Cape Cod’s ‘Second Summer’ Lasts Until November!

Fishing along the Cape Cod Canal © Karen Rubin/

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.

What’s New?
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!

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.

See also:
Driveable Summer Destinations: Cape Cod Welcomes Visitors

Driveable Getaways: Hiking the Hudson River School Art Trail in the Great Northern Catskills

The view from Sunset Rock, one of 8 sites along the Hudson River School Art Trail in the mid-Hudson Valley region, is very much as Thomas Cole saw it in the 1820s © Karen Rubin/

by Karen Rubin
Travel Features Syndicate,
My getaway in the Great Northern Catskills of New York exploring the Hudson River School Art Trail starts at the trailhead to Kaaterskill Falls, where you get an amazing view of Kaaterskill Clove (HRSAT Site #4). You gaze out over the gorge where mountain peaks seem to thread together and compare the scene today to the way it is depicted by Hudson River School artist Asher B. Durand’s 1866 painting.
It’s a short walk along 23A (watch out for cars on the winding narrow road) to the trailhead for one of my favorite hikes, Kaaterskill Falls (HRSAT Site #5), a stunning scene that looks remarkably just as depicted in an 1835 painting by Thomas Cole, known as the father of the Hudson River School. “It is the voice of the landscape for it strikes its own chords, and rocks and mountains re-echo in rich unison,” Cole (who was also a poet and essayist) wrote.

Kaaterskill Falls, a 260-foot high double waterfall, the highest in New York State, captivated Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School artists © Karen Rubin/

The Kaaterskill Falls were a favorite subject of many of the Hudson River School painters and for me, is the quintessential combination of stunning scenery plus the physical pleasure of the hike – half-mile up to the base of the double-falls, then another half-mile to the top.
The two-tiered Kaaterskill Falls, 175 and 85 feet, is the highest in New York State and was described by James Fenimore Cooper in “The Pioneers” which Thomas Cole, a friend of Cooper’s illustrated.
There is a small trail through the woods to the very top of the falls. Signs admonish hikers that climbing the ledges beside Kaaterskill Falls is extremely dangerous, and has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. But the falls are not flowing when I come, so I get to walk on the ledges, giving me a really nervous view straight down and beyond, to the Valley and letting me look at the carved initials and graffiti from the 1920s and 30s, some even from the 1800s. You feel a sense of kindred spirit with those who have passed through and passed on. You feel the height and the proximity to the drop off, and it makes your heart flutter.
Later, I will recognize the view in Thomas Cole’s paintings and imagine how he must have stood in this precise place where you are standing.
It is a half-mile to the base, and another half- mile to the top of the falls, for a total of 2 miles roundtrip. There are some scrambles and it is uphill almost all the way (walking sticks are really recommended), and is thoroughly fantastic.
(The parking lot is just west of the trailhead and across 23A, so you park and walk back along the road, being very careful. Haines Falls NY 12436, 518-589-5058, 800-456-2267).
HRSAT Hikes in North-South Campground
For my second day, after an amazing breakfast at the Fairlawn Inn, I head to North-South Campground, where there are several of the Hudson River School of Art Trail hikes (as well as many other hiking trails) – the lake itself depicted in paintings such as Thomas Cole’s “Lake with Dead Trees,” 1825 (HRSAT Site #6).
The Escarpment Trail to Sunset Rock (HRSAT Trail Site #7) begins along the well-marked blue trail (you cut off to the yellow trail to Sunset Rock) that mostly wraps around the ledges, with the amazing views that so enthralled the artists of the Hudson River Valley. Close to the beginning is a fairly interesting scramble, then the trail winds through the woods along side fabulous rock formations before coming out again to the ledges. You reach Artists Rock at about .4 miles. Continuing on, you look for the yellow trail marker to Sunset Rock and from there, to Newman’s Point.

Taking in the spectacular view along the hike along the Escarpment Trail in the North-South Lake Campground, one of eight Hudson River School Art Trail sites in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York © Karen Rubin/

You can either reverse and come back on the Escarpment Trail, or make a loop, coming down the Mary’s Glen trail, passing Ashley’s Falls.
Mary’s Glen trail can also be the entrance to a difficult hike, to North Point, a distance of 3.2 miles with 840 feet ascent. It is a mostly moderate climb but has some short, steep scrambles over rock, but you come to large open slabs and expansive vistas at North Point, a 3,000 ft. elevation with some of the most distant views.)
Back at the North-South Lake (it’s taken me about three hours taking my time), people are swimming in the hot (near 90) weather.

North-South Lake © Karen Rubin/

From here, you can follow around the lake to see the same views that inspired Hudson River School paintings.
You can also take the trail to the site of the Catskill Mountain House (HRSAT Site #8), one of the earliest tourist hotels. The majestic hotel, which was opened in 1823 and accommodated 400 guests a night (Presidents Arthur and Grant were among those who stayed here), burned down in 1963 but the view that attracted visitors still remains as one of the most magnificent panoramas in the region, and can be compared to Frederic Church’s “Above the Clouds at Sunrise” (1849).
It is fun to see the initials carved into the stone ledges from more than a century ago. The Mountain House began drawing thousands of guests each season from all over the country as well as from abroad, who came not just for the cooler, healthier climate but for what had already become one of the most renowned natural panoramas in the young nation: the valley 1,600 feet below, stretching east to the Taconic Mountains and the Berkshires, with the silvery thread of the Hudson visible for 60 miles from north to south. On a clear day, you can see five states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The hike is just a half-mile with only an 80-foot ascent.
There is a $10/car day use fee for the NYS DEC’s North-South Lake Campground from early May through late October, however the fee is waived for NYS residents 62 years or older midweek. The campground is open for camping from May through October; 518-589-5058 or call DEC Regional Office year-round at 518-357-2234,
The Hudson River School Art Trail also features Olana, the magnificent and whimsical mansion home of artist Frederick Edwin Church. At this writing, the entrancing mansion was not yet reopened to visits, but the 250 acre-grounds and the first-ever “viewshed” to the Hudson River are open (5720 Route 9G, Hudson, NY 12534, 518-828-0135,

Olana, the home of Hudson River School artist Frederick Edwin Church © Karen Rubin/

Also, you can walk the grounds Thomas Cole Historic Site (the home has yet to be reopened, but is marvelous to visit, especially Cole’s studio). (218 Spring Street, Catskill, NY 12414, 518-943-7465,
Get maps, directions and background on the Hudson River School Art Trail at
Also, walk on the Hudson River Skywalk along the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to find incredible river views.
In Tannersvill:e Explore outside at the Mountain Top Arboretum, home to 178 acres of trails, wetlands, gardens, and native plants; go on a mountain biking adventure at the Tannersville Bike Park, part of the Tannersville-Hathaway Trail System.
In Athens: Rent a kayak or paddleboard at Screaming Eagle Outdoor Adventures; explore along the Hudson River at the Athens Riverfront Park and look for the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
More information from Greene County Tourism, 800-355 CATS, 518-943-3223,
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