Cape Cod, Massachusetts— Definition: Cape Cod’s Second Summer — A phenomenon, part wish and part reality, which extends the perception, happiness and freedom of summer into September, October and even into early November. Because Cape Cod is bathed in warm surrounding waters resulting from an extremely hot summer, summer seems to continue until the first snowfall.
Cape Cod’s summer 2020 was one of the hottest and sunniest in recent memory (thank you Doug the Quahog, the Cape’s weather predicting clam!). Most agree that summer was just too darn short. But Cape Cod will offer Cape lovers and newbies a chance for a Cape Cod Second Summer! Do things you love or hoped to do on the Cape this summer — but do it without the searing heat, humidity — and waits!
The rollicking 65-mile long ever-changing, always unforgettable arm-shaped Cape dispenses its magic generously throughout all 15 Towns, from Buzzards Bay to Stellwagen Bank, from Cape Cod Canal and Cape Cod Bay to Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds and the Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by more than 560 miles of irregular and dramatic seacoast, the Cape sits upon a massive sand deposit left by retreating glaciers from 20,000 years ago.
Within the Cape’s 399 square miles, there are endless varieties of recreation, activities, cultural sights and attractions, sightseeing — including more than four centuries of distinctive architecture — much visible from along the 62-mile Old King’s Highway (also known as Route 6A) where many of the very underpinnings of the Cape as a region evolved.
Cape autumn is usually dry and comfortable with relatively warm dry days, cool comfortable nights, plus added bonuses of golden afternoon sunlight, fewer visitors, ample tee times, fewer cyclers, hikers, dinner patrons, golfers and shoppers plus cranberry harvest — a sight to behold! Months that have a letter “r” are optimal months for super sweet shellfish (thinking Cape Cod quahogs, oysters, crabs and lobsters). It’s even possible to ‘own your beach’ midweek and go anywhere and do anything — without any wait. And with more than 130 beaches along the Cape’s coastline, finding one of your own during Second Summer will be a breeze!
Make Cape Cod Your New Office!
During the COVID-19 crisis, many office and other workers have been restricted from working at offices and have now acclimated to working at home.
But, in 2020, ‘home’ can be anywhere that offers a desk and high-speed internet. So why not ‘make Cape Cod your office’ and indulge in some of the most amazing coffee and lunch breaks possible — a walk along the beach; a kayak run across a pristine pond or river; a bicycle lunch along Shing Sea Bikeway, Cape Cod Rail Trail or meandering along Old King’s Highway. And after the inspiration found along Cape byways, imagine how refreshed — body and soul, — you will feel! Make Cape Cod Your Office!
Practically every lodging establishment or vacation rental offers high-speed internet and a desk, be it a kitchen counter, coffee table, real desk or even a high-top on a deck overlooking the ocean. Or, with portable internet or Wi-Fi, any beach or coffee shop around the Cape can double as your on-the-go office — and the boss will not necessarily know that you’re working in board shorts or a bikini at a Cape Cod coffee shop! All Cape Cod Town and village libraries offer Wi-Fi (and a quiet place, without family or travel buds) to get some work done. Make Cape Cod Your Office!
For those who need a more organized space, there is CapeSpace, a full-service shared work space with locations in Hyannis (featuring a variety of flexible workspaces in a professional and comfortable setting) and at Mashpee Commons (one of the most active shopping commons on Cape Cod. The Mashpee location provides users access to entertainment, dining, and much more. Make Cape Cod Your Office!
“What’s Open” Guidance
Lodging of many varieties are open, happily welcoming Second Summer visitors. Such an eclectic array of lodging options evolved because of the immense diversity and appeal of Cape Cod. Whether visitors want an oceanfront hotel or resort, motel, country inn, quant bed & breakfast, vacation rental, timeshare, or campground, it’s all here on Cape Cod. Follow this link to make choices and book your stay! The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has imposed strict safety standards and checklists for all lodging establishments that can be viewed here.
