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July 1-8 Trip

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Albany, NY
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July 1-8 Trip

We have decided to book a cottage/rental for this vacation. We usually stay in a hotel, but a rental just seems to make much more sense. We are a couple with a 3 year old. We are close to booking. We've checked Martha Murray Real Estate, Cyber Rentals and WeNeedaVacation. Questions: any other ideas? what beach is the best (aside from west dennis beach), and how can we find something within walking distance? what's going on for the 4th of July? inexpensive ideas that we can do with a toddler?

thanks.

Midwest USA
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1. Re: July 1-8 Trip

July 4th is a major vacation time there and traffic will be an issue. There are trolleys that may be of assistance to you. I visit the area on low season, and they have not been running at that time, but would take advantage of them if I could. Check websites to get the schedules and routes. I agree that the cottage is sensible with a bit more of a homey feel and sometimes even a yard. We always rent a house. July 4th will have celebrations going on, with band shell performances, parades and fireworks. Check out the Cape Cod websites to see events. We have enjoyed the Bay side for walking the beaches and see many families with small children. Skaket Beach is our favorite. When the tide goes out, there is a 1/4 mile area with exposed flat sand beach area and fun to walk on and play in the small pools of water and look for shells etc. Be cautious when the tide turns, it comes in fast. You'd need to watch tide charts and know high tide times. Chatham is fun little village with many shops on each side of the town area to walk and browse. With a stroller etc, it may be too difficult. (an annoyance this year was the salespeople approaching you to tour a new condo and it is a "high pressure" sales pitch to buy timeshares.)

2. Re: July 1-8 Trip

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Midwest USA
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3. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Hi Charlie,

I am envious of you and your family now at your beach house. We enjoy our times at Dennisport SO MUCH.

I agree with you that a house is definitley the way to go. It allows you much more comfort to spread out, sit in the yard, on the patio or in the house. We have stayed with 6 of us in our house and our children are grown and married and they come along. A week together is not overbearing since we all come and go as we please, we have our own space in the house and meet back for suppers together. Having a washer and dryer too we don't have to pack quite so much as we can do laundry asa we need it.

We have brought in-laws too and they have come to enjoy it and are planning a trip back with us another time.

Our daughter was married on the beach 2 years back and family I have in the area came to the wedding and some in-laws from the Midwest. It was WONDERFUL. Small, manageable and VERY memorable with the reception at the Ocean House and that was very special. We had cake delivered from Mantillio's in Boston and now Ring Bros. Bakery right on the Cape offers the great Italian pastries right in their store. I was happy to see a few other Bakeries have opened up too around the Dennis area and I wish them well as it has become a treat to have quality, fresh baked goods instead of just grocery items.

Charlie, if you don't mind me asking some questions about the house and how it has worked for you? Do you stay there in the off season mainly, or high season too? I have read about so many houses left vacant over the winter on the Cape. How do you winterize it? Is the realtor responsible for checking on it?

We have discussed buying a house too as a family vacation spot and renting it out to others. What advice do you have?

I appreciate any info....6SandyFeet

Albany, NY
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4. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Thanks for the info. Sorry Charlie (no pun intended), but we booked a place yesterday, before I came back here. We're on the bass River, close to West Dennis beach. I know that's going to be the most crowded, but we're not crazy about the bayside beaches. My wife, who grew up on a dairy farm, struggles with the smell (????). We got a nice 2 BR, which looks to be in great condition, for $850. Any idea where the fireworks will be? Do they have the seal watches in Chatham in the summer? Is the Cape Cod railroad worth it (our son loves trains)? At this time of year, will it just be a waste of time on the road to go up to Provincetown?

thanks again.

boston
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5. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Sounds like you lucked out waiting until the last minute to book. The folks at weneedavacation.com have said in their June newsletter that the smaller cottages/houses will see an uptick in inquiries in June. Thankfully, our Brewster home is completely rented from June mid-September (including five weeks for us!).

As for 4th of July activities, I can offer some suggestions that aren't too close to you but may be worth it. We always go to the Orleans 4th of July parade. Perfectly American. Kids love it because they all throw candy :) It's on the 4th at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. (google it). I think Chatham has a morning parade. As for fireworks, I know that Orleans has them on Saturday, July 1 at Rock Harbor. Not too convenient for you since you are arriving that day. Would think that Hyannis would ahve something. We actually love sitting on our Brewster beach with neighbors who buy fireworks from SC and watching P'town fireworks from afar!

As to the question from another poster about buying and renting...if you want to own a house at the Cape and can afford it great. But the economics don't necessarily add up. We can cover the cost of operating the house (open year round and we use one weekend a month in off season)--taxes, utilities, upkeep--if we rent it for seven weeks. But we don't cover the cost of capital. And renting it for the full 10 summer weeks is never a slam dunk. weneedavacation.com offered very interesting data to homeowners a few months ago about which type of house rents best. You may be able to find it on their website.

Chicago, IL
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6. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Hey there AJR:

I'm glad you got a house. Martha rented ours for that date yesterday but I still can't believe someone can co-ordinate a vacation for a family within two weeks. (Naomi...you know what I mean..lol) Guess I am just too much of a planner.

When you arrive in Dennis drop in to see Spiro, Leeann and the bunch at the Information center on the SE corner of 134 and 28..just south of Kreme n Kone. Look at all the brochures and then get a copy of Cape Week and Cape Happenings...Kids on Cape too if applicable. Talk with them a bit and you will have too many things from which to choose. I heard them giving advice about attractions in other towns too.

