Cape Cod 2021

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  • On my, Cathy you guys sure covered a lot of territory. Good idea using the Tauck hotels etc for a diy tour.

    Did you get pictures of the yellow bus? I'm curious what they look like.

  • Does the Copley still have the dog on premises? They used to have a dog named Copley Katie and there was a book published about her that you could purchase in the gift shop. We found similar dogs in other Fairmont hotels in the US and Canada.

    We worked a few blocks from the Copley and were there for numerous meetings and even a wedding reception.

    If the weather is still nice tomorrow walk through the Public Garden. You can stop in at the memorial for the Mass residents who died on September 11. It's on the Arlington Street side just south of Newbury.

    Another nice place to walk is down Comm Ave or on Marlborough Street to look at the houses especially the doors. At this time of year you should still be able to see the flowers in the small gardens in front of the homes. On the north side of Comm Ave in the block between Arlington and Berkeley (closed to Berkeley) there's a house with a railing that has a dog's head sticking through accompanied by the ball that he had dropped.

    Enjoy Boston before you head up to NH and Maine.

  • edited October 3

    It looks like you mostly stayed near the coast. Foliage would have been better inland and at higher elevations.

    We did Hidden Gems of New England at the end of Sept/first week in Oct in 2014 and caught the fall foliage at its peak. Back then the tour stopped at the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa which is just a bit north of Whitefield, NH and 10 mi. NW of Mt. Washington which was visible from the resort.

    As for the ice- the hotel probably doesn't want people messing with an icemaker, scooping their own ,or having buckets handled?

    Lobsta rolls- $25 - $40?? :D

  • edited October 3

    We have just returned from six nights in Cape Cod. We decided to try to book Cape Cod and the islands several months ago. The only date available was a small group tour. Despite how expensive it was, we took the plunge and called Tauck. After 45 mins on hold, we gave up.
    A few days later, we were watching CBS Sunday Morning and they featured Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod. We decided to book it immediately. We called AMEX and booked it through Fine Hotels and Resorts. It was expensive but we got the usual Amex perks.
    It took us a seven hour drive from the Philly area with stops.


    Above, the front of the hotel, high up. Our room was on the top third floor with wonderful views. A panorama of our view from our balcony in the second photo. The resort is very spread out with a huge heated outdoor pool, spa, golf course and two restaurants…more about those later.

    I wanted to give some information and tips for Tauck people who may be going on the tour at this time of year

    We knew it would be way too early for any Fall color changes, we were correct. Although the the famous hydrangeas at the hotel were past blooming, pretty much all other parts of the beautiful gardens were in full perfection. We never saw any Fall color changes anywhere we went. We did stay in the coastal areas of Cape Cod for our site seeing. We last visited the area about twenty years ago at a similar time of year , but it poured with rain and we stayed in a down market hotel. We went to Martha’s Vineyard for the day back then.

    We went to Provincetown where we encountered the Tauck tour bus, this one was bright red and parked by the good public restrooms. We tried to guess who the Tauck people were around the town.
    We have been here before in the rain. It was lovely weather this time. It was busy and there was a pleasant vibe. We were very disappointed to find there were virtually no art galleries apart from one displaying photos of men in various stages of undress. We had hoped to pass a pleasant couple of hours walking into galleries and looking at the art and decorative objects and sculptures. Of course Provincetown has it’s charm but it was lookin sad and past it’s prime. Plenty of places to eat.

    We went whale watching with Hyannis Whale watching from the Barnstable area. We have been whale watching before in the Bay of Fundy. We knew to take waterproof clothing and hats and gloves. They were needed for this trip. The day was stormy. The boat was jet powered, no propellers that might injure the whales. It moved very fast through the water. Please be sure to secure all hays and loose items. Binoculars could be useful. We were out on the water for about four hours, the boat was less than half full. A full boat would have been crowded and maybe hard to find a spot to view the whales.
    We saw three humpbacks, right next to the boat, two in one place, the other alone. We stayed and watches them for ages. I had my phone camera for photos. I got a few reasonable shots but mainly concentrated on just watching

  • We were the envy of people who had worn just t shirts and shorts on the boat. We encountered heavy rain a couple of times and had our waterproofs, hat and gloves to protect us from the wind, cold and rain.

    We visited Hyannis. The main street was pretty depressing, There are restaurants and ice cream stores. We went into the Kennedy museum which was quite good, mainly a large display of photos of the family and their history. Could probably be done in a half hour, I forgot to notice how long it took us. My husband can get faster round a museum than I can.
    We wanted to eat lunch at the harbor. We walked through a little park that had a marked trail to the harbor and ate lunch at famous Spankys outdoors. Great atmosphere there, we ate oysters and really good clam chowder and lobster bisque.
    Lobster rolls are around $35 at most places. (We found clam chowder and a half lobster roll in Provincetown for $18)

    In Hyannis…The park and harbor had a number of ‘Art Shacks’ where local artists sold their wears. I bought some lovely clay costume jewelry and a large painted shell of a mermaid for my granddaughter who is into mermaids. These were the only purchases my entirety trip.

