Despite the frigid thoughts you may have of a New England-coast winter,
Cape Cod can be pleasantly benign. The sea churns roughly and the wind
sounds its voice, but the Cape (www.capecodchamber.org) is always warmer
than the rest of Massachusetts throughout the Northeast's chilliest season.
VARIETY OF ATTRACTIONS
The Upper Cape, the part closest to Boston,has more than enough to fascinate its visitors.Interesting townships like Falmouth and delightfullittle towns like Sandwich sit a mere hour and ahalf from Bean Town. The Brewster Store remainsopen for its locals, and little tearooms still serveafternoon tea. The inns and restaurants with theirfireplaces aglow look like scenes from Currier &Ives. Sample the local chowder at classics like theOld Yarmouth Inn and, 5 miles away, the Beehivein the village of Sandwich.
THE CAPE'S PORTAL
Falmouth, spread over 44 square miles, has 68miles of coastline, the Nobska Lighthouse, and 6of Cape Cod's 36 golf courses. One of the firsttowns you find when crossing the bridge onto theCape's peninsula, Falmouth is a pleasant coastaltown visited by many, providing ferry rides to andfrom Boston and Martha's Vineyard.
"Visitors come to this 18th-century village," says Kelley Pratt, president of Falmouth'sChamber of Commerce, "because it's a tranquildestination, the real America with the volumeturned down. We have no theme or water parks;we're just a place where people live, have jobs, andenjoy each other. You'll find fishermen sharing apub drink with 1 of the 12 Nobel Prizewinnersfrom the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institutionnext door. We're a community."
America The Beautiful
Paul Revere cast the belfry bell in 1796 forFalmouth's First Congregational Church. Thechurch was relocated on the village green in 1857.Many historic homes surround the green, like the1810 house where Katharine Lee Bates, author of, was born in 1859.Her statuebeckons beside the library. The FalmouthHistorical Society owns her home and others,including the elegant Federal-style home built forphysician Francis Wicks in 1790.This is a workingvillage: The 1830 Hewins House has a dentist'soffice in the rear and a bed & breakfast in the front.
There are plenty of choices for overnight staysin Falmouth. Families should check out the Inn onthe Square (508-457-0606; www.ccrh.com). It'swithin walking distance of the historic attractionsand shops on Main Street and has a delightfulrestaurant, the Tavern on the Square. For dinner,consider the traditional place in Falmouth, theFlying Bridge. Its motto, "The only thing we overlookis Falmouth Harbor," gives its location.
Another great place to eat, especially with kids,is the Hearth 'n Kettle, 1 of 7 restaurants run bythe Catania family. They also own another attractionfor families, the Cape Codder Resort inHyannis (888-287-2200; www.capecodderresort.com.) The resort is perfect for winter—attractivepackages, large rooms with in-house movies, agreat restaurant, the spa and fitness center, a weekenddinner theater through April, and a hugeindoor wave pool with water slide.
The same family owns the more upscale Dan'lWebster Inn (800-444-3566; www.danlwebsterinn.com) in Sandwich, an ideal romantic spot forany couple seeking an elegant escape. Its roomswith antique-canopy or 4-poster beds, oversizedwhirlpool baths, and gas fireplaces are ideal forwinter. There are 5 dining rooms. Around the corneris another terrific place to stay: the Belfry Inne(800-844-4542; www.belfryinn.com), createdfrom an 1882 Victorian home and a 1902 formerchurch. When did you last sleep in a room with circularstained glass windows?
Stained glass is no stranger in a village thatpractically invented decorative glass. The SandwichGlass Museum shows the vintage glass madethere between 1825 and 1888. Two miles awaysprawls Heritage Plantation, with the Lilly family's(former owners of Eli Lilly) magnificent Americanaand automobile collection, the pharmaceuticalworld's gift to the American public.