Sure Signs of Spring on Cape Cod
With the birds chirping, the last of the snow melting, and tulips and daffodils ready to bloom, there are plenty of signs that spring is really here.
Over the next few weeks, Mother Nature will make her own statement here on Cape Cod that winter – and the frigid weather it brings – can go into hibernation for at least nine months (ten would be better).
Flowers, Flowers and More Flowers
The awakening that is spring can be witnessed in an array of splendid colors that will soon pop up across the Cape.
These colors come into full display at the end of April, and a great place to admire the blooms in all their glory is Falmouth’s Spohr Gardens. Tucked away from Vineyard Sound on Fells Road, this hidden gem overlooking scenic Oyster Pond will soon be teeming with life.That’s when it will play host to Daffodil Days on consecutive Saturdays (April 21 and April 28), an annual event that features face painting, a ventriloquist, guided tours, and master gardeners who can answer all your gardening questions.
Over on Nantucket, the island holds a weekend-long celebration of all things daffodil at the end of April (27-29). The Nantucket Daffodil Festival is a vibrant display of community, marked by Saturday’s antique car parade with vehicles decked out in an assortment of yellow and white flowers. That’s just the start of the colorful explosion to hit the charming Cape community, which also includes a hat pageant, dog parade, walking tours, musical performances, movie screenings, book signings, and more.
On the mainland, the ode to spring continues with the 32nd Annual Brewster in Bloom Festival, happening May 4-6. An arts & crafts show, Kid Fest and 5K run make up the fun on Saturday, followed by a festive parade themed "Clamoring for Clams” on Sunday.
Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich takes center stage with its impressive Rhododendron Festival on May 26-June 3. With over 100 varieties of rhododendrons, the 100-acre Sandwich landmark will have spectacular blooms for the public to enjoy. Walking tours cover everything from the unique plants on the property to caring for rhododendrons. Another sign of spring? Heritage's blue hyacinth bulb river, which flows down a garden hill on the grounds every May.
Often, these public displays offer inspiration for your own landscapes. If that’s the case, Mahoney’s Garden Center, Agway of Cape Cod, and Saint Aubin Garden Center are a few local nurseries that sell the tools, plants, and equipment needed to turn your yard into the outdoor paradise you’ve always dreamed of owning.
Become One With Nature
With the plankton-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank a short boat trip away, the Cape represents prime viewing grounds for the world’s largest animals on the planet – whales. While some of them can be seen from shore – Race Point Beach in Provincetown is a popular spot for this – whale watching trips allow you to get immersed in these majestic creatures and the world they inhabit.
Both Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises in Barnstable Harbor and Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch in Provincetown launch their excursions in mid-April. Not only will you see whales, seabirds and possibly a few dolphins, you’ll learn about their behavior from expert naturalists knowledgeable about these awe-inspiring animals.
The return of the herring – swimming up local rivers to their summer spawning grounds – is another sign of spring’s arrival. Typically, the journeys take place in mid-May and can be witnessed in spots throughout Cape Cod.The most prominent of the Cape’s herring runs can be found on Stony Brook Road in Brewster. During the height of the season, the fish attract dozens of hungry seagulls flying overhead ready to catch a tasty meal. Over in Mashpee, there are two popular runs, including one at Santuit Pond Preserve that was built in 2013. The other, on Route 130 near the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum, is a short drive away.
For those who prefer catching fish as opposed to simply watching them, there are countless hot spots to cast a line. With its heavy currents, the Cape Cod Canal is among the top locations for those hoping to catch stripers, bait fish, bluefish, fluke, and scup. Falmouth’s Old Silver Beach is a favorite for beachgoers in the summer, but it also represents prime fishing in the spring, when stripers and bluefish head into the tidal creek behind the beach in search of herring. And further down Cape, Morris Island in Chatham, Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, and Nauset Beach in Orleans are preferred destinations among anglers.
The Return of Seasonal Favorites
Spring also ushers in the return of a slew of regional attractions, from mini-golf to restaurants to the Cape’s only drive-in in Wellfleet.
With Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf and Skull Island Adventure Golf & Sports World located less than a mile away from each other in Yarmouth, the Mid-Cape community represents the epicenter of the region’s mini-golf offerings.Throw in the nearby Cape Cod Inflatable Park as well as the annual Northeast Santa Gathering on Cape Cod, which takes place the last weekend in April, and Yarmouth is a great place for families with young ones in spring. This year, the Santas will add to the fun with a special appearance at the region’s newest offering, Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis, during their stay on the Cape.
Thrill seekers will delight in the reopening of The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens in April which offers the best in outdoor climbing and zip lining.
And perhaps nothing stirs up more excitement during springtime than seasonal restaurants re-opening after winter’s slumber, among them the countless ice cream shops that dot the local landscape. A sure sign that summer is not far behind.