    Chatham has a really good historical museum. There is the top of an original lighthouse on display outside, a large bell and an Indian dwelling. Inside there are lovely displays and the entrance to an historical home where a docent leads you through it. Ours was very knowledgeable. The museum is beautifully kept. Probably an hour to see everything.

    We realized that the Tauck hotel is not in Chatham proper, but in Yarmouth. We did not encountered the Tauck hotel but looked for it on the map.
    Chatham is a very upscale location, the town has a reasonable number of stores along its Main Street, none of note for me.There are a number of good restaurants. Our hotel had a free limo service which would take and collect you to any place or restaurant in town. We used this all the time as we are strict about not drinking and driving. Our favorite restaurant was called Cuvée, one of those very upscale ones where you get an amuse bouche, a little box of home made chocolates to take home and wonderful elegant service. I just can’t recall the name of the other places we ate, I hardly ever remembered restaurant names.

  • Our hotel did not have good reviews, we booked the hotel before we read reviews.
    It is one of the historic hotels and resorts of America, expensive. One where everyone knows and addresses you by name within minutes of arrival.
    Our room was small as in reviews, very clean, lovely bathroom, good sized marble countertop, wide bath with shower, Heat or cool, nightlight. But also small. Twice daily excellent maid Service, chocolate or gift in the evening on the nightstand, bottled water and and tea facilities, fridge. The bonus was the fantastic view.
    The pool was huge and heated, across the little road from the hotel, bar service. Cabanas if you paid the price. Private beach.
    The upscale restaurant was closed all week but supposed to be open at the weekend. We had booked the Friday, it was cancelled the evening before, they were closed…either lack of staff or the wedding taking place on the beach we think. No time to book anything else, so we had to eat in the main restaurant. Ah…we ate here three times. Service was terrible, arrive with the food, give you your husband’s order, fail to bring you eating utensils, you had to hail them to bring some while your food got cold, it was lukewarm anyway.
    The first night, I ordered pea risotto, it was the vegetarian option, I love risotto, it was terrible, thick stodgy and not a pea in site, it was hard to tell if it was even green as it was too dark, I could barely eat any. I rarely complain about food but it’s really annoying when you can make better risotto than you get offered in a fancy hotel. The second time there was not much better and a party of five were so noisy that the manager came to speak to them, after a couple of minutes it got just as loud. Mediocre food, very high prices.
    Breakfasts were good, wait staff good, they would remember what drinks you wanted and bring them straight over. Lovely sea views as you ate breakfast
    We would stay in Cape Cod again and at this hotel, it’s just rather a long way if you just want to chill rather than tour the area from where we live. It was nice to enjoy a good hotel, with Tauck, there is rarely time to enjoy the facilities and not even have a long enough sleep at times, rather a shame.




    The bonus we were not expecting in Chatham was having a seal colony that we could see from our balcony each morning. When we walked along the beach, we could see them with binoculars. There were also males swimming right by the shoreline and further along at the fishing pier and dock, there were several frolicking around and hoping for the odd free fish. One evening we watched the fisherman unload their huge catches of dogfish, pretty gruesome to watch, lots of blood, the fish thrown into crates and then on a conveyor/ elevator and shoot into a large cardboard box. We assumed these were going for fertilizer and not human consumption.
    There were cormorants and large black backed gulls to watch.

    There was a takeout fish restaurant at the pier where you ordered fresh lobster rolls and fries and slaw, yes $35 but delicious and generously sized.

    I hope people enjoy the Tauck tour of this area. We enjoyed our time there.

  • One important thing I forgot I wanted to post a picture of was terrible plastic pollution.
    The entire beach along the high tide line was strewn with plastic bag remnants. We even saw a seal surface with a plastic bag on it’s back.
    A bonus photo of my jewelry purchased enclosed



  • Now back to more laundry and yard work, I’ve done a round of both already this morning. Fall is certainly here near Valley Forge.

  • British-and Cathy and Steve, British you've grabbed the top spot in Chatham although I've never been impressed with their food and rooms--overpriced and under delivered in my book and yet it continues to be the "spot" to be on the Cape. There was a multimillion dollar wedding there a couple of weeks ago where Bruno Mars was the headliner entertainment for the bride and groom. It was a spare no expense extravaganza! I was not invited but it made the papers and the local news.

    The Chatham seal colony is quite a draw for the sharks and it's been pretty scary the last few summers with attacks and no swimming on those beaches--or swim/boogey board at your own peril. Unfortunately, there have been human casualties. But I guess those attacks are all over the Eastern seaboard and not just in MA.

