Category Archives: travel

cape cod, martha’s vineyard, + nantucket.

It’s been a while since I posted, in fact we’ve been to California and back since I last wrote, but that’s life I suppose. Weddings and trips and birthdays usually trump blogging for me. However, we’ve been home for several weeks now and I finally feel rested enough to sit down and talk with you all about our trip to New England earlier this summer, and share our favorite eats while we were there.

Cape Cod

I told you in my previous post that we stayed in Hyannis and we could not have loved it more. We chose the town originally due to its proximity to the ferries leaving for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, but it turned out to be incredibly charming and we will be staying there in the future even if we don’t plan on venturing over to Nantucket.

We loved every minute of our time on Cape Cod; waking up early with the sun, enjoying brunch at fantastic local restaurants (like the Sea Street Cafe), watching the sail boats come in, laughing with friends, and soaking up every bit of the cooler weather. Not to mention ice cream every afternoon – who doesn’t love that?

The Sea Street Cafe, Chatham Bars Inn (order the lobster nachos as your meal, you can thank me later), Black Cat Tavern (great live music and raw bar out back), Alberto’s (fantastic Italian cuisine; this is a great option for date night), and Pizza Barbone (wood fired, Neapolitan pizza…no further explanation needed) were our favorite restaurants…although my husband and I did pick up some local pad thai one night while we watched Game of Thrones in our bungalow and that place was pretty great too. If only I knew what it was called.

We truly adored our time in Cape Cod and are eager for our next trip. Until then, I have about two thousands photos to help me reminisce.

provincetown, cape cod

chatham, cape cod

cape cod

Martha’s Vineyard

Our time on Martha’s Vineyard was unfortunately not quite so favorable. We didn’t care for Oak Bluffs at all; it seemed a bit too overdone for us. Too cheap. Too touristy. Too many gingerbread cottages. Not to mention, it rained the entire time we were there. I really hate that our experience was poor because I so badly wanted to like it (I’m a Sabrina fan, after all). Luckily, our day did have a few high notes. We were able to start the day with some famous Back Door Donuts and coffee, which was delectable and so very needed…even though we enjoyed it all while getting rained on. The Quahog Chowder at the Black Dog Tavern was the best I’ve ever had and their lobster roll was quite divine as well. And as you know, good food can always turn a bad day around.

We hopped on a bus down to Edgartown after lunch and it turns out, we had just been on the wrong part of the island all morning. We found Edgartown to be quintessentially charming and beautiful. We hiked out to the Lighthouse and strolled the streets a bit before we made our way back to the ferry. We both made the unanimous decision that if we ever found ourselves on the island again, we would be staying in Edgartown.

martha's vineyard

martha's vineyard

Nantucket

I think there is something a little bit magical about Nantucket. It’s remained relatively unchanged for decades, with brick buildings and cobblestone streets, and it’s not exactly easy to get to, so you feel somewhat secluded from the world while you’re there.

You really can’t see the island (or properly enjoy it) in just one day. It was all the time we could spare on this trip, but it felt like we had barely dipped our toes in the water before we had to leave. I wanted to watch the sunrise from ‘Sconset Beach, ride bikes through historic downtown, have oysters and lobster pizza overlooking the harbor, and watch the sunset on Madaket. We may not have done everything, but we enjoyed our time and we’re so glad we got the little taste of Nantucket that we did.

 We started our day off with Handlebar Coffee, strolled through ‘Sconset and tried to pick out our favorite homes, enjoyed a couple of Grey Ladies at the Cisco Brewery, wandered through downtown – hunting for interesting door knockers, had some of the best ice cream on our trip from the Juice Bar, and made so many plans for future visits. You can sense that no one on Nantucket is ever in much of a rush. Life happens slowly, and enjoyably there. It’s a world of its own and it is most certainly worth a visit. I hope you’ll make plans to do so!!

nantucket

nantucketnantucket

 *all images are property of A Dash of Lovely

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a beginner’s guide to cape cod.

cape cod - a dash of lovely  To cover our most recent vacation, I’m going to be splitting Cape Cod into 2 parts. I’m sure you’re all thinking, “Julie, you weren’t gone that long.” And you’re right, I wasn’t. But I am going to give you everything you need to know about vacationing on Cape Cod, or the Cape as I’ll refer to it from here on out, in this first post. In part 2, I’ll be sharing more details about our actual trip and of course, what we ate.

As many times as my husband and I have visited New England, this was our first trip to the Cape and we had a ton of questions going into it. Do we need a car? Which town should we stay in? How do we ferry to Nantucket? And so on, ad nauseam.

Neither one of us grew up going to the Cape, but we knew that it was a tradition we wanted to start with our own kids one day, so we thought we should scope it out and get a feel for the land. So if any of you find yourself in the same boat, I am here to help and hopefully answer any questions you might have.

cape cod - a dash of lovely

Getting to the Cape

Unless you live in New England (lucky, lucky you), then you will need to fly in to Boston and pick up a rental car. The drive down to the Cape should only take about an hour and a half in ideal circumstances, but the traffic during peak months can be absolutely atrocious. You’ve been warned.

