Rainy day things to do on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain

Thankfully, we have plenty of sunshine on Cape Cod. Occasionally when bad weather comes, guests staying at the Captain Freeman Inn will ask us for  things to do during their stay. I have always loved a rainy day as I know all of our trees, plants and flowers will be watered to a level that’s hard to do with a hose. It also feels like the perfect opportunity to cuddle up with a good book. For those guests that want to venture out we always have plenty of umbrellas and suggestions of where to go. Listed below are some of our favorites:

Picture courtesy of Heritage Gardens
Picture courtesy of Heritage Gardens

1. Day trip to Sandwich village– where you can enjoy a high tea experience or British/European meal at the Dunbar Tea House and afterwards visit the Heritage Gardens and Museum. Heritage gardens is a wonderful collections of things to do both inside and outside. The gardens are filled with acres and acres of many different kinds flowers but their specialty is rhodedendrums. The museum has a year round automobile exhibit along with many interesting visiting exhibits. Last year there was a wonderful Norman Rockwell exhibit showing many of his works along with pictures of his favorite cars he used in his  historic paintings. There is something for both the young and old to enjoy at this wonderful attraction in Sandwich. The Dunbar tea house is just up the street and what could be better then  enjoying  a wonderful cup of tea with a homemade scone and tea sandwich on a rainy day?


2. Natural History Museum in Brewster This museum is just up the street from the Captain Freeman Inn and what a treasure we have close by. The picture above is the John Wing trail which takes you over a boardwalk where you can see the osprey nest and onto Wing Island. It’s just a short walk through the wooded area until you have magnificent views of the bay, one of our favorite spots on Cape Cod! Inside the museum you’ll find wonderful exhibits along with detailed information about the natural history of Cape Cod.

3. Newport, Rhode Island is just a short day trip from Cape Cod (about a two hour drive) Newport is known for it’s yacht club and the  grand mansions built in the early 1900’s. Our favorite mansion is the Elms but they are all worthy of a visit and are filled with many historical tidbits about the Vanderbilt families that lived there in the early 1900’s when there was no taxes and they had to find ways to spend all of their money:)
4. Our favorite thing in life is to go for a nice long beach walk with our dog Harrison. Even a rainy day walk on the beach can be magical. Brewster is know for our tidal flats where the water goes out for miles on a 6 hour cycle so depending on the time you visit you can walk out to the middle of the bay and see wonderful sea life at it’s best, including oyster farms on the flats.


5. Wine tasting at the Truro Vineyards with a stop at Atlantic Spice Company and PB Boulangerie. The Truro Vineyard has new owners, and they are making this a wonderful experience both for wine lovers and those that just want a fun afternoon. They have pioneered the art of maritime grape growing on the Cape. They are about 1/2 a mile from the ocean and the bay on either side, nestled in the hills of Truro on Rt. 6A and also have a distillery, South Hollow Spirits, producing Twenty Boat Spiced Rum from organic molasses and cane sugar juice steeped in spices sourced from Atlantic Spice Company in Truro. Their new food truck, Crushpad is open daily in the summer and is run by Blackfish Restaurant. Just across the street is Atlantic Spice Company. It’s a wonderful resource for kitchen gadgets and spices, all at a tremendous savings. Another great hot spot close by is PB Boulangerie which is part bakery, part bistro, and is known for their classic pastries & hearty French fare.

6. Shopping in Chatham- for those die hard shoppers Chatham is the place to go. Filled with many high end shops and galleries along with some fun resale shops (I have heard from guests a wonderful spot to find good values and high end resale clothing). We love to stop at Vers, a fairly new small French restaurant that has creative fare.

7.The New Bedford Whaling Museum is located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is about an hour and a half drive from the inn. The museum, through its collections and exhibitions, tells the story of the international whaling industry.The Museum also houses an extensive collection of fine art, including works by major American artists who lived or worked in the New Bedford area, such as Albert Bierstadt, William Bradford, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, as well as significant collections of locally produced art, glass, furniture, and other decorative arts that flourished as a result of the wealth that whaling brought to New Bedford in the 19th century.


