Cape Cod provides a treasure trove of opportunities for boatersBY BRIAN TARCY | PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM RICHARDSON
Cape Cod is both a boater’s and diner’s paradise. From the Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown, it’s easy to dock your boat and find a great meal.
Beginning in the mid-Cape at what is perhaps the region’s busiest harbor, boaters will find a wide dining selection. “You have a lot of choices,” says Carla Sullivan, dock master at Hyannis Harbor. “It’s really important for people to have a good dining experience. Food is an important part of any vacation.”
The 180-slip Hyannis Harbor marina accommodates yachts up to 200 feet and is within walking distance of several restaurants.
Trader Ed’s at Hyannis Marina offers free dockage, is family-friendly during the day and transforms into a nightclub after dark. It is a great spot for a lobster roll.
“Ten percent of our customers are boaters,” owner John Shea says. “They have a marine lifestyle. They’re on the water all day—fishing, water-skiing, jet-skiing. Hyannis Harbor is very busy in the summertime.”
The Black Cat Tavern is another great dock-and-dine location on Hyannis Harbor. Known for steaks, native seafood, gourmet burgers and homemade desserts, it is directly across the street from the Hy-Line ferry docks, which is especially convenient if you’re taking the ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.
Not far away is Spanky’s Clam Shack, offering classic fried clams, a Cape Cod standby. Baxter’s Boathouse, right on the water and on the other side of the harbor, features local seafood and a casual atmosphere with live piano music accompanying the spectacular waterfront view.
Traveling eastward along the Cape’s arm, boaters reach the picturesque town of Chatham, the Cape’s “elbow,” where the relatively calm waters of Nantucket Sound meet the wild whitecaps of the Atlantic Ocean.
You can make landing at Stage Harbor Marine, Oyster River Boatyard, or Chatham Yacht Basin to get a mooring or slip, or Outermost Harbor Marine, where you can rent a slip and then walk a mile into town past famous Lighthouse Beach.
Once on Main Street, do as the locals do and head to Chatham Squire, which features classic Cape Cod pub food from burgers to fish, while offering a warm atmosphere and live music. The Red Nun Bar & Grill, a friendly place to belly up to the bar and watch a game while enjoying burgers and brews, is another timeless Chatham pub.
Continue up the forearm of the Cape to reach Provincetown. This world-renowned art colony has numerous top-notch restaurants, many located on the water along Commercial Street. Boaters can dock at MacMillan Wharf and stroll into town, where the wide variety ranges from fast food to fine dining and everything in between.
Favorite waterfront fine-dining establishments include Devon’s, a romantic chef-run spot in a converted fishing shack in the East End; Ross’s Grill, on the second floor of Whaler’s Wharf with a commanding view of the harbor; and The Red Inn, a historic and scenic property at the far west end of town.
But those in the know need not leave MacMillan Wharf for a good meal. Try 9 Ryder Seaside Dining. Step into this old wharf shack for a surprisingly sophisticated dining experience, all without ever leaving the pier.
At the other end of the Cape, the waters of Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound offer ideal conditions for harbor hopping and fine restaurants. At Falmouth Harbor is The Flying Bridge, a romantic harborside home to many weddings, and a fun location with everything from sandwiches to local seafood. Also on the harbor is The Boathouse, which has a fun, relaxed party atmosphere at night and is a wonderful place to indulge in a boiled lobster dinner. Afterward, stick around to hear great live music.
Woods Hole, a little village surrounded on three sides by water, has a handful of superb restaurants, from pub food to upscale dining to a couple of excellent local coffee shops, Coffee Obsession and Pie In The Sky Cafe. Pie in the Sky has a full array of sandwiches and home-baked goods. Shuckers Raw Bar is a popular place to get a drink, while the Captain Kidd is a fun pub that is often populated by members of the local Woods Hole world-renowned scientific community, as well as the fishermen, artists and bohemians for which the village is known.
In the Cataumet section of Bourne is Kingman Marina, where The Chart Room sits on the harbor amidst the boats and is a local favorite. It features a setting that on a perfect summer night is nearly impossible to beat.