Boston to Cape
- foster Jun 12, 2014 09:40 AM
On a Tuesday afternoon, a few days from now, I will be driving from Newton to Provincetown. I have been to Boston twice, but never Cape Cod. I am interested in hearing some suggestions/feedback on where to stop on the way.
Right now I am thinking pizza at either Sweet Tomatoes, Barbone or Joey's and then a stop at Truro Vineyards.
Everything I do revolves around food, but do want to make stops at a worthwhile locale - whether for a lovely view, unique NE street scene, or just a memorable experience. Once we get to P-town, we probably will not drive much so thought the drive to and from would give us a chance to see more of the area. (The drive "from" will go all the way to Western Mass.)
My husband and I are not looking to turn the drive into a whole day, but a bit out of the way & a mile or two of walking would be a nice way to break up the trip & see a little more of the area. We like ALL types of food, but am thinking quick counter types of meals.
I have been reading a lot before asking & do plan to ask ont he Southern Mass board too. Thanks for what i have read so far & any replies to this!.
Great debate on fried clams...
I love Kreme 'N Kone on Rte 28 @ intersection of 134
Kream 'n Kone,
961 Main St,
West Dennis, MA 02670
Captain Frosty's on Rte 6A
219 Main St, Dennis, MA 02638
Seafood is usually the best faire to try while on Cape Cod.
Foster, I am very familiar with driving and seeing towns from Boston to the Cape, but not so experienced w/ good food spots on that route. I think I will, on this first post, suggest towns that are particularly worth driving or walking around along your route, and you can use those names to do some CH Searches.
Google Map says 3 hours for the route that I plotted, but i think 5-6 hrs is more likely.
It goes from Newton to Ptown, from Rt.3 south, with possible stops in Hingham,Duxbury or Plymouth onto the Cape and up Rt 6A (Old King's Highway) through Sandwich and Brewster to Ptown. Hingham is an affluent and historically well preserved town w/ beautiful old houses and some good markets and restnts. South of there you are not going to find alot of great food until you get to Ptown. Plymouth gets alot of tourist trade and you can see the waterfront and a replica of the Mayflower, just by driving by, or you can tour it and/or Plymouth Plantation. The Blue Eyed Crab has some fun food but the town has mostly fried seafood tourist spots. Duxbury is home to Island Creek Oysters and you can drive to Duxbury Bay and look out over their operation.
Sandwich, one of the very oldest towns in MA, has a beautiful millpond in its center; we have often brought take out sandwiches there and enjoyed it. A good part of the route from Sandwich to Ptown is Rt. 6A, the Old King's Highway, one of the oldest and most beautiful roads in MA. It is narrow and winding and dotted with very old houses and trees. It is also a slow route; if you went at a leisurely pace, it would prob take you 3 hrs to get to Ptown from Sandwich. Not alot of dining options, esp at lunch. For food spots, you'll prob want to do some CH Searches by town name, and 'Cape'. When you do your return trip, headed out to Western MA, you might want to take the faster route, Rt 6, from Ptown down to the Bridge off the Cape.
On that return trip, my suggestion would be for you to drive from the Cape through New Bedford and Providence R.I. on your way out west. Depending upon your interests, i would rec a brief stop/drive/walk around the beautiful historic area around the New Bedford Whaling Museum, or a drive around the much bigger and beautiful College Hill area of Providence. New Bedford has a very established Portuguese community and food culture(they came from the Portuguese Azores to work on the whaling boats.)
Home to myriad colleges,Providence is one of the most vibrant small cities on the East Coast, with a stylish contemporary food scene.
There is, of all things, a long touted CH fav BBQ spot in Sturbridge, which would be a ~1/2 hr detour for you off the Mass. Pike.
Google Maps shows Ptown to New Bedford 2 hrs; NB to Prov. 1/2 hr; Prov to Stockbridge 2 hrs. but those times, again, feel incorrect to me, like it would take a bit longer.
I haven't been myself but have heard a lot of good things about Marion's Pie Co in Chatham. There is also a french bakery, PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet, that I've heard mentioned many times as far as having really good breads and croissants, etc. These 2 places are on my list of places to go to when in those areas.
I'll vouch for PB Boulangerie. We stop on the way and on the way back on every trip to Provincetown. We even stay and extra day if it means returning when they are closed.
Bread, croissants, bike trail cookies, pizzas and preserves are in every bag we take home. Their pizza slices are even good cold for nibbles in the car.
LOVE the breads, bakery items, and jams at PB (they are worth getting there early and standing in line for), however, I have been pretty disappointed with EVERY sit down meal attempt there, and there have been several over the past couple of summers.
Every nice food option on the PTown part of the Cape has been pricey to me, with the exceptions of Moby Dick's in Wellfeet (right on Rt 6 - worth waiting for, but not for more than an hour - and do note it's extremely family friendly) and the Lobster Pot in PTown (old school, but so good and what a great location).
The Bookstore at Mayo Beach in Wellfleet is good standby if you stick to the raw bar and simple seafood options.
Arnold's in Eastham has great fried stuff and excellent raw bar (go inside and order directly at it vs. at the main counter / window).
For higher end meals, I love:
Blackfish in Truro
Mac's Shack in Wellfleet (I assume their PTown spot would have equally great sushi and food as well as being more upscale)
Impudent Oyster in Chatham (though haven't been in 2 years)
For me, the Beachcomber at Cahoon Hollow (Wellfleet) is a must on a warm afternoon or evening (before dark) - sitting outside and having oysters / clams on the half shell, as well as their amazing steamers and seared tuna, from the raw bar - not sure when it fully opens - eating inside is not that great.
Great place to be - any time during the year - enjoy your visit! (also: find Duck Pond in the National Seashore if you can - you have to park and hike - it is worth it).
I have a couple ideas for you, neither is 'great' food but both offer something else.
http://www.orleansinn.com/ has waterfront dining. This is a good spot because it's right off route 6 in Orleans. If you're experiencing traffic, this may be the perfect place to get off the road for a lunch. There is a restaurant in the back that overlooks the water. Touristy but overall a good experience.
Further down in Wellfleet on Rt6 pull into the road that has the Drive In Theater. There is a mini golf area and a Dairy Bar next to it that serves food. The dairy bar is an outdoor bar that overlooks the mini golf. Food is not so good but the place is classic old school. And a lot of fun. A great place for a dessert and beer.
You'll most likely be driving Rt 6 along the north/center part of Cape Cod......If you have time, get off onto 6A and meander
I'm originally a Falmouth boy so can't help for food much on that side. There are cple of threads on here already that can.
One thing I will suggest besides my lovely namesakes is.........Linguica.....a Garlicky Portuguese sausage. Much of parts of the Cape got settled by Portuguese that came over on whalers and settled to be farmers. Some places offer Lnguica Pizza and/or Linguica Sandwiches. If you are a fan of sausage or Pepperoni, you will be in 7th heaven. You can also find in local markets along with its spicier sister Chourico (pronounced Choe-ree'-So) which is a true delight and not even close to Spanish Chorizo - not dry and hard.
Lobster (and rolls) abound as do fried clam joints. P-town has a wonderful alternative lifestyle that offers a combo of innovative food as well as a few of its Portuguese roots, but it has been way too long for me to offer any particular place
For quick stops, there are a couple of clam shacks on the water that I'd suggest as more Cape Cod-y than one of those pizza places, either Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis, Chatham Fish Pier (also has great sushi and a good chance at seeing seals), or Liam's at Nauset Beach. I also have Local Break on Eastham on my list but haven't tried it yet.
There are two good sit down restaurants that I recommend on the way to the Cape. Rye Tavern (opens at 4 for dinner) in the Pinehills in Plymouth, just off Rte 3. Good bar, local ingredients, decent variety and specials.
If you are headed toward the Bourne Bridge, Ella's on the Cranberry Highway in Wareham is amazing. Seafood is fantastic, great pastas, good wood fired pizza. They are open for lunch and dinner but closed in between.
I think Chatham is a cute town for a walk as well, lots of nice shops to see. The fish pier is a short drive away, and you can also stop at the lighthouse.
