Cape Cod August 2012
In mid August, I had a relaxing vacation in Cape Cod. Cape Cod is one of my favorite spots because it is a National Seashore which is protected from most commercial development. Although Cape Cod is immensely popular, locals have taken care to protect much of the natural environment. There is plenty of opportunity for hiking, biking, nature watching, and strolling along clean, beautiful beaches.
This was my first year eating vegan on vacation (long time vegetarian, new vegan, truth be told, in some ways still transitioning). In the past I have never found Cape Cod to be vegetarian friendly, so this would be an interesting experiment. I found a very warm and welcoming Bed and Breakfast, the Shady Hollow Inn, in South Dennis, which is totally vegetarian and vegan upon request. Breakfasts were amazing! (grilled portabella mushroom, red pepper, and tofu; French toast filled with almond butter; blueberry waffles; scrambled tofu on a bed of lightly sauteed vegetables; and apple oatmeal with toppings. Fresh fruit and vegan baked goods were served with every breakfast. Much of the food was grown in their own gardens. With a hearty breakfast, I just ate a light lunch, and managed to find vegan options available for dinner with some searching (using the HappyCow app!) and the recommendations of my hosts. Gary and Beth (the bed and breakfast owners) also had numerous suggestions for fun things to see and do, tailored to my own interests.
Sunday August 12
Today was the long drive to Cape Cod. When I arrived, I settled in to my room, then went out for some Pad Thai, and spent the early evening on West Dennis Beach.
Monday August 13
Beach day! Today I spent the day at Nauset Beach. Nauset's most famous toothy visitor (seen here tracking a kayak) did not make an appearance. In one sense I am happy to know that the Great White Sharks are coming back to Cape Cod, because a healthy environment requires a top predator, but I'm not eager to share the water with a fearsome predator. I hope they are swimming in the icy deep far away from humans enjoying the beach!
First a quick visit to the Salt Pond Visitor Center...
then a full day at the beach!
Tuesday August 14
Today I went to Provincetown for a whale watch. I went in the late afternoon, early evening. We had some beautiful views of whales feeding in the ocean.
Most of the time we are lucky to get a glimpse of the arch of a back, or the splash of a tail...
Every once in a while we get a magnificent view like this!
We saw 3 whales traveling together. Little is known about the social lives of these amazing animals.
Time to head back! A beautiful sunset...
Colors are deepening...
Fire red sun sinks into the ocean.
Wednesday August 15
Today I set out on a series of hikes recommended by Gary from Shady Hollow.
Hike 1 was Wing's Island to the dunes and tidal flats along the Cape Cod Bay.
A view of the meadow and the bay
Tidal flats. I saw lots of wildlife, seagulls and wading birds, tiny fishes...
Hike 2 was the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
View of salt ponds and ocean.
Lots of walking along sparsely populated trails.
A view of the ocean from the trail
Hike 3 was Namequoit and Pah Wah Point, a very nicely preserved and quiet refuge.
Thursday August 16
Today I rented a bike and explored some beautiful bike paths leading through forested areas to the ocean and saw Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Light Beach.
View of Coast Guard Beach
I found this little snail on a park sign. Actually, the "life savers' most dangerous duty" is avoiding giant snails who want to take over the boat!
Lovely Coast Guard Beach
Clean sand and water....
Never can have too much beach time...
A view of the Coast Guard station
I biked to Three Sisters Lighthouses. Here are two of the Three Sisters, preserved lighthouses from a bygone era.
Nauset Light House
Wild roses on Nauset Light Beach
A view of the beach.
Just a short walk from the most densely populated areas one can find a little solitude.
Friday August 17
Time to drive back home! But first, a few photos of the Bed and Breakfast.
Much of the food served is either grown in the gardens or obtained locally.
Shady Hollow Inn
There are many gardens with bird feeders to explore.