Archive for On Cape

Lesson Learned

This morning while starting off on a very familiar trail near my house Brya was spooked for the first time in her life. I thought she was afraid of one of the dogs approaching us and for the first time in her life did not come to me when called. Like any dog owner, I was embarrassed in front of the people with dogs near me as well as worried that she would run further away from me so I panicked.

I collected her and leashed her to continue our walk. Where than halfway through our route we heard it whining in the woods. I quickly remembered hearing of an injured coyote in this area from a few days ago.

As I thought back, Brya did not leave my side for the entire walk. Why didn’t I trust her instincts? We are fine but even old trainer can learn new lessons.

I have always thought of Brya being a good judge of character for both dogs and people. Why had I doubted her? Because it was early in the morning and I just want to get my walk done. Next time I will heed the warning and pick a  different trail.

Just goes to show you, if you really listen dog’s instincts teach lessons every day.

Happy Trails!
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At least I got this picture :)

15 Towns in 12 Months-December

Brew-Cliff Pond -1 2014December finally arrived! The weather on Cape Cod has been so mild this fall (now technically winter) that we have been crazy walking fools. Last but not least, we headed to Yarmouth!

First on the docket: Historical Society Trails You can find the trailhead at The Faith Tufts Gatehouse behind the post office on Route 6A in Yarmouthport.  These trails maintained by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. A generous 50 acres of conservation was once the first golf course on Cape Cod.  Built in the 1890s as a private course for the Thacher family, the course was used for several decades until generously donated to the historical society by Mr. Guido Perera, a descendent of the Thacher family.
If you look closely, you can still catch a glimpse of the golf course landscape.  We lingered too long at Miller’s Pond losing track of time.  Time in December goes fast, and we were losing daylight.

So we headed straight to Grays Beach.  I had heard a lot about this beach since my town of Sandwich has a boardwalk and this one rivals ours.  It was beautiful in its own way, however dogs are NEVER allowed on the beaches of Yarmouth which shocked me!  We had our photo op and were on our way. IMG_2436

Very disappointing  :(

We had just enough time for a quick walk, so we picked Dennis Pond Conservation area. With parking on Willow Street and Summer street, the trail is a quick out and back with nice view of Dennis Pond. This pond is shallow so there are many opportunities for viewing of wildlife.  A very pretty walk with option of a Power Line addition to the walk if you are looking for extra mileage.  Cute!

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Trail map: http://ma-yarmouth.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/701

 

 

 

 

15 towns in 12 months-November

November is here! Am I running out of steam? YES! Even though I am having 20 people for Thanksgiving dinner and family staying at my house, this challenge forced me to get out there to a new location and out of the local rut I tend to give in to this time of year when there is no “time” to go out of town.

Orleans is a connector town in my mind. This is where the rotary links the mid cape to the towns of the outer cape. My first trail was the Three Ponds Conservation Area. This 2 mile trail was interesting in its layout. It winds around Meadow Bog Pond and Sarahs Pond as well as a few house lots and streets, so keep your pup close by for safety.

Seabury Farm WBarn-1 Dec 2014 I parked at the Meadow Bog Entrance: From the intersection of Rt. 28 and Main Street in Orleans, follow MA-Route 28 toward Chatham for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Quanset Rd and veer right at the Y to stay on the road. Follow Quanset road to trail head on left (1.2mi). There is a 1-2 car designated parking area on the corner or park at the Town Landing 200 yards farther down the road on the right.

map was helpful http://orleansconservationtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/trails-three-ponds.jpg

Next Brya and I Headed out to Kents Pond Conservation Area. Another Orleans Conservation Trust property, the trail is about 1 ½ miles long. The outside loop of what is basically a finger peninsula in the northernmost part of Chatham Harbor and is intersected by several connecting trails to make the outing longer by winding around and around. There are benches to watch the beautiful scenery and a boardwalk with access to the water. STUNNING!! A Must See!!Parking is a lot at the end of Frost Fish Lane (watch for signs to Kent Point).