Plymouth is nice for a walk as well. The rock and Mayflower are fine, but don't miss the cemetery where all of the pilgrims are buried. It's on a hill and has a great view of the harbor. I agree that none of the restaurants downtown are great, but I'd probably go to one of the waterfront places, Wood's clam shack or Union Fish in the marina, over the heavy offerings at Blue Eyed Crab.
Lot's of good sugestions here, but for a "quick counter" type meal, I'd stop at PJ's on Route 6 in Wellfleet.
Some of the best clam strips, lobster rolls, and onion-rings. If you're headed up the cape to P-town, it's literally on your way, though not much of a view.
For something a bit nicer, Moby Dicks or Wicked Oyster, are also along your route and excellent, but not too formal or fancy. I'd skip the drive-in for anything but a movie or mini-golf...
So many good suggestions so far – thank you all for your guidance. The New England coast is something I have long wanted to see. And I have visions of quaint locales and fresh fresh seafood (different than we have down here in Baltimore). I am surprised to learn this trip may take longer than I expected. And therefore so intrigued by all of this information
Raw oysters, steamers (soft shell clams), other Portuguese dishes (clams, kale soup), stuffed clams, every form of clam chowder and lobster bisque, every form of seafood fried...
If I were you, I'd get some recs on where to eat in Ptown, lots of good options out there, probably as many as on the drive and the rest of the Cape combined.
I do have a ton of ideas for P-town & surrounds, including
Yes? No? Did I miss anything? Any of these past their prime? Honestly, most info I have found is a few years old... If anyone wants to comment on these, I willgladly incorporate the insider knowledge into my plans.
Mac's Shack is great, and per your question below is good for raw bar, lobster rolls, fried seafood, clam chowder etc. However, it's in Wellfleet, not Provincetown. You might want to stop on one of the Wellfleet places on your way too/from Provincetown, but even as a Wellfleet booster none are probably worth leaving Provincetown for.
That insight really strikes me, as I did think we would travel to wellfleet for meals once or twice. Maybe we will try to hold out for Macs on the way in.... Mac's may be the place that is standing out from all the others - as far as consistently high opinions go. Thanks VPG, (I am actually an eggplant parm gal myself).
foster, portuguese food:
-Do a CH search on the boston and so. new england boards for 'Portuguese' in order to read, not so much about the particular restnts, but the food itself.
- 40 yrs ago, in Ptown, there was a Portuguese bakery?restnt? on Commercial right across from the wharf, iirc. It was there that i had a very unusual dish called Molho Cru. (raw mackerel. The Portguese eat aLOT of mackerel.)It was boned filets or whole, dipped in ~flour, fried/sauteed and then marinated in a white vinegar mixture w/ garlic and bay leaves and mustard seeds..... (the vinegar cuts the fat/richness of the fish) DeLISH!! Never seen it anywhere since. But i bet you would at least raise some delighted eyebrows if you asked about it in that Portuguese bakery someone pointed you to.
- my fav (of the famous/find everywhere)portuguese dishes, aside from their various seafood stews,are Kale and linguica and potato soup (if made well, not terribly salty from bouillon cubes) and Pork w/ Clams(and tons of fried potatoes usually; if made right, not pre-frozen)- the pork cubes best when not tough.Garlic, evoo, white wine- the mainstays of many Port. entrees.
Steamers with melted butter and lemon on the side- are, historically, the equivalent of your blue crabs in that they: have been food icons associated with our respective regions; are meant to be eaten at a newspaper-covered picnic table; and WERE, long ago and for a long time, cheap! On CH, at least, I almost never see steamers mentioned; as an icon, steamed Lobsters and lobster rolls are the hot items.
If you are a Ballimer blue crab lump crabmeat crab- lover, when you see 'crab' on a new england menu, as in 'crab cakes',
make sure you ask what kind of crab it is and is it pre-frozen. 'Maine crab' is a phenomenon up here and it is pretty worthless. (Many CHs will attack me for this but it's just because the poor things don't know any better ;-} just joshin', guys)(Ditto Dungeness and King Crab?)
Soft shells are beloved expensive delicacies up here. They have been in the better local seafood markets for the past month or so; are shipped up fresh. 'Whales' are the largest size, but most places don't sell them often because of their even higher prices.
