A (Cheap) Cape Cod Weekend

As the weather just started to turn crisp, two of my oldest friends flew to Boston so that the three of us could spend a long weekend together. What better place than Cape Cod in the (just barely) offseason?

To keep such ventures affordable, it’s really handy to have a close friend or relative with a house on the Cape. Fortunately, one of us does. So we made the almost painfully quaint town of Chatham our base for the weekend. It’s conveniently located on the Cape’s “elbow,” just under two hours from Boston:

By leaving late on Friday, we were well behind the notorious bridge traffic.

We kept things simple and relaxed, grabbing breakfast at some of the (quaint) coffee shops on Chatham’s (quaint) main street, and entertaining ourselves by browsing the (quaint) shops. (If you make one stop in Chatham, make it the Chatham Candy Manor.) Our first afternoon, we just took a long beach hike, wandering around the dunes, catching up with each other, and admiring the wildlife: a pod of chubby seals, a single praying mantis, a flock of tiny scuttling crabs, and, on the way home, an affronted looking hawk.

A (quaint) old boat next to the (quaint) bay

On day two, we headed further down Cape to Provincetown — first getting sidetracked by the Wellfleet Flea Market, which kept us absorbed for over an hour. We finally pulled into P-Town, where we had lunch — at a decent, though unremarkable, spot called Patio. I do recommend their take on the French 75; made with lime juice and prosecco instead of lemon and champagne, they call it the “Gay 74.” We window shopped and people watched for a while, then drove home.

Because the house we were staying in had a beautiful, open kitchen, we decided to cook instead of dining out. We made a delicious Italian feast and, since we were feeling New Englandy, an apple-cranberry pie that turned out quite well.

The cranberries add a nice tartness, keeping the pie from being too sweet. It also makes a great breakfast the next day.

Chatham made an excellent base for exploring Cape Cod, since it’s somewhat centrally located. (And since we had a gorgeous, and free, place to stay.) Cooking for ourselves was a great way to spend time together and stick to our budget. And our evening entertainment? Watching the sun set over the bay with a bottle of wine. While it was a little tempting for this group of Type-A Professional Women to try and shoehorn in more “activityish” activities, like a whale watch or an afternoon at the swank Chatham Bars Inn spa, what we really wanted was just some time with each other. A quiet weekend of long walks, epic dinners, and lazy breakfasts was perfect for unwinding, catching up, and fostering the kind of rambling, deep conversations you only have when you have nowhere in particular to go.

Sunsets are free!

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