Cape Cod, MA

Well, this travel blog is mostly dead for 2020 given the COVID pandemic, but we are making do with the best we can given the circumstances. We’d planned trip to Spain last year to celebrate the end of my first year of MBA, as well as a trip to Banff to celebrate my best friend’s graduation from med school, but these trips, like all since March, were unceremoniously cancelled.

I think I’ve had a relatively easier time during quarantine than most people, probably because I’d never really had a routine before and for the first time, I was forced to sit at home and not run around. Besides getting through the last semester of school, I tried to continue my at-home exercises, walked everyday outside weather-willing, cooked (and even baked, gasp) a lot, read, did a lot of time-wasting activities such as play online Catan, puzzles, and painting, and had a lot of Zoom happy hours with friends. Now that the weather is warmer and restrictions are easing up, some people are doing small cabin road trips with select groups of friends and families. I am still pretty wary about spreading the virus, so personally I wear a mask as much as possible and still try to limit in-person friend time – even though I miss all of you dearly!! We will spend lots of quality time together in a few short months!

My internship starts really late (June 15), so I had four full weeks to do nothing – which was great when we had travel plans. Since we no longer can have travel plans, we decided to spend 2 weeks on Cape Cod for a change of pace, since short-term rentals are still not allowed and we figured that there would be very few visitors. We really got the best of both worlds since the weather was nice enough to be outside most days (and even get some beach time!), but there was no traffic and everywhere we visited had only a few people we passed on a hike.

We stayed in Wellfleet, right on the Cape Cod National Seashore, which in my opinion is the most beautiful part of the Cape (minus Martha’s Vineyard, which probably doesn’t really count as the Cape? Idk, I’m not a true Bostonian). M brought his work and basically worked all day, but I created a little routine that truly felt like a retired life:

  • Woke up, daily yoga practice.
  • Drive to a little walk/hike. Spend at least an hour hiking. Below are a few of my favorite trails I found.
  • Back to the cottage for lunch
  • Friend catchups, various personal projects, or reading outside on the porch
  • Exercise class
  • Walk to the nearby beach for some reading
  • Make a cheese plate
  • Grill dinner
  • Eat dinner & watch Avatar or another show with M
  • Paint or read
  • Sometimes go out for ice cream
  • Bed, read, sleep

Really an ideal life. It was nice being able to drive wherever I wanted and spend a lot of time outdoors, even if on my own porch. Our cottage was right next to a cute little French bakery where we would get some pastries a few times a week, and was 0.5 miles to a beautiful part of the national seashore and the Cape Cod Rail Trail. I brought my tomato plants and they were happy to get full sunlight all day!

Hikes and Places We Loved

National Seashore – I accidentally did a long loop from Marconi Beach to LeCount Hollow Beach one day, and discovered that beach hiking is REALLY TIRING. But I felt accomplished and it was beautiful.

Red Swamp Cedar Trail, Atlantic Cedar Swamp Trail – The swamp trails were a magical change of pace from the typical sandy walks on the cape. There were beautiful, mystical cedar trees everywhere which were great when it was a little drizzly outside (and terrible when the weather was nice – so many bugs!)

East Bearberry Summit – Our favorite trail, by far. There are a few summits here: East Bearberry, West Bearberry, and the Bog House. We came back a few times and felt like it was the most deserted, beautiful place we found on the cape.

Dune Shacks Trail – Closer to P-town, this hike was as tiring as it sounds. It’s only 1 mile long, but it’s up and down huge sand dunes. We did this hike barefoot to get better traction and got some heat blisters as a result, but it was wild and beautiful!

Uncle Tim’s Island – More of a short walk than a hike, but there’s a cool bridge to a small island that overlooks a marsh with tons of cool fiddler crabs

Great Island Trail – the longest and most popular trail in the area, the hike goes through various terrain (forest, sand dunes, marsh). Unfortunately we got a little sidetracked and didn’t make it around the whole trail (I think) – or maybe Jeremy’s Point was actually submerged as the trailhead sign said and we simply couldn’t do the whole loop

Nauset Marsh Trail – Right behind the National Seashore Headquarters, this is an easy walk around a pond and through some forest/marsh

Critter Beach – not the actual name of the beach, but the shelling beach in Wellfleet was full of cool shellfish (and, unfortunately even a dead seal….) at low tide

Provincetown – apparently the biggest outbreak of COVID was here, and masks are required on the street. We really enjoyed the Portugese bakery and the Canteen. We tried to find Race Point Light but couldn’t find it, oops! I think you have to hike to it and it was too cold on that day to hike in our short sleeved shirts

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