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We love to vacation by the ocean! Last year it was the outer banks of North Carolina. This year we decided to take our family vacation on Cape Cod. Our big disappointment was finding out that our daughter and her family wouldn’t be able to make the trip this year!!

About 5 years ago, Paul and I spent a week in Plymouth, MA and had such a good time!  We didn’t spend much time on the cape however, so we weren’t sure of the best area to stay.  We chose a vacation rental home in the town of Sandwich on the bay side of the cape for our stay.

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We set out to the cape with 3 year old Jacob and 5 year old Maggie in tow. All along the way we kept hearing little voices asking “when will we be at the beach?….when will we be at the beach?”

When we finally did arrive at the rental home and the cars unloaded, the very first thing we did was take a stroll to the beach. Paul purchased a folding wagon prior to the trip and after towels, camera, binoculars and 1 year old Zellene were secured in it our walk to the beach began. Finally, Maggie and Jacob were in heaven! The ocean was beautiful, but we found the beach in this area to be disappointingly rocky. Rough walking on! The kids still had a great time picking up rocks and seashells!

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The following day we chose to visit the quaint village of Plymouth, home of the historical Plymouth Rock. The rock is much smaller than you would expect it to be! The “Plimoth Plantation”  is also nearby and is a replica of the original village of Plymouth. There is also a replica of the Mayflower that can be toured. Plymouth has many shops, restaurants and pubs and a pretty harbor view. We ate at Carmen’s Café Nicole and had a great shrimp po-boy wrap and sweet potato fries.

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Since both of our sons are diehard 49ers fans, the plan for Monday was to stay close to the house and prepare for the big game between the 49ers and the Vikings! A walk to the nearby beach, followed by preparing a tailgate style meal in honor of the game was the plan. More rocks and shells were gathered at the beach and crabs were found and closely examined. Everyone enjoyed sitting on the beach and watching a gray seal swimming back and forth catching fish. Several times he popped up with a large one in his mouth!

The highlight of the trip for me was whale watching! This was fantastic. We were taken out to the Stellwagen Bank by Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises and saw many, many humpback whales. This was thrilling to me! We actually got to watch the humpbacks do their bubble-net feeding behavior. One whale circles a school of small fish or krill blowing bubbles to keep the fish together, then a number of whales lunge to the surface, mouths wide open swallowing as many small fish and krill as will fit. It was amazing to watch.  Whales in this area feed here for the summer, fattening themselves up for the long trip back to the Caribbean in the fall. The whales don’t feed at all while spending the winter in the Caribbean. They mate while there and give birth to their calves. Then in the spring they will make the long journey back to the cape to once again feed in the rich waters. I can’t say enough about how exciting this was!

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After experiencing the rocky beach close to the house, we wanted to go to a sandy beach on the outer cape and chose Nauset Beach as our destination. Spent a really nice day here at the beach! Maggie and Jacob had so much fun, as did all. A seal swam along in front of us several times to our delight. There was a sign warning against swimming with seals because they are the primary food source for great white sharks! Needless to say we stayed very close to shore!

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Paul and I had a very nice dinner one evening at the Pilot House on the bay in Sandwich. I enjoyed the baked shrod and Paul had stuffed shrimp, which was delicious. It was nice sitting outside with the locals, listening to their banter and enjoying some live relaxing music.

We traveled the short distance to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium one day. It was very small, but the kids enjoyed it! This was followed by lunch overlooking the harbor watching some ducks swimming about hoping someone would toss them some crumbs. And of course we felt the need to follow this with a sweet treat and chose ice cream at Jimmy’s of Woods Hole.

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It seems that you look forward to and plan for these trips for months in advance and in the blink of an eye they are over. This trip was no exception. Our last evening we lit a fire on the beach and enjoyed some ghost stories. The grandkids love these (not too scary) stories. Maggie’s always begin with “one dark stormy night”.


Like the Outer Banks, there is far more to do and see on the cape than can be seen in one short week. I think it will take many trips! Next time I’m definitely taking a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket Island. And I will always, always go whale watching…..

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