Cape Cod Day Trip: Wareham
Wareham is considered the gateway to Cape Cod, and Onset is one of the most underrated picturesque villages in the Cape area. I could spend the whole day in Onset, and I sometimes do since I have a summer home there. However, my assignment is to bring to light things to do throughout all of Wareham.
Cup 2 Café, which is open seven days a week from 6 am-3 pm, should be your first stop. Serving both breakfast and lunch items, the owner knows just about everyone who walks in the door, and the staff treats everyone as a local. The veggie burrito made with egg whites, goat cheese, baby spinach, tomato, scallions, and avocado in a wheat wrap is delicious and the perfect way to start the day. Cup 2 Café offers a variety of coffees, smoothies, and protein drinks. As I choose a cup of the Kona Blend, it dawns on me that this place, with its small-town feel, reminds me of a coffee shack in Hawaii.
Now to Onset Village for lunch at Stonebridge Bar and Grill. Established in 2003, the Stonebridge serves a menu featuring fresh, local ingredients handpicked by the chef/owner. From the sprawling back deck overlooking the water, I order the fish tacos made with fresh haddock, romaine, tomato, guacamole, and a spicy Bayou sauce wrapped in a soft taco. The grilled pizzas are also delicious. The atmosphere is relaxed, and you can see water in every direction.
East Wind Lobster & Grille is the closest fish market to Wareham, just over the town line in Buzzard’s Bay, and it’s always busy. You can drive up by boat to one of its many slips or arrive the traditional way, by car. Not only can you buy fresh fish at East Wind, the place is a quintessential Cape Cod clam shack, where fried seafood is the most popular item on the menu. My husband has a 19’ Aquasport that we motor to East Wind, through the opening of the canal, past Mass Maritime Academy and under the bridge. It’s a tradition at the beginning of every summer season—usually Memorial Day weekend—that we get lobsters and steamers to go, and have a traditional clambake at home.
With the sun shining down and the protective glass up to block the wind off the water, Quahog Republic is the perfect place to stop for an afternoon respite from the elements. The sister restaurant to Quahog Republic Dive Bar in Falmouth, this outpost opened in 2012 in Onset village and is a great spot to have a refreshing drink and a bite in the middle of your beach day or when you’ve had enough sun. Try the delicious local Onset oysters with a Dr. Flynn’s Mai Tai.
You are not a true New Englander if you don’t love ice cream. Perry’s Last Stand has been serving ice cream for more than 20 years. They have over 40 flavors in hard or soft serve ice cream plus a smattering of frozen yogurt flavors. From the basic vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry to Milky Way, Peanut Butter Fudge, and Salted Carmel Chocolate Covered Pretzel, they’ve got something for everyone.
Another must do is the Sunset Cocktail Cruise offered by Hy-Line Cruises, a great way to tour the Cape Cod Canal, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. It is the widest sea level canal (without locks) in the world and completely man made. You can view all the activity on the mainland’s former maintenance roads, now full of people walking, biking, and fishing along all seven miles. As you come out of the canal at the end of the cruise, with the sun setting over Wickets Island, listening to music and having a cocktail, you can’t help but sigh with contentment.
The menu at Ella’s Wood Burning Oven Restaurant flows with the change of season and availability of the freshest ingredients from local New England farms and waters. I love the open kitchen and appreciate being able to see the people cooking and plating my food. The smoked pork chop cooked in the wood oven and served with a maple mustard sauce and red cabbage, red watercress, and apple salad is amazing. The pork is tender and delicious with just a hint of the wood smoke. I have been to a lot of wood oven pizza restaurants but never had my entrée cooked in one.
I would like to say that I finish the day in a place that everyone can go and enjoy themselves, but it’s my own yard, in an Adirondack chair, looking at the ocean, with a nightcap in hand. Sorry folks, but this one I won’t share.
Cup 2 Café, 3175 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham