Cape Cod: Jay & Tony’s Provincetown
The last few years, Jay and Tony’s Cape Cod headquarters has been Patuisset Island, in a cottage that’s been in Tony’s family for sixty years; for those of us less fortunate, we can rest assured there are plenty of places to rent and stay in the area.
From the island, Jay and Tony easily take day trips to small towns and villages across the Cape, where New England’s charm seems to simultaneously evolve and stay unchanged. Neat trick.
Patuisset Island is an hour-and-a-half drive from either Boston’s Logan or Providence’s Green airports. The island lies beside Pocasset in eastern Bourne, bordered on the east by a beach and by cranberry bogs on the west. (And truly, you had us at “cranberry bogs.”)
From this heavenly corner of Massachusetts, Jay and Tony’s favorite day-trip haunts are Falmouth, Sandwich, Mashpee and Chatham.
Falmouth is one of the closest towns to Patuisset Island, a 20-minute drive. Main Street runs right through Falmouth with several blocks of shops and cafes.
Their favorite restaurant here is La Cucina Sul Mare, one of the best Italian ristorantes they’ve sampled anywhere in the U.S. Chef/owner Mark Ciflone’s signature dishes are fresh, homemade northern Italian classics, and the service is excellent. Jay and Tony warn that though it’s always a busy place, La Cucina Sul Mare doesn’t take reservations; you have to just wing it by putting your name on the list and killing some time in neighboring shops and bars.
While in town, Jay and Tony will often rent bikes from Corner Cycle and take daily rides around the visiting old villages with Native American names (e.g., Scraggy Neck, Wing’s Neck, Tahanto Beach, Megansett, etc.).
Also in Falmouth, they recommend staying or eating at The Coonamessett Inn. Built in 1796, it offers six period rooms, meticulously landscaped grounds, and an exceptional restaurant with traditional New England fare.
In nearby Sandwich, they frequently visit the Dan’l Webster Inn, which has a cozy dining room and yet again, traditional New England cuisine. They recommend: Strolling the seaside boardwalk, poking into antique stores and galleries; checking out Hoxie House, the oldest home on Cape Cod; making an afternoon visit the Sandwich Glass Museum (for the best light, making the glass seem to glow); or treating yourselves to the all-year respite of the Heritage Gardens.
While family-run establishments are generally king on the Cape, there are a few exceptions. The Mashpee Commons is a fairly new open-air mall designed to look like a small New England village. Along with The Gap, a Starbucks, a Banana Republic, a Williams-Sonoma and lots of small, independent specialty shops, you’ll find Siena, which specializes in Tuscan cooking and boasts a hand-picked wine list.
The closest restaurant to Patuisset Island, the Chart Room, is about two miles away in Cataumet. Set on Red Brook Harbor next to the Kingman Yacht Center, locals have been parking their boats and dining here on fresh seafood for almost fifty years; it hasn’t been remodeled in all that time, and even though Jay and Tony love the place, they, um, try not to use the facilities. The look here is marine rustic, the scene very casual and it’s always crowded. Reservations will ensure you’re on the list, but you’ll still have to wait.
So, Jay and Tony try to arrive early to snag Adirondack chairs on the gravel terrace overlooking the harbor, a perfect spot to have a cocktail and enjoy a postcard-perfect sunset. On weekend nights there’s live music (usually a trio of piano, bass and singer performing standards), which only adds to the relaxed, old-fashioned neighborhood charm.
Jay looks forward to the Room’s clam chowder for months before he arrives, and he’s been known to wax poetic on their lobster roll (a Cape Cod classic of fresh lobster salad on a Portuguese bread roll). Tony recommends the award-winning gazpacho when tomatoes are in season, or the “Chicken Parm” special. Thursday through Saturday, the enormous prime rib here is one of the best cuts in New England.
<All photos courtesy of Jay Werner>
◊ What are your favorite adventures on Cape Cod? ◊