The Perfect Week in New England
This was our first big trip with both kids, ages 2 and 4. We knew for this first trip we wanted to travel somewhere within in the United States (so we didn’t have to deal with COVID testing), but we wanted to visit a location that was different from anywhere we had been before. My husband had always had Boston on his bucket list, and Cape Cod had always interested me. These two places are so easy to do in one trip, as Boston is only 1-2 hours away from most Cape towns. We decided on 3 nights in Boston (2 full days in the city) and 5 nights (5 full days) on Cape Cod. We thought this would be the easiest (is any trip really that easy with little kids??) first trip with kids. We could get some quick sightseeing done in Boston and then spend the rest of the time relaxing at the Cape Cod Beaches.
Day 1: Late arrival in Boston
We had a 5 hour flight from Arizona to Boston. Our flight landed around 9:30pm. By the time we got our luggage and rental car and checked into the hotel it was almost midnight. We stayed at the Omni Parker House Hotel. I definitely recommend this hotel for historical significance (which I didn’t realize when I booked) and especially for location and ease of walking to many places.
Day 2: Our First Day in Boston!
Coming from Arizona where it is in the 100s in June, we loved the chilly cloudy weather we got in Boston. My sister and her husband (who lived in Michigan at the time) decided to join us for part of our trip. They arrived at the hotel that morning. We all headed to the Boston Tea Party Ship Museum (via the Old Town Trolley) and got on the wait list for the 12:30pm tour (about an hour after we checked in). We decided to have lunch while we waited instead of eating afterwards like we had planned (we didn’t expect there to be a wait at the museum). We all had a tasty lobster roll lunch at James Hook and Co. that was walking distance from the museum. The gentleman working there was so kind, he took an 8lb lobster out of the tank for the kids to see and touch. He even offered to let us hold the lobster while he took our picture and gave both kids a candy lobster lollipop! We headed back to the Boston Tea Party Museum and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately the kids were getting stir crazy so we had to quietly exit the museum after we tossed the tea overboard, so we didn’t get to see the part of the museum that was inside. My sister and brother-in-law said it was great though. Afterwards we took a walk through the Boston Common Park and Garden and took a float on the swan boats. We finished up with a walk through the Beacon Hill area admiring the old townhouses and cobblestone streets, with a nice photo stop on Acorn street. On our way back to the hotel we passed through a cemetery where both Paul Revere and Samuel Adams are buried. We rested for a couple of hours before dinner at Legal Seafoods Harborside. We walked around Boston Fish Pier while we waited for our table. Everyone’s meal was phenomenal. We had the Boston Cream Pie for desert and it was the best tasting one we had during our trip.
Day 3: The Markets
Today we spent the morning at the Boston Public Market, the Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. We had breakfast at the public market. I had a bagel which was great. We explored inside and also walked around the outdoor farmers market. We headed over to Quincy Market but it was too early before most of the shops and food vendors opened so we walked over to the Paul Revere House. We enjoyed seeing the old house and learning some of the history. The kids got a little bored again with the museum (to be expected at age 2 and 4), but the adults really enjoyed it. We made our way back to the Quincy Market and it had gotten much busier. We decided on lunch from the Boston Chowder Co. Everyone had clam chowder and I had the lobster chowder (not the lobster bisque). It was great! I thought it was the best lobster soup of the entire trip. Big chunks of lobster in the soup. We did some shopping and then decided to walk from here to the USS Constitution so that the kids could nap in their strollers on the way (otherwise we wouldn’t have walked). We all really enjoyed exploring the USS Constitution. We saw the Boston Monument (from afar) and then took the trolley back to the Parker House Hotel. We made a quick stop by the site of the Boston Massacre. We decided to take a break from seafood and headed to Chinatown to have some ramen and bao for dinner at WakuWaku (it was delicious). A good choice for a chilly day. We all shared a Boston Cream Pie for desert back at the Parker House, after all it is the original place for the Boston Cream Pie. It was extremely underwhelming, very dry and tasted like paper. Too bad.
Day 4: Lobster Clam Bake Dinner
We left Boston this morning and headed to Cape Cod, where we spent the next week at a beach house vacation rental in Eastham right on the water. Our check in wasn’t until 4pm so we stopped in Falmouth for a bike ride on the Shining Sea Bike Path. We saw the beautiful lighthouse, had a yummy lunch at Shuckers (best calamari of our trip), and saw Martha’s Vineyard island across the sound. Back in the car and made our way further up the Cape to our beach house rental, stopping for our groceries at Stop and Shop in Orleans (we put a pick up order in a few days in advanced for pick up at 3pm – everything was ready and they brought the groceries out to our car…saved us so much time!) The beach house was just a short drive further up the cape. Wow, the views from the house were spectacular. We had our own private stair access down to the beach (between Sunken Meadow Beach and Cooks Brook Beach). Even though we arrived on a Saturday, in early June with great weather, the beach was very quiet, almost like we had the place to ourselves the entire week! The beach is loaded with sea shells and all sorts of creatures (like crabs and snails) to keep the kids busy and happy! We ended the day with a lobster and clam bake dinner (picked up to go from Macs Market Kitchen) on the deck overlooking Cape Cod Bay. What a perfect start to our week on Cape Cod!
