Wellfleet: Lively and Eclectic All Year Long

cape cod vacation ideas

Thinking of a taking a day trip without venturing too far afield? Wellfleet is one of Cape Cod’s most eclectic towns, with a thriving artist community, National Seashore beaches, scenic walking trails, oceanside restaurants and historic houses. Although some locations close after Labor Day, many attractions and restaurants continue into the fall and even throughout the year.

Wellfleet is home to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which showcases the area’s beaches, woods, salt marshes and ponds in a 1,100-acre setting. Visitors can take a bird walk led by a naturalist or go on a guided tour of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Evening lectures are also offered. The Nature Center is open year-round.

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Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary: Photo via Facebook

The Wellfleet Preservation Hall on Main Street has a full schedule of events all year. Live jazz and folk music, along with independent documentary films, are presented in a renovated former church. There is also a regular schedule of Zumba and yoga classes.

Wellfleet is where Edward Hopper spent summers painting some of his most famous works, including “Cape Cod Sunset,” “Corn Hill” and “Seven A.M.”  You can take a two-hour tour that departs from the town pier, where you will be provided a history lesson on Hopper’s paintings while driving past the houses that inspired him.

The tour is actually better after Labor Day and into winter, because with the leaves off the trees, it is easier to see the houses that in some cases are tucked into the woods. The tour drives past 30 houses in Wellfleet and Truro, providing detailed background on each, along with information on the summer cottage Hopper rented from 1930 to 1933 before moving to his own studio.

Begin your day at PB Boulangerie & Bistro, a Michelin-star French bakery that offers fruit tarts, chocolate-almond croissants and filled baguettes that will make you think you’ve died and gone to Paris.

The town is great for taking a stroll and popping into the many art galleries. The walk from Main Street and down Commercial Street to the harbor will take you past a number of galleries, including the Left Bank Gallery, which is open year-round, and the Blue Heron Gallery, which remains open until mid-October. Both feature local and nationally known artists.

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Left Bank Gallery: Photo via Facebook

It is also great for taking it slow and relaxing, perhaps next to the quiet waters of Mayo Beach on the bay side or the slightly rougher waters of Cahoon Hollow Beach on the ocean side.

For serious exercise, head out to the dunes and forest along the Great Island Trail, which can be as much as a nine-mile loop if you to elect to venture all the way to Jeremy Point. The trail follows sandy stretches between the elevated heights of Great Island and Great Beach Hill, with the higher elevations offering spectacular vistas once you emerge from a pitch pine forest.

You could also follow the Boardwalk Trail across the saltmarsh to a sandy beach and the tidal flats of Cape Cod Bay. Or for something less adventurous, head to Marconi Beach, where you can take in the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp trail, a 1.5-mile nature trail that is peaceful and stunning.

Dinner offers a variety of options, from the casual and lively Pearl to the nearby Bookstore to the downtown Wicked Oyster. Pearl is the quintessential Cape Cod dining experience, featuring indoor-outdoor dining on multi-level decks with panoramic views of the harbor, including Mayo Beach, and Great Island. The Bookstore, also on the harbor, has been a local favorite since 1964. The main dining room at the Wicked Oyster dates to 1750. Wondering what to order? If they’re on the menu, and they usually are, you must begin with the world-famous Wellfleet oysters.

cape cod things to do

Wellfleet Pearl: Photo via Facebook

Finally, head back in time after dinner by taking in a movie on a 100-foot screen at the Wellfleet Drive-In, one of about 300 left in the country. After Labor Day, movies are screened inside at the Wellfleet Theater.

cape cod fall activities

Wellfleet Drive-In: Photo via Facebook

In so many ways, Wellfleet is a slice of Olde Cape Cod. Charming, quaint and a beautiful town to visit at any time of year.

 

Featured image via FreshNewEngland.com.

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