Things to Do on Cape Cod in the Fall: Explore Hyannis Harbor

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With continued concerns about COVID-19, boating was especially popular on Cape Cod this summer. Given that social distancing is pretty much built into boating, this wasn’t surprising. What is surprising is that All Cape Boat Rentals on Hyannis Harbor operates well into November, even later if they’re still getting calls.

We know that a great visit includes finding things to do on Cape Cod, so we were happy to investigate this new-to-us autumn option. Tough job, right?

Reserving our vessel, a 20’ Dauntless Boston Whaler, was easy enough. A quick phone call with details and a credit card number, and we were good to go. Parking is at Baxter’s Boathouse, the check-in kiosk and dock mere feet away. Prior to arriving, we stocked up on snacks and sandwiches. It’s possible our cooler also contained a couple of beers.

Check-in was fast and efficient, with a friendly dockhand providing a nautical chart and offering suggestions on where to go and hazards to avoid. Within minutes, we were motoring away from the dock and out into the harbor.

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We’d reserved a half-day rental, and our first thought was to head up the coast into Cotuit Bay. We took our time leaving Hyannis Harbor – a no-wake zone – following a ferry and a host of other boats. Before hitting the open water, we diverted a bit to sneak a peek of the Kennedy Compound and the Hyannis Port Yacht Club. Once we were beyond the jetty, the views of the famed Hyannisport Club, where JFK used to golf, and the swank waterfront homes were stellar.

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Not so stellar were the choppy waves in Nantucket Sound. Unlike boating in the ocean, which typically has larger, but fewer waves, providing a gentler ride, the sound is naturally choppier. Add a stiff breeze to the equation, which we were heading into, and boating can be a jaw-clamping experience. Luckily, the dockhand had pointed out coves to explore inside the harbor and the adjacent Lewis Bay. At her suggestion, we headed into Uncle Robert’s Cove, a natural inlet nestled along the shore of Great Island. And we’re so glad we did.

harwich ma hotels Although the cove was just yards from bustling Lewis Bay, it was a haven of calm: peaceful waters, and virtually no one else in sight. The only exceptions were a couple of dudes plying the waters on a hover surfboard.

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We dropped anchor and enjoyed lunch, and possibly a beer, and went for a swim. A small swim platform aft made getting back on board a breeze.

With our allotted time nearing an end, we puttered back out into Lewis Bay and opened up the engine. We ran out of nerve before the engine ran out of power.

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Back at the docks, there was a bit of a queue with other renters coming in as well, but the dockhands were clearly experienced in dealing with the end-of-day crush. We back in the car in no time.

Pack a lunch (and possibly a beer), and a sweater and get out on the water. You’re on Cape Cod. Spending a day at sea – or “at harbor” – is practically a requirement.

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