*yes, there are buses that you can take to get down to the Cape, but you are going to enjoy the convenience of having your car while you are there…and the buses take literally forever.

cape cod - a dash of lovely

Where to Stay

Ok, yikes. This is a tough one and it can really boil down to personal preference, so everything here is simply my opinion. Well…there might be a few facts thrown in.

My top choices for where to stay are Hyannis, Chatham, and Falmouth.  Both Hyannis and Falmouth (via Woods Hole) provide easy access to ferries, which was a key factor for me. I knew that we would want to get to both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, so I wanted to be as close to the ferry as possible. All three towns also have beautiful beaches and are well kept. Some of the areas we drove through (I’m looking at you, South Yarmouth) seemed run down and way too touristy. Not my scene. Hyannis was perfect for us. We loved the town, the dining options, the harbor, and the history (JFK, anyone?).

While we visited Wellfleet for some oysters and made our way all the way out to Provincetown to see Race Point Beach, the Outer Cape simply felt entirely too far removed for us to actually stay there.

The truth is, you won’t know which town is your favorite until you visit them. So take some time during your first trip to drive around and explore everything the Cape has to offer.

cape cod - a dash of lovely

What to Do

This is the best part, because the Cape is all about relaxation and quality time with friends and family. Think early morning walks on the beach (because the sun rises at 5:15AM), impromptu games of shuffleboard at the resort, bike rides through idyllic neighborhoods, daily ice cream trips, afternoon Cape League games, sailing cruises around the bay, and slow sunsets over the water with a lobster dinner and white wine. Seriously, I’ve said it before and I will say it until I die – summertime in New England is magical.

cape cod sunset - a dash of lovely

Extra Tips

  • Town beaches are free, but you often have to pay to park. So it’s in your favor to walk or bike in.
  • Regardless of where you stay, all towns on the Cape are family friendly.
  • Hyannis, Chatham, Provincetown, Falmouth, Orleans, and Harwich all have walkable town centers.
  • A car is by far the quickest and most convenient way to see the Cape.
  • If you are going during peak season, make sure you book everything several months in advance. The Cape books up quickly, as do the ferries on holiday weekends.

*all images are property of A Dash of Lovely

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choosing a vacation destination.

I always get a lot of questions from friends and family about where we are planning to travel for the year and how we choose where to go. This seems like a simple question, and maybe for some people it is. A more organized person might have a list of destinations that they work through methodically, crossing each off the list as they go. But if you’ve ever met me then you know that I don’t really get along well with lists…or methodical approaches to just about anything. For the sake of being hip, let’s just say my method is a bit more organic.

Our travel plans always start out rather broad – sweeping from Napa to Nova Scotia to Naples (we genuinely considered all of these places…and I hate to miss an opportunity for a good alliteration). There are so many places we want to go and it can be hard to nail down what feels right for this year.

I always start planning based on when we are going to travel and for how long. For example, I get roughly six weeks of vacation every year working for a college, but much of that is around the holidays and spring break is typically a very busy time for my husband. So that leaves my two weeks of summer vacation. As much as we want to go to New Zealand and Argentina (I’m being so serious, we are dying to visit both of these places) we don’t really want to visit during their winter. So…two weeks in the northern hemisphere it is.

Next I think about what kind of vacation we want to take. Do we want to explore a new city? Lounge on a beach? Get lost in a foreign country? The answer for this question varies from year to year, depending on how we feel. This year, we both decided that we very much so wanted to relax on vacation, but not at a tropical resort. So now we’ve narrowed it down to laid back cities, preferably on the coast.

The next step can only be described as obsessive research. I spend hours pouring over travel sites, pricing out flights and hotels, checking out local restaurants, and putting together secret Pinterest boards to get a feel for each trip. This is the most lengthy phase in our travel planning process, but it’s also the most fun for me. I get so excited seeing what all the world has to offer.

In the end, we make gut decisions based on when and where we can go, for how much, and what all we can do while we are there. This year, that ended up being two separate trips in the contiguous states. So without further ado, here is what you can expect from the Jones Travelogue in 2016.

New England

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many of you because it’s become a bit of a tradition now for us to summer in New England. It’s really starting to feel like a home away from home to us, and I would be lying if I told you that we didn’t have big dreams of owning a second house up there someday. This year we will be visiting Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. My head is swimming with visions of sailboats, ice cream cones, bike rides and more lobster rolls than I can handle. If you have never been to New England in the summer, you should definitely consider it in your travel plans for this year because it’s absolute magic.

new england

California

In our 3 years of marriage, my husband and I have never made our way to California. I’m not sure how this happened, but we are quickly taking care of the situation. We will be spending a week soaking up southern California, with all of its glorious palm trees and orange groves; specifically in Ojai and Santa Barbara. I plan on listening to the soundtrack from It’s Complicated the entire flight down and I hope you all prepare yourselves for an over abundance of photos featuring red roofs and ceramic tiled staircases; because those two things are what my dreams are made of.

the jones travelogue | california

All in all, I think 2016 is going to be a very good year for us. Where are you going this year? I would love to hear how you plan out your vacations or answer any questions you might have about traveling!

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