Evelyn Doane - William Raveis Real Estate - Cape Cod

Recreation on Cape Cod

There are so many great things to do as a family you will never be bored!  So much of our lives here revolve around the sea we are surrounded by that a good start is to visit the National Seashore Visitors’ Center off Route 6 in Eastham.  In the 1960s, President Kennedy and Congress created the Cape Cod National Seashore, a patchwork of 43,557 acres run by the National Park Service.  Truthfully, at the time some old Cape Codders were not thrilled with the idea as they had their own plans for developing some of that ocean front property.  However now we are most grateful for the foresight that has provided us and our visitors with such unspoiled lands to enjoy.

The Visitors’ Center has many interesting exhibits of how life was on Cape Cod since the Overseers came in 1629 to supervise the settlers.  You will see old spinning wheels, fishing and lobster gear, scrimshaw, furniture and other accoutrements testifying to the busy and challenging lives these early people led.  The gift shop has some very informative books for sale about the early Cape, its people and its architecture.  There are also maps of the bike and hiking trails around the Seashore.
Just down the road to the East from the Visitors’ Center is Doane Rock, the largest rock of its kind on the Cape, deposited by glaciers.  It is a nice place for a picnic.  A bit further down the road is the Deacon John Doane Homestead.  This is marked by four stones and is the site where he and his wife and twelve children settled in 1629.

A few miles before the Visitors’ Center you will see a sign for the Fort Hill area on the right.  Go there!  There is a great trail on a boardwalk through the Red Maple Swamp and also the Captain’s home with a huge whale jawbone as the entrance to the property.  A very successful and well traveled man, he came back from the sea and built this amazing Italianate home for his family.  There are some fascinating photographs of the family and their activities, and just up the road, spectacular water views.

Whale Watches

Something everyone should do!  There are two places whale watches depart from…Provincetown and Barnstable Harbor.  Both provide naturalists to explain many things about the whales and their habitat. 

*Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises…..  www.whales.net

*Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown  ….. 800-862-9300         www.whalewatch.com


Perhaps you noticed more than a few graveyards on your way up Route 6.  These can be quite interesting too, as gravestone carving is another type of folk art, and noticing the changes from the stones with deaths’ heads of skull and crossbones, graduating to a not as severe  type with angels and then the weeping willow style shows how the people thought at various times.  Reading the inscriptions is also fascinating.

Seal Watches

Within the past fifteen years, Chatham has had some unexpected visitors who enjoy our shores as much as we do.  There are thousands of seals of various types lolling in the sun and swimming in the waters of Pleasant Bay and Stage Harbor.  Going on a seal watch is fun for all.

*Beachcomber Boat Tours…..508-945-5265

*Outermost Adventures…..508-945-5858     www.outermostharbor.com 

Cape Cod Baseball League

Do you want to see some of the star athletes of tomorrow’s major league?  Come and watch the games featuring the best college players.  Chatham, Orleans, Brewster and Harwich all have teams and schedules are available in almost every store.  The players also give coaching clinics.

Deep Sea Fishing Charter Boats

There is some exceptional fishing all around the Cape.  Knowledgeable charter captains will take you out and find striped bass and bluefish for an exciting day on the water.

*Rock Harbor at the end of Rock Harbor Road in Orleans

*Stage Harbor at the end of Stage Harbor Road in Chatham

*Ryders Cove off Route 28 in North Chatham

Band Concerts

*Chatham Band….. There are concerts every Friday night starting in July at the gazebo in Kate Gould Park on Main Street at 7 p.m.  People tend to get there early with their blankets and chairs, buy a balloon or two for the kids and sit back and enjoy the music.

*Harwich Band….. band concerts in the gazebo in Harwich Center.

*Brewster Band…..At Drummer Boy Park, 773 Main Street the Band performs Sunday evenings at 6 during July and August.  Bring your blanket and enjoy the view across Quivet Creek to Cape Cod Bay.


*Chatham…..What is more All-American than an old fashioned Fourth of July Parade?  For such a small town, Chatham has one big parade, complete with floats, bands, vintage cars, vintage tractors and fire engines.  Starting at 10 on the Fourth down Main Street.  Parking is a challenge so do be prepared to do some walking.

*Orleans…..Another good parade usually later in the day on the Fourth.

Nickerson State Park 

3488Main Street, Brewster   508-896-3491   www.reserveamerica.com
An ideal place for a family outing, camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, swimming or boating.  This almost 2000 acre park has eight freshwater ponds, nature trails, eight miles of paved paths, and boat and canoe rentals.  All camp sites must be reserved in advance.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Most of the Rail Trail is the original train route and extends from Dennis all the way to Wellfleet.  There are beautiful views of cranberry bogs, forests and ponds.  Maps and bike rentals are available at many points along the way as well as restroom facilities and food.

First Night in Chatham

Chatham really knows how to bring in the New Year!  People come from all over the Cape and beyond to enjoy activities for the entire family.  Starting in the afternoon with face painting, a noise parade and shows for the kids and the famous Squire-sponsored race from the Lighthouse to Main Street with costumed contestants, the evening offers music for every taste at a variety of venues.  There is food in various places too.  A $10 badge is required for entrance to indoor night activities.  At midnight, there are spectacular fireworks over Oyster Pond that can be seen and heard for miles.

Plimouth Plantation

Although off Cape, on Route 3 going towards Boston, this is a place providing a real feeling of history few can match. When viewing the painstakingly re-created Plimouth Colony of 1629, you can see how the Pilgrims and Wapanoag Indians lived.  There is constant activity, with homes being built, gardens tended and bread being baked on the open hearth, and  clothing being made in the traditional way.  The Colonists speak in several English dialects authentic to that time.  They are so immersed in their portrayals they will only answer questions about what is happening in their world of the 1600s.  The animals there are very special in that they are the authentic, almost lost breeds of 400 years ago and to the discerning eye look different than the cows and chickens we see today.  www.plimouth.org    508-746-1622

Heritage Plantation

This is a treat for any and every taste!  Located in Sandwich, the first place to stop here is the round Shaker barn filled with antique cars.  You can take a leisurely stroll from one building to another or wait for the jitney bus.  A large collection of toy soldiers and guns, many historical artifacts and ever-changing exhibits will keep the entire family interested.  The highpoint of the trip may well be the authentic working restored merry-go-round to ride on.  Maybe you will catch the brass ring!  There is a world class collection of rhododendrons as well as other lovely plantings to admire as you stroll around the grounds.

Chatham Festival of the Arts

Every year in August, this festival is held in Chase Park on Cross Street.  A juried show, the many participants come from all over New England.  Photography, oil paintings, water colors, woven fabrics, blown glass, jewelry and other mediums are featured as well as entertainment for the kids and food for all.