Barn-Sandy Neck stroll jan 15

Trail map: http://orleansconservationtrust.org/kents-point-conservation-area/

There are several other areas we did not get to but the two that peaked my interest were Ice House Conservation and Bakers Pond Conservation, both owned by the same Orleans Conservation Trust www.orleansconservationtrust.org

In season, the Main Street in Orleans has outdoor patio seating ripe for dining with your dog, but one can usually find a picnic table on a sun filled winter day to enjoy a salad. Don’t forget the beach policy for Orleans is Sept 16-March 14 dogs ARE allowed on all town beaches. Check out Coast Guard Beach for sure!

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-October

Brewster was the town of the month for October. What this town lacks in industry, it makes up for it in beauty and charm. This is a town that is reminiscent of “old cape cod”.   You won’t find a chain grocery store or restaurant in town, but there are many charming boutique shops and mom & pop stores. Make sure you pop into the Brewster General Store and you will feel as if you were transported back in time.

My first not so hidden gem of a nature trail is the Nickerson State Park. This park packs a big punch. With many fishing, biking and hiking trails, Cliff Pond was a perfect start! We started on Flax Pond Road at the parking lot in between Cliff and Little Cliff Ponds. Keeping the pond on our left, we made our way around the 3+mile loop    Brew-Cliff Pond May 2014-2        Brew-Cliff Pond April 2014

where there are many opportunities for the dogs to swim any time of year, and towards the end of the loop is a beautiful sandy beach where we stopped to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Trail map: http://www.mass.gov/eea/images/dcr/parks/trailmaps/nickerson.gif

Running through Nickerson is the Cape Cod Rail Trail which is a beautiful walk in itself!

The next trail we hit is adjacent to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, at 869 Main Street (Route 6A). Just west of the museum you will find a map at the trailhead. Dogs are only allowed October 1-April 30, so this was the perfect addition to our month! The weather cooperated, and although the trail is not long it is full of gorgeous scenery. You should be sure to check the tides, as the plank walkway across the marsh will be flooded at high tide

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As you transition from woods to marsh through another section of woods,

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you will eventually land on the beautiful stairway to the infamous Brewster Flats  that can go on for miles at low tide.

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Simply breathtaking!

http://www.ccmnh.org/The-Trails-of-the-Cape-Cod-Museum-of-Natural-History

Be sure to check out the Brewster Conservation Trust properties for more wonderful trails!! There are too many to list, so check them out for yourselves:

http://bct.capecodgis.com/ or http://brewsterconservationtrust.org/index.php/category/walking-trails/

All private land trusts are run by volunteers and donations, so consider possibly giving some time or perhaps money to save our open space!

Brew-Cliff Pond -1 2014      HAPPY TRAILS!

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-September

EASTHAM

 What a beautiful town in this beautiful month of September! This was a perfect pick as we transition from Summer to Fall here on Cape Cod.  Containing about 14 square miles and with a population of 5600 people, Eastham is home to the Nauset Regional High School. Interesting fact: this is the only school on the East Coast located within a national park –Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS)

IMG_7155The town of Truro allows dogs Labor Day- June 15 on beaches, so check out Dyer Prince Road and Rock Harbor beach. A recent update from the town: dogs are no longer allowed to run free on this beach, even though they had this freedom for a decade –Brya and I found it to be quite enjoyable in spite of the new rules

For a full list of Truro beaches, see the town web site (download the pdf) listed:  http://www.eastham-ma.gov/public_documents/EasthamMA_Recreation/index

 

IMG_7819       IMG_7598On the contrary, the National Seashore allows your pup on their ocean beaches all year long (on leash of course)!! Our favorite in Eastham is Nauset Light Beach. As the name hints, there is a beautiful lighthouse on the property. In season, the bath house is a nice addition to a very sandy day.

