An Epic Fantasy Novel - from the Writer of Red Wine Please!

SUBSCRIBE!

If you would like to be notified of new posts please enter your email address

FBFPowered by ®Google Feedburner

Travel Spots

Previous Posts

Almost Went to the Boston Wine Expo, but Spent the Blizzard on Cape Cod Instead

IMG_0908

Our Snowbound Inn

Boston 2015 LOGOWe wanted to go to the Boston Wine Expo this year, but it always seems something is working against us.  Last year it was a bout with the flu, this year a forecast for yet another Northeast blizzard.  What to do?  With reservations in place to be in Chatham on Cape Cod for Sunday night, the choice became an easy one.  We got up early Saturday and drove straight to Cape Cod, beating the snow in Chatham and avoiding the developing mess in Boston.  It turned out to be the right choice, as Boston basically shut down.  They had to cancel the Sunday session of the Expo and it would have been impossible to get to Chatham anytime on Sunday.  We spent Sunday warm and dry and never left our room at the inn.  There was wine, enough food, two fireplaces and nowhere to go.  This actually turned out to be a pretty great weekend.  Here’s how it went.

Once the decision to beat the storm was made we got on the road and made it to the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich, Massachusetts for breakfast.  There is a lot to be said for this.  It starts your vacation early and it feels like you get so much done.  Of course the impending 0214151121snowstorm had a little to do with it as well, but we’ve done this before and probably will again.  If you’ve never been to the Dan’l Webster it is a luxury inn located just onto Cape Cod, only a few minutes from the bridges.  It houses a range of rooms, a tavern, a more formal restaurant and serves food and drink almost non-stop, seven days a week.  It actually is a great place to hole up for a few days in it’s own right, and we have taken advantage of that on a few occasions.  Here it

Champagne and Cranberry for Breakfast!

Champagne and Cranberry for Breakfast!

was but a brief stop on our journey, but a good place to start.  Breakfast was served in the Conservatory, a room with two glass walls, views of the gardens and an ambiance that transforms from bright to romantically lit as the day progresses.  Of course on this day the gardens were buried in ice and snow.  The Webster is an acclaimed property, houses an award winning wine cellar and consistently provides a quality experience.  We’ve been coming here for thirty years and will certainly return.  If you stay check out the Jarvis Suites, luxury rooms with gas fireplaces and two person whirlpool tubs.  These are our favorite rooms.

Generally when heading toward the mid or upper Cape we like to meander down Route 6A, which sort of parallels the highway but winds through the town centers passing by shops and restaurants and inns all the way.  There are some highlights we always stop at, one being Titcomb’s Bookshop.  About ten minutes from the Dan’l Webster this little store features a good selection of genre’s, highlighted by children’s and also older volumes.  They used to have many more antique books, and several locked cases with valuable early editions, but most of that is gone these days.  Still there are treasures hidden among the shelves on the second floor, as well as on the lower level.  This trip saw a beautiful fictional novel from 1856 come home with us.

We had just eaten breakfast, and so were not in the market for lunch, yet there are many choices if you are.  Some of our favorite for a midday stop are the Beehive Tavern, Scargo Cafe and, if you make it all the way to Orleans, the Beacon Room.  This doesn’t mention the other twenty possibilities, many of which we have never tried.

0214151409We decided to go right into Chatham and stop by the Wild Goose Tavern for a snack and a drink before heading to the inn.  This was actually where we had reservations for our Valentine’s dinner as well.  The Wild Goose is located inside the Wayside Inn, a large inn located right on Main Street in Chatham center.  We’ve never had dinner there before, but have stopped in for lunch.  The bar is a good place to pass an hour or two.  We managed to do just that between a drink and a margherita pizza, although the pizza was just OK and slightly undercooked.  Next stop was the Captain’s House Inn.