I don't understand your comments about beaches on the Bay side. We enjoyed a glorious day on Mayflower Beach yesterday. So unique at low tide. You'll probably get a one week beach parking pass so there will be no extra charge for you to try Mayflower, if you can get in, or one of those other Bay beaches. No dairy farms or cows over there either.

When your vacation is over, come back here and let us know how you enjoyed yourselves. Have fun and sunny weather. It's perfect here now.

Albany, NY
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7. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Where is Mayflower, is it crowded and does it have decent comfort facilities? I grew up camping at Shady Knoll every summer and going to First Encounter Beach, so I know the positives of the bay beaches. My wife, for some reason, just has trouble with the dead and decaying sea critters.... Maybe it was just off-season and the beaches weren't cleaned as often???

As far as the 2 weeks to plan the trip -- it's been a tough several months and we just decided to get away. Originally thinking of a long weekend, but once you pay $150/night plus tax, you might as well go a full week. Be rest assured, we do oftentimes plan well in advance for our vacations -- we booked our November trip to Jamaica back in March.

thanks again for all the help

Newington, CT
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8. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Yep, I'm very much a planner. We no sooner come back from our trip and we're already making plans to return.....

I think we booked this year's trip almost a year in advance. :-)

Just sent our final payment in along with the security deposit, etc. We're good to go. Can't wait! :-)

Naomi

Albany, NY
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9. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Followup/Reviews:

Beaches:

We arrived on Saturday and got out to the West Dennis beach - at that point it was too late to get a the week long parking pass, but they let us in walk around a bit (a must for a 3-year-old who was very good during a stressful drive in 4th of July traffic). We went to get our pass on Sunday morning - everyone else did the same and the line was out the door and into the parking lot. Just be patient. Getting on line before they open won't do much good either. A person who got there 15 minutes early still waited 45 minutes, which is about what I waited and I arrived 15 minutes after they opened.

West Dennis Beach - was very close to where we stayed. Water was warmer than the bay beaches. The beach was much windier and the water less safe with a little one, unless you're going to hover over him/her the entire time. We ended up going here in the late afternoons after lunch, nap, etc. Nice facilities, long beach.

Corporation Beach - Sunday was very windy (it was just too windy at West Dennis and Mayflower for our 3-year-old) and this beach was the most sheltered. At the time we got there there was a ten car wait to get into the lot. Our son was napping, so we waited. A nice bay side beach.

Mayflower Beach - Charlie's right. This was our favorite. Great for kids, especially at low tide. And even when the parking lot is full, it's not TOO over-crowded (at least when the tide's out). Just bring your own snacks and beverages - the concession line is too long. We would set up in the morning (just after high tide) as close to the water as we could. When the tide moved out, we moved out as well. Safe and relaxing - it's not often with a 3-year-old that you can actually sit and read.

Activities:

Zooquarium in Yarmouth: We went twice. The one day the sea lions were on strike (they weren't hungry, so no incentive to perform), so they let gave us a pass to come back. Our son got a kiss from one of the sea lions when we came back. Not a great zoo/aquarium, but it's nice enough and our son loved it - now that we're home he's still nagging us to go back.

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster: We went up on an overcast morning. The people giving the field tour were a little to deliberate in their presentation (though interesting) for a 3-year-old, so we went off on our own. He was great on the trails and they were a good length such that he was able to walk on his own most of the way. The exhibits inside were nice -- nothing spectacular, but a nice way to spend a rainy overcast morning without being stuck in shopping traffic somewhere.

Bass River Boats: Nice trip. Unfortunately, our son just lost interest. He did get to drive the boat. The narrators follow too closely to a script and it just loses something, especially when you look back and see them reading and not getting the "jokes" right.

We tried to go to the aquarium in Woods Hole, but it was closed the day we went. We went through Falmouth on the way out and traffic was awful. We ended up having a nice lunch on the water. Our son fed oyster crackers to the birds and fish. We checked out a couple exhibits and headed back to Dennis (and the beach).

Also did the arcades, ice cream, etc. Didn't mini golf - too crowded to bring a 3-year-old on the course.

Restaurants:

Parkers Pub (Yarmouth) - Had lunch there. We've been there a few times. Always decent service, price, food. Comfortable.

Skippers (Yarmouth) - We went there twice for dinner. We waited a little longer to get a table outside so we could see the ocean. The first time we went was better than the second, but we enjoyed it both times. Decent food, reasonable prices.

Lobster Boat (Yarmouth) - We always go there and it seems like there's always a problem. Oh well. We'll probably go back.

Sundancers (West Dennis) - Lively little place on Route 28 at Bass River. They had live music. The food quality and price was a little better than expected (didn't have high expectations). Alcohol prices were high - $5 for a Corona. We paid $30 for our alcohol and $24 for our food....

Chapin Beach (Dennis near Chapin and Mayflower beaches) - We had lunch after the beach and were pleasantly surprised. Expected it to be overpriced and poor service, but that wasn't the case at all. Wait staff was very nice and the food/prices were pretty good. It took a lot of will not to order a beer or six.

We had a very nice 2 bedroom rental and had several meals there on the grill. We had a washer and dryer in the unit which ended up being a godsend for us.

Traffic was horrible (holiday week in the summer). As such, we chose not to go beyond Brewster/Harwich to the East and Yarmouth to the West (except for the day trip to Woods Hole).

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: July 1-8 Trip

Glad you had an enjoyable trip AJ. Thanks for the report too.

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