IMG_7814However, I was sad to learn that the CCNS does NOT allow dogs to walk on any trails in the reservation. I did double check this fact with a Ranger at the Visitor Center, and she did reluctantly agree with my findings. This is apparently due to the delicate wildlife that lives along the trails.  We need to share with all animals right?   :)

Do you recognize our clue to the right?  This was a hard one!  This bone is by the Fort Hill trail (dogs prohibited, but photos allowed)

 

Not to be disheartened by the bad news, we were off to locate our new trail find!! We headed out to Cottontail Acres.

IMG_7781 The parking lot for this trail is well hidden so keep your wits about you. Heading down Samoset Road, when you get to the intersection with Lawton Road on your left, start to take the turn but do an almost u turn into a paved road just before the property at 875 Samoset. Immediately you will run into the small turnoff which is the parking for this trail. Cottontail Acres is a short, cute hike that is well shaded with trees and beautiful by itself. If you are looking for more, cross Samoset Street on foot in the crosswalk and enter into another larger parcel named Wiley Park.IMG_7798 The trails in this 40 acre parcel not only surround Great Pond, but also several smaller ponds for multiple swimming opportunities-Yay! All in all we walked 3 ½ miles total and not only was it beautiful, it was very interesting with a few picturesque spots along the way

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Eastham didn’t appear to have too many spots for outdoor eating, but we did find Red Barn Pizza with picnic tables outside (pretty good pizza too); and Ben and Jerry’s for a treat after your lunch. Both located on Route 6.

A great resource when visiting Eastham with your dog is the Eastham Dog Owners Assn web page :

https://www.easthamdog.org/id30.html

Get out and enjoy!!

15 Towns in 12 Months-August

Summer has FLOWN by! Brya and I enjoyed our month in these two lower cape towns. They both are what we could classify quintessential cape cod summer towns. Their population more than doubles in the summer months and even with traffic, we always feel like it’s worth the drive.

Truro

This tiny town incorporated in 1709 boasts over 15,000 people once summer hits. With over 75% of its land designated as National Seashore, no fast food restaurants and no stoplights, some say Truro is the forgotten town between the popular Wellfleet and Provincetown tourist areas, but it is truly a gem worth exploring!

We started by hitting the Smalls Swamp trail. This loop around the swamp is a quick trip rich in plant life and history! This swamp was the set in the bottom of a former glacial kettle hole. This is just one of the numerous walks in the Cape Cod National Seashore which stretches from Eastham to Provincetown. Visit their site to see what else lies in store for you!

Smalls swamp sign        Smalls Swamp steps

How to get there: From the intersection of Routes 6 and 6A in North Truro, take Route 6 north for 2.1 miles, then turn right on an unnamed road signed Pilgrim Heights. Go 0.5 miles to a large, paved parking area on the left side of a one-way loop. Two trails depart from a trailhead at the northwest side of the one-way loop. The trail to Small’s Swamp goes left (northwest) toward the interpretive shelter. The trail to neighboring Pilgrim Spring veers right (northeast)

Brya and I love the water, so Truro is perfect for us! Your dogs are allowed on all National Seashore beaches YEAR ROUND on leash. All Truro town beaches welcome your pet after 6pm in the summer. We loved Coast Guard Beach, but there are so many more to sample, we will be back! Here is the list to choose from: http://www.truro-ma.gov/beach-office/pages/beach-list-information

Mayflower Bch 2014-2

While in town, be sure to check out Truro vineyards. A must see! http://trurovineyardsofcapecod.com/index.php

If you’d like to stay in this beautiful town on near the tip of the Cape, the Outer Reach Pet Resort is set on 12 acres in the National Seashore and perched atop a bluff with beautiful panoramic views of Provincetown and Pilgrim Lake http://www.outerreachresort.com/

 

Wellfleet

Being from the upper cape, I did the touristy things for 20 years. Wellfleet has an outdoor flea market by day and drive in by night-done it! The National Seashore has Marconi Beach with great wave action (most every time we see seals, yet where there are seals…….sharks do tend to follow)-done it! But to explore this town with Brya was such a great experience.

