As my sister and I grow older, family vacations become more important; not only is it a time to reconnect with one another but it is also a time for us to go on new adventures and make new memories. Last summer, my family met up in Boston, MA before taking the day long journey to the tip of Cape Cod, which would be our home for the next week. A vacation at the beach like this was unknown to me; I spent years begging my parents to rent a house at the beach like all my friends did rather than going on our traditional camping trip at the beach. We had little knowledge about Cape Cod, where to stay, what to do, or even how to get around. However we heard great stories about it’s magnificent landscape and calming beach aura.
We rented a condo from VRBO and it was everything we could have asked for and more; we were steps away from the beach, right on Commercial Street, and yet a block away from the commotion so we had our own privacy. If you have yet to realize, I have always cherished ice cream, however it is nothing compared to my sister. Being on Commercial Street was ideal for her because she could easily hit up all the Ice Cream Parlors in town. There was no way that she could eat two or more scoops a day so she enlisted me as her assistant to aid in the extensive ice cream eating process. I had no hesitations and immediately joined her on her venture to find the best ice cream in town.
I assure you that we went to more than 5 place (however I’m writing this almost a year after our trip and some names did not really stick). We were staying closest to Ptown Scoops, so it was logically the first place we went to. The small shop was home to an array of distinctive flavors; while you could go basic with vanilla and chocolate, you could also be adventurous with coconut almond bar and graham cracker station. We were off to a great start on our ice cream eating adventure. Another ice cream classic that we had to get was the vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles. After an extensive google search, we marched our way to Bliss. Though they are known for their ice cream, it didn’t taste very different than other soft-serves that I had before. Maybe it’s just the setting that makes it so ideal–what’s better than eating soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles on a hot summer day while walking along Commercial Street? Near by is The Nut House, a long standing home of sugar that sells practically anything sweet that you can think of. We made a beeline straight for the ice cream, passing all the confectionaries that you can think of. We must have been hungry because by the time I was ready to take pictures, the ice cream was already half eaten. I guess that’s an indication of how tasty it was. It was nevertheless named one of the best ice cream parlors in the US according to Travel + Leisure magazine. Around the corner is Happy Camper, the dessert centered store that’s a part of the duo with The Canteen. Here, we couldn’t bypass the donut case so we took one plum donut and one honey lavender ice cream (is your mouthwatering yet?). A few steps down from this place is I Dream of Gelato, a little gelato shop that’s on a pier where you can enjoy your ice cream by the sea. I decided to try something a bit funky: avocado gelato. To be honest, I don’t remember it tasting that good but that is probably because it was a vegan flavor and something was off (probably the lack of cream). However, I would go back to try one of their regular gelatos. Our ice cream adventure was not limited to these few places but sadly, I’m drawing a blank on the names of the others.
We are not a family that eats out much. We prefer to make our own food however ice cream was not something we were going to make while on vacation, and neither were pastries. A few years back, my sister visited Portugal and had been raving about Pasteis de Nata since her return. So when we stumbled upon the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery, we had to get some. It took us a couple of tries because they sell out quickly. In the end, I thought they were good but they were different from what my sister had in Portugal and she was a little let down. Though she was not let down by the lobster that she got at The Lobster Pot. Before out trip, we studying the Anthony Bourdain episode on Massachusetts and focused mainly on the culinary stops he made in Cape Cod, one of them being The Lobster Pot. We went for an early dinner however the place was already packed. Here, we feasted on seafood of all sorts and enjoyed every last bite. The setting was also nice, however we did not get to sit upstairs like Bourdain (much to my mom’s dismay). When in Massachusetts, you also need to have lobster served in a roll. We decided to go out for lunch one day for lobster rolls and oysters The Canteen and loved the outdoor seating area in the back. Finding a spot is tricky but we eventually sat down comfortably in the familial-style backyard. Everything was delicious and we even returned for another day of feasting here.
Our trip, though delicious, was not all about food. We spent our days biking to nearby beaches, whale watching, visiting a cranberry bogs, and touring the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory. We were lucky with whale watching and saw a total of 9 whales while on the boat, even catching a glimpse of them while on the beach later. The cranberry tour was also a cool experience but we learned that they don’t actually look like the ones on the Ocean Spray commercial, where the two men are in a shallow lake-like field with floating berries around them. That only happens twice a year for an uber short period of time. Otherwise, it looks like a bunch of bushes in a large but shallow pit. It was an educational experience that I think is worth the stop. Lastly, the Potato Chip tour was nothing really exciting; it is self-guided through one hallway and goes by in less than 30 minutes, more if you take a long time to read. You find yourself then in the gift shop, which is home to all the products they create. I was most surprised that they make popcorn too.
Cape Cod is a beautiful place to visit and I’m happy we stayed in Provincetown because there is a lot to see and do. We rented our bikes for an entire week but it is best to drive to other towns since the highway is sometimes the only route that connects them. Though I did get my renting a house at the beach experience, it still differs from the typical scene since it is not a commercialized town. Instead, Provincetown is filled with local artists who all want to show you what they can create. I found this town to be great for some R&R but it also gave us plenty to see. At the end of each day, we were exhausted. Without hesitation, I would return to Provincetown for another week at the beach.