Weekend Trip: Three Things You Must Do in Cape Cod

Pop the bikes on the car and get ready for a weekend of seafood, ferries, cycling and more.

Going to the Cape if you’re from Rhode Island might seem counter intuitive. I can already hear the comments section abuzz with things like: “We have beaches galore!”, “we (not Massachusetts) are bequeathed the title ‘the Ocean State'” and, “let’s be real, who in their right mind would willingly brave Boston traffic?”

But though we are Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, we have some love for our Cape Cod friends and are here to tell you that a weekend trip is totally worth the traffic-induced nerve-fry and sand in places it shouldn’t be.

I should know. A few weeks ago, after a  last-minute change of vacation plans, I found myself on Martha’s Vineyard (basically Cape Cod), on a bike, my butt sore, rain streaming down my face and pedaling like there was no tomorrow through a torrential rain storm.

What was I doing ? Believe it or not, I was accomplishing one of the three things you must do if you go to Cape Cod. Read on for fun, intrigue and lots of soggy bottoms.

Play mini golf at Red Barn Pizza and More, then get nachos at Guapo’s.

These nachos will defeat you.

Okay, okay, this might not seem like reason enough to go to Cape Cod but trust me, after days filled with biking, clam chowder and sprawling yourself in the sun like a beached whale, you’ll want shade and something other than seafood. Hit up Red Barn Pizza and More for a low key mini golf sesh, then head to Guapo’s Tortilla Shack for some hefty (and we mean hefty) Baja-style Mexican food. Be warned: the nacho appetizer  is more like a meal for two Patriots linebackers.

Go to PTown and pedal the Province Lands Bike Trail. Then get a burger at the Squealing Pig — you’ll deserve it.

This is what the Cape is all about: scenic views and trundling along on your bicycle. Complete this lovely six-mile-long trail along the coast, with a quick divergence into the forests, and finish with a cool-down at the beach. Afterwards, drive (or if you’re an ironman/woman, pedal) over to PTown where the streets are colorful and the food is plentiful. We recommend the Squealing Pig for a post-bike food binge — the food will have you squealing in ecstasy (pardon the horrible pun). Try the Hog Burger (a massive burger topped with thick cut bacon, Gorgonzola and spicy chipotle onions) paired with a cold beer or a Elderflower Margarita. Though we didn’t order them, get the Tuscan fries. The heady, salty, rosemary-truffle smell alone had us happily contemplating cardiac arrest with a smile and a “it can’t hurt, right?”

Pretty flowers on the trail, the beach, and the author doing some much needed post-biking lounging on the beach.

Catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

Having spent a good portion of my childhood in its sandy arms, there’s a part of me that will always live amongst the dunes, beach plums and gingerbread houses of Martha’s Vineyard. Because of this unabashed enthusiasm, this section will be broken up as destinations within a destination, because, well, Martha’s Vineyard is too good to sum up in a sentence or two.

The ride over: I was pretty darn excited to catch the ferry out of Woods Hole to my childhood. Perhaps I was too drunk sweet nectar of memories past, because I managed to convince my boyfriend to park (probably illegally) near a remote beach then bike over to catch the ferry with t-minus ten minutes to spare. Calves and thighs burning, we ordered drinks and sat on the stern of the ship as we plowed through waves and raced a sailboat to get to our island destination. So, my first bit of advice is this: Don’t get to the ferry with twenty minutes to spare on a Saturday, don’t park illegally, and DO get drinks on your way over. You’ll need them.

Upon Arriving: We brought our bikes with us, which only cost $8 per person each way, and allowed us to avoid the hassle of parking while soaking up the sun. Pick up some lobster rolls and chowder to go from Nancy’s (it’s an institution) and pedal over to the Joseph Sylvia State beach for a quintessential beach bum picnic.

After lunch: Take a walk through the Gingerbread houses, a cluster of homes whose whimsical designs will give you the “low on storage” notification on your phone in no time. Then, hit up the Flying Horses carousel — you’re never too old to try and catch the brass ring! After all, if you snag it, you get a free ride and unending glory.

Dinner and Dessert: If you’re like me and have sudden cravings for tortilla soup (random, yes), than Sharky’s Cantina is the place to be. Serving are large, drinks are strong and lime and chili is a great palate cleanser after days of fried fish and chowder. For dessert before you catch the ferry home, there are a variety of ice cream shops to choose from. We went to Ben and  Bill’s Chocolates and indulged in sweet chocolate ice cream reverie.

Catching the Ferry back to the Mainland: After a lovely day of skipping across Martha’s Vineyard, my boyfriend and I laughed stupidly as it started to downpour, before ducking under the pavilion in Oaks Bluff to wait for our 7:30 p.m. ferry. Except it was 7:25 and there was no ferry in sight. The grins dripped off our faces when we learned that the Woods Hole Ferry stops its route to and from Oaks Bluff after 6 p.m., meaning we would have to catch the 8:30 ferry to Woods Hole from Vineyard Haven, which meant we had to bike through the rain to get there in time. So, last bit of advice: read the ferry schedule with a discerning eye and don’t make the same mistake we did!

A pink gingerbread house, the Flying Horses, two animal amigos on the island, and a beachy view.