Cape Cod in the off season

The sun sets on Cape Cod

The sun sets on Cape Cod

That’s the view from where I’m standing right now, on Kalmus Beach in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Even though it’s a bit out of season, my friend Peter’s family beach house was officially open for business at the beginning of March so we thought, why not? We’re both having some job stresses right now (I’m starting a new one on Monday; he just had the assistant head of his department put in her two weeks), so even a short trip to a cold beach would be worth it.

The weather not only didn’t disappoint, it was unseasonably warm and sunny, although the water was still freezing. Peter warned me in advance that the town was likely to be dead; the “on-season” wouldn’t officially start for a couple more months. But that turned out to be for the best. The beaches were empty, and on the few occasions where we put down our beers and left the porch, downtown Hyannis was just open enough so that most of the local restaurants were hoppin’ but we weren’t bumping into tourists or waiting in line.

I’m a huge seafood fan, and I wouldn’t leave Cape Cod without noshing on some of the local oysters. For this you should probably hit up the Naked Oyster and get the baked oyster sampler ($14 for six – Rockefeller, pesto, barbecued bleu, pomodori, casino and Bienville) or you could split the chilled seafood tower ($43 for four littleneck clams, four oysters, four shrimp, tuna sashimi and a lobster tail). At least order a couple of oyster shooters ($2.50 each). Add the optional dash of pepper vodka ($1.50) and you have yourself a mini bloody mary.

For desert, we took a trip to Four Seas Ice Cream and ordered a quart of the rum and butter. Mixed with maple-flavored whisky, this combination makes a delicious drunk variation on the classic Coke float.

And since this is a vacation, I’m not ashamed to admit that after an afternoon/evening of beer, vodka and maple-flavored whisky, we were not feeling too fresh in the morning – even with the salty sea breeze to give us a jolt. To remedy this, I tried the Cape Cod benedict ($11.95, made with a crab cake and lemony dill sauce instead of the traditional English muffin and hollandaise) at the Sea Street Café.

Besides our various food-related excursions (and let’s be honest, those are the most important), we checked off a couple boxes on the Ubiquitous Kennedy Landmarks tour, including a quick lurk outside of the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port and a stroll around the JFK Memorial at Veterans Beach.


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