I really didn’t know that all National Seashore beaches allow pups all year long! Hard to believe, but I really didn’t. The deal is simple. You must keep your pet leashed and move past the life guard protected area. It is a little walk (so remember all your things in one trip) but it is truly a better spot! The beach is less crowded and we were able to get cell service. Be leery that most beaches require a lot of stair climbing/descending so it may not be a great place for an elderly pooch. Brya wasn’t a fan of the big waves at first, but soon grew to LOVE them! She actually body surfs!

Marconi waves 

Just this month we received some wonderful news!!! A trail once off limits to dogs is now dog friendly, and a must do! The Great Island Trail is just that, on an island. Therefore, you must watch the tides as it is inaccessible at high tide. Leashed dogs are allowed only on the trail from the upper Great Island main lot and the lower “gut” parking lot to the first dune and out to the beach….year round. Laminated maps are available at Great Island to direct pet owners to the newly opened areas.

Great Island sign     Great Island picHow to get there: Turn left off Route 6 to Wellfleet Town Center. Turn left onto Commercial Street. At town pier, turn right onto Kendrick Road, then left onto Chequesset Neck Road to the Great Island parking lot, 3-1/2 miles from traffic light on Route 6. Driving hint: Water view will generally be on your left.

Be sure to check out PJ’s family restaurant, Rte 6 & School St if you are looking for some good eats with your dog. (508-349-2126)

15 Towns in 12 Months-July

So its summer…..dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, right? Wrong!

In Provincetown, one of the most dog-friendly towns on the cape, dogs are welcome on the beaches on leash all year long. In fact, you may have your well behaved dog off leash from 6-9 am AND 6-9pm. But be sure to pick up after your pooch, if you know what I mean 😉 We have to keep the beaches clean so our furry friends don’t lose this invitation.

Ptown Beaches April 2014

Sometimes in the “dog days of summer” I get lazy. Not really, but I am definitely less motivated for a long walk. I think Brya feels the same way. Being near the water always helps! Just walking down the main drag of Commercial Street is a trip. Several stores and banks allow dogs inside the store, plenty of watering holes line sidewalks, and you can even get a dog cookie like we did at Paws & Whiskers Dog Bakery.

Ptown Aug 2014-4                       Ptown Aug 2014-5

If you are feeling adventurous, head out to the breakwater at the absolute tip of the Cape. You can walk for what seems like a mile, but I’m sure is a bit less, across this stone jetty and make your way over to the lighthouse. Be warned, this trail is 4.93 miles long, so make sure you time your tides right so you don’t get stuck……that’s right it almost happened to us, yikes!

https://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=XMR016-043

ptown breakwater

If you aren’t as adventurous of just feeling a bit on the lazy side, Beech Forest Trail is a cute trail that is just over a mile:  http://www.hikingcapecod.com/beechforest.html

Lastly, Try walking the neighborhoods of this hustling summer city and you never know who you will find! We walked by the Pilgrim Monument and realized we hadn’t actually appreciated the significance in a long time, probably since visiting in grade school! For those of you who live off cape, check out the story as we know it:         http://www.pilgrim-monument.org/overview-faq#.VbDB_nLbLj0

Ptown Aug 2014

I would be remiss without mentioning the Provincetown Dog Park, located at the intersection of Route 6 and Shank Painter Road     http://www.pilgrimbarkpark.org/

I didn’t see a lot of shade, so maybe not a great location for a mid day romp, but a great looking park.  Its nice for folks to have some human interaction as well!!   The dog park site also give you a great selection of hotels and restaurants that are dog friendly:     http://www.pilgrimbarkpark.org/Ptown.html

One fact remains, BRYA AND I LOVE PTOWN!!!!  Come down and enjoy!

 

Therapy Dogs Rock!

Brya and I just wrapped up our first season as a Therapy Team at CAP (Companion Animal Program).

Brya in scarf

I must say I have been drawn to volunteer work my entire life, and this job did not disappoint! After being certified, we visited nursing home residents, college students, rehabilitation patients, as well as the awesome middle school students at the Wixon School in Dennis Brya Wixon 4

People wonder (and we get asked frequently) how just bringing a dog in to a facility is therapeutic. Many studies have shown that Pet Therapy :

-Reduces anxiety, loneliness & helps people relax

-Stimulates communication, increases mental stimulation, and can act as a catalyst in emotional therapy process

-Makes reading easier for a child with a dog present and it is shown to reduce self-consciousness, it also helps to practice reading in a less stressful environment

-Lowers blood pressure and could reduce the amount of medication and not only slows your heart rate and decrease blood pressure, but the animal’s does as well!

-Helps with physical therapy by encouraging increased movement in joints, maintain & increase motor skills, and helps stroke patients exercise longer (studies show they walked up to 35% farther and 35% faster with pets than human therapists)

All of the facilities Brya & I visit bring a different aspect to the reward we get from being there.  Can’t wait for next season!

Brya Wixon 1  Brya Wixon 1

You wonder how dogs are allowed into such sterile buildings? The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well-trained and screened for appropriate behavior. In fact, there is a process for all dogs to go through to be certified as a Therapy Dog.

To shed a little light on this wonderful organization; around since 1986 over 200 members and over 130 Therapy Teams visiting 35 facilities and 7 libraries. If you are interested in becoming a therapy team on the Cape, feel free to contact CAP:

http://companionanimalprogram.com/join.html

 

 

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-June

FALMOUTH in June

This month we straddle the spring/summer seasons, but here on Cape Cod summer is already in full tilt! Dogs are allowed on the beaches Oct 1-April 30, so off to the trails we went!

The Knob-Quinnaquisset Ave-One of my favorite haunts! Such beautiful landscape and places to roam all year long on the ocean! Some pluses are the many spots for awesome photos and two small beaches that allow the dogs to swim even in the summer! Minuses to this location are the limited parking spots and the trails are not very lengthy. A definite must see!!!!!     Map:   http://www.saltpond.info/pdf/trailmap_knob.pdf

The Knob Falm July 2014-4   The Knob

Crane Wildlife Reservation-Located on Route 151 this 1800 acres of property was acquired from Frances A. Crane in 1958. The landscape is so vast and starts in an open field (which can get muddy) and heads into an array of wooded trails that intermingle. If your goal is to let your dog run, this is the perfect place to make it happen! Trail Map: http://www.300committee.org/documents/Craneeast.pdf

Falm-Crane Reservation Feb 15    Falm-Crane Reservation 2 Feb 15

Shining Sea Bikeway is a bike/walking trail that extends from Route 151 all the way down to Woods Hole. Along the way, such beautiful landscape surrounds you that I got lost in it and ended up walking 8 miles…..yikes! A typical up and back you have several opportunities to sit on a bench and people watch or sit and listen to the birds. Helpful hint: when you are a walker, stay to the right of the trail and listen for bikers signaling to pass. Trail Map:               http://www.woodshole.com/documents/bikewaymap.pdf

Long Pond-This walk is awesome! Starting on Brick Kiln Road and park just before the Goodwill Park. The walk is approximately 4 miles around the pond and is gorgeous. We saw a lot of wildlife and the only downside I saw was that the dogs are not allowed to access the pond since it is a source of drinking water for the town. Trail Map:                http://www.300committee.org/documents/LongPondfinal.pdf

Sandw-Talbots April 2014

Bebee Woods-Depot Road, Falmouth. This hidden gem is located just behind the Cape Cod Conservatory at the end of Depot Road is a playground for dog walkers! There are two ponds, well marked trails and lots of shade for the summer. When the beaches are off limits, head here! You can tailor make your walk as long or short as you’d like!  Trail Map: http://www.300committee.org/documents/BeebeWoods.pdf

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I can’t fail to mention the Falmouth Dog Park located on 254 Brick Kiln Road-there are ongoing events and ways you can help fundraise for the park…for more info:          http://www.falmouthdogpark.com/

Falmouth has an AWESOME main street with many patios to eat with your pooch and a large grassy common area in the center to sit for a picnic. Some ideas:

Stone L’Oven-271 Main Street     http://stonelovenfalmouth.com/

The Pickle Jar-170 Main Street     http://www.picklejarkitchen.com/

The Raw Bar-56 Scranton Ave      http://www.falmouthrawbar.com/

 

15 Towns in 12 Months-May

Well, we did it again! May was a two town month :)

May 2015 Chat-Harw

Apparently, the people in Chatham and Harwich are passionate about their towns. All my cape followers guessed my “secret” clues very quickly which shows me that I need to get down cape more often. Not only are these two towns unique and beautiful, there are so many places to visit with your pup while there!

Chatham has beautiful beaches to enjoy with your pup September 16-April 30, but don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in the summer season as well. We started May by heading to the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (Clue #1)

Chat-Monomoy Wildlife Refuge 2015       IMG_5828

This beautiful stretch of beach and scrub is basically hidden from the general public….unless you are looking for it you wouldn’t stumble across this gem. You have to enter in to a neighborhood that makes it appear that you are entering a private subdivision, however just after passing the sign, you’ll see a paved driveway on your left that will lead you to the parking lot. Keep an eye out for seals that populate this area and be very careful of ticks as we had plenty on both human and dog!

For more trail hikes see: http://www.chathaminfo.com/nature-trails

Another wonderful trait of Chatham is the number of patio dining spots along the wonderfully quintessential main street for dining. We also came across the beautifully constructed Dog Bar at the Chatham Squire, so make sure you stop in for a fresh drink of water on your stroll.

Clue #2 IMG_5795

One of our favorites in the summer months is the Cape Cod Baseball League. You can watch games with your pup on the hill –just bring a chair or blanket and some refreshments! The field is near the rotary at 750 Main Street

http://www.capecodbaseball.org/games/2015-schedule/

Lastly, the Chatham Bars Inn is a beautiful waterfront resort that is pet friendly. They have beachfront dining as well (Be sure to ask if that is allowed with your pup in the summer season) There is a $100 pet fee Mid June – Labor day + $40/night fee.   http://www.chathambarsinn.com

 

HARWICH was our second destinationl!

It seemed to me that Harwich seemed to have more wooded walking trails to choose from. We visited both Thompsons Field IMG_5999  IMG_6002

and the D Isabel Smith Monomoy River Conservation Lands. Thompsons Field is more wide open and apparently a very popular dog spot where you are allowed to have well behaved dogs off leash. The field portion of the conservation is a dog park-like atmosphere, and there is NO hunting on this property which is a nice change. The D. Isabel Smith property is more of a traditional trail and nicely shaded for the upcoming heat. IMG_5988      IMG_5993

For trail info: http://harwichconservationtrust.org/trails/

Don’t forget the rail trail is right off Main Street (aka 39) where you can have a great paved walk while keeping an eye out for bikers passing you on the left. When traveling to the main street town center we happened upon the Adirondack chair randomly placed in front of a pediatric dental office-so cute! Harw-Main St Chair 2015 Brya and I didn’t find any restaurants in the main section of town, but plenty of places that do take out and right on the main road is a gazebo which would be a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a sandwich.

Harwich has a Cape Cod League team as well-you can catch their games at 105 Oak Street.

On our way out of town was where we captured the rocket and other lawn “ornaments” in a private yard just before the intersection of Rte 39 and Rte 137.    We are not short on art-loving eclectic people here on the cape but that prized possession was just too unique to pass up a photo op! Harw-Rocket yard 2015

Sooo much fun heading down cape! These two are must see towns!