Most restaurants are open for outside dining and take away; some are also open for inside dining. Many visitors come to the Cape especially for its über-fresh seafood, fresh oysters, quahogs and lobsters! Fine dining, hip bistro, waterfront, clam shack, many styles of cuisine from Italian, Greek, Peruvian, Mexican, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Continental, pizza, take away … the Cape has your palate covered! Cape restaurants that are open must meet safety standards and comply with all MA-imposed checklists, all of which can be viewed here.
The Cape’s Town and Cape Cod National Seashore beaches are open, without lifeguards, and offer free parking; a dozen Seashore hiking trails are open and await you. The Town of Wellfleet extended its beach season to 27 September (including lifeguards); visitor rates are currently $60 (three-day pass),$95 (weekly pass) and $180 (two-week pass) at its three ocean, four pond and five Bay-side beaches; Mayo Beach requires no sticker. All beaches are subject to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ safety practices and guidance which can be viewed here.
Shops, boutiques, galleries, coffee shops, supermarkets, specialty food stores, golf courses, fitness clubs (no showers), beauty salons and cycling, hiking, mountain biking and walking conservation paths across the Cape are open and represent inspiring and very safe experiences. In all cases and for everywhere visitors travel, masks are necessary to protect fellow visitors, hosts and staff at these establishments and other users of recreational lands. Various tours are open with restricted numbers of passengers and many museums have either timed visitors or a limited number of visitors at any one time.
On 1 March 2021, Cape Cod’s newest lodging, AutoCamp Cape Cod, will open in Sippewissett (Falmouth); enter here to win a two-night stay and a completely reimagined outdoor experience (lodging options include custom-designed Airstreams and Luxury Tents); prize also includes kayak rental and dining. In Brewster, Ocean Edge Resort is offering a new Business in Brewster promotion featuring a healthy discount on lodging and a generous assortment of amenities such as early check-in/late check-out (if available), in-room work station with high-speed internet, access to front desk printer and IT support, plus power food breakfast, snacks, and bottomless coffee.
During Summer 2020, Cape Cod experienced considerable growth in ‘pop up’ style drive-in theaters. Aside from the renowned and iconic Wellfleet Drive-In which opened in 1957, there are now three new drive-ins across the Cape still operating, while several others have already ended for the summer. Falmouth Drive-In running through late October 2020 at Cape Cod Fairgrounds (Route 151), East Falmouth. The Drive-In will feature one movie every night except Wednesday. Yarmouth Drive-In through at least 19 October 10 this new 22-acre venue boasts three 40-feet x 25-foot-high-definition LED screens bright enough to shine during daylight hours and one stage for live musical performances (insider secret: this location housed the West Yarmouth Drive-In from 1958-1988). Payomet’s Drive In Events through 19 September at 29 Old Dewline Road, Truro, MA. Payomet has built a new stage on the Payomet Ballfield just steps from the tent! Payomet is taking great steps to ensure the health and well-being of attendees. Planned for summer 2020 several Stages Live Drive-In events. All tickets are general admission and sold per person, not per car.
NEW EXHIBIT at HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS: ANCESTRY + LEGACY | 2 SEPT-31 OCT 2020 This Highfield Drive, Falmouth exhibit Ancestry + Legacy, featuring artists Jon Moore, Nate Olin, Jan Lhormer, Richard Neal, Jackie Reeves, Kimberly Sheerin, Jon Cira, and Hollis Engley, and Mark Chester. Ancestry + Legacy is a meditation on how past, present, and future are inextricably intertwined.
