Guest Post by Blogger Megan Jensen
Last week I had the opportunity to go whale watching in Barnstable with Hyannis Whale Watching Cruises. Before coming to Cape Cod, I had heard about all the fantastic marine life off this unique spit of sand. During my first week here I was lucky enough to see Harbor Seals off of Race Point Beach in Provincetown. But I had yet to see any whales, and was excited to take to the high seas like a modern day Herman Melville.
I got up early in the morning, hoping to catch the earlier of the two daily cruises. Hyannis Whale Watching recommend arriving a least an hour prior to the cruise departure time – and I recommend calling ahead of time concerning availability and precise cruise times.
After a quick stop at Pie in the Sky for breakfast, I headed to Barnstable for the 9 am cruise (it’s about 50 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn). Parking is an additional cost to tickets – around $15.00. I recommend arriving early so you can get good seats on the boat (but once the cruise begins everyone moves around and stands up).
The first hour is informational, as you make your way out of the harbor with stunning views of Sandy Neck Lighthouse and Provincetown. As you pass Provincetown, you head out towards the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary for the whale sightings – and the real excitement begins.
I had not anticipated how great, and close, the sightings would be! I recommend sitting at the top (open to those over 18 years) since you can easily see all sides of the boat. We saw tons of Minke and Humpback whales, many with calves cavorting alongside them. It was amazing to see the whales catch fish and truly beautiful to watch them dive, flip their tails and empty their blowholes.
I highly recommend taking a whale watching cruise during your visit to Cape Cod. I was worried it might be touristy, or the whales would be hard to see, but I was very impressed with both the cruise and the staff. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and to dress in layers! The ship has tons of snack and drink options but feel free to bring your own as well.
After whale watching, I stopped by the Cape Cod Beer Micro Brewery that is just down the street for a quick tasting and to pick up a souvenir growler. Other nearby attractions includes the Oldest Wooden Jail in the United States, and the Coast Guard Museum. If you are looking for a bite to eat Osterville Fish Too is right next to the Whale Watching Cruise parking lot. I tried the XL lobster roll and it was delicious!
I hope you get a chance to spend a day with the whales like I did – it was really unforgettable!
Remember the story of the red chair? You know, the image I put on Facebook that inspired a visit from a Californian photographer who then sent me the most amazing photograph she had taken of the chair? I wrote all about this last spring, and told everyone I ever met all about it, and you can catch up with the story here.
Well, now the red chair is headed on a very unique trip. I have reached out to innkeepers all over Cape Cod. This chair is going to have the most amazing spring visiting the very best places to stay on the Cape and Islands.
Having checked in on the phone with these fabulous hoteliers, I can genuinely say I am jealous of the chair’s journey. I too want to spend five weeks crisscrossing the Cape, exploring every nook and cranny from the dunes of Race Point to the shops of Nantucket, from the farms of Martha’s Vineyard to the sand flats of Barnstable Harbor. I too want to try a growler of Cape Cod beer in Hyannis, or see the whales and dolphins off Provincetown, or chow on steamers in Truro, or skip the boardwalk in Sandwich.
Why send a chair on a journey like this? Because, like the surrealists used to say, this chair is not just a chair. It is a metaphor, an invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place. It is an open seat at the table of relaxation. It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature where you can lose and find yourself at the same time. It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.
And that, my friends, is why the chair needs to travel!
Today I prepared my heart, then drove the chair to thirty minutes up the road to the lovely village of Sandwich where the chair will be hosted by the Belfry Inn and Bistro for a few days. This is a really cool place — a converted church with all the stained glass still intact. I must admit, I felt a bit like a mother taking their child to overnight camp for the first time! I mean, all the preparation I have put into this trip, and when it came down to it I really did not want to let that chair out of my hot little hands. I was feeling anxious and worried, wrote a long note to my fellow innkeepers about it’s care and safekeeping, even fretted a little about leaving it on side deck rather than handing it directly to the next innkeeper.
But I have to remember, the soul of this chair was meant to be shared. I found it at the swap shop, and so much joy has come already from sharing it. I have to believe more joy, laughs, curiosity will come as others are touched by it too.
Some nostalgic images of the chair at the Woods Hole Inn before it headed out:
Oooh, that Cape light.
On a foggy day:
Then getting ready to head out today, with a little note that says “Read Me!” filled with instructions and well-wishes.
Here we are all loaded up in the car:
Arriving at the Belfry Inn in Sandwich MA, a lovely 30 minute drive on a windy bright day:
Isn’t everything better when shared?
More to come on this story, plus read about it directly in a new blog called RedChairTravels.com.