Just as there are a myriad of choices in restaurants on Cape Cod, so are there dozens and dozens of choices on where to stay.  If you do meander 6A you’ll see many of them along the route.  Choices should probably be made based on what you want in a room and an inn, where you’ll be spending most of your time, and of course cost.  We like staying in Chatham occasionally, as it provides access to the upper cape, Orleans is close and the town itself is one of the most charming.  Even still, after narrowing down to Chatham there are still many choices in accommodations, from B&B’s to the grand and elegant Chatham Bars.  We always choose something sort of in between, and that is the Captain’s House.

Located at 369 Old Harbor Road, the Captain’s House is bigger than B&Bs, and really acts more like a full service inn with the

View from our window.

View from our window.

exception of a restaurant for dinner.  You can get breakfast, lunch, tea and beer and wine.  As we

One of our fieplaces

One of our fieplaces

mentioned, on the day of the blizzard we never left our room and were quite comfortable all day long.  You can read a more detailed review of the Captain’s House Inn here (once we get it published!).  It’s well worth the trip, and was recently the winner of The Travel Channel’s Hotel Showdown, beating out three other small inns/hotels.  You can read more about that here.  The Captain’s House website is at http://www.captainshouseinn.com/.

Snow came in mid-afternoon, and it continued to grow in intensity as evening approached.  Where we had managed to get just about the last available restaurant reservation in Chatham for Valentine’s day, the snowstorm caused a bevy of cancellations, and we were able to move ours up to an earlier time.  In fact, while we were at the Wild Goose’s bar in mid-afternoon the phone had rung repeatedly with people cancelling reservations.  This was very good for us, as the roads were getting bad and we probably wouldn’t have ventured out had it been a few hours later.  Also fortunate is that the Wild Goose is just down the road, so we made it both ways without 0214151323mishap and had a decent dinner at the bar. We actually had planned to sit at a table, but were offered a small table for two practically on top of the next couple.  There were several other tables we inquired about but were told they were “reserved”.  Since we too had reservations this did not make much sense, and we opted for the bar stools.  It just seemed much cozier than the table.  Dinner as we said was decent.  Cheri’s bolognese was under seasoned.  My steak was good, but the sides left quite a bit to be desired.  All in all this was passable on a tough night.

Good Wine!

Good Wine!

For the next forty hours we never left the inn.  The wonderful staff delivered our breakfast and lunch in the teeth of a blizzard, having to cross the courtyard to the building we stayed in.  We also drank wine!  A 2005 Clos del Oratoire and a 2003 Lewelling Cabernet broke up the time, as well as a bottle of which we ordered during tea on Saturday afternoon upon arriving.  This snow bound Saturday was one of the most relaxing days we have ever had.  You can read reviews of the two reds here.

The snow did eventually stop, temporarily, and we ventured out into the wilderness on Monday.  Our original plan had been to work our way down to Truro and visit Truro Vineyards.  It had been over a decade sine we last visited this winery, and the business had changed ownership in the intervening years.  What we remembered was good, and in fact the wines had been quite good.  Luckily one of the owners, Kristen Roberts, was going to be in the area and offered to show us around as the winery was closed to the public for the

Spices in LARGE quantities!

Spices in LARGE quantities!

winter.  We headed north towards Provincetown on a day where virtually no one was out and about, arriving in the town of Truro and the Atlantic Spice Company.  This establishment sells bulk spice and all sorts of related items by mail order as well as in their retail store, which is where we were.  It’s a great place to wander around if you like to cook.  Be warned you will spend more than you anticipate, and buy things you really don’t need.  It just happens here.  The prices are excellent on the spices.  We loaded up, including some for the kids we’ll be sending out to them.

Kristen was delayed a bit, and we had two hours to kill, so we headed into Provincetown for lunch at one of Kristen’s suggestions, the Squealing Pig.  Provincetown was almost deserted, with virtually no car traffic as the roads were still snow covered and the few people about walked the streets since the