Day 5: Provincetown
Today we spent the morning exploring the beach at low tide (tide went out about 1/2 mile or more). Around 10am we headed towards Provincetown. We stopped at the Highland Lighthouse on the way. It was very busy in Provincetown but eventually found parking on the pier. We had lunch at Lobster Pot. Lobster rolls were delicious form here. After lunch we did some shopping along the Main Street and then drove to Pilgrims First Landing Park. A few of us walked across the Causeway while my husband stayed with the kids who were napping in the car. It was a fun experience but a very long and very hot walk! It was then time to check-in for our dune tour and beach bonfire with Art’s Dune tours. They are no longer offering the lobster clam bake with the sunset tour, so we got some chowders to go from Lobster Pot Express. The dune tour was nice, but the kids were tired and they didn’t have car seats in the SUV, so it was a pain trying to keep them seated during the drive (I’m surprised they take kids on this tour without offering car seats…). Everyone else said the dune tour was very fascinating and educational (I couldn’t hear a thing sitting in the very back of the SUV with two restless kids!). After the dune tour, our guide took us to Race Point Beach where he set up our chairs and started our bonfire. It was a beautiful evening on the beach, next to the fire, eating our chowders, and watching the sunset. We even saw about a dozen or so seals swimming by.
Day 6: Chatham
We said goodbye to my sister and her husband who were continuing on their road trip. We spent a majority of the day at the beach house, hanging out in the sand and tide pools. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, sunny, but not hot. It was perfect. In the late afternoon we headed to Chatham to watch the fishing boats return to the pier. We got there later than we wanted (we arrived around 3pm) and didn’t get to see any boats unloading their catch. We did however see some seals down below the pier and the kids really enjoyed that. We ate dinner at the Chatham Fish Pier Market. My husband had the ahi tuna bowl and said it was great. I had the fried calamari basket. It was very good, but did not beat Shuckers in Falmouth. We did some sightseeing in Chatham (Main Street, the lighthouse, and lighthouse beach… lots of signs here for sharks!). We stopped at the Ice Cream Cafe in Orleans on our way back. They have so many flavors of handmade ice cream. We each got a cone.
Day 7: The Beaches of Cape Cod National Seashore
After breakfast we headed over to Coast Guard Beach. It was another lovely day of blue skies and sunshine, in the low 70s. The beach was almost empty apart from a few other people. We stayed for a while and enjoyed watching the larger waves on the ocean side of the cape. We saw some seals and some surfers who braved the cold ocean water. When we were done, we made a quick stop down the road to see the Nauset Lighthouse and Nauset Beach. We picked up some lunch to go and brought it back to the beach house. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the house and spending more time exploring the tide pools since it was low tide around lunch time. We packed up some charcuterie to go for our sailboat ride out of Wellfleet Marina. We were running early so we decided to stop at Marconi Beach for 20 minutes. I thought this was the most picturesque beach we saw. There were also some beautiful lookout points over the beach with some great photo spots. We made it to Wellfleet and had a wonderful sunset sail with Captain Curley around Wellfleet Harbor. Captain Curley let the kids try steering the boat which they loved.
Day 8: A Relaxing Day
We woke up to our first rainy morning on the cape. We stayed inside relaxing for the morning. The weather started to clear by about 12pm. We headed to lunch at Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet. Had an amazing lobster roll. It was on the small side, but I think it was the best tasting one I had the whole trip. We did some shopping at the Atlantic Spice Co, really enjoyed this shop. And also stopped by the Chequessette Chocolate shop, a really fun shop with lots of chocolate and little souvenirs. I got a few bars of some unique flavors. I also got a cup of their Mexican hot cocoa and my husband got a maple breve. He said it was one of the best espresso drinks he’s ever had (and he is an avid coffee drinker lol). When we got back to the beach house, it was sunny and blue skies, not a cloud in sight, so we spent a few hours down on the beach before settling in for the night.
Day 9: Pirate Museum, Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower II
We checked out of the vacation rental around 10am and headed back towards Boston for our flight home the next day. It was pouring rain all morning. We decided to stop at the Whydah Pirate Museum, and I’m so glad we did. I thought it was excellent and enjoyed seeing all the retrieved pirate artifacts. The kids actually enjoyed this museum too! I personally thought it was one of the best museums that I have been to because it told a fascinating story of the Whydah Pirate ship. It was still raining when we left. We stopped at Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II. The rain had finally stopped. We had lunch and visited both spots. Both worth the stop if time permits. We had some extra time before check-in at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor, so we decided to drive around the Harvard campus just to take a look. We stayed the night at the Hyatt near the airport, which had really nice views of downtown Boston and the harbor. A nice view to end the trip.