In the days before children, my husband and I used to go camping often. We loved it. Spending the day outside, cooking simple food, watching the sun set and waking with the dawn. A true escape from our busy lives.
Then the kids came along, we got even busier and despite having invested in a great family tent (to replace our two-man!) we never made it camping as a family.
Until last week!
Our excuses were varied and multiple; it might rain (which in Scotland was generally the case, to be fair), the 9yo was too young, the 6yo was too young, then the wee girl was too young (!), we were busy, it was too cold, it was too hot (which in Boston, is also a consideration!)…
But, a few weeks ago a friend (whose children are friends with our kids) suggested heading down to Cape Cod to camp for a few days, and we jumped at the chance to take our first family camping trip.
We have never been to Cape Cod, but it’s been on our list of must-dos for a long time, and was in fact on our summer bucket list. As was camping :)
We wanted to make the most of our two nights away, so left early on Tuesday morning, deciding to stop half way, in Plymouth. Having stopped for breakfast at an iHop just outside town (pancakes for breakfast being a holiday must) we were greeted by this wonderful view of the harbour when we arrived in Plymouth.
Arriving by 9am meant that parking in the centre of town was easy; it was rather busier when we left two hours later! Plymouth was well worth a stop and after visiting the Mayflower 2 and Plymouth Rock (blog post to follow) we were glad that we’d chosen to stop there.
Knowing that we couldn’t check in to our campsite until after lunch, and that our friends were planning to arrive mid-afternoon, we decided to drive to Hyannis and have lunch with one of my husband’s nieces who has been working there for the summer. Hyannis is really pretty (what we saw of it anyway!), with a wonderful high street full of lovely restaurants and cafes and lots of unique gift shops. Lunch was great, in a fabulously American diner :)
Suitably refreshed, we headed for the campsite, Sweetwater Forest Camping Ground in Brewster, arriving just after our friends.
Helping daddy put up the tent was the 9yo’s job, having practiced the weekend before.
The wee girl was thrilled to discover that she had a bedroom all to herself.
The first evening was spent investigating the nearby lake (literally a minute from our pitch) and it was beautiful. The sun was setting and it was just perfect.
We threw stones into the water (although stopped that when a stray rock thrown by the 6yo connected with the 9yo’s head) and played in the adjacent park. As we walked back to our site to have dinner, we watched as two kayaks were launched in to the lake.
A dinner of pasta was wolfed down and the kids happily went to sleep, with out a peep. And they let us sleep until 7am!
The next day we decided to take it easy in the morning, and after breakfast (where my husband jokingly laid out a full place setting for me!) we went to investigate the rest of the campground and the mini golf. Always a hit with our lot, and their friends! Another playground took up the rest of the morning before a picnic lunch back at our tents.
After lunch we took our new canoe for a test run… which probably requires a little background! My husband has been looking at second hand canoes for a while, and to be honest, I didn’t take it all that seriously. I mean, we were busy enough, when on earth were we going to fit in using a canoe? Anyway, a few days before we left he told me that he’d found one on Craigslist and we were picking it up on our way to the campsite!
I have to admit I was still pretty skeptical about the whole thing, and then we took it out on the lake. All was forgiven. It was amazing, so calm and peaceful, surrounded by water and a beautiful view. Fabulous. The kids loved it too.
To finish off our day, we headed to one of the nearby beaches (although my husband had to stay behind to deal with our flat battery…). Asking for recommendations at the campsite Reception, we were guided towards the ‘bayside’ beaches in Brewster, and found ourselves on Saint’s Landing beach. If I hadn’t already fallen in love with Cape Cod, this was the clincher.
It was late afternoon, the beaches were getting quieter and the view as we arrived took my breath away.
We spent an amazing couple of hours swimming in the beautiful clear water (blog post to follow) and this was the view as we left.
Back to the campsite and a dinner of hot dogs, beans and scrambled eggs, followed by s’mores (Graham cracker sandwiches filled with toasted marshmallows and chocolate) made over our campfire, finished off a truly wonderful day.
Again, the kids went straight to bed, exhausted and happy, and slept until 7am!
The next day we packed up and then, again on the recommendation of Reception, drove to East Dennis to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe.
Wow. Amazing food, amazing views. A perfect end to our holiday.
We watched the boats coming and going, saw jet skis come back from a spin around the harbour and watched boats laden with huge fishing rods heading out for the afternoon. White sand, turquoise water and a deep blue sky. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
We took a short walk along the beach before setting off for home, and our friend took a rare photo of my husband and I together.
After a last look out over the sea we started the (long!) drive back.
I now understand why so many people holiday on the Cape!
But, best of all, the kids absolutely loved camping. So, weekends away in a tent are back on the agenda :) Although my ageing hips can no longer cope with just our super lightweight thermarests, new sleeping mats required before our next trip!
I’m linking up with the wonderful Country Kids at Coombe Mill, as always. Click on the badge to see what everyone else has been up to and be inspired to get outside!