The Breakers Resort
The breakers resort Dennis Port MA. I have only been to Massachusetts once before and that is something I was excited to change.
Day One Arrival
Given the distance from my home in Virginia today, I was flying in for my vacation and get away. I was able to get a great deal on a direct flight from Norfolk International to HYA airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The airport is a fairly short trip to Dennis Port, which makes it the closest airport at under 20 miles away.
Once I had my rental car it was less than a 20-minute drive to the resort. That includes about 3 minutes of feeling lost (sometimes I still resist using GPS).
The resort sits on Nantucket Sound which is a great-looking beach by anyone standards. Northern beaches do not look like Myrtle Beach, the Outer Banks, or even Florida Beaches. They seem a bit like a nature after thinking. Maybe it is because many of the little things that make up sand for our beaches exist in warmer waters in more abundance?
What you lose with the size of the beaches themselves or the amount of sand you may make up for with small beach town charm and amazing locations. Maybe Nantucket and Cape Cod have such strong impact for millions because the summers are so much shorter. If you only get a few weeks a year of real summer temperatures, it has to make you love those weeks and where you spend them even more.
At least, that is the theory I am working with on this trip so far. We will see if it holds out. I am here not during the super busy summer peak weeks but just afterwards when everything is still open, but it is not the hottest days of summer. I want to see the area, and visit places I have seen in movies, or read about in books so much.
I have this quirk where when I spend more than a few days somewhere I start to talk a little like the locals. I am very adaptive with speech in that way. I look forward to seeing if in a few days I pick up a short-term Cape Cod accent. I already know they will think I sound like I am from the deep south. Anytime I go to New York or even farther North people say how southern I sound. I do not hear it, but they certainly say I do.
I was going to be staying at two resorts on this trip back-to-back. 3 days at each and they are almost right next to each other. Both are Bluegreen Resorts so it should be interesting to see the differences. I hope in almost a weeks’ time I can really get a feeling for the area and why so many millions of people adore it.
The other resort is called The Soundings Seaside Resort and at the end of this blog I will continue my story of the trip and link to that location for you as well.
After my flight and the short drive over, once I was checked in, I was more than ready to grab some dinner. I wanted to get some seafood to see what it was like in this area. I am blessed to have access to some of the best seafood near the Chesapeake Bay, but I love trying fresh seafood in other areas.
I found a local spot called Wee Packet, and I went in to have dinner and check it out. I ordered their largest seafood platter, choosing that because it would allow me to try more of the local seafood in the one meal.
It was good. It had Schrod, Scallops, Clams, and Shrimp. I do not think I have had Schrod before. Turns out scrod or schrod is just a seafood term for small whitefish. It could be cod or Haddock and just the smallest weight in which they will keep and eat the fish. I think the fresh flounder at home that is often huge had me spoiled because I was underwhelmed.
But overall, the platter was good, and the service was nice. They had a drink called Barry’s Irish tea, which was good. It was not a replacement for sweet tea, but it was tasty. The staff seemed nice, especially since we were at the end of what likely was their busy season and sometimes people are worn out by then in many resort towns. Here everyone was nice. They also had a little giftshop which seemed to have a good sense of taste as far as what they carried for gifts and items.
After dinner, it was back to the resort to get some rest and get over the flight. Even short flight sometimes gets me.
Here I had a 1-bedroom unit that had a cool layout if not a small one at just 450 sq ft. The 2-bedrooms were a little larger at 675 sq ft.
In these units you have a fridge and a microwave as well as a fireplace which was nice to have near the water, and was likely very nice to have in the Early Spring or Late Fall here when it can be cold at nighttime.
Day Two at The Breakers Resort
I woke early and got up and grabbed a few little items from the fridge. Juice and some local fruit I had purchased. Just to get something in my stomach. I wanted to find something local for breakfast but I had gone to bed early and I was up just after dawn, so I wanted something right away. If I had purchased milk, I would have had a small bowl of cereal but I had neither yet at the resort.
Between the two resorts in the area I would be here a week, almost so I wanted to try a ton of local places. Also, since this resort only had microwaves, I was focused on eating out for pretty much each meal.
I liked the name of the Good Friends Café so that is the direction I headed in for breakfast. Here they were, a breakfast joint. I real honest breakfast joint. They had a large menu,, but the focus was on Belgian Waffles and Killer Omelets. I was hungry, so I chose to try one of each.
I started with what they called a Red, White, and Blue Waffle, Strawberries, bananas, and blueberries on our made to order Belgian waffle Topped with whipped cream and butter. Then for the omelet I ordered their Irish Omelet HOMEMADE HASH & American cheese. Both were best in class. The service was quick almost as quick as the breakfast in “Defending Your Life” if you have seen the movie, you will instantly get it. If not watch that one it is hilarious.
After breakfast which I took my time to enjoy at a leisurely pace. I got there shortly after the doors opened at 7 AM and left a while after 8 AM so they were likely wondering if guests from the South ever leave. Especially since they had put down the food in front of me in moments after my order.
Breakfast places make a good profit because the food costs are low for the prices, but they have to turn over tables fairly fast to do so. I get it so I left a nice tip since I felt like I had been camping at my table some.
Next up on my list was checking out the local family fun. I drove around a while, letting breakfast settle, and checking out the area more. The once it opened, I went to Holiday Hill Ice Cream and Family Fun Center. Not for the ice cream well yet anyway, but for the mini golf. It was an older mini golf course, but a fun one.
They have waterfalls in place, and some well-maintained gardens along the course. Someone puts some real time into making this place nice for families and players. The site also has bumper cars but at the end of the season week I was here and in the early morning hours there was no one on them yet. I would have gone as the large scary adult if I could have fit into them, and there was a ton of people using them. But they were small, and no one was at them yet. I am used to following the beat of my own drummer, but being a weird large guy at 50 on bumper cars alone was not going to be my representation of the south to them all on this trip.
I was still too stuffed for the ice cream when I got back on the road. That was one thing that this area certainly did not lack “ice cream places” so I put this on my mental to visit later list.
Next on my list was to check out some of the local waterways. You hear so much about them in writing and in early movies that you just want to check them out. So, I went to rent a kayak or canoe. I grabbed a one-person Kayak for local Swan River and found a lifejacket that would actually go around me with an extender. I was not worried about floating but you have to help the small business owner by complying with their insurance guidelines. The local waterway was nice, but already the water was cool. We are not talking instant hypothermia or anything but it was cool water in the 60s. I guess if you are from the area, you think hey that is very warm water lets swim. But in coastal Virginia or North Carolina that would be water temps that we see in November. I can remember Thanksgivings where we were able to get into the Ocean at the outer banks because the water was in the 70s as an example.
The water was nice, but I did not want to roll my kayak over for any reason today. The area was cool to check out. I think I may look into renting a sailboat of some kind while on vacation here because I bet the wind is amazing in the area. Here on the Swan river it was fairly calm and simple.
When you go through the cost and hassle of renting a boat, you want to really get a good deal out of it. I spend almost half a day paddling around the local waterway and just enjoying nature itself. If you are in the area, this would be a good thing to do for an active family, or couple. I am not that active these days but I grew up on the water so even being out of shape I can kind of rally for these water activities. I will just feel it tomorrow.
OK, I had burned off more than my giant breakfast in calories. Being just me out and paddling around, it was peaceful but a little dull. So I headed back in, then off for a local lunch.
I had taken out the cellphone and looked for a local joint for lunch. I settled the Dog House which was opened in 1971 the year after my birth. I thought anything that has lasted that long must be doing something right.
This spot had the focus on special hot dogs and fries and sides. They also offered other items, but clearly, I was going for their namesake. You could order a plain dog and dress it yourself, or get loaded dogs. Plain ones were $4 and loaded fancy dogs were $8. Had I been hungrier I would have done one of each but as it was, I got a plain split dog and a side of Lava Tots which were Tots loaded with Queso than Jalapenos and a few other spicy items. They were very sloppy, but great. True just garbage kind of guy food. By that I mean no nutritional value. Bad for you, simple, but they tasted great.
This place was the walk-up window, and eat on a pick neck table kind of spot and I liked it a lot.
Next it was back to the resort for a little afternoon nap, shower, change, and then move to my planned event for the night.
They have a local railroad here that offers a visit to the area that includes a gourmet meal and a bit of adventure. Really set for couples (in my humble opinion) I would be going awkwardly solo. Ah, the sad life of a travel writer (joking I love this stuff).
This is a little pricey but I am thinking for a couple it is a nice experience. For $90 you get a 5-course meal, train ride like tour of the area, and some great views. They also do brunches which are less expensive, coming in at $60 per person. So that might be the winner for most people. I was treating myself to dinner.
From the website you find details about the dinner deal.
“A true culinary journey. This train travels through quaint Cape villages accompanied by romantic music and soft candlelight. As guests soak in the ambiance and relax to the rhythms of the rails, a fresh five-course gourmet meal is prepared and served on white table linens in traditional rail style.
