EXPLORING WAQUOIT BAY
The autumn boating season is a great time to visit some local destinations that are often too crowded during the summer months.
One such port of call in local waters is the beautiful reserve at Waquoit Bay, tucked away on the southern shore of Cape Cod between Mashpee and Falmouth. Once inside the narrow channel off Vineyard Sound, the shallow waters of the Bay provide acres of cruising fun, empty beaches to wander and even camping on Washburn Island. On the east side of the bay is the South Cape Beach state park.
Boaters will find a few amenities at the head of the bay, such as White’s Landing in East Falmouth or Great River Landing in Mashpee. But fancy restaurants or marina services are few and far between, which is why many boaters love exploring here.
Fishing in these warm, shallow waters is always fun; and in the fall, the migrating bird life is active.
Pack a picnic and plan an afternoon to explore this wonderful little bay.
NEWPORT IN THE FALL
It’s not that long a journey from Cape Cod over to the mouth of Narragansett Bay (you can stop over at New Bedford in Buzzard’s Bay if you need a break), and you will find this picture-perfect Colonial town at its best time.
In the summer, Newport is chockablock with tourists and boaters, and for good reason: the harbor is well protected, the town is full of great restaurants, shops and historic sights, and those magnificent mansions on Bellevue Avenue are always worth a visit.
In the fall, the crowds dwindle (except for the occasional cruise ship which anchors out in the Bay and disgorges a thousand passengers at once), the weather is usually warm and crisp, and all the delights of the city are there for the exploration.
It will be easy to pick up a mooring or a slip any time after Labor Day, and the marina’s launches will bring you right into the heart of old Newport: explore the shops along the many wharves or on Thames Street. Wander up the hill to explore the old churches and historic buildings. You likely won’t need reservations at any of the great seafood places on the waterfront.
Newport is a great destination any time, but its perfect for a long boating weekend in the fall.
For info, visit www.discovernewport.org
P-town is another favorite fall destination for New England boaters: the crowds and temperatures are down, but all the fun of the place is still there to be sampled and savored.
In the autumn months, the inner harbor at Provincetown is usually emptied out. Hail the Provincetown Marina on Channel 09 to get a mooring or a slip.
Once ashore, you can wander at will up and down the streets, sampling the restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee houses, or stopping in for a full lobster dinner at places like Victor’s, Ross’s Grill or The Pointe. Most of P-town’s galleries will stay open at least through Christmas, and you can probably find some good end-of-season sales.
From P-town, it’s just three miles out to sea to the Stellwagen Bank, where some big fish lie in wait. The daily whale-watching expeditions are also still running through the fall. Ashore, you can climb the Pilgrim’s Monument for a 252-foot view of Massachusetts Bay, or catch a ride out to the monumental sand dunes along the Cape Cod National Seashore in Truro.
On your way back home, boaters can poke along the inner coast of the Cape, stopping to explore quaint little villages like Wellfleet and Orleans.