New Year's trip to Orleans [Cape Cod, MA]

Fellow GBA HOs, I’ve basically assumed “lurker” status lately. I’ve been reading all of your contributions with much admiration.

Christmas was just ok. There was a health issue episode (my dad) and relatives not pitching in at all. So, I was a private cook for 4 days and I was ready to relax.

My gift to B and spring onion this year was a 4-night stay in Orleans, with privileged access to the north spit of Nauset Beach. First of all, the cottage was awesome, equipped with high-end cookware/dinnerware. And life on the Cape definitely resumes normal pace. It was just what I needed after a stressful holiday.

Saturday - An ok meal at Jailhouse Tavern. They were slammed but we had cheerful service and adequate pub food to fill our bellies. Neighboring/assoicated Hog Island Brewery was a bit of a crazy funhouse, but hey, it seemed festive. We had dinner in our gorgeous cottage.

Sunday - B was bummed about the Ohio State-Clemson game Saturday night, so some cheering up was in order. We decided to head up to P’town since the weather was going to be bad on Monday. First, we picked up some decent bialys from Whisk in Orleans. Cute space but too bready bagels (but spring onion didn’t mind). In P’town, we parked at the pier, found out we could stay all night for the evening’s NYE fireworks (spoiler: we didn’t make it). We made a beeline for our usual, Squealing Pig and managed to nab a table at 12:30 pm. Reliable, tasty food (veggie curry, salmon burger [though B was hoping for a filet rather than ground patty], chicken nuggets for spring onion). By 1 pm (and Pats game), it was packed but in a fun, P’Town kind of way. By the time we climbed the Pilgrim Monument, walked around town, hung out at the beach, we were ready to head home.

Monday - Big time rain all day long didn’t get us down. We had a lunch that hit the spot at the Yardarm. Perfect spot for the rainy weather - cozy, old school, unpretentious, reasonable prices, and great service. We only wished for a fireplace. I’m sure the locals like having their places like this back to themselves during the off-season. Seafood chowder was comfort in a bowl - thick and chock-full of varied sea critters, B enjoyed his chili although he needed some jalapenos to spice it up. Spring onion loved his foot-long hot dog, perfectly grilled (bun, too). We spent most of the day at the Orleans Bowling Center, which has an extensive BBQ menu. Too bad B was trying to watch his boyish figure. Next time, he promises to give it a try.

Tuesday (NYE) - We hang out at Nauset Beach and have lunch at the cottage before heading out to Chatham for the First Night festivities. We really enjoyed it - family-friendly, and a New England-y mix of secular and more church-y performances (but not preachy; we aren’t church-going folks) that were introspective and a peaceful way of thinking about good and bad times during the past year. As expected, all the restaurants were crazy busy, even at 5 pm. We eeked out a table at the Orpheum Theater, where I could imagine B and I having a date night at the tiny bar, followed by a flick. We shared some highly forgettable yet guilty pleasure deep-fried bar bites and wine and beer. More importantly, we had several interesting and rambling conversations with older local residents. We heard many versions of “it’s the Cape air that keeps us young.” We concurred.

We headed back home on New Year’s Day after one last beach walk (every day, no matter the weather, we always saw people walking the beach). On this day, there was a large group gathered on the beach - perhaps an annual tradition or in remembrance of a lost loved one? Who knows but we didn’t want to leave. A stop at Bass Hole boardwalk in Yarmouth was a lovely was to cap our New Year’s Day.


Thanks for the great review. We often hit Orleans in September for my birthday. If you head back in the near future add the Rock Harbor Grill to the list. Good food and a nice vibe. Family friendly or date night
at the bar.
Glad to hear the Yardarm is still a thumbs up. Have always liked their food.
How much beach was there at Nauset? Is it coming back?
Happy New Year!

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Oh-can you share your cottage info?


We didn’t go to the public part of Nauset. We were staying on the north spit, which was new-to-us and gorgeous.

The thought of seeing the former site of Liam’s is too much for me and B to bear.

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What @grumpyspatient may have been getting at – if not, I’m certainly curious – is how one gets hold of a cottage like that. Did you use some sort of agency, or do you have friends in nice places?

This time was AirBnB but we have been on the receiving end of some over-the-top generosity of friends in high places on MVI and Nantucket.

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Thanks. The number of people whose lives I wish to borrow is going up exponentially. I can see myself approaching your friends in high places: “Digga?” they’ll say doubtfully. “Yes”, I’ll reply, “I’ve gotten suddenly older and uglier, and have re-identified my gender, but I am indeed she.”

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You’re funny today :joy:

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Sorry. I’ll try and fix that.

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:joy: @fooddabbler Let’s all try to laugh more in 2020, okay guys?


That sounds like a wonderfully restorative long weekend @digga. Thanks for the report!

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YES @digga - an excellent idea!

Your post hit me with some deep nostalgia. My grandmother had a house in Orleans and we spent 20+ years of only vacationing there. It was bittersweet to sell her house but it would be a complete burden to manage and maintain. We are likely going to rent a house this or next year for a week. I’m thrilled some of our old haunts are still around and kicking. I had a very fun night at the yardarm one year in the middle of the winter where I walked back home haha!!!


Thanks for the lovely post, digga. We spent a few glorious days in Ptown at the end of the summer and were just saying that we should stay at Nauset in the near future. I’m not sure we can pull it off this coming summer since we have lots planned already, but we’ll get there soon. You honor both places beautifully.