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Planning a Winter Escape to Cape Cod

Planning for the holidays can be exhausting. That’s why it’s always a good idea to add planning a winter escape to Cape Cod to your “To Do” list. Once the hubbub of holiday activities wanes, a quiet respite to our island home will refresh and renew.

Indoors or out, Cape Cod offers a wealth of ways to while away a winter’s day. Map a route to any one of our museums and immerse yourselves in a pirate’s life. Take a magical mystery tour of the quirky Edward Gorey House, a beloved local author, and illustrator. Or meander through the Cape Cod Museum of Art galleries admiring the outstanding collection of local and regional artists.

If you’re the hardy outdoor type, trek through the sand dunes and drink in the salty air at any one of Cape Cod’s beautiful beaches. With the wind in your hair and sun on your back, hiking along a deserted beach remains one of life’s great pleasures on Cape Cod in winter.

Here’s what you need to know when planning a winter escape to Cape Cod.

Ooh, Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Jack Frost may be nipping at your toes, but truth be told, Cape Cod winters are milder than most of New England. The waters of Cape Cod Bay keep temperatures reasonably temperate, with average daytime highs in the 40s F, and evenings a cooler but still bearable, mid-to-upper-20s F. It’s wise to dress in layers and always keep a scarf, mittens, and a warm hat close by.

Museum Hopping

Whether you’re a history buff or an art enthusiast, Cape Cod offers a wealth of museums to explore at your leisure. Here is just a sampling of what to expect from the art and culture scene on Cape Cod.

Founded by local artists, the museum shares its location with the Cape Playhouse and the Cape Cinema in the heart of Dennis. Open year-round, the museum provides insight into the many artists who call Cape Cod home and those who have been influenced by its exquisite beauty.

Edward Gorey lived and worked on Cape Cod for much of his adult life. Known for his quirky illustrations and peculiar tales, his altruism for animal welfare pervades much of his work. His 200-year-old sea captain’s home celebrates his life and craft.

Located in historic Sandwich Village, the glass museum pays tribute to the town’s significant role in glass production in the 1800s. Visitors can watch glass-blowing demonstrations and witness history come to life in a critically acclaimed 21-minute documentary.

Dedicated to the Kennedy legacy, a visit to this downtown Hyannis museum reveals the family’s close connection with Cape Cod. An avid golfer and sailor, JFK and his extended family spent their summers on Cape Cod, reveling in the balmy weather and abundant water sports.

Delve into the most extensive collection of pirate artifacts recovered from a single shipwreck at this historically significant museum. From pirates’ treasures to weapons of war, the exhibits detail the truth of the pirate’s life.

Encompassing 5 galleries, resident artist studios, a culinary arts center, a recording studio, a pottery studio, and a performance hall, the Cape Cod Cultural Center serves as the hub of art and culture in historic Bass River. Hosting events, educational workshops, and rotating exhibits, a visit here is always new and exciting.

In an effort to showcase coastal change and its impact on Cape Cod, this museum presents 2 floors of exhibits plus a network of trails that run through the marshes to Cape Cod Bay. Spend the morning exploring the exhibits, then stretch your legs on one of the trails for an afternoon constitutional.

Shopping Mecca

If you’re in the mood to hunt for an antique treasure, you’re in for a treat when visiting Cape Cod. Sprinkled throughout the towns and villages that comprise the peninsular, dozens of antique shops offer everything from furniture to folk art. The thrill is in the hunt, so plan a day of searching for that elusive piece to complete your home.

Not into antiques? No worries. The main streets and back roads of Cape Cod feature unique clothing boutiques, fascinating galleries, and trendy gift shops. From Falmouth at the shoulder to Chatham at the elbow and Provincetown at the bent fist, Cape Cod is awash with unique and distinctive storefronts to explore.

Best of all, you can visit our gift shop for mugs, glassware, sweatshirts, and gift certificates. What better way to commemorate your stay than with a Captain’s House Inn gift? See one of our staff members for details.

Take a Hike

In the depth of winter, nothing clears the mind like a walk in nature. Five of our favorite nature walks start right here in Chatham. Choose a beach venue, wildlife refuge, or something more sedate, like a gentle stroll through woods and gardens.

Warm Up in a Local Café or Bistro

Cape Cod is not shy when it comes to food and drink. And Chatham seems to shine in that arena. Seafood plays a prominent role on most restaurant menus, but a growing array of ethnic dining options welcome those with a more exotic palate. Casual dining spots run the gamut from corner cafes to our exclusive high tea served daily.

Viera on Main, one of our favorite spots for a casual dinner, features an eclectic menu of Cape Cod classics, a fantastic raw bar of locally-sourced shellfish, and an extensive wine list and cocktail menu. And, if you’re looking for a great spot for a light lunch or a pick-me-up cappuccino or latte, try Chatham Cookware Cafe.

We highly recommend two more terrific spots for a morning or afternoon coffee break: Three Fins Coffee Roasters in Dennis and Nirvana in Barnstable Village.

So, when the post-holiday blues settle in, sit down and begin planning a winter escape to Cape Cod. It’s just the most carefree way to sail into the new year.


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