrangea keepsake box @$45 (a bit pricey I thought). - Hydrangea set of 4 coasters for $20(would make a lovely gift). - "Blue Hydrangea in Nantucket Basket" (16 x 20 unframed print by Joy Waldman) for $90 (I've been subtly hinting to my husband that this would make a perfect birthday gift - for me, of course)!
After speaking with Chris McCormick, the Manager and wife of Paul, the Head Chef @ Ebb Tide Restaurant, we went to pay for our purchases. What a nice surprise awaited us - Claire, the Irish waitress who served us the night before at their restaurant, was the cashier here (see photo)! Her friendly smile and warm laughter made our shopping all the more enjoyable - and we told her so.
SUGGESTIONS: Phone ahead of your visit so you're not disappointed. If your visit to the Cape coincides with their "closed" period, go to their website. It contains a 5 page order form. They even have colored photos of certain items, i.e., Hydrangea gifts for the home; the book, "My Beautiful Broken Shell", by local artist Carol Hamblet Adams, etc. It's certainly not the same as seeing the shop in person but will give you some insight into the variety of items they stock. Think of the order form as a !
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 9, 2003
Gift Shop at Ebb Tide
88 Chase Avenue
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
New York, United States