To enjoy Cape Cod in winter, you must abandon all previous thoughts of what makes this remote peninsula so alluring at other times of the year. Gone is the penetrating warmth of summer sand, and the omnipresent mopheads of hydrangea blossoms. What remains is stark, cold, and infinitely beautiful.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” –Albert Camus
At the Captain Farris House, we welcome the change of seasons. Though we’ve said goodbye to long, lazy beach days and the brilliance of fall foliage, winter brings with it an opportunity to take a step back, slow the pace, and appreciate nature in its winter garb.
A brisk walk along a sandy shoreline is perhaps one of the most invigorating outdoor activities to enjoy on a winter’s day on Cape Cod. Waves crashing and seagulls screeching overhead. The sky an impossible blue. And you alone on a beach. If you brave the cold and bundle up, 560 miles of coastline await your footsteps. The natural beauty that you love in summer is even more beautiful in the depths of winter.
But the beach is not the only place you can connect with nature on Cape Cod in winter. Miles of paved bike paths, public walking trails, and nature preserves beckon just as loudly in winter as summer. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the places you can explore on foot.
- Beebe Woods is a 383-acre conservation area with extensive hiking trails just off the main streets in downtown Falmouth. Take Depot Avenue to the top of the hill. The trails lead out to two different ponds with signs marking the way. Maps and trail guides are available at the 300 Committee Office, 157 Locust St., Falmouth.
- Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has a network of walking trails through the marsh behind the Museum that lead out to Cape Cod Bay, with additional trails across the street. The Wing Trail goes through upland woodland, salt marsh, dune and tidal flats on a mile-long round-trip walk. Tides can limit access, so check for times of low tide, unless you’re willing to wade through ankle-deep water for a while. For two quick strolls, the “Loop” and South trails at the museum provide a quarter-mile and three-quarter-mile trail, respectively. 869 Route 6A, Brewster, MA.
- Nickerson State Park also in Brewster, offers miles of trails that wind though acres of undisturbed woodland and around eight ponds. 3488 Route 6A, Brewster, MA.
- Punkhorn Parklands provides miles of trails that can be accessed from Run Hill Road, off Setucket Road in Brewster. The Punkhorn also offers opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, birding and picnicking. It’s wise to take a map of the parklands with you before you set out to hike, because the network of trails can be confusing. Nearby is the herring run, located at the intersection of Satucket and Stony Brook roads, just down from Run Hill Road.
- Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary provides five miles of trails that wind through varied habitats, including woodlands, salt marsh and heath restoration. 291 Route 6, Wellfleet, MA.
- Cape Cod Canal is bordered on either side by paved service roads perfect for walking, bike riding, and in-line skating. Access Cape side trail at the end of Freezer Road in Sandwich.
- The Murkwood Conservation Area covers 79 acres in East Sandwich, and a short trail meanders through a lovely woodland just off Route 6A near Scorton Creek.
- Chatham Light to Monomoy Point Light is an 18-mile walk, much of it through sand and along the beach from Chatham Light at the corner of Shore Road and Main Street in Chatham to Monomoy Point Light on South Monomoy Island.
After a long walk outdoors, the promise of a soothing cup of tea, a warm berry scone, and a delicate array of tea sandwiches seems the perfect way to end your day. Join us for afternoon tea served in our charming dining room and indoor courtyard space. Reservations are required, so book your tea time in advance. Then relax with family or friends over a warm, inviting cup of tea after a day spent savoring Cape Cod in winter.