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Local Betty Field Trip: A Local's Guide to Sandwich, MA

Local Betty Field Trip: A Local's Guide to What to Do in Sandwich {and Beyond} 

 Betty knows that everyone here is opinionated when it comes to their favorite town on the Cape- and recommendations for ice cream, chowder, and lobster rolls are serious debates. But some of us are new to the Cape {hello, Redhead Betty} and need some guidance. We went to Nate Mullins, Sandwich resident and green-home advocate to get the inside scoop.

Let’s start with the basics: Okay – The south side beaches are on the southern edge of the Cape – mostly Buzzards Bay, Centerville, Hyannis, all the way to Chatham. The south side beaches are busier because the water’s warmer [due to the Gulf Stream], and also busier because there are more vacation homes on the south side.

From Chatham north to Provincetown is the Outer [or Lower] Cape. The Outer Cape water is chilly until late summer, when it and the north side warm up a bit.

  • Sandy Neck Beach in East Sandwich is beautiful and not as crowded as the south side beaches, but the water is cold.
  • Outer Cape – We like to go to First Encounter Beach on the Outer Cape, and, for the real ocean feel, Coast Guard Beach in Truro.

Where to eat:

  • In Sandwich, Cafe Chew for lunch [terrible name, great food – I believe the chef used to run the kitchen at the Wequassett].
  • For dinner, we trek down to Bleu in Mashpee Commons. Solid bistro fare, and reasonably priced.
  • Lobster rolls {de rigeur}, are good almost everywhere. Everyone’s taste is different, so you have to try them to find out which you like. We like the Fisherman’s Friend on the Outer Cape on Rt 6 near Wellfleet. The Beehive in Sandwich makes a pricey one, but it’s generous. When my dad’s in town, we have to visit Captain Frosty’s in Dennis – great food, and a real clam shack feel to it.

The inside scoop:

  • Peddler's Cafe and Grill, Brewster – Don’t be put off by the location or the outward appearance. This is THE hidden culinary gem of Cape Cod. Word is that the couple who own it essentially relocated their restaurant from Provence to the Cape. This is as real as French cooking gets. Best striped bass I’ve ever had. And duck. If the homemade pate is on the menu, get it. Trust me.
  • Ice cream is all over, but Four Seas in Centerville is the clear winner*.

Kid-friendly things to do in Sandwich:

  • The Sandwich Fish Hatchery: With kids, the “Fish Hatchery”: in Sandwich is always a good time. Fish food is available out of gumball machines to feed the trout. Entry is free.
  • Heritage Museum and Garden is a little pricey for entry, but big and even has a bunch of classic cars, weekly kids’ concerts in the summer, and a free indoor old-fashioned carousel. They have thousands of rhododendrons, which will be blooming in lat May/early June. You can actually walk through a rhody forest, which, in bloom, is a bit unreal.
  • Greenbriar Nature Center- a small place that’s great for littler kids to see bunnies, turtles, and snakes. This is the property that inspired Thornton Burgess’s Peter Rabbit books.

Cape Cod shopping is best in the smaller towns/villages. Chatham, of course, and Provincetown [which is a world within a world]. Mashpee Commons is good, but nothing you can’t find off Cape. Sandwich has a nice little antiques dealer and a great specialty foods store [the Brown Jug]. Dennis and Yarmouth Port are cute. A good way to enjoy the Cape is to take Rt 6A from the bridge to where is meets up with Rt 6. That would take you through a lot of little Capey [is that a word Nate??] towns and past many antique spots.

* Them's fightin' words Nate- we're not sure that Smitty's doesn't rate #1, but the great ice cream debate {and ensuing excercise studio top 10} is a post for another day...