Ah, late summer on Cape Cod. Now that the crowds have left, it’s a great time to visit and spend a long three-day weekend exploring your town, or just relaxing at home. The weather is still nice out, though it’s almost always delightful sweatshirt weather in the morning and the evenings.
Mashpee, located on the border of Upper and Mid-Cape, is one of the best spots to savor a long weekend, thanks to its multitude of dining and shopping options. We’ve put together a simulated three day weekend based on some of our favorite restaurants, shops and activities.
Day 1: Arrive Friday
Take your time getting here! Now that the summer has passed, the traffic at the bridge isn’t nearly as bad on Fridays, meaning you can basically come at your leisure. Arrive sometime during the work day and head straight for Mashpee Commons. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds; those of us that work 9-to-5 jobs on the Cape are all at the office or store, meaning that you can leisurely wander the Commons and not have to worry about crowds or waiting in line for lunch.
Speaking of lunch, give Trevi or Bleu a shot for your midday meal. Both restaurants are rightly known for their delicious (and pricey) dinners; their lunch menus are spectacular and offer a great deal on some of Cape Cod’s finest food. After lunch, work off the calories with a walk through the Commons, stopping into Spice Merchants to smell unique spice blends and sample loose-leaf teas from around the world. We challenge you to walk out of the store without buying something!
Most of the stores in the Commons are locally-owned and offer an eclectic mix of products; M Brann & Co has unique home decor and gift ideas, Village Trading Company has a wide variety of Cape Cod themed and sourced jewelry, candles and such, and the new Cape Cod Art Bar is a great way for grown-ups to spend a rainy afternoon enjoying a bottle of wine and learning to paint.
Once you’ve had your fill of shopping for the day, pick up something for the grill at Roche Brothers’ meat or seafood counter and throw it on the grill. A mix of either fish or a good cut of steak with late summer corn and mixed vegetables is a quick and filling dinner. If you have a slotted grill basket, you can pre-slice the vegetables and cook them alongside the steak; choices like zucchini, peppers and red onion will cook in about the same amount of time as the steak.
Day 2: Lazy Saturday
The weekend should be relaxing! Wake up when you feel like it and make your way over to Bagel Haven in Deer Crossing. This cozy breakfast nook offers freshly made bagels and a collection of house-made cream cheeses including mixed vegetable, jalapeño, chive and bacon and more. Order a bagel and coffee and take your time enjoying your breakfast either inside or on the small patio outdoors. If you’re a really late riser, they’ll put any lunch sandwich on their menu on a bagel (if they have any left from breakfast).
After breakfast, spend the day outside! Mashpee is criminally underrated as an outdoors destination; South Cape Beach and its trails, the Quashnet River, Mashpee Woods, John’s Pond and Jehu Pond are all well worth a few hours of your time. The wild areas down near the end of Great Oak Road are a hidden gem – take the old fire road to the end (bikes highly recommended) for a view and landscape unlike any other on the Upper Cape. For the less adventurous, rent a kayak or SUP from Mocean or Rideaway Kayak and explore Ockway Bay, Popponesset Bay and the Popponesset / Daniels Island area. It’s an easy paddle through gentle waters, and the homes along the way are extraordinary to look at, especially from the water. You can pull up on the Spit or the tiny remote beach along the Cotuit side and watch the tides come in and out.
Depending on when you visit, you may still be able to grab a lobster roll and a famous rum punch at the Popponesset Raw Bar. They usually stay open on the weekends through the beginning of October; The Lure right up the street offers a wider menu and a spectacular view of Nantucket Sound. Other great lunch options include the personal pizzas at Wicked, combo plates at Bangkok Thai and panninis on the patio at Siena.
For a unique dinner and a night out, head to The Lanes in Mashpee Commons. With a full menu, unique drinks and a lively atmosphere, The Lanes is a great spot to spend an evening. Be sure to get down there while the weather is still warm enough – their outdoor bar and seating area offers a nice change of pace from the occasionally very loud space inside. As one would expect, bowling is a great option here, and The Lanes has a full bar menu and table service in the bowling area.
Day 3: Getaway Day
Take a moment to breathe.
Unlike the summer, you don’t have to carefully plan your escape from the Cape. Though the demands of work often call loudly for a speedy return, ignore them and spend most of the day enjoying Mashpee. The town boasts a couple of worthy brunch options – whether it’s an old-fashioned American breakfast at the Picnic Box or a fancy sit-down affair at Bleu (order the pomme frites!), brunch is a must. Book an afternoon tee time at Quashnet Valley and play a leisurely 9 or 18 holes before heading back home. This course, located on Great Neck North about a quarter mile past Mashpee Commons, is a well-maintained and moderately challenging way to spend an afternoon. If you’re visiting in October, you may even be able to get a tee time on the Dunes Course at New Seabury!
The lack of visitors and traffic means that you can leave at any time and breeze over either bridge – so take your time! If you missed anything at the Commons or want to get some last minute rays in at South Cape Beach, do it. You’re on your own schedule; if the pull of Mashpee gets too strong to resist, let us know and we’ll work on making Mashpee your Cape Cod home!