Local oysters have only recently become 'the rage' in 21st c. new england dining.: in MA our locally raised oysters come mostly from Duxbury ('So. Shore') and Wellfleet (on the Cape). They are the same species as your oysters and all the oysters on the East Coast, but they @ taste different from yours. RI , CT, Maine and CN also have local oyster farms, @ w/ its own flavor profile. If you think
"ah, oysters, been there, done that" you might still want to treat yourself to some Island Creeks while up here- to see what a big diff there is from yours.
Interestingly enough, Island Creek's local-boy-done-great owner has become friends w/ the Smith Island boys and they are doing some cross breeding things; fun to learn about in Shucked, that book i mentioned!
For all i know, you are allergic to seafood and don't eat it, but if you are a seafood fan, there are many CHS who are far more knowledgeable than I about both regional seafood and seafood in general, and they'd prob be happy to answer any of your questions. Ime, the most common fish on new england menus is Salmon (and most often from farms in CN, because it is the cheapest )I'm sure others will tell you what less-menu-seen local fish they get excited about having available to order...
OC...sadly, there's not much authentic Portuguese left in PTown besides the excellent bakery. There are renditions of things like Kale Soup et al around town, but for the real deal you need to hit up Bristol County where the local Portuguese, and Cape Verdean population remains strong, and some of the best Portuguese food can be had for cheap at so many locales.. Too many of the working class Portuguese have been forced out of PTown due to the soaring property costs and collapse of the fishing stocks in George's Banks.
all of this is of great interest to me. I eat and enjoy absolutely all food, looooovvve all seafood.
I have learned that ordering any sort of crab anywhere else in the world is a letdown. Ha!
Oysters sure are the rage in the Baltimore DC area too. I never pass up a chance for at least half a dozen on the half shell --- if they are fresh. I always prefer. the local ones. I'm so curious to see if that changes when New England oysters become the local variety.
Steamers really were not on my radar. Nor were a few of the Portuguese dishes you describe.
Thank you for the time and effort sharing all of this knowledge.
Re: local wild caught fish is definitely of interest to us. If anyone can name some variety that they do get excited about, that will be my first choice
Local is the keyword......for fish, that usually means Bluefish or Striped Bass. I don't like bluefish.a bit too "oily" and dark for me, but my family raves about it.
The alternative to oysters is hard shell clams (littlenecks or cherrystones) served on the half shell. For a special treat.........try a Stuffed Quahog(sometimes called stuffies)..Larger clams, diced and mixed with stuffing and some veg/spice ( If you can get one with linguica in it, even better!), then baked and served in the large shell..melted butter in the other half of the shell and hot sauce available for the brave(and knowledgeable).
brilliant additions! and iirc, R.I. has a number of their own unique seafood specialties- their own take on chowder, and 'stuffies', yes? because Foster might be driving through R.I. when she drives from Ptown to W.MA. If so, foster, Rt 95 takes you right through the center of Prov. in case you find a lunch rec w/ some of these r.i. specialties:
here's the best thing i found on R.I. food specialties (scroll down!):
foster, also ran across this while i was having no luck w/ CH threads on R.I. specialties. ( But it was written in 2011.):
B B B B Ballimer, enjoying being of help! Here's the best thread i found for your question about local fish:
It will be so fun for you to sample the shellfish up here.
(We have great hard shell clams too.) As I thought about the oysters you love most, your locals, I was thinking how my taste is prob pretty opposite, because my locals are cold water and yours are warm water (relatively speaking.) So my preference is for Island Creeks, over Wellfleets or various R.I. oysters (more minerally). And ditto CN even though their waters are the coldest of all. I know I keep mentioning Island Creek Oysters, but i do really admire those guys. Their first restnt venture ,ICOB (Island Creek Oyster Bar) is a great place and at our recent/rare blow-out celebratory dinner there, our server shared my oyster taste and he directed me to 2 of their 9 offerings: Island Creeks and Hama Hamas (from the OTHER coast!) ICOB curates their shellfish offerings very carefully, and flavor profile and drink compatability are 2 things that guide them. When we ate there, their 9 offerings were:
Isl.Creek Duxbury MA
Wellfleets Wellfleet MA
Wild Homestead Pt. Charlestown R.I.
