As holidays go, this was a fabulous one. As extended weekends go, this was absolutely top-notch. 9th July being our wedding anniversary, we decided to take our much-awaited holiday this weekend. The celebrations started on Friday night itself with the Cambridge Dance Party which is a free dance party in Central Square for all Cambridge residents. The music was good and it was a lot of fun.
Day 1 - Action Packed adventures , lots of ocean and some lazing From Beantown to P-town
We got up early in the morning to catch our ferry from Boston Harbour to Provincetown, which is at the tip of Cape Cod (See map). I highly recommend this fast ferry to anybody not wishing to drive to the cape.(www.bostonharborcruises.com) Its very comfortable and full of all amenities. Most importantly though, it reaches P-town in just 90 min. A roundtrip to P-town will leave you lighter by $70.
We disembarked at Macmillan Wharf, grinning from ear to ear.
P-town has holiday written all over it. People were skateboarding, leisurely browsing through the pretty little boutiques or simply soaking in the sun. Heavenly!!!
One of the many specialities of the place
is shuttles which run along the length of the town every half hr, and cost only a dollar / person / trip. We took the shuttle to reach our resort, Cape Inn. It is right on the waterfront, affording spectacular views.
Eager to kick off our holiday, we soon hit one of the most popular beaches, Herring Cove. P-town has a bit of a reputation as a gay & lesbian friendly town and Herring cove beach has a separate lesbian section, gay section and family or straight section Whale Watching
From Herring Cove, we headed back to the pier (or wharf) to buy tickets for a 3-hr whale watching trip. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip and an absolutely thrilling experience. The 2 main cruise cos. are Portuguese Princess and Dolphin fleet. Portuguese princess may turn out a little more expensive, but go for it, it’s decidedly the best. We were back on a cruise ship, although this time a much smaller one. The trip began, hosted by a biologist who also explained that it was a research trip for her. Her running commentary was informative though a bit excessive !! Disaster Strikes
We were smoothly cruising along the ocean, till half hr into the trip we suddenly saw huge black clouds of smoke billowing out from the rear end of the ferry. People screamed and ran all around. One of the engines was on fire !!! This was an adventure we hadn’t bargained for . The engines were immediately shut down and we sat there on tenterhooks, stranded in the middle of the atlantic ocean with a burning engine !!! We bobbed on the waters for a good 20 min., the possibility of a turnback looming large. Finally, to our great relief, the engines started working again and we cautiously resumed our journey.
We were basically headed to an area in the ocean called “Stellwagen Bank”, which is a National Marine sanctuary and also one of the top 10 spots in the world for whale watching. It is an underwater plateau which was formed when the Last Ice Age retreated. It is a great feeding ground for whales all through the summer.
As the Stellwagen bank approached, we were issued watching guidelines. The bow ( head of the ferry) was called 12’o clock, the stern (foot) 6 ‘o clock, and
so on. This way, whenever any whale was spotted, the guide would shout its exact position - 3 ‘o clock or 1 ‘o clock and everyone would run in that direction to catch a glimpse. A whale gives away its location by the jet of water (~ 15-20 ft high) it emits when it surfaces to exhale.
The first whale we saw was the most majestic. It was splashing around with its tail up, either playing or exfoliating its skin. A hushed silence fell as we watched the beautiful animal, completely awestruck. As we closed in, it decided to go under. For the next one hr, we kept spotting whales. It’s an indescribable feeling, watching whales in their natural habitat with the grey waters swirling all around and not a sound to be heard.
All the whales we saw were humpback whales. And then we chanced upon a mother and calf, who swam alongside our boat for a full 20 min. The biologist told us that the whales give birth in winters in the Caribbean, where there is very little food. So the mother whale goes without eating for all the winter months while nursing its baby. The
calf, in true form, weighs nearly 2 tons at birth and drinks an astounding 100 pounds of milk per day. (The mother loses nearly half her body weight in the process of nursing the calf)
We came back a full 4 hrs later, humbled by the unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching the whales.
P-town, naturally, has great seafood to offer. Dinner was lobsters and scrods at the Whaler restaurant, which Sanjit described as one of the best seafood dinners he’s ever had.
Day 2 - Biking and Beach Bumming
P-town has a lot of biking trails and we decided to make full use of it. So we rented out bicycles, donned our helmets, carried our beach gear and headed forth bravely. Now, the last time I rode a bicycle was like 10 yrs ago , so I began huffing and puffing soon.(Darn, All that gymming came to nought !!)
The surroundings were so beautiful though, that we quickly forgot everything else. Sand dunes, forests, airstrip, sweeping ocean views all packed in our 5 km ride to Race point beach. It’s a delicious stretch of sand, with the aquamarine of the atlantic for as far
as you can see.
We dug our toes in the sand, lay back with our sunhats on , swathed in sunscreen lotion and proceeded to do absolutely nothing. Ahhh, what bliss !! The lull of the ocean waves playing upon my ears, the breeze cooling my sun-soaked limbs, I could lay there till eternity. Soon, the ocean beckoned. Summer it might be, but the water is cold, like really cold. Once you get in, it gets better and better till you literally have to tear yourself away when the time comes to leave.
One note of caution, go to the beach armed with full food-n-water supplies, as some beaches have stalls and some don’t. We made the mistake of not carrying water and after riding a bicycle in the blazing sun, to my chagrin I realized that there was not a drop of water to drink. Some friendly ladies came to my rescue and offered me some water.
Day 3 - A wine glass a day keeps the doctor away
Day 3 began bleak & grey, with rolling thunder and plentiful rain. It seemed our luck had finally run out with the plum weather. Still, a
holiday is a holiday and we proceeded to the Truro Vineyards. It’s a picturesque place, with a useful gift shop. We decided to take a wine-tasting tour, held outdoors under the tasting tent. The guide explained the various varieties and we sampled a generous amount of 10 different types of wine.
We kept rating them as we drank and for your benefit, here are our top 3 favorites -
- This was the best and most unlike any other wine we’ve tasted before. It had a strange exotic taste with a hint of citrus.
b) Cape Blush
- Salmon coloured, this had the taste of berries
- The only red wine to make it to our list, it was fresh with a strong taste of cranberries.
10 different wines huh, you’re wondering what happened after that!?!! Of course I was tipsy and loudly chatted all the way back.
Afternoon we spent ambling along the streets of the towncenter and picking up souvenirs. All good things come to an end and finally it was time to catch the ferry back to Boston. We were most reluctant to leave, I mean
who wants to leave paradise ??
Three days truly well spent, lots of beautiful moments and a treasure trove of memories.
Go vacation in Cape Cod. Now !!
p.s. - Please click next at the end of the pictures to see more pictures on page 2
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