The whale ship Lagoda, the world’s largest ship model, is housed at the central core of the museum and is fully rigged and outfitted for an extended whaling voyage. The Whaling Museum complex includes 20 exhibit galleries housed within several contiguous historic buildings occupying an entire city block within New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. It’s worthy of a full day trip to learn all of the history of whaling in this area.

8. Enjoy an old fashion game such as scrabble or Monopoly. We have an old fashion trunk filled with many games for you to choose from during your stay. Yesterday I played Scrabble with our son Nathan and had a ball!

9. The Brewster Ladies Library is just down the street from the inn. This is a gem of a library and has something for everyone year around…Author talks and book presentations, musical performances, book clubs, book reviews plus a super friendly and knowledgeable staff that’s very helpful. A great place to spend a rainy day!

New owners
New owners

10. Candle Pin Bowling  and barbecue in Orleans
David Currier had a dream. The Cape Cod native “born and raised on the ‘east side’” of Orleans, has talked about owning a restaurant for a long time. “When I was 10 years old I joked about opening a place called Big Bub’s Hung-over Pub with my uncle! My family has owned this building (the Orleans Bowling Center) since the ‘70s and had shares in it long before that. I grew up in a candlepin family,” he laughs. “Bowling was cool back then. People have made memories here over the years in the Orleans Bowling Center. All across the country candle-pin alleys are closing, and here we are bringing it back! After three and a half years negotiating with the town, we finally opened. Since March 2014, people are making new memories here over fried green tomatoes (with a creamy maple chipotle sauce) and racks of ribs, while bowling a frame or two with a pitcher of beer. “We traveled around and tried BBQ everywhere we went,” said Currier’s partner Brook Carlson. “We wanted to be different. Pizza, tapas and such are everywhere. Everything on our menu is made in-house, the three different BBQ sauces, the dry rubs and more.

Really fun and a great place to enjoy barbecue with old fashion bowling!


11. Take a ride on the Cape Cod Railroad– What a great experience to meander on a train. Picturesque views of the Cape along with a meal if you decide to partake. Also have some fun holiday specials.


12. Explore all of the 15 remaining lighthouses on Cape Cod. We once had a guest stay with us that was determined to visit and get pictures of all 15 lighthouses. It was so much fun hearing about their adventures each day.

13. Visit the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor’s Center– This is a wonderful free resource that we recommend to our guests visit no matter what the weather. Salt Pond Visitor Center is Cape Cod National Seashore’s main visitor facility, with frequent orientation movies, a well stocked bookstore, a comprehensive museum, and restroom facilities. The indoor theatre routinely offers 5 short films daily on a rotating schedule. Offering breathtaking views of Nauset Marsh and the Atlantic beyond, this Visitor Center is also convenient to the popular 1.5 mile Nauset Marsh Trail and the Buttonbush Trail, a .25 mile multi-sensory trail that featuring a guide rope and text panels printed in large lettering and Braille, and the Nauset Bicycle Trail.

14. Enjoy a tour of Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory and the Cape Cod Beer facilty.  Cape Cod potato chips have become very popular and now distributed across the US. I recently had a guest tell me that Cape Cod Beer is one of the best beers he’s had in a long time- I took that as a compliment to Cape Cod Beer after he gave me a very detailed reason why….he really knew his beers!

PIcture courtesy of Parnasis
PIcture courtesy of Parnasis

15. Byron and I love book stores and have fond memories of our date nights in Houston where we would get a coffee at Starbucks and spend the evening in Barnes and Noble 🙂 We were thrilled when we moved here to find Parnasis Book store in Yarmouthport. It’s filled with a collection of used and new books along with some rare collectables. Our Brewster Book Store is a local gem and filled with collection of Cape Cod books, an extensive children’s section, and a wide selection of hardcover and paperback books for readers of all tastes and ages.


16. Visit two of our favorite local art galleries- Trees and Addison Art Gallery in Orleans.

17. Last but not least see an artsy movie at Cape Cod Cinema The movie house is within the complex of Cape Cod Art Museum and is in a old historic movie building. You feel like you are back in the 50″s – a wonderful experience and the movies shown are usually historic or artsy and not the regular violent movies shown in the regular movie houses. We always enjoy! Oh and right next door is one of our favorite Fish Houses- Fin. Plan a great meal with a good movie after.

Ahhhhh, Exhaling on Cape Cod and loving every minute of our time here

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