Our menus change from late spring to summer to fall, so make plans to return and try a new variation of our seafood, beef, and chicken entrees. With three classes of service, you can select a new rail car to try on a return ride as well. More details about the menus and classes of service can be found in the tabs below.
Have a special occasion or anniversary to celebrate? Reserve one of our limited, exclusive private tables!”
The train ride and meal experience for dinner is 3 hours and for the brunches it is 2.5 hours. I paid a little extra via a tip to be at one of the private tables. Not to ruin someone’s plan of something special (in fact I told them to bump me from that set up if some couple tried to book a private table) but to not be the center of attention as the odd man out traveling solo. People are better about dealing with me now that I have a few grey hairs on my head, as I do things solo. Maybe they think I am a widower or something. Who knows.
The staff was accommodating, and the food was surprisingly good for something cooked on a train with limited space. It made me feel like I was back in time to the early 1900s when trains were on the way to travel everywhere. This was a look at luxury before the plane, and a time when people with money truly had a completely different life experience. There was no bargain option to compare to the first-class dinner car on a train. There was just a cold sandwich and coffee if you could get that on the train, or the snacks you brought with you.
From a historic experience angle this dinner train ride was way up there on my list of neat experiences.
I might book the Sunday Brunch if I am back this way again just to try it out, and bring some guests with me. It was that nice of an experience that I want to come again.
If I was in the area around Christmas, I would certainly take kids to the Polar Express Ride and Experience. It is shorter than 1.5 hours, but it sounds very neat. I like this idea so much that I may see if a railroad closer to my home does this for this year with the family.
After the great experience, it was back to the resort for rest. I was going to get up early tomorrow check out then spend the day looking around the area some until I checked into the next resort, which is just next door to this one.
Day Three on Cape Cod
Man, this has already been a neat trip. Mostly because of the pricey train ride so far, but the area certainly does have its charms.
I packed what little I had, and ate my items that needed to be refrigerated for breakfast since my check out was 10AM and my check in was 4 PM at the next spot. I knew nothing would make it 6 hours even with the outdoor temps only in the low 70s.
Now if you have read any other travel blogs, I have written you know I am a sucker for all things travel related. By that I mean local history, nostalgia, and all the roadside kinds of stops that I believe make America the most amazing place on the Earth. No country does roadside attractions like we do.
One thing I like that many find silly, or even a waste of time are good factory tours. I literally like learning how the sausage is made.
This time my tour would be of Cape Cod Chips a brand I have enjoyed even back home in Virginia. You can tour the factory here on Cape Cod and enjoy some chips that seem like a win-win. So off I go.
This is a short self-guided tour here that includes a free bag of chips and access to a small store with new varieties you can not find at your local store. Kind of like their test kitchen items. That was neat. The whole thing might take you 20-30 minutes because the self-guided tour can be quick. This is a good little short trip with kids for the experience and a little fun teaching moment.
I had Cape Cod Chips, so now it was time for some Cape Cod Beer. Seems only fair right?
Here at Cape Cod Beer you find over a dozen varieties available. I tried the Cinna Rum Dark Wheet and fell in love with that right away. I had a few there, then got some to take on to my next resort fridge.
It was Saturday, so I was in time for a full Brewery Tour which was fun to do. I have toured large and small breweries all over. This was a clean and well thought out operation if not a smaller one than some I have been to. For a business that has been open since 2004 though they have done a good job with expanding their business and growing.
They have grown the business from a 15 barrel per run operation to something now that can do hundreds of barrels per run. So, they have come a long way in less than 20 years. That is neat to see.
Next I was off to the Cape Code Museum of Natural History. This was a neat location and staffed by people who truly care about working with kids. They are open during every major school holiday for local kids, and they have summer camp programs of all kinds.
I think the art classes here, or the nature themed science classes would be great for kids. They have a butterfly building on site that is loaded with amazing butterflies. I think preteen girls would love that feature. I thought it was neat but as I walked through, I was saying to myself “should have brought my nieces”.
After all of that fun, it was time for a late lunch then time to check into my next resort. Woo hoo.
For lunch I headed to Clancy’s. This was the seafood spot that most people might picture in their minds when they think of a seafood restaurant in Cape Cod. By that I mean on the water, neat location, wood structure, and interior, and great food.
I ordered one of their specialties which was fish tacos and was very happy with my meal from start to finish.
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Follow me to my next resort, the Soundings Seaside Resort here.