A Travellerspoint blog

Rainy autumn day traversing Cape Cod

Lighthouses, breweries, and the road home to our kitty

rain 40 °F
View Weekend Trip to Acadia National Park & Cape Cod National Seashore on baecation2016's travel map.

Saturday evening was calm and the moon generated an eerie and luminous glow.
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Then the Sunday morning rains came without much of a warning!
Okay, maybe it was forecasted and we neglected to check, but we had big plans to use our inflatable kayak in the kettle ponds (no beaches, are you crazy the Cape Cod beaches have been full of sharks lately)!

So Plan B was to check out the Cape Cod National Seashore's Salt Pond Visitor Center and Museum then check out some of Cape Cod's famous lighthouses!

The Salt Pond Visitor Center is one of the larger of the 4 visitor centers and open year round.
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The park rangers host indoor programming, educational films about the ecological and maritime history of the Cape Cod seashore, and operate a pretty sweet museum. We watched a short documentary film that featured a segment on these lifesavers, or "Guardians of Ocean Graveyard."
The seashore is a product of glaciers and in dynamic flux thanks to climate change (more on this later).

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The Lifesavers were a pretty badass rescue unit that sailors from all over the world when their ships capsized along the cape.

I noticed that a whiteboard with a "Fall to-do list" on our way out of the visitor center that mentioned seeing the Highland Light before it closed for next year for repairs. Needless to say, that became lighthouse stop #1!

Highland Light isn't just a lighthouse; it's Cape Cod's FIRST lighthouse. It was originally constructed along the coast line but had to be moved back due to soil erosion.
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Lighthouse #2 or shall we say lighthouses #2, 3, 4, and 5 were the Nauset Light and the Three Sisters.
These beauties also have a history of being relocated due to coastal erosion from . . . CLIMATE CHANGE.
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Three Sisters
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These lighthouses were cool, but it was getting close to beer o' clock so we had to keep it moving.

We dined at the Jailhouse Tavern and Hog Island Brewery.
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The Jailhouse Tavern was so named for Constable Henry Perry who captured Prohibition Era bootleggers and kept them in the front bedroom of his home as a makeshift "Saturday night lockup" until daylight permitted safe travel to a formal jailhouse.
The original frame of Constable Perry's house IS the tavern.
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Our lunch was pretty tasty.
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Appetizer of stuffed mushrooms (with goat cheese, ricotta, spinach mixture topped with bread crumbs, smoked garlic puree, marinara and balsamic reduction). . . YUM!

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Fish Tacos (with pico de gallo, avocado crema, spicy mayo, black bean puree)

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Shrimp Po Boy (with beer battered fried shrimp and a spicy aioli)

Our lunch and beers left us thirsty for more beers!
We made our route home by way of Naukabout Beer Company with what seemed like a good idea at the time, but became an endless sea of flights.
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Feeling so full of beers too malty for my taste, we didn't think we were going to make it. However, a drive past our old Cape Cod camping site Shawme-Crowell State Forest and the amusement of stopping for a rafter (yes, this IS what a group of them are called, I Googled it) of wild turkeys gave us life!
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Our closer was a "wifelife2018" favorite: a new startup microbrewery called Second Wind Brewing Company in Plymouth. The owner was a cool dude that chatted us up and gave us advice on expanding our homebrewing skills for sours and ales.
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We love using Untappd to rate the beers we love and were also pumped to see that this brewery menu is run by Untappd and our accounts' ratings (claudia_pale_ale and heidiheidifriend) got displayed!
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The finale of our Cape Cod weekend was seeing our final lighthouse, the Bug Light (or Duxbury Pier Lighthouse). What a cutie!
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Due to our pit stop/attractions, we took our 2 hours of continuous travel time and made it seem like 40 minutes.
Our pretty kitty was anxious to greet us (and to eat), so thank goodness for that!
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We have been bit by the National Park bug! Next stop, Everglades National Park!
Until then, enjoy the remainder of leaf peeping season!
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Claudia & Heidi

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Posted by baecation2016 11:04 Archived in USA Tagged beaches lighthouses beer cod coast museum coastline cape breweries day_trips national_seashore Comments (0)

Birds, cranberries, and beaches

Day 1 of camping and exploring Cape Cod during autumn

semi-overcast 50 °F
View Weekend Trip to Acadia National Park & Cape Cod National Seashore on baecation2016's travel map.

To celebrate the end of studying for Claudia's board exam, we planned a weekend camping trip to unwind on the Cape. When we booked the site, however, we were hoping the cold weather would still be a few weeks away. We had no such luck, but decided to brave the cold and rain anyway!
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Friday night highlights included the following: setting up our tent in the dark following a 2 hour post-work rush hour commute to Nickerson State Park, drinking some celebratory PBRs and snacks, plotting our adventures for the next day by lantern light, and braving a crisp autumn night by snuggling in our 2-person tent.

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise at our campsite overlooking Flax Pond, one of the campgrounds many kettle ponds.
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Breakfast included mushroom, egg, and cheddar cheese arepas whipped up on our new camp stove. Our French press coffee mugs made fresh coffee pretty easy.
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Our first Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) site was Beech Forest Trail in Provincetown.
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This place was amazing and offered a little bit of everything! There are both bike and walking trails.

At the beginning of the walking trail, we discovered wild cranberries growing at the edge of Blackwater Pond (another kettle pond) and we picked a bunch!
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As the soil is essentially sand, tree roots take on some neat configurations in their attempts to stay grounded. Wild mushrooms were also popping up everywhere; I wish we knew how to forage!
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The trails are well-maintained and offer some great vistas. A short climb up a sandy hill took us to a sea of dunes offering a view of Provincetown and the Pilgrim Monument.
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The trails traverse a few more kettle ponds, display beautiful fall colors for leaf peeping enthusiasts, and host birds that are apparently accustomed to visitors feeding them (I see you aggressive black-capped chickadees!).
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Bird species seen and heard: White-tailed Hawks, Great Blue Heron, Blue Jays, Common Grackle, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Gold-crowned Kinglets, and a Gray Catbird
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For lunch, we ventured to Commercial St. in Provincetown for lunch and some bomb craft beers at the Squealing Pig.
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I can totally imagine what this street must become during peak tourist season, it’s loaded with adorable local businesses and bars.

After lunch we did a little shopping and peeped the free book giveaway at the Provincetown Public Library (it has an actual model of the Rose Dorothea Schooner on its second floor!
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Our next CCNS stop was Herring Cove Beach with the goal of checking out some shorebirds.
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However, our first bird was completely unexpected for the beach, let alone the cape. Get this, we saw a Ring-necked Pheasant!
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This is a well-known game bird that is native to Asia but introduced to the USA back in the 1800s for hunting. So yeah, it was weird and cool to see it strutting around a beach in Massachusetts!

As for our other feathered friends, we saw and heard the following birds while admiring Race Point Light: Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Great Cormorants, Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Common Eider, Black Scoter, and Mallards.
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The birds wanted no part in eating this Atlantic surf clam, but it left us fascinated!

Our next stop, the Province Lands Visitor Center, was closed for the season but we were able to still check out the grounds and snap some pics.

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We had hoped to sneak in a visit to our favorite Mass Audubon site, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, but these autumn days are short and our desire for some lingering daylight to make campfire dinner won out.

Happy trails!

Claudia & Heidi

Posted by baecation2016 08:36 Archived in USA Tagged birds craft beer cod park beach national camping pond coffee cape state kettle seashore mugs press pod provincetown nickerson frenchpress Comments (1)

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