East Beach Blondes "" ""
Flying Point Freeport ME
Daisy Bay P.E.I. CAN.
Northern Cross Smith Isl VA
Hama Hama Lillywaup WA
Kumamoto Puget Sound, WA
Littleneck Clams Martha's Vineyard MA.
just for fun, here's a link about our dinner there!:
ICOB would be best at 4:30pm. There is a redsox game tomorr night so it will get crazier the closer to the game starting at 7pm. MyLove just called and got a res for 2 at the bar at 5pm (he's going to the game)but there was a 4:30 table option. Phone is the way to go as they always keep seats for phone reservations outside of Open Table.
I doubt you'll find yourself in the Fall River area, but if you do, take the time to check out Portugalia Marketplace, which was recently featured in a small article in the Boston Globe. It's in a former mill and has a whole small room just for bacalao. My son, a true Portuguese food lover, took a ride there a couple of weekends ago with his girlfriend and they absolutely loved it. He thought the octopus and potato dish from the takeout section was very good, and bought several cans of Portuguese sardines and other fish along with other goodies. He said the malasadas, Portuguese fried dough, were also quite tasty.
Their Sunday hours are pretty short, though, 9-2 I believe.
If you've never had steamers, I hope you will love them. They are wonderfully oceanny. Just make sure to take off the condom, dip and broth and try them with and without butter!
If the bluefish are running it is a wonderful fish straight off the boats. Heavy and rich it is decadent straight off the boat. Held it is miserable. I eat around the bloodline? the dark center.
It has been a few years since I went to Truro Vineyards. I liked it well enough under the original owners but wasn't impressed with the new ownership and what they were doing. The setting is prety and the vineyard tour is a nice way to spend a few hours, but the wines are "pleasant and serviceable" at best...nothing remarkable. If you're looking for a better than average wine, I would look elsewhere (maybe the CT wine trail or something on your way back).
Foods: I'm a fan of Mac's Shack in Wellfleet. The Bookstore nearby seems to cycle through chefs, so heaven knows what you'll find there -- on trips in recent years I've found them to have good execution of classic New England fried seafood, but spotty on anything else. The Bomb Shelter (their attached bar) is a favorite place to while away a few hours with a beer or Dark and Stormy and some raw bar after a hot game of tennis next door. Still liking Ciro & Sal's in P-town, but maybe for sentimental reasons -- likewise Napi's. Dalla Cucina was a stunner when I went there a couple years ago, also not cheap, but very much worth it. Down the street, the Squealing Pig is a good place for a beer, some better-than-average bar food (or even a meal) and a bit of ballgame, if you can catch it at a reasonably quiet time -- on one visit it was wall-to-wall dudebros, aka the people who ruin everything. And for the freshest bestest lobster you'll ever have, Captain Cass in Orleans in Rock Harbor. The place is a lobster shack, there aren't many places to sit, alcohol is BYO, menu is limited, tableware is paper and plastic...and it's absolutely the best. Not to be missed.
This helps. I was on the fence about the Vineyard. I live quite close to a few lovely vineyards, but was was attracted to the idea of combining a vineyard & seascape into one experience. I wasn't really hoping to spend a lot of time there, more of a fun experience & souvenir.
Coworkers recommended Squealing Pig, I will have to scan first for dudebros! We love fish & chips, but dislike bar scenes.
Is Mac's Shack recommended for the raw bar? or everything?
Captain Cass is a completely new name for me -- thanks!
As I said, the vineyard is very pretty, and it is a fun experience. I think the tasting is worth t
he cost, and you might find a wine or two you like well enough to purchase.
I have not had the raw bar at Mac's, so can't speak to it. Everything I've had there I've liked.
Used to be there were a very few good options on Route 6. Not so much any more. RIP Serena's.
