Orleans has shoreline facing a variety of waters. The activities
Around Nauset include Nauset Beach facing
right onto the Atlantic, as well as protected Town Cove at
the end of Nauset Marsh. On the Cape
Cod Bay side are Rock Harbor and Skaket Beach. Moving
toward South Orleans, several trails and town landings open
onto Pleasant Bay.
Orleans overview and
Chamber of Commerce sites, and check out Orleans
Jonathan Young Windmill Park
at Town Cove
Young Windmill Park
Restored and maintained by the Orleans Historical
Society, the windmill is all set up to grind corn. Every day from
June to September, a volunteer will guide you through the mill and
explain its history and operation. The park around the mill is a
nice place to relax and watch the sailboats in Town Cove. Located
at Rte 28 and 6A.
You can walk to the nearby Orleans Inn and have lunch
on the deck or by the picture window looking out onto Town Cove.
Interesting nearby stores to browse in are the Goose Hummock Shop
next to the Inn, and the Birdwatchers' General Store, 36 Rte 6A.
Combine this excursion with a cruise of Nauset Marsh.
Nauset Marsh covers a large inlet between Orleans
and Eastham. Orleans Town Cove is at the inner reaches of the marsh
to the south. Wellfleet Bay Wildlife
Sanctuary sponsors a cruise of Nauset Marsh in a pontoon boat,
leaving from Town Cove. The boat silently sneaks up on one of the
largest tern colonies in Massachusetts, and the tales of the birds'
migrations will fascinate and amaze. Sliding through the channels
between the mazes of marsh grass to the outer beaches is a wonderful
way to spend a summer afternoon.
French Cable Museum
Having a husband with a radio hobby led me to spend
an afternoon at the French Cable Museum. It was really quite interesting.
A knowledgeable volunteer showed us around and then we were left
to browse the plethora of artifacts. At Cove Rd and Rte 128, 255-0343
Nauset Beach faces east toward the Atlantic Ocean.
The water is cold and the waves are high. It's what most people
think of when you say "beach". Follow Main St until it
becomes Beach St and go to the end. Nauset Beach extends as a long
sandy penninsula south to Chatham, and forms the barrier that protects
Pleasant Bay. To drive down the beach, you need a permit from the
town and a vehicle that won't get stuck in the sand.. Returning
from Nauset Beach, we like to stop at Kadee's Clam Bar for a snack
of strawberry champagne drinks with rawbar oysters and littleneck
Looking at a map of all Orleans' harbors, coves,
marshes, bays, and inlets, it's clear there must be many water scenes
to view by bicycle. The Tonset area above Nauset Beach offers glimpses
of Town Cove and Nauset Marsh as well as several town landings that
take you right to the water. If you're inclined to take a swim,
the salt water is warm and protected. It's a residential area with
minimal traffic. Looking at a map, go out Tonset Road and Brick
Hill Road, and then explore all the smaller roads that lead to water.
Cape Cod Bay and Rock Harbor
Harbor fishing port on Cape Cod Bay seems oblivious to the tourists
(although it may be a special place for the sports fishing tourist).
That fresh seafood coming in on the boats hurries right into Capt'n
Cass's kitchen in Rock Harbor. It's the freshest and most tasty,
and the best value for seafood lunches and dinners. I saw a reference
to a beach at the harbor -- if you can find it, you would probably
have it to yourself. The harbor is located at the end of Rock Harbor
Skaket Beach on Cape Cod Bay is east ofRock Harbor,
but you get there by following Skaket Beach Road. This is my favorite
place to watch a sunset. Check the tide chart and plan for an evening
when the tide will be at its lowest at sunset. The long flat beach
gets a pattern of tidal pools that reflect the colors from the sky.
Get a few walkers in the picture, and it calls out for your camera.
There's even a tower to climb to improve your view. It's hard to
choose whether to walk way way out in bare feet toward the setting
sun, or stay on the tower and take pictures.
The rail trail has a gap in Orleans. Coming from
Brewster, the trail ends at Main St and Old Colony Way. The recommended
bicycle route takes you down Rock Harbor Rd to the harbor and then
continues on Rock Harbor Rd to rejoin the trail.
Point on Pleasant Bay
Point is at the upper reaches of Little Pleasant Bay where it narrows
and they call it "The River". The town of Orleans recently
acquired it as conservation land. Trails take you around the edges
of the point for wonderful views of the bay's natural beauty. In
at least one place you could take a swim in the warm salt water
if you can brave a little salt grass muck. The National
Seashore conducts a tour of Kent's Point. From Monument Road,
follow signs to Kent's Point starting at Frost Fish Lane.
Lessons at Arey's Pond
In the same neighborhood, down Arey's Lane from Rte
28, Arey's Pond shelters many boats in salt water. This too is part
of Little Pleasant Bay, up "The River" to "Namequoit
River" which leads to the pond. Arey's Pond Boatyard builds
sailboats and can answer just about any boating questions. I took
a week of sailing lessons at Arey's, which was fun and taught me
a lot about sailing and Pleasant Bay.
Wah Point on Pleasant Bay
I seldom see another person in these twelve acres
of town conservation land in South Orleans. There's a trail with
markers and a brochure expaining the natural history points. The
trail leads to a picnic table in a lovely setting looking onto Pleasant
Bay and a marshy beach that you can have to yourself. The water
is warm and sheltered. At the end of Namequoit Road, off Rte 28.
Monument St and South Orleans
The area along Little Pleasant Bay from Monument
Street to South Orleans is challenging, but takes you to idyllic
points along the water. The game is to find backroads that avoid
Rte 28, a horrible place for bicycles. This requires a street map.
Starting from Main St, follow Monument Rd. Ride out to see Kent's
Point and back, then follow Kescayoganset Rd to Arey's Lane. A dirt
road takes you around Pilgrim Lake to Arey's Pond. Then, the only
way to get to Namequoit is very carefully for a quarter mile on
Rte 28. Namequoit goes to Paw Wah Point, and Heritage Drive takes
you to Portanimicut, which connects to Quanset. The town landing
at the end of Portanimicut looks out onto Little Pleasant Bay, while
the scene at the end of Quanset looks south toward Chatham across
big Pleasant Bay. All the return trips strengthen your legs with