The bar at the Squealing Pig

The bar at the Squealing Pig

sidewalks were impassable.  The Squealing Pig was open though, and we managed to park the car in an unplowed lot and walk over.  We both really liked this place.  Sort of a cross between a New England seafood joint and a beer pub, the Pig has about twelve tables and a bar that could accommodate another 10-12 patrons.  Bottled beer dominates the beverage selection, and the list is indeed impressive.  There are several interesting choices available on draft as well.  Wine choices are limited, but the small by-the-glass selection is actually pretty good, and covers all the basics.  Josh Cabernet from Joseph Carr is always a decent choice, and Cheri had that.  Later we tried a Meritage from our next stop, Truro Vineyards, and were pleasantly surprised.  Food options are heavy on the seafood, as expected, but pub fare is available.  We split an arrugala salad and a fried seafood plate.  The seafood was excellent, with a light and crispy batter.  In fact I’d say the fried shrimp were the best I have ever had.  I matched a draft from Petaluma, California to my lunch and it was an excellent match.  In the summer months the Squealing Pig is probably always busy, but we’d certainly go back.

Retracing our steps a bit we returned to Truro to meet Kristen at the vineyard.  The vines poked out from the snow covered fields

Barrel Room at Truro Vineyards

Barrel Room at Truro Vineyards

and the scene was quite picturesque.  We trudged through the snow and ice to the winery, and then to the tasting room where we sampled many of the wines.  They were just as good as we remembered, and much of that has to do with the fact that the wine maker stayed with the new owners and was still there.  Everything was good, some was excellent.  Their new spiced rum was really good, and we bought a few bottles of that, as well as some wine, to bring home.  If you are in the Truro area in warmer months this is a place you should visit.  We have a more in depth review of Truro Vineyards coming soon, and you’ll be able to read that by clicking here.

We made it back to the inn just in time for tea, and were the only ones there as very few mid-week rooms were occupied.  It worked fine for us, and we spent a very quiet half hour relaxing even more.  The excellent staff produced a beautiful plate of cakes and cookies for us, as well as a pot of English Breakfast tea and a small pot of decaf coffee.  They really do take good care of you at the inn.

Dinner was at the Salted Cod, the tavern at the Chatham Bars.  This four star hotel is a grand dame of New England seaside resorts, and offers luxury on the beach.  The main building is impressive, and there are a number of additional oceanside buildings which

The snowy approach to Chatham Bars

The snowy approach to Chatham Bars

provide some of the more upscale lodging.  We’ve never stayed here, but tend to come for dinner at the tavern in the off season.  The tavern has been a favorite, with a huge stone fireplace providing a comfortable place for dinner on a cold winter night.  We were here years ago in February, on a bitterly

Inside the Chatham Bars

Inside the Chatham Bars

cold night, when a lunar eclipse was occurring.  Suddenly they stopped service and let us know the eclipse was about to peak, provided big, fluffy blankets to wrap up in, and led everyone to the porch where we watched the impressive show in the heavens.  Afterwards we went back to dinner.  It was very reminiscent of Narcoossee’s at Disney World, when they stop dinner service for the Magic Kingdom fireworks.  We were looking forward to returning to the Chatham Bars.

Alas, the tavern had been remodeled and the huge fireplace was sadly gone, completely.  The resulting wall was more open, but we felt the fire was a much better choice.  Some of the ambiance was gone as well, although  the bar area was still quite comfortable.  We should have stayed in the bar, because the dining room was more of a family affair, with many children and not a very quiet, romantic vibe. It might have been better, however the hostess decided to sit a father and his four children directly behind us, when there was a table for five set and vacant across the room.  Since only three tables were occupied it didn’t seem like it would have made a difference, except to us of course.  Some things change.  We probably won’t come back here other than for a drink and a snack at the bar.

You know when a vacation has been good when you don’t want to leave, and when we woke the next morning to snow we certainly did not want to get on the road home.  After a short discussion, during which we came very, very close to adding a night to our stay, we did indeed pack up and go.  Of course we stopped on the way, just prior to leaving the Cape at the Dan’l Webster for some lobster chowder and a glass of wine, all to ease the pain of getting back to reality.   I’m still not sure that going back to reality was the best decision, but our somewhat unplanned getaway into the teeth of the coming blizzard was one of the mos relaxing three days we have ever had.  Sometimes you have to adjust and make the best of it, and sometimes that works out fabulously.

A votre sante!

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>