    Cathy and Steve--suggestion for next time if there ever is a next time in New England for you--try some of the smaller bed and breakfasts or the few Relais & Chateaux properties where you can possibly get an off season deal. There are so many wonderful bed and breakfasts in Connecticut down by the shore. Tauck is limited to hotels that can handle the number of guests on a Classic size tour and the B&B's cannot accommodate that. And I believe most R&C's are too small to handle the tour sizes as well. There are a few though. Yes, food is pricey in this area. I live here and am always surprised by a local restaurant charging what I consider Boston prices--especially for cocktails. Also many wonderful B&Bs in Newport, Massachusetts, Vermont, NH and Maine.

    Lobstah (sic) has gone way up in price this year. Of course, last year it was a bargain because nobody was going out and shipping wasn't happening so they were practically giving it away.

    Two larger hotels in NH to consider next time are the Mount Washington and Wentworth by the Sea, a Marriott property. The Fairmont Copley is a great property. For those of us old enough to remember the revolving piano bar in there the Oak Long Bar is a disappointment--but if you don't remember the revolving bar, then it's topnotch. Around the corner from the Daniel Webster Inn is the Belfry Inn & Bistro in an old converted church--stunning--the bar is up on the altar. The food has always been great and the rooms have stained glass windows. They typically have wine dinners on Wednesdays.

    Best time to go whale watching, in my opinion, is spring when the whales are coming back from their southern exodus, especially the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary. They've been so close to the boat you can almost reach out and touch them. Saw a mom and her calf one time where she was trying to discipline the calf--hysterical!

  • Thank you Cathy and British for your interesting reviews. I enjoyed reading about your experiences. The last time I traveled along the New England Coast was about 30 years ago. My husband, at the time, and I traveled double up on a motorcycle from Wisconsin to Nova Scotia and back home again. We traveled for 11 days and covered 10 states, 2 Canadian Provinces and 4,500 miles total. Oh to be young again. This was such an amazing trip. We had a general route to follow, but no reservations or plans. These days I prefer to travel by car, but I still enjoy the ability to just have a general plan and take each day as it comes. I have enjoyed the Tauck structured tours as I get older, especially outside of the US, but nothing beats traveling on a whim and being able to enjoy your surroundings. We are leaving tomorrow for The Outer Banks in NC for our annual trek to enjoy the ocean and amazing seafood. Can hardly wait. We have been traveling to The Outer Banks off season for many years and this is the first year that we had to make reservations months ahead of time to ensure an ocean front room due to the fact that everyone is tired of being cooped up for 2 years.

  • We live in the heart of the "Inner Banks." It's a thing, check it out. :D

  • Cathy and Steve, considering the last eighteen months you have had with your profession, it is great you were able to get away and see such a beautiful part of the country. British, thanks for sharing your experience. New England is high on our list of places to spend some time. Safe travels!

  • Phew. Busy day here. Voikk, it’s good to know my assessments of the food and rooms are the same as a local’s. Sorry we missed Bruno!
    We knew this was an expensive hotel and those are the type we have been booking for our post Covid time USA travels. We would never have been so extravagant before, but we have ‘saved’ so much money not doing about six top price Tauck tours these past 18 months, it might be more than that, I’ve lost count of our canceled tours. We even came down to one car, we don’t really need two since we are joined at the hip most days, which we have always dreamed of being able to do all these years of marriage. If we need two cars one day, we can Uber, or our son lives a few miles away, working from home, So we can pop down and loan his little sporty car.

    When we travel independently these days, we like to just stay in one or two spots and do as much as we can in the area. I think seven hours in a car, actually eight coming home, is the most we have ever travelled in one daily chunk. Remember, having lived in the UK, we are not used to endless hours in a car.

    Full buffet breakfast in Chatham, was $39 each, fortunately, with the Amex deal, we got a $76 a day credit for breakfast…oh and a $100 credit for the spa…had an awesome treatment! Also, early noon check in and late check out, 4pm. Upgrade of room if they have one.

    Travel maven, we have never dared not planning on where to sleep, good for you!
    Cathy and Steve, your photos today are wonderful!
    We are off on our first post Covid plane flight next Sunday….Chicago for five days, staying at the Four Seasons, hope the food is better.

  • Alan: I will have to check out the Inner Banks. We are always looking for new places to spend 3-4 days around our beautiful state. I have also been looking at Greenville, SC. I noticed that Greenville made the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's choice awards and it's not that far of a drive from where we live. It was listed at Number 5 under small Cities. It looks like a great area to explore.

  • There is enough to see for a half day or so at most! :D:D:D

  • edited October 4

    travel maven
    Alan: I will have to check out the Inner Banks.

    If you ask Alan very nicely he will give you a personal tour. Below is a picture of Alan providing a personal tour of the Inner Banks. :D

  • Anyone thinking of exploring cape cod on their - here is an excellent article in hte Bostn Globe featuring the highlights of the Old Ling's Highway. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/06/lifestyle/slow-travel-cape-cod-style-soaking-up-scenery-route-6a/
    The fall is an excellent time of the year: great weather and fewer tourists.

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