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The Weekender: the Perfect Three-Day Guide to Cape Cod

The Weekender: the Perfect Three-Day Guide to Cape Cod

The Highland Lighthouse in Cape Cod (Photo:cmh2315fl/Flickr)

What I Drove: 2014 Audi Q7

Destination: New York to Cape Cod, with a stop at Mystic Pizza in Connecticut.

The Route: From New York, take I-95 North to New London County, Connecticut. U.S. Route 1 passes through Mystic, Connecticut. After dinner, get back on I-95 North. Then onto I-195 E to state route MA-25 E, then onto state route US-6 toward Bourne, Massachusetts. Finally, merge onto US-6 E toward MA-6A. 

Time Required: 3 days (at least)

The Trip: Heading to Cape Cod in July has become an annual pilgrimage thanks to my friend Emily, who invites me to her family’s clambake on the beach in Dennis every summer. This year, several of us went together, staying in an Airbnb rental (four-bedroom colonial with a hammock for $400 a night) in a cute neighborhood in Yarmouth Port a few minutes away from Dennis. Just down the street was a 17th-century farm, complete with lots of animals to pet and take selfies with.

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Taylor-Bray farm in Yarmouth, MA. (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

We drove a midsize luxury SUV (the 2014 Audi Q7), which was lent to us by Audi for the trip. The SUV entertained my passengers with a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot, a three-panel, panorama sunroof, and back-seat AC controls. Crazy, but we didn’t have to stop for gas. If I had an extra $47,700 and needed a car, I would buy this one.

FRIDAY

After leaving New York later than planned (what else is new), we stopped in the parking lot, also known as I-95 on a Friday in the summer. After several hours, it dawned on us that despite leaving at 3:45, there was no way that we would make our 9 p.m. reservation. The Red Pheasant Inn in Dennis on Cape Cod was supposed to be lovely, but we pragmatically traded down to Mystic Pizza (featured in the movie of the same name) along the way.

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The movie “Mystic Pizza” playing at Mystic Pizza. (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

Beyond the pizza, which Foursquare said was delicious, we wanted to view the cute former whaling town of Mystic. Mystic Pizza was kitschy, with pictures from the movie throughout the place and the film playing on a continuous loop. And the pizza didn’t disappoint. The house special (pepperoni, meatball, sausage, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms; small size for about $11) more than eased our hunger pangs.

Related: How to Pull Off the Ultimate Redneck Road Trip

SATURDAY

Grumpy’s Restaurant wasn’t named to describe the effects of the long line for service, but with waits that can last an hour, you can feel a bit testy — so come prepared. Grumpy’s is totally worth the wait. The place offers an incredible American breakfast: Our three-fruit pancakes ($8.50) were delicious. The servers also dished out plenty of sass. Roberta, a 23-year veteran, makes Flo from Mel’s Diner look like a wallflower.

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Our lovely waitress, Roberta (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

Because we were headed to my pal’s annual clambake, we had a specific destination in mind: Crowe’s Pasture Beach. The entrance to the beach is by Quivet Neck Cemetery. Crowe’s Pasture is a drive-on beach, requiring a permit, so we had to park off the dirt road nearby. (Note: The Q7 handled the bumpy, narrow roads well.)

Related: Weekender: 3 Perfect Days in Newport, Rhode Island

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With the girls on the beach (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

The beaches on the Cape are affected by the tide, meaning we got a much bigger beach because we got there early. Plus, we learned firsthand what tide pools are.

With attempting to paddleboard (my friend brought toys), eating the freshest of lobsters, wearing my new caftan, and talking to the local cape cantor, this trip was worth the trek.

If you want to re-create my day, here are directions to Crowe’s Pasture: https://goo.gl/maps/169Vo

Obligatory Ice Cream Stop

A trip to any beach town wouldn’t be complete without hitting the local ice cream store, so we stopped by the Ice Cream Smuggler. We were the only people not accompanying minors, a fact made even more clear when a set of grandparents pointed out that our choice of ice cream was unusual for people our age. “Blue ice, for a grownup?” they asked. “Green maybe, but blue?”

I should probably mention that my scoop of blue ice cream ($3.75) was Cookie Monster flavored — what can I say, I’m a kid at heart. 

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My Cookie Monster ice cream at The Ice Cream Smuggler (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

SUNDAY

For our last hurrah we drove to the end of the north side marina, the largest on Cape Cod Bay. We passed three-story-high stacks of boats to get to the Sesuit Harbor Café tucked away in the back. While the cafe’s interior creates a New England ambiance, the place to be is outside. The cafe’s outdoor dining area is right on the sand, and sitting at a picnic table on the bay enjoying a lobster roll ($16.95) was heaven. 

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That’s one good looking lobster roll (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

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The outdoor seating at Sesuit Harbor Cafe (Photo: Caroline Waxler)

Because we left on Sunday afternoon, the trip back to New York was slightly less painful than the way up, although we did almost end up in New Jersey. Despite our having a GPS, we were prone to getting lost.

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Caroline Waxler is a writer and founder of Harkness Hall, a New York-based business that programs conferences and panel discussions.

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