I like to stop at the Dunbar Tea House in Sandwich, five minutes off the highway. They serve until about 4 PM, and you can get a full tea, just a scone, or a savory lunch. And clean bathrooms, which I'm alway steady for at that point in my trip.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the Brewster Fish House as a lunch stop on your way to the Outer Cape. I love that place as a stopover on my trip out to Ptown. Very competent presentations, a very relaxing and pleasant spot.
We did a cape eating trip last winter and the one place we wanted to try was a breakfast place in an airplane hanger that CH'rs seem to love, but someone else can remind me what it is called.
The most memorable meal we had was a croque monsieur at PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet. It is a great little bistro and it was an extraordinary sandwich. It is oozing with bechamel and cheese, a dripping and amazing mess. I highly recommend it. I would drive out there again just for that sandwich. In fact, I probably will in the fall.
If you are there towards evening the dinner menu looked great too, but we did not try it for dinner.
Have a great trip.
PB Boulangerie Bistro
15 Lecount Hollow Rd
South Wellfleet, MA 02663
As a So. Cal gal, love the Cape and we hit up this fab clam shack in Brewster..Cobie's, famous for its fried clams with belly..sublime.
Chatham Bars Inn is excellent.
P-town, we really liked Ross Grill..
Wish we had more time at Truro next town over.
Just got back from a weekend on the outer cape (Chatham to Wellfleet, but did not make it up to P'town)
Here are a couple of recommendations in that area - you did not say what time you were leaving the Boston area so am providing options for both dinner and lunch, for places less than a half hour from Route 6. If you are driving from Newton you won't go through places like Fall River and Providence, but save those for another trip. If you can, leave before 3 pm to avoid the horrendous traffic jam that occurs almost nightly on Route 3 heading out of Boston; if you do leave after 10 am or before 3 the trip should only take 1.5 hours to the Outer Cape.
Chatham, which is a nice town to walk around in:
Corner Store (Rte 137) - burritos, sandwiches
Chatham Cookware Cafe - great sandwiches (no dinner)
Vers - excellent food, both at the Cafe (lunch until 4) and dinner. Farm to table with wonderful seafood.
Impudent Oyster - an oldie but goodie, particularly if the weather is inclement. Sit at the bar and eat oysters
Brewster: Fish House (both lunch and dinner) is consistently excellent. Nickerson State Park is nearby if you need to stretch your legs
Orleans: Abba (dinner only)
Would not recommend the Orleans waterfront inn
Nauset Farms (very good sandwiches and take out) is on the way to Nauset beach, but this may be more of a detour than you want. Good ice cream across the street though (Sundae School).
Eastham: The National Seashore headquarters are here and there are some walking trails in the area.
Arnold's (can't believe this has not come up!) Onion rings, lobster rolls and fried clams worth the splurge - but don't way I didn't warn you if your gallbladder objects
Sam's Deli (Brackett Road, where the Ben and Jerry's is) has good sandwiches and take out - because what you really want to do is grab a sandwich and go to the beach. Nauset light beach is about a mile or two from there, and Marconi is just up the road.
Wellfleet - PB Boulangerie and Wicked Oyster have already been noted and are consistently good; both are open for lunch and dinner.
Mac's Shack is great for dinner as noted
Great Island is nearby and nice for a walk
The Beachcomber is not for the food - which is standard bar type stuff - but because you can look out over the ocean while eating
There have been a number of places in Provincetown noted already, but would add Sake - it's been surprisingly hard to find decent sushi, but this is very good.
ski, what a super list! just curious, have you tried the Eastham So.African place mentioned earlier on this thread? I'm always up for trying any completely new dishes w/ curry influences and I've never had any So Afr food before. With all the great suggestions on this thread, Im starting to consider a fall trip down there! Previous Cape trips had me feeling a lack of excellent dining options, but it sounds like, if one is willing to tour around, there's a good week or more of meals to be had there now!thx so much.
from earlier in this thread:
<drewinmrblhd Jun 13, 2014 03:17 PM
I try not to miss a visit to Karro in Eastham when I am in the area.
well, sman, drew is a pretty frequent poster but if he doesn't reply to you soon, you could see if he could be contacted through his member profile page, or go to that page and see what thread he's most recently posted to, and pose your question to him there. (Sometimes it's o.k. w/ the mods if you just go OT once.)