Author Archives: The Old Manse Inn

Thankful For So Much!

There are so many things to be thankful for this time of year: family, friends, and health, just to name a few. On Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, we are grateful for even more, like:

1) Gorgeous sunsets

Beautiful sunsets can be viewed from almost any beach on the Cape & Islands—the colors are just brilliant this time of year!

2) Nature trails

Local nature trails are nature’s stage painted with colorful leaves and the entertaining antics of bird and fauna actors—the show is quite enjoyable!

3) Quiet beaches

The packed beaches of summer are now empty and are the perfect spot to reflect and take in their majestic beauty.

4) All are welcome back on the beaches

Now that we’re deep into fall, our furry friends are allowed to accompany us on the empty beaches.

5) Local bounty

Yes, the Native Americans and Pilgrims feasted on this local tasty treat! We are so thankful that our waters are filled with yummy seafood.

May you all enjoy this holiday season with loved ones and family members and remember that we have so much to be thankful for.

Enjoying The Flats of Cape Cod!

Excellent Blog By Jeannie Sparrow…..

The Flats” of Cape Cod Bay are a must-see when visiting Cape Cod. The Old Manse Inn is literally a 15-20 minute walk to this amazing must see as we back up to seven of the bay beaches from the Inn. A natural phenomena, they are caused by the daily ebb and flow of the tides. In the span of just 6 hours, small waves that once lapped upon the shore at high tide recede an entire mile to “dead low tide,” leaving behind sandbars and tide pools teeming with sea life. According to Wikipedia, the flats are the widest expanse of tidal flats in North America, spanning the bay from Barnstable Harbor all the way to Wellfleet. 

The Brewster Flats at high tide.

The Brewster Flats at “dead low” tide.

Not only are the flats a sight to see, they are something to experience. In the summer months, the tide pools are home to fish, crabs, snails and other sea life—a beachcomber’s paradise! In the fall months, they are host to a favorite local activity—oystering! With shellfishing licenses and buckets in hand, locals and visitors alike pluck succulent oysters from the bay and serve them up on the half shell.

If you’re up for a unique beach walk experience and a sight to behold, be sure to visit Cape Cod Bay—the Flats are not to be missed!

The Story Behind Scargo Lake!

Excellent Blog By Jeannie Sparrow……..

The view from Scargo Tower in Dennis is breathtaking . . . the crystal blue water set against the bluest of summer skies, and the rich pinks and oranges of a fall sunset combined with the amber hues of the season’s changing leaves. Even under a blanket of snowy white, the panorama from the highest point in the mid-Cape region doesn’t disappoint.

There’s a bit of history that encompasses this area of Dennis. The tower, as well as the fish-shaped Scargo Lake that lies below, are named after the famed Native American, Princess Scargo. Her story centers around a gift of fish from an admiring warrior and her attempt to keep the fish alive until his return. The tower on Scargo Hill, the area above the lake, is the spot from which the princess watched for her warrior’s return.

The views from Scargo Tower and the crystal clear waters of Scargo Lake are enough to warrant a visit to this beautiful area. But the mystique the local lore adds to this spot makes a visit here even more interesting and unique!



Enjoy your favorite eatery in the fall!

Excellent Blog By Jeannie Sparrow……

We’ve all experienced it . . . long lines at our favorite restaurant, especially during July and August on the Cape and Islands. Are they worth it? For the most part, yes. But when you visit this area in the fall months, chances are there will be no line. The kids are back in school, the air is a little cooler, and the crowds have subsided. It’s time to eat—so come ‘n get it!

The Monsta Lobster Roll. What more needs to be said about the Falmouth Raw Bar?! With its location right on the harbor and serving some of the tastiest seafood and libations around, it’s no surprise that this restaurant is packed all summer long!

Photo courtesy of Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar

There’s a reason why Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar of Eastham has been around for over 40 years—they serve up some delicious, award-winning seafood! Known for a line that wraps the building in the summertime, the less-crowded fall is the perfect time to stop in.

The only true oyster bar on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, a visit to 19 Raw Oyster Bar is a must during the fall season. Oysters are at their peak this time of year, plump and sweet, as they prepare to go dormant for the winter.

Self-proclaimed, “the finest fried seafood anywhere,” the Kream ‘n Kone restaurant has been serving incredibly tasty fried seafood since 1953. Enjoy plates of fried clams, fried shrimp, fried seafood platters, and more as you sit by lovely Swan River.

Oh, those expansive views of Provincetown Harbor are unbeatable! Fanizzi’s Restaurant by the Sea is a local favorite, serving Italian and American cuisine, and specializing in yummy seafood. Perched, literally, on the water—it’s no wonder this restaurant is so popular!

Waterfront views of Hyannis Harbor, occasional live entertainment, and an amazing menu featuring everything from seafood to prime rib, The Black Cat Tavern is the place to be, no matter what the season! Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy their heated patio as you nosh and watch the boats sail by.

After 50 years in business, the Chatham Squire has definitely earned institution status. From their famous clam chowder to their classic fish and chips, a trip to this part of the Cape isn’t complete without a stop in at this family-style, fisherman-friendy haunt!

Built on a dream and a secret recipe, Sam’s plan was to “offer the very best local seafood available and serve it with friendly, fast service at reasonable prices.” Located in Sandwich on the Cape Cod Canal, Seafood Sam’s has been around for over 40 years serving lobster and fried and baked seafood.

Fall fun on the Vineyard!

Excellent Blog by Jennie Sparrow……

While visiting the Cape during your Fall getaway the island of Martha’s Vineyard is a wonderful place to visit as well. The weather is perfect for hiking and biking, and enjoying a festival or two!

You can rent a bike at Martha’s Bike Rental (located in Edgartown, but they will deliver anywhere on the island) and pedal the beautiful coastline out to the red clay cliffs of Aquinnah. Or you can wheel around the many shops and restaurants the island has to offer.

Grab some comfy walking shoes and hike four miles of trails in the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. While you’re there, visit their observation building, nature center, discovery room and take part in their interactive natural history programs for children and adults. Or visit the Trustees of Reservations properties on Chappaquiddick and Long Point. Another hidden gem is one of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation’s and Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary in West Tisbury.

Don’t miss out on all the fun and beauty of Martha’s Vineyard this time of year—there’s so much to see and do!


How About A Drive-In-Movie Experience?

Excellent Blog By Jennie Sparrow……

The Wellfleet Drive-In-Movie Theater

I know we are fast approaching fall but one of my favorite summer activities is watching the latest movie underneath the starry night sky! I’ve had the good fortune of watching many movies at the Wellfleet Drive-In, and it’s a tradition my family keeps alive by going at least once a year.

Screening movies for over 60 years, the Wellfleet Drive-in is the only drive-in on Cape Cod and is one of roughly 300 left in the country. According to their website, the first movie ever shown there was Desk Set, starring Katharine Hepburn. Other classic movies screened there were Ben Hur, Jaws, Star Wars and ET.

In addition to its 100-by-44-foot screen, the original 1957 speaker boxes still sit on their poles.The old playground still exists as well. My children take particular delight in the creaky swings and the squeaky merry-go-round. If you’re a ‘tween or younger, a visit here before the movie is a must!

If the playground is not your thing, then head over to the vintage mini golf course located on the premises! Built in 1961, only minor alterations have been made over the years. Play a round here and transport yourself back in time!

A visit to the Wellfleet Drive-In is a must, indeed. Nostalgia and entertainment all wrapped into one! So pop the hatch on the car, grab some popcorn, and get out your beach chairs—it’s time to start the show!

Ocean Side or Bay Side!

Excellent blog by Jennie Sparrow…….

There’s one question Cape Cod vacationers, and even locals, face: ocean side or bay side?! It’s a perennial dilemma that most people, myself included, don’t mind having!

My love affair with the water began at one of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape, Little Pleasant Bay. Filled with boats and views of Sampson and Hog islands, this Lower Cape treasure basically baptized me into Cape Cod life when I tripped and fell face-first into the salty bay as a toddler! It will forever hold a special place in my heart. Not much else can rival the fragrant bay breeze, the gentle sound of lapping waves, and the tide pools teeming with sea life . . . EXCEPT, a day spent out on the Outer Beach!

Little Pleasant Bay in South Orleans.


Just about every child raised on Cape Cod has an ORV adventure at one point in his or her life. My earliest Outer Beach memory includes a very bumpy ride in an old Jeep Wagoneer owned by my father’s best friend. There was a twinkle in his eye as we drove over the sandy bumps that elicited giggles from my brother and me! Out we went, down Callahan’s Pass, to the Orleans resident side of Nauset’s Outer Beach. We set up our beach chairs, unloaded the pails and shovels, and dug into the hot sand . . . until the lure of the big ocean waves taunted us into play! Running from the waves at first, then growing bolder and running into the waves — what a thrill it was!

Shellfishing on Cape Cod!

Excellent blog by Becky Fischer……..

Every season of life on Cape Cod, I discover an amazing experience that leads me to pinch myself and excitedly share stories with others. In the summer, it’s clamming. And in the fall last year, it was taking my mother-in-law oystering. As a Midwestern woman, she had never seen an oyster in the water. We explained the process, and then one early morning, she and I set out to Ellis Landing Beach, on the Bay.

