Monday, September 10, 2007

Cape Cod in the Fall

One of the things I love about living on Cape Cod is the way the people leave at the end of August. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a tourist-hater - but the drop in population (and traffic) is always welcome. Since we moved here almost 8 years ago, the year-round population has increased to almost 250,000 residents spread throughout the Cape. In contrast, I read a recent article that said almost 6 million people visit the Cape each year, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of the state of Massachusetts!

With this kind of population explosion and contraction each year, many businesses shut down for the off-season. Over the years that we have lived here, I have discovered many year-round places to enjoy, but if you are thinking of coming here for a visit, I recommend coming in the fall. September and October are great down here - the weather is mild, still hot enough for the beach at times but cooler at night. The seasonal businesses don't begin shutting down until the end of October. You can drive up to almost any restaurant, park right in front, and be seated immediately, no matter how crowded and exclusive it may be in the summer months.

The best part is the great outdoors. Right now, it's green and lush outside, but in a few weeks, the colors will start to come out. The cranberry bogs will turn scarlet, and the trees will flame, and a walk around the bog in the back of our house will be a new adventure for my kids. The bugs that make slogging through the woods miserable for them will go away, and as the undergrowth thins out the kids are happy once again to go poking around for rocks and leaves and twigs - treasure!

If you are thinking of coming to the Cape in the fall with your kids for outdoor fun, The Insider's Guide to Cape Cod website has loads of information. There are conservation areas and walking trails all over the Cape. One of our favorite places is the Botanical Trails in Yarmouthport. You can also find guides on the websites of most towns under conservation or recreation. For example, here is the list of downloadable PDF files for various Barnstable trails.

For rainy days, there are other options, such as the Cape Cod Children's Museum, but honestly? Some of the best nature walks I've had with my kids have been on these not-too-warm, not-too-cold drizzly fall days ...just like today!


Fairly Odd Mother said...

I love visiting places just 'off season' from their craziest time. We hoped to go to Nantucket this September but it isn't going to happen. But, Yarmouthport is driveable for a day trip, so maybe we'll try that instead!

Mrs. Chicky said...

My sister lives on the Cape and has the same feeling about the tourists you do. Because she has a restaurant she's happy for the tourists to arrive but as a resident she's thrilled to see them leave.

As for me, I hardly ever visit her in the summer. Way too crazy. But if there's a nice 75 degree day next week I think I'll pack up my kid and head down there for a beach day. No crowds!

pinks & blues girls said...

You've made me want to plan a trip to the Cape very soon!!

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

I have been trying to organize a little trip to the Cape, and your post has made me determined to do it soon. My son-in-law (he's from Pittsburgh, but has spent years here in the Northeast) has never been to the Cape. It is almost incomprehensible. He LOVES rock hunting with his boys, exploring off-season, etc. He thinks Mantauk, Long Island is the cat's meow! Oh, how misinformed!

Thanks for the impetus to get moving with my Cape Cod plans!

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

Ruth Dynamite said...

Yes - fall is my favorite, too.

I'll be there very very soon and I can't wait!

Mrs. Chicken said...

I'm only a summer resident on the Cape, but I, too, long to be there when those who are fleeting visitors leave, and I can enjoy the beauty of that spot without disruption.

I am envious of you, Velma. Very, very envious, as I stare out at the flatlands of Urbana, IL right now.

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Things To Do On Cape Cod said...

There are a lot of things to do on Cape Cod. It is an exciting place where you can find amazing beaches, great lodging, good food and wonderful people!

Chuck Stevens said...

My family and I visit every summer, but I always try to make it back for a week during the fall. It makes for a nice get-away for just my girlfriend and I. It may not be somewhere tropical, but we really enjoy how quiet and peaceful it can be. Definitely nice to get away for a week and relax. Not as much is open, but the small eateries that are have become some of our favorites. We always wait till the end of the summer season to check out all of the Cape Cod vacation rentals to find a place we haven't stayed at yet.