September 1, 2014
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Two nights on the Cape
Don Fowler

When our son-in-law offered us two nights at his time share on the Truro/Provincetown line in July on the Cape (nobody calls it Cape Cod, it’s “The Cape”) we jumped at the chance. We hadn’t been there for years and were anxious to revisit familiar spots.

It only took us about 2½ hours to drive on a Thursday morning, with heavy but moving traffic on Route 6 to 6A. (Saturdays are hell, with check-in times usually ranging from 2-4 p.m.

We joined up with relatives and took the 10-minute shuttle bus ride, which runs every half hour, to the center of Provincetown. ($2/$1 for seniors). Don’t drive! Parking and mobility are at a premium.

Walking around the center of town is a trip. You’ll see some very interesting people, and not all of them are members of the local gay community. Tourists can be as interesting as residents. It was Bear Week, the yearly celebration of big, hairy guys. No worry about size, they were all as gentle as lambs.

It was an unusually cool, windy day. Whale watches were cancelled and it wasn’t a beach day, so everyone headed for the narrow downtown streets, where cars didn’t stand a chance.

There are fabulous art galleries, antique stores, posh shops, eateries, street vendors and performers, and the greatest Army-Navy store in the country.

We ate at the Lobster Pot, directly in the center of town at 321 Commercial St., overlooking Provincetown Harbor. Joyce and I had the clambake, chowder, salad, homemade breads, mussels, corn on the cob, red potato and a 1¼-pound lobster ($30). Robin had a stuffed cold lobster roll ($19) and Mike had fish and chips ($17). Bob had Portuguese Fish ($27) and Cherry had salmon ($28). It was all very good, but as you can see, expensive.

I was up early the next morning, eager to walk the shoreline at low tide, sit on the balcony and catch a few rays before heading into town for the best whale watch of our lives.

There are two major companies operating out of Providence. We suggest the Dolphin Fleet, the originators of the East Coast whale watch, which for under $40 (there are senior, AAA and coupon discounts) guarantees a future free trip if there are no whale sightings.

We saw 12-15 different whales, including a pod of six, plus baby whales, and we saw them up close – very close. If you have never experienced the adventure of watching whales eat, frolic and breach, you owe it to yourself to take this incredible three-hour journey.

The boat needs to head out to sea to the Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary, and there are times when the seas get a bit choppy. The tour offers free Dramamine.

For lunch, we bought a Connecticut lobster roll, a quarter-pound of tender lobster meat served hot with melted butter on a warm Portuguese roll ($12.95). Most people were buying the regular cold lobster salad rolls at the same price.

We stopped at a Portuguese bakery for their version of a doughboy, which is 10 times better and sweet to the point of sinfulness.

That evening we drove to South Wellfleet for dinner at the Catch of the Day on Route 6, a popular local restaurant. I had the whole belly clams, which were good, but not as good as Carousel’s and nearly twice as much at $19.50. Joyce enjoyed her Fisherman’s Platter of whole belly clams, fish, calamari, sea scallops and shrimp, outrageously priced, but good, at $27. She even shared.

The lesson is: Bring your credit card if you plan to dine out on the cape. The seafood is good, as is the atmosphere, but you can do as well for a lot less in Rhode Island.

I spent the early morning walking the beach at low tide, gathering shells and enjoying the quiet solitude…and giving Joyce a chance to sleep in.

On our return trip, we drove through the drowsy town of Truro and the bustling waterfront town of Wellfleet. We wanted to get a jump on the Saturday traffic home (Hah!), so didn’t stop at my brother-in-law’s favorite restaurant, Arnold’s in Eastham, where he claims to have had the best sea scallops ever. The traffic leading out of the cape was horrendous (don’t travel on a Saturday), extending our return to over four hours. When we reached Seekonk we were starved, and stopped at 5 Guys for a good old-fashioned hamburger.

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