‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Thursday, May 28, 2009

the lighthouses are easy to find

I was thinking I should do a little Cape Cod tour guide thing, where I direct you to the places that are quintessential Cape without being tourist traps. Would you like that? I would. When I go on vacation I like to avoid the places that are just there for the tourists. I like to know where the locals go. Except that time in Stowe when I was sent to the gas station for coffee. I like to know when locals go places that fit in with my perception of where the locals should go.

I thought of this while I was at the Beachcomber for opening night last week, along with a silly number of locals. I looked around and thought about how it is the perfect model of a beach bar. If someone wanted to build an authentic beach bar, they should take some notes. And even then, it would fail because it would just be a copy of a beach bar.

Then I checked my mail and found a link to this article by Rob Conery, the Cape Cod Times' fishing guy. It's a great glimpse of local life.

Rob was at the Beachcomber last week, too, so you know he knows his stuff.

Another place that looks like a tourist trap but isn't is the Land Ho in Orleans. I don't know why I think it looks like a tourist trap - its legend status, maybe? Lined up at the bar you'll find a virtual Who's Who of local contractors. I have spent a great deal of time next to them - arriving at 5:05pm sharp in my glory days. Everyone has stories about the Ho. The best one I've heard is about when it burned down many, many years ago. People seated at the bar went obediently to the parking lot when the fire alarm went off. Then they went back in and finished their drinks. I imagine they looked a bit like the salty fishermen in Rob's article.

Tonight we're going to check out Woody's Eastham Lobster Pool, which is operating under new ownership this year. We're going because I am so devoted to you and want to give you a complete picture of the Cape dining experience. And because I don't want to cook.

Oh, and you should also go to the drive-in when you're here. And you should go to Nauset Ice Cream in Eastham. And you should without fail see a play at WHAT (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater). And you should ride the bumper boats in Harwich and eat sushi at Mac's in Wellfleet and take a hooping class in Orleans and grab a sandwich at Sam's on your way to Coastguard beach.

Oh my lord I am so glad it's summer.


The Whispering Poppies said...

AMEN! Summer!

Have you tried Grumpy's? There are so many locals there, I don't think a tourist would fit in through the doors. A fun side trip to take when you're at Grumpy's is to Scargo Tower. I wonder how many tourists even know it exists... there's a breathtaking view down to Scargo Lake, especially as dusk.

The Drive-In... a must. I've been going there since 1981. (Yeah... I was a toddler then... I'm not THAT old!)

Newt said...

All right, I'll take the bait. What's a hooping class?

Laggin said...

We were headed that general direction this summer, then life happened and I find myself without vacation time. :(

Ms Picket To You said...


kidding, naturally, but your making my heart pound with utter chicken-raising jealousy.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Bring it on. It's these stories of the cape that make me ache for the East Coast.
One of my fondest vacation memories was a week on Truro (sp?) pond when T was a baby.
How I would love to go back. (To the pond that is.)

Dana's Brain said...

Woo Hoo! I'll be hitting you up for more resources as my entire family (all 27 of us - three generations!) are renting a house on the Cape in August. I can't remember off hand where the dang thing is, but I'll get back to you!

Thanks for the tips!

Kristen said...

Oh, the Ho. I can't say enough about that place. As an added bonus insider tip, (if you are female) go on Valentine's Day, you'll get ALL your drinks bought for you by the crusty fishermen at the bar. And have "the stuffie" while you're there.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Whatever. If I ever get to Cape Cod, I'm going to Trout Towers. That's where the REAL locals are.

Also chickens. Which makes it worth a visit right there.

Greg said...

Having missed so many "local" things before this year, I look forward to your guidance, oh, wise and beautiful one!

Meanwhile, how was Woody's? I'm already a big fan of the new jingle. Dang, can that Chandler write an earworm, or what?

Susan said...

Poppy - Grumpy's is an excellent suggestion! Now I'm hungry.

Newt - Okay, that may have been my own desire to take the hula hooping class that's just starting in town. Still, I figure since I live here and I want to do it, it should go in the tour guide.

Laggin - Life takes precedence. You will get here. We'll get it all ready for you.

Ms. Picket - which is funny, because I love love love your Small Town.

Zip n Tizzy - you don't want to go back to T being a baby? Yeah, me either. Not that they weren't cute and all....

Dana - with 27 people no one would even realize I was crashing the party. There will be food, right?

Kristen - It's true! In fact, I think that's how I met Chris.

Kristin - we'll have them all lined up waving as you arrive!

Greg - Woody's was great! We are going back ASAP. Fish tacos were ridiculous and the crab cakes... oh my lord. It's Cape Cod Kitsch without being cheesey - which is hard to imagine until you go. Also, great lighting. I hate when you go to a cool restaurant and then when you look up everything goes to the dogs. Know what I mean? It deserves its own post, possibly with an mp3 of the jingle so that others may know our pain. Earworm indeed.

Fred said...

When I was in Austin, TX, I checked into my hotel and asked at the front desk where I could find good bbq ... they ended up sending me to a place which was basically TGIFriday's, only with some BBQ on the menu. I knew there had to be some place decent, but there just wasn't time that night to explore too much.

The next day, I was working at a bookstore in a mall in town, and lamented about how little the hotel people seemed to know about their own town, and the folks at the store directed me to another place. As I drove into the parking lot, I spotted folks sitting on the hoods of their pickups, eating bbq, and knew I had found what I was looking for (take that, Bono!)

Oh ... and don't forget the fish tacos at Finbar's in Orleans! I've been told to not even try the Key Lime Pie frappe there or else I'll be mainlining it before I know it.

Word verification: tiosmt, a traditional Italian dessert

C said...

Thanks for popping by my little spot in the blogosphere!

What a great blog you've got! I'm going to have to do some catching up on your previous posts!

P.S. You taught ESL too? Did you teach overseas or locally?

Word verification= brestrap
Too funny.

Rose Brier Studio said...

Just over the bridge is John's Capeside Diner in Sandwich, or Sagamore. It is even more local than Grumpy's. Great, reasonable breakfasts. They're open real early, I've stopped off there after taking the redeye from CA.