Every year, going on four years we have spent Memorial day weekend on the outer cape. Cape Cod is a 4:30 – 5 hour drive from NYC and is the perfect north-easterner’s vacation. Everyone should do it at least once in their life, especially if your looking to get away to some place quiet. This vacation is about relaxation, friends, some activities and great seafood. Our first year, the challenge was to find the perfect house. We knew that we needed a vacation rental and a hotel just would not do. My friend Ferlaisa and I began hitting up internet vacation rental sites. We complied a short list of properties that met our needs and shared with the rest of our group to get a consensus. In the end we chose a beautiful home situated in mature trees perched high enough that at night the sound of the ocean can be heard from the hot-tub, but more on the details later. We have taken to calling it the ‘tree-house’ and the owners Dick (who built the house) and Leslie are wonderful.Now that we had the biggest item on our check-list, checked off, it was time to settle into the details. Let me confess one thing right now, I’m the kind of person that likes an itinerary while on vacation. Okay, not extreme hour by hour breakdowns but a rough collections of interested activities sorted by day will suffice. Ferlaisa, was worst at the time. She planned a weekend trip to Ireland and I felt like I saw most of the east coast of that country in three days. Our list started looking a bit like this:
- Eat a great lobster-roll
- Go whale watching
- Rent bicycles and go exploring
- A bond fire on the beach
- Get a message
- Go kayaking
So, one night I could not contain my excitement any longer and had to get it out creatively. I opened up a graphic design program and constructed a flyer to share with my fellow vacationers. It provided them with all of the details for our trip and with that, we were ready to go.
We got on the road early, but eventually passed through Liberty Avenue in Queens to get a true Trinidadian breakfast – doubles, at Trini Delite. Then, we hit the I-95 and didn’t look back. We ran into some stop-and-go traffic in Rhode Island, but eventually we made it to the town of Wellfleet. It just so happened that a couple of weeks before we left, I was watching ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’ on the food network and Duff Goldman (of Charm City Cakes)mentioned that PJ’s Family restaurant had the best lobster rolls he had ever had. The segment showed him driving in Cape traffic for an hour just to get there. Let me add, another advantage of going at the beginning of the Cape’s tourist season, is low traffic volume. The one lane highway that runs from Sandwich all the way to Provincetown or P-town as the locals call it can get ridiculous by mid-summer. It just so happens that PJ’s was located just before the turnoff that lead into the town of Wellfleet. I could not wait to pull over and try one.
You have two options on how to order at PJ’s, belly up to the take-out window or dine in. I ordered a lobster roll at the window and at $16 dollars a roll, I was hoping that it would be worth every penny! My number was called and I picked up my take-out box. The roll was fulled with lobster and by my estimation about an entire lobster tail and a claw comprises this roll. I held it up and took my first bite. The first thing I tasted was the toasted buttery roll, followed by the perfect juxtaposition of chilled, sweet and creamy lobster meat. No celery or excessive mayonnaise to distract from what I must also now say it the best lobster roll I have EVER eaten!
Our getaway was already off to a delicious start as we pulled out of the parking lot at PJ’s and headed up to the house. We drove by, observing, getting used to the 15MPH town speed limits and getting our first looks at Wellfleet. It is the perfect little town with the epitome of a main street vibe. A church, a little dress shop, the towns only grocery store and other little shops we would begin to discover soon. About 4-5 minutes later and we were pulling up to the house at the end of a lush green cul-de-sac, when we saw what was to become our tree house.
We parked the cars in the crush gravel driveway and walked inside to greet the owners – Dick and Leslie. Immediately, I knew that we had made the right decision, the house was even more beautiful than the photos on the vacation website. They met us at the large front patio that wraps nearly 3/4th of the way around the house and includes a screened-in outdoor living room, perfect for early morning coffee or late afternoon meals. The front door leads onto a stone tiled foyer with ample room for shoes, a little seated bench, pantry, powder room and laundry. Then we entered the main living space containing a beautiful chefs kitchen with all the modern amenities, dining and living room area. Everything about this home is handcrafted from the most beautiful wood, leading your eye to an abundance of windows and a stone fireplace. Upstairs are two bedrooms with a gorgeous master bath, walk-out patio and hottub. Let me just say the hottub can easily accommodate 6 people and is state of the art. On the bottom level is another bedroom and bath, as well as a TV room than can accommodate additional sleeping arrangements. A short walk outside, is the quintessential Cape Cod outdoor shower, which should never be missed. The owners gave us their last operational instructions, wi-fi WEP key codes and bid us goodbye, stating that if we needed anything – they would be only a phone call away. We brought in our bags, groceries and began our vacation.
NEXT POST: Dinner at the Pearl and Whale Watching.