Finn’s Craft Beer Tap House 16 Barnstable Road, Hyannis. Fun new craft beer brew pub on the edge of Main Street. Offering 35 craft brews and light food. The outdoor patio is spacious and fun, comfortable with lots of space between tables. Excellent friendly service. Southside Cantina in Dennisport is an 86-seat indoor and 16-seat outdoor Mexican-themed restaurant with indoor stage for live entertainment seven days/week. Tacos, nachos, all manner of Mexican fare and cocktails. Lobster Pot Express at 5 Ryder Street Extension in Provincetown, MA is the first offspring of its legendary parent at 321 Commercial Street but is a quick-service operation offering ideal social distancing and limits number of customers. Offers a simplified menu offering soups, salads (seafood toppings optional), sandwiches and appetizers (no live lobsters, clambakes and bouillabaisses); take out window only and walk up and phone orders as well. Offers “minimal interaction.” The Block & Tackle at 545 State Highway 6 in Wellfleet is a new year-round smokehouse (barbecue) and beer tavern near Marconi Beach.
Cape Cod National Seashore Completes Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail in Wellfleet Repairs The project involved replacement of about 300 feet of wooden boardwalk and two seating platforms. The wooden section was the last remaining segment to be replaced along the 2,500-foot-long boardwalk
What Can I Do?
Visitors can mountain bike or cycle the Cape’s 100+ miles of dedicated cycling paths, stroll 600 miles of Cape seacoast, and kayak or swim in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, Buzzards and , Cape Cod Bays, the Atlantic Ocean plus, inland, hundreds of lakes, rivers and ponds. Golf, fish, surf cast, or scratch for quahogs (license required); sunbathe, beachcomb, boogie board, surf, windsurf (think West Dennis or Kalmus Hyannis Beaches) or swim at more than 100 Town and other beaches. Between dips, tuck into your favorite read, or find a new one along the Cape Cod & Islands Bookstore Trail, nearly two dozen fine bookstores across the entire region!
Visit most of 80+ museums along the Cape Cod Museum Trail; tackle hundreds of conservation hiking, mountain biking and walking trails; shop, or visit art and craft galleries, flea markets, antiques & collectibles shops, boutiques, specialty food shops (Cape Cod has more than 2,200 places to shop!). In Yarmouth Port, the new Olde Cape Cod Discovery Trail will guide visitors aching for the great outdoors and connection to people as they stroll or drive to curated places along the Trail to help connect them with the Cape and its illustrious past. Combine this with the Yarmouth Sand Sculpture Trail and make it an all-Yarmouth day ending with a glorious sunset at Bass Hole (Gray’s Beach)!
Explore 15 Towns and their unique and distinctive villages, many with historical museums; eat out (or in) at hundreds of Cape restaurants and clam shacks or tuck into one of the local craft breweries such as Devil’s Purse, Barnstable Brewing, Bad Martha Beer, Finns Craft Beer Tap House or Naukabout or Truro Vineyards. Set up an easel or tripod to capture a much-beloved vista all over the Cape. Take a whale (Barnstable or Provincetown) or seal watch (Chatham and Orleans). Visit Heritage Museums & Gardens (Sandwich), Spohr Gardens (Woods Hole) and Cape Cod Lavender Farm (Harwich).
Explore each of the Cape’s 15 amazing Towns … each is distinctive and unique. From quiet and mostly undiscovered Town of Bourne for those seeking respite from the word on their Cape vacation at one end of the Cape to Provincetown, a lively, colorful and open-minded Town which celebrates everyone’s diversity and is dedicated to providing nonstop fun and adventure! The remaining baker’s dozen Towns sandwiched between these two exemplify just how different Cape Cod can be — at every turn providing new experiences, vistas, memories and surprises!
COVID-19 INFORMATION & GUIDANCE
Cape Cod is currently at Phase III Step 1 of Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Reopening Plan. Establishments will impose state- and possibly locally mandated restrictions and protocols. For updates and information on COVID-19 visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 main page. Effective 1 August 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow new travel orders including completing a Massachusetts Travel Form; visitors from non-exempt states are required to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. Information about the Commonwealth’s phased re-opening plan can be found here. Cape Cod Chamber also provides latest guidance on safely enjoying Cape Cod here.