We were somewhat prepared with long rubber boots, an official bucket, and my shellfishing license. Luckily my cousin joined us and supplied the tongs, a much needed tool for picking up the oysters in the cold, November waters. We were both amazed. I had been before, and each time I marvel at the power of the tides and the wildlife that is effected by and reliant on the changing water levels.

We collected our allotted amount and took them home to my husband, who is a talented shucker. His mom was not ready to try one, as they are a little scary looking, but my husband and I gobbled them up with a little lemon and cocktail sauce. It’s a day I’ll never forget – both the beauty of the process and seeing it through her wide eyes.

Clamming is another fun activity that often produces tasty meals. Recently our friends from Carlisle visited, and their son was fascinated with the clamming process. With his rake and bucket, he collected over ten clams one afternoon at Jackknife Beach. Their plan was to take them back to their rental and eat them raw. Last spring, my uncle went clamming and made delicious clam chowder with the many quahogs he claimed, and we were lucky enough to enjoy it, too. 


Food and Drinks of Cape Cod!

When you visit the Cape and Islands, you have to go to the beach—that’s a given! But another favorite pastime is enjoying the area’s many local foods and libations. We’re proud to have some popular brands that are not only the tastiest around, they’re sold nationally and have reached an icon status.

So when a rainy day sets in and visiting the beach isn’t an option, consider the next best choice—eating and drinking your way through the area! Here are three local companies that offer free tours. Watch how their goods are made, sample them, and then buy some to share with friends and family, happy touring and tasting!

Cape Cod Beer

“A Vacation in Every Pint” they say, a claim we wouldn’t mind finding out for ourselves! Cape Cod Beer offers one guided tour per day, but you can guide yourself through, as well. After your tour, there are $6 tastings for those age 21 and up.

Cape Cod Potato Chips

With over 250,000 visitors annually, this is one of the area’s top destination spots! After your self-guided tour, stop by the shop to purchase some tasty snacks for the whole family.

Truro Vineyards

Perched between Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is Truro Vineyards, a winery and distillery that offers two tours a day in the summer as well as tastings.

Free Fun Activites!

Cape Cod is known for many things: gorgeous beaches, delicious seafood, majestic lighthouses and scenic nature walks, to name a few. There is so much more here, however, and we want to share a list with you of other fun activities . . . and all are FREE!

Visit the Woods Hole Aquarium

This small, public aquarium displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters and has a touch tank as well as a seal habitat. Learn more about the Woods Hole Aquarium.

Enjoy the view from Scargo Tower

Climb the steps of this 30 foot tower, and take in the spectacular panoramic views of Cape Cod Bay that span from Plymouth all the way to Provincetown!

Tour the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory

Chances are you’ve seen these potato chips when you’ve strolled the aisles of your grocery store. It’s hard to miss the bag featuring the iconic Nauset Light lighthouse! Learn more about the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory.

Explore the Cape Cod Lavender Farm

Peaceful fields of purple, the hum of busy honey bees, and the magic of a fairy castle. A visit to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm will surely put you in great spirits! Learn more about the Cape Cod Lavender Farm.

Go tide pooling

Grab your shovel, bucket, and net, and stroll the miles and miles of beach the Cape and Islands have to offer! When the tide goes out, most beaches are left with a plethora of tide pools just waiting to be explored. Will you find a crab, snail, shrimp, hermit crab, or jelly fish? Find a beach to explore.

Wave hello to the seals from the Chatham Fish Pier

The secret is out, there are a lot of seals that swim in our area (and invite unwelcome predators) but you can safely view their cute antics from the Fish Pier in Chatham! You might even catch the local fishermen unloading the day’s catch . . .

Enjoy the live music at a local band concert

Pull up a beach chair, bring yourself a picnic, and listen to the upbeat tunes of the many local bands the area has to offer! It’s the perfect way to end a long summer day on the Cape and Islands. Learn more about the area’s band concerts.

Watch a Cape Cod Baseball League game

Watch the baseball stars of tomorrow under the stars tonight! Don’t miss a baseball game at one of the Cape Cod Baseball League fields, you never know what burgeoning baseball star might be playing! Learn more about the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Visit the many lighthouses of the Cape and Islands

From Nobska Point Lighthouse in Woods Hole to Race Point Lighthouse in Provincetown, the Cape and Islands are swimming in lighthouses—over 20 in all! With one of the highest concentrations of lighthouses anywhere, planning to tour several in one day is completely possible! Learn more about Cape and Island lighthouses.