Cape Cod Day Trip: Dennis
By Roberta Harback
An overcast day on the beach may be a disappointment for fellow sun worshippers like myself, but no need to pout…there’s still plenty to do on the sound side of Dennis.
It’s early and nearly low tide, so I grab my pail and head to comb the beach. I find nothing more relaxing than strolling the shoreline looking for all kinds of treasures from sea glass, lures that have escaped their poles and intact moon and conch shells. You can walk along the coast from Belmont Street on the West Harwich/Dennis Port border to the Swan River on the Dennis Port/West Dennis line approximately three miles in length. West Dennis and Dennis Port offer 16 beaches. Most of the streets off Old Wharf Road (south of Lower County Road) lead to a stairway to access the beach. Though some of the beaches may be private, walking the shoreline is permitted).
When I return with a bounty of treasures, my husband waits impatiently for breakfast, his quick fishing jaunt over to the Swan River was without success. Today we head to Red Cottage Restaurant for a breakfast feast. Crepes, waffles, omelets and myriad Benedicts (Irish, Crabby, Lobster to name a few) are menu features. Red Cottage home fries are just decadent, smothered in mushrooms, ham, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and topped with hollandaise sauce…you just have to try them when you go.
Another great breakfast suggestion is Woolfie’s for homemade bakery products. I love their huge chocolate chip muffin. Danish and croissants and overflowing breakfast sandwiches complete the menu.
The sun still hidden behind the mid-morning haze, we head on Route 28 toward Yarmouth pulling off to the side right before the Bass River Bridge to enjoy the boat activity. I miss seeing the Jolly Captain, a large figure of a captain overlooking the river. It was blown off during a storm a few years back and never replaced.
Turning back towards Dennis, my husband, who is always a good sport, stops along the way to visit my regular haunts: Wicked Thrift, vintage clothing and accessories; Cuffy’s—who doesn’t need of a new sweatshirt; The Christmas Tree Shops, always a fun way to spend $30; and Hart Farm, loaded with annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Grab one of their wagons and you’ll have it filled before you know it.
We stop at Cake & Islands to pick up some macarons to bring home to my daughter; they make over a dozen different flavors all in vivid brilliant colors. Sea Glass Candy is also available and almost too pretty to eat.
My husband is getting antsy and wants to stop at The Dog House for a chili hotdog, onion rings, and fresh squeezed lemonade. Vegetarian? Veggie and salmon burgers are on the menu. Still full from breakfast, I hold off and we head to PG’s Farm Stand for some fresh fruit.
Stopping next in Dennis Port Center we head to Buckies Biscotti where I grab the last coveted loaf of spice bread, delicious as is or toasted with butter. Buckies also stocks fresh baked biscotti and various sweet treats to satisfy everyone’s guilty pleasure. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches, wraps and panini round out the menu. For the pizza lover there’s Dennisport House of Pizza or Joey’s Pizzeria.
South Dennis offers the Tony Kent Arena skating rink; Cartwheels, which has batting cages, trampoline basketball and an arcade in addition to go carts; and a movie theatre all off exit 9 to keep kids of all ages happy on rainy, overcast days. In nicer weather, you can rent kayaks or paddle boards and meander up and down Swan River at Cape Cod Waterways. Holiday Hill offers miniature golf family fun.
The dinner bell is ringing and again we can’t decide between our favorite stops, so many great choices, so few dinners. Gerardi’s Cafe, formerly of West Dennis, now in South Yarmouth has the best Fettuccine Alfredo I have ever consumed. Serving traditional entrees for over 15 years, owner/chef Diego and his wife Sasha Gerardi, keep the focus on fine Sicilian-inspired Italian cuisine, fresh local seafood and homemade desserts. They offer special 3-course meals when seated before 5:30 pm.
The Ocean House sited right on beautiful Nantucket Sound has delicious meals. Here there is no wrong dining choice, but do start your meal with the yellow fin tuna tartar “ice cream cones.” Ocean House was recently named one of Open Table’s most scenic restaurants in America for 2016.
The Oyster Company shucks the freshest of oysters farmed in Quivet Neck by the Oyster Company and neighboring farmers. Before 6:30 pm daily, you can enjoy these briny bivalves for only $1.25 a piece. Reservations are strongly suggested for all evening dining.
Wherever you dine, save room for dessert at the Sundae School. In business over 40 years, they feature fresh made ice cream varying with the seasons. Blueberry ice cream made with fresh steamed berries is a family favorite.
We end the evening early at the outside Beach Bar at the Ocean House for a signature cocktail and a little live music when, lo and behold, the sun breaks through the clouds.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
Buckies Biscotti, 681 Main Street Route 28, Dennis Port
Cake & Islands, 587 Main Street, Dennis Port
Cape Cod Waterways, 16 Main Street Route 28, Dennis Port
Cartwheels, 11 South Gages Way, South Dennis
Dennis Port House of Pizza, 481 Main Street Route 28, Dennis Port
The Dog House, 189 Lower County Road, Dennis Port
Gerardi’s Café, 902 Route 28, South Yarmouth
Hart Farm, 21 Upper County Road, Dennis Port
Holiday Hill, 353 Main St Route 28, Dennis Port
Joey’s Pizzeria, 197 Lower County Road, Dennis Port
Ocean House, 32 Ocean Drive, Dennis Port
The Oyster Company, 202 Depot Street, Dennis Port
P&D Fruit, 349 Lower County Road, Dennis Port
Red Cottage Restaurant, 36 Old Bass River Road, South Dennis
Sundae School, 381 Lower County Road, Dennis Port
Tony Kent Arena, 8 South Gages Way, South Dennis
Woolfie’s Bakery, 279 Lower County Road, Dennis Port