Thursday, July 07, 2011

Dennis: The Heart of Cape Cod

Part of our continuing series on Cape Towns
Dennis sits in the center of the mid-Cape area and consists of the villages of Dennis, Dennis Port, East Dennis, South Dennis and West Dennis.  It is the start of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, the home of the Cape Playhouse, and is where you can find a lake shaped like a fish with its own stone tower.  There are sound side and bay side beaches as well as art museums
and a great independent film theatre.  Its a great place to stay or plan a day trip to from one of the other Cape Cod towns.

The Cape Cod Rail Trail begins in Dennis and travels 22 miles along a former railroad right of way through Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet.  The path is paved, making it great for cyclists and the wide unpaved shoulder also makes it a great place to walk, run or go horseback riding.  You can exit the trail to go to one of the beaches along the way and places to get food and water abound.  Flying in to the Cape or don't want to bring a bike but would love to cycle the trail?  There are two bike rental shops right on the trail in Dennis who will rent you a bike or fix your flat - Barbara's Bike Shop and Dennis Cycle Center, plus many more bike rental shops through out the Cape.  Free parking for trail users in Dennis is at the trail head at Route 134 in South Dennis.

Interested in taking is a show?  The Cape Playhouse, in the center of Dennis on Rte 6A, is America's oldest professional summer theatre.  Betty Davis was "discovered" here, working as an usher and great names like Gregory Peck, Ginger Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, and Helen Hayes have graced the boards.  In addition to fun musical comedies preformed there now, during the day the theater is home to the Children's Theatre at the Cape Cod Center for the Arts.  What could be more fun then magic, yo-yos, music and puppets?  With shows at 9:30 am and 11:30 am you still have time to go for a bike ride or hang out for the afternoon at the beach.

Scargo lake, when viewed from above is shaped like a fish and has a lovely tale (or is that tail) to go with it.  Our friends at Scargo Cafe have a nice version of the story here.  On top of Scargo hill sits Scargo tower, the third tower built on the site as a tourist observatory.  As Scargo hill is one of the highest on mid-Cape, you get a great view of Cape Cod from the tower.

Dennis has 16 ocean beaches and 2 lake beaches.  West Dennis Beach on Nantucket Sound, is a favorite with wind surfers and beach lovers alike.  Corporation Beach on the bay side has a boardwalk and picnic areas.  Beach passes for parking at Dennis beaches can be purchased for the day or the week at the Dennis Town Hall which can be used at 14 of the 18 beaches.  There are also several play grounds including Mike Stacey Park and Village Improvement Society Playground.

Cape Cod Art Museum is on the same grounds as The Cape Playhouse and they are all part of The Cape Cod Center for the Arts.  The art museum has several exhibitions featuring artists who lived and worked here on Cape Cod.  They also offer several studio art classes and workshops in painting, pottery, sculpting and the Cape Cod historical craft of Sailor's Valentines.  If you are looking to expand your skills or learn something new while visiting the Cape, this is a great place to do it.  Also on The Cape Cod Center for the Arts grounds is the Cape Cinema, which offers some wonderful independent films as well as being one of the places on the Cape to see The Metropolitan Opera live in HD.  Tickets can be purchased on line for the films and the Met Live showings. 

If you are looking for a place to stay in Dennis, make sure you check out our friends at the Corsair and Cross Rip Hotels and the lovely Three Seasons Resort.  If you want something more personal like renting a beach house then contact Ocean View Beach Houses or Uppvall Associates.  There are a host of other places from resorts to sweet B&Bs which you can